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The Freak Who Lived

Chapter Text

“Harry Potter”, the words echoed in his head as he sat frozen at the Gryffindor table. There was no applause, just the growing buzz of students standing to stare at the small boy stuck in his seat, unsure of what to do.

“Harry? Harry, move!” Hermione whispered, giving her friend a small push. As Harry left the table, he caught Ron’s eyes and saw only hatred. Dread filled his heart as he walked towards the staff table knowing he had lost his first friend. Freaks don’t deserve friends, he reminded himself as he approached the stage where the Headmaster stood.

“Well… through the door, Harry,” said Dumbledore. His familiar smile gone from his face, though the mischievous twinkle of eyes still present. As Harry walked along the teachers’ table, he saw the faces of his professors ranging from disbelief, anger, astonishment, and in the case of Professor Snape, veiled disinterest, though at this point that seemed to be how his face naturally sat.

Harry went through the door out of the Great Hall and found himself in a smaller room, lined with paintings of witches and wizards. The three champions, gathered around the fire, took no notice of the small boy behind them, they did not see his shaking hands or labored breath as they spoke to one another about the upcoming tasks.

This suited Harry just fine as panic threatened to overtake him, ‘don’t cry, don’t be a freak, stop Harry! STOP!’ he thought as he struggled to control himself. Hearing footsteps behind them, the Champions turned and finally noticed Harry’s presence, which forced him to remain calm.

“What is it?” Fleur Delacour asked, “Do Zey want us back in ze Hall?”

Before Harry could reply, Snape, Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore, Mr. Crouch, Mr. Bagman, Karkaroff, and Madame Maxime all entered the room, the latter four swooping in on Harry like vultures. Only Snape and McGonagall stood back, observing Harry and the adults who surrounded him.

Nothing made sense, the world was spinning, and the words held no meaning as each of the adults around him spoke over each other. Harry just stood there in a sea of sound, drowning, but it didn’t matter, he knew that no matter what he said his word meant nothing. Others would decide how this would play out, just like the past three years.

“Mr. Potter, did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire,” A voice said above the crowd. All eyes turned to the Potions Master standing calmly off to the side. He had asked the question quietly, but as usual, Severus Snape had the ability to silence the room.

“No” Harry replied meekly.

“Well then, Mr. Crouch, the boy says he didn’t enter, and seeing as the Goblet of Fire is an extremely powerful object, I am inclined to believe him. He has no extraordinary powers, despite what some may believe, and would have never had been able to fool the Goblet or the Age-line” Snape said, for the first time that night Harry felt a bit hopeful. If this man, who hated him, believed him, then maybe he could be ok. “So instead of wasting my evening, tell us what is to be done about the boy so we may all retire.” He finished with his trademark sneer.

“We must follow the rule,” Crouch said in a stiff voice, “and the rules state clearly that those people whose names come out of the Goblet of Fire are bound to compete in the Tournament.”

Just like that, the light of hope left Harry. ‘stupid freak, you know good things don’t happen to freaks like you’

“Before we can allow you to go and rest, here are some instructions for the first task.” Crouch continued, as if nothing happened, as if Harry’s world wasn’t once again shattering around him. “Champions, the first task will take place on November twenty-fourth. It is designed to test your bravery so you will not know what you are facing. That’s all, please try and rest. Goodnight”

With that, Krum and Fleur were ushered away by their respective headmasters and Cedric and Harry were dismissed to return to their dorms. But Harry wasn’t too keen to return to the Gryffindor common room. The looks at the feast made it quite clear to Harry that he was no longer welcome, but that was no surprise. He always knew it was a matter of time before they finally were done with him. Who would care for a freak?

Harry arrived in front of the Fat Lady far too soon, not knowing how he got there as his mind was pulled in so many directions. As he walked into the common room he was met with stares and silence. Whispers and looks of contempt followed him up to the fourth-year dorm but that was nothing compared to the site he found there.

His trunk was open, and his belongings scattered the floor. Ron was rivaling through his possessions while Neville stood over him. Dean and Seamus watched with mild amusement from their four-poster beds.

“Mate, stop! Harry didn’t do it and you’re gonna ruin something! You’re supposed to have his back, Ron” Neville shouted. It was so unlike the sweet-tempered boy that Harry could help when his jaw dropped in shock

“He’s a right git and an arse! I wanna know how he did it! He’s supposed to be my mate but of course he goes off and does this so he can be a fucking hero!” he said this holding up the invisibility cloak and surveying it for clues.

“I didn’t do it, Ron. I promise” Harry’s words came out shaky as he was on the verge of tears. His first friend was gone, lost to him because of something he didn’t do. He was going to be alone again. “Please, believe me, Ron. I don’t want this!”

“Why the fuck are you lying? We all know you’d do anything for more attention. Can’t let anyone else have any glory! No, Harry Potter needs to swoop in and be a star” Ron sneered, it was strange to be on the receiving end of such hateful words. Ron usually reserved those for Malfoy and the other Slytherins, but it seemed Harry was now lower in Ron’s book than the snakes in the dungeon.

“Ron, mate you know that’s not true. Please, you have to believe me! I don’t want to compete; I just want one normal year” Harry choked out hearing the sobs that threatened to break free. But he refused to cry, he wasn’t allowed to cry, he’d learned that the hard way years ago.

“Fuck you! Get the fuck out of here, no one wants you here anymore” he shouted, and Harry believed him. Grabbing only his bag and his invisibility cloak he left the Gryffindor tower in search of a place to hide, ignoring Neville as he tried to compel Harry to stay.

Harry found an abandoned classroom on the 5th floor and entered it, knowing it would be ‘home’ for a little while. Spotting a broom cupboard in the back of the room he settled down there, finding comfort in the small space. His cupboard was the one place he was safe, his uncle couldn’t fit in there when he slept in the small space no one could come to him in the night.

‘freaks sleep on the floor, freaks stay in cupboard, freaks don’t get to have friends.’ His Aunt and Uncle’s words filled his head as sobs finally overtook his small frame. This is where he belonged, on the dusty floor all alone. He shouldn’t be near other people; nobody wants to be near a freak.

That night Harry cried himself to sleep as panic and sobs wreaked havoc on his too-small body. He paid no mind to the cold or the aches in bones. When he woke up the next morning he refused to move. This was his place now, and this is where he would stay.

Chapter Text

Breakfast the next morning was filled with the usual idiocy, the dunderheads gossiping and playing games. Snape had little patients of their foolishness today, he was up all night thinking about the Potter brat. He may not have entered the Tournament, but Snape could still blame him for causing more distress in his life. How could one boy make his life so difficult, he had hoped fulfilling his life debt to Potter would not include this much added work.

It was at this moment that he realized the brat was nowhere to be found, and Severus knew he never skipped meals (which allows struck him as odd as the boy always seemed underweight, possibly a picky eater?)

As classes began Snape did his best to keep the boy from his mind. His students kept him occupied while he worked to keep them from killing each other with stupid mistakes and lack of attention. Dunderheads, all of them.

The last class of the day, fourth-year Gryffindor and Slytherin, enter the room and notably to the Boy Who Lived was nowhere to be found.

“Mr. Weasley, is there a reason that Mr. Potter is not present for my class or is the Savior just too good to come to his lessons?” Severus sneered, hoping to hear that he was stuck with another Professor or with Poppy, he was prone to injuries.

“I don’t know where he is, and I don’t care” the ginger mumbled. Well, that was odd, the older man thought to himself. Odder still was the reaction of the meek Gryffindor in the back of the classroom.

“Professor,” Neville stammered, it was obvious to the Potions Master that this was difficult for the boy. “No one has seen Harry since last night, he hasn’t been in lessons or meals all day.”

“Well, it seems the young champion had more important things to do, no matter, I’m sure we will all survive without the presence of such a great and powerful wizard.” Snape sneered, feigning disinterest. “Antidotes, you should all have your recipes now. I want you to brew carefully, and then, we will be selecting someone on whom test one… begin”

As the student collected their ingredients Severus wrote a message to the one person on staff he knew would also be worrying about the Potter brat. Hoping he would not have to intervene, he wrote Minerva informing her that Potter was missing and asking her to join him after class.

The class proceeded uneventfully, thanks to Granger whispering instructions in Longbottom’s ear, the boy’s toad survived the poison Snape had given it after a dose of Longbottom’s antidote. As he dismissed the students Minerva entered the classroom looking distraught.

“Mr. Longbottom, please remain,” Snape said, needing more information about the disappearance of the boy-wonder.

“Severus, Mr. Potter isn’t in the hospital wing, Gryffindor Tower, or Quidditch Pitch” Minerva spoke in an uncharacteristically shaky voice. Her distress and caring for her lost lion evident.

“Professors, there was an …incident last night” Neville spoke in a soft voice, obviously frightened of the outcome of his words. “I had planned to come to you after potions if he didn’t show up, Professor McGonagall. I thought he just needed time to calm down.” Tears shown in the boy’s eyes.

“Mr. Longbottom, what kind of ‘incident’” the elderly woman spoke softly as to not scare her timid cub, it was in these moments that Severus couldn't help but admire Minerva’s abilities. She was always so attuned to her lions, knowing when to play the role of the loving and gentle mother figure and when to be the stern professor. She toed the line perfectly, inspiring love and respect from students of every house.

“When Harry came back from the Great Hall Ron was going through all his things and saying that he was a liar and that he entered to get more attention. He was screaming at him and told him to leave and that nobody wanted him. I tried to follow him out of the common room and convince him to come back, but I couldn’t find him. I don’t know where he is or if he’s ok.” Severus watched as tears ran down his face. 

“It’s alright dear, we’ll find him. If you hear anything or see him, please bring him to the Hospital Wing and Madam Pomfrey will call us. You are free to go.” McGonagall dismissed the boy with a soothing squeeze of his shoulder. Severus saw understanding in the boy's eyes, Longbottom knew the Professor would do everything in her power to keep Harry safe, with that, he left the dungeons.

Once the door closed behind Neville the two Professors locked eyes, both filled with worry. Minerva was one of the few people who knew Snape’s contempt for Harry was mostly for show. A façade he wore to protect himself and the boy from the death-eaters who had avoided Azkaban.

“Do you have any ideas where he might be, Severus?” the elderly woman asked. “I know you know many of the hidden passages and hiding spots throughout the castle.”

“The boy may have hidden in any of the passageway or abandoned room. We should check them all. But Minerva, I believe it would be in the boy's best interest to keep this between us for now” worry about how the Headmaster would behave set in his stomach like a rock. He knew the headmaster cared for the boy, but he feared it was only to the extent that a King cares for their strongest Knight, not caring for a child but a weapon in his war.

“I agree. I will look in the rooms I know of and will alert you if I find him. Please do the same” with that the fierce woman left, leaving Severus to contemplate where he might find this missing child.

After looking through every secret passageway Severus found himself on the 5th floor searching through abandoned classrooms. He was about to leave a seemingly empty room when he heard a faint whimper. Listening closely, he noticed the sound again coming from the broom closet in the back of the room, but surely the boy hasn’t been hiding there all day, has he? With that thought, Severus crossed the room and opened the door, shocked at what lay before him.

For the first time, Severus saw none of James Potter, instead, he saw a child. A frail, distraught child. The boy’s face was red and puffy from tears and the whimpering he heard before was separated by soft-spoken words.

“Stop crying, freak… Nobody cares… You don’t get to cry… Stop… Freaks don’t get friends.” Whispered over and over as if drilled into his mind. The child didn’t even notice his Professor until he laid a hand on the boys back. The boy flinched from his grasp and scurried to the corner; his eyes shone with fear as he tucked his body into a ball. It was a stance too familiar to Severus, the position one would take to be a small target.

“Mr. Potter, I need you to come with me to the hospital wing.” The Potions Master tried to make his voice soothing, though that was very difficult for him. He tentatively extended a hand to the boy, offering to help him to his feet. 

“No, I’m sorry sir. I’m okay, you don’t need to worry about me.” The boy’s voice was rough with tears and fear. He grasped at the wall as he pulled himself into a standing position, wincing quietly, likely from his tight muscles being stretched after being crammed into such a tiny space. Potter attempted to take a step forward, but his legs seemed unable to hold him at the moment, as he stumbled into Snape’s arms.

“Potter,” He said as he caught him, the boy flinched again, but Severus didn’t let go of the unstable boy, instead he tried to calm his voice and persuade the boy to follow.  “Harry, Professor McGonagall and I have been looking for you. Mr. Longbottom told us you left the dormitories last night; did you sleep here?” Snape asked, he already knew the answer but still asked, holding on to the shred of hope that he was wrong.

But the small boy nodded. “Grab your things and come with me,” Snape said, once again trying to make his voice calming. Reluctantly the boy allowed himself to be led out of the cupboard. Upon leaving the tight space Potter extracted himself from his Professor’s side and when Severus turned to face the boy, it was like seeing him for the first time. Severus took note of the frail body, too small for someone his age, skin sickly pale and pulled tight over sharp cheekbones.

This made little sense to Severus. He’d been led to believe that the Potter boy was worshipped, treated like a little prince, spoiled rotten. But the picture in front of him spoke of a very different story, a story Severus knew far too well. Sending a quick Patronus to Minerva, Snape brought the boy to the hospital wing.

Poppy and Minerva were waiting for them in the Hospital Wing when they arrived. After ushering Potter to his ‘usual bed’ how often does a student have to get injured to have a ‘usual bed’, he thought he was only a bloody fourth year! Severus pulled the two women aside to explain the situation he had found Potter in, lying on the floor of a broom cupboard, having supposedly slept there and stayed throughout the whole day. Then he came to the part that troubled him most.

“Poppy, have you ever done a full medical history scan on the boy?” he asked. Determined to understand the strange situation in front of him. A pampered brat didn’t flinch like Potter, nor would their bones be so visible.

“No, I haven’t. Why, do you ask?” the matron asked. Her eyes filled with caring for the boy. She had likely seen his face in her hospital bed to often to not have grown overly fond. It seemed every year Potter spent, at a minimum, a week with this woman, healing from whatever ‘adventure’ he, Weasley, and Granger had gone on.

“I would recommend that be performed today; I am not quite sure yet if there will be anything worth finding but… I have some suspicions about the boy’s overall health.” Severus spoke, unwilling to say more. Let them first confirm his suspicions, he could go from there.

With that the three adults move towards the teenager, again Harry retreated backward, looking less like a lion and more like a turtle hiding inside its shell. The boy’s eyes moved between the three but lingered longer on Severus, a look of pleading on his face, as though he thought the Potions Master could save him from whatever he was frightened of.

“Harry, dear. We were worried about you. We’d like to do some scans to make sure you are alright. I’ll need you to hold very still so feel free to get comfy, dear” The Matron said. Harry snuggled down into the pillows as she raised her wand over her patient. At that moment a scroll came forward to document the findings from his medical scan.

A minute passed, and then another, and another still. A scan that would usually take a minute, went for five minutes. The three adults exchanged looks of concern as the quill finally came to a halt. Poppy took the paper in her hand, reading the report. Her face turning from a face of concern to anger, to pure rage. The Matron produced copies of the report for both professors, handing them over she hisses “I have seen healthier torture victims!” under her breath, just loud enough for Minerva and Severus to hear.

Severus perused his own paper and his blood ran cold.  How could they have all been so blind?

Chapter Text


0 Years

Physical: Minor cold

Mental: Normal development

One year

Physical: Killing curse / Cursed Scar {Tom Riddle}, Hypothermia {Albus Dumbledore}, Malnourishment {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}

Mental: Emotional Trauma {Tom Riddle, Petunia, and Vernon Dursley}

Two years

Physical: Malnourishment {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse {Petunia, and Vernon Dursley}

Three Years

Physical: Malnourishment {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Childhood Depression, Childhood Anxiety

Four years

Physical: Malnourishment, Dehydration, {Petunia, and Vernon Dursley} Bruising (upper arm) {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, broken wrist (Right hand) {Vernon Dursley}, burns (right hand) Depleting Eyesight

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Childhood Depression, Childhood Anxiety {Petunia, Dudley and Vernon Dursley}

Five Years

Physical: Malnourishment, Dehydration, {Petunia, and Vernon Dursley} Bruising (upper arm/ribs) {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, burns (right and left hand) Depleting Eyesight

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Childhood Depression, Childhood Anxiety

Six years

Physical: Malnourishment / Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Bruising (upper arms/ribs/ knees) {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Burns (right and left hand), Concussion {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Childhood Depression, Childhood Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations

Seven Years

Physical: Malnourishment / Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Bruising (upper arms /ribs/knees), burns (right and left hand) Depleting Eyesight, Concussion (Petunia Dursley)

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Childhood Depression, Childhood Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations

Eight Years

Physical: Bruising on full-body {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Malnourishment / Dehydration, {Petunia and Vernon Dursley} Contusions (upper arms / knees), burns (right and left hand) Depleting Eyesight, Concussion {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Fractured ribs {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Dislocated shoulder {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Depression, Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, Dissociative Episodes

Nine Years

Physical: Bruising on full-body {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Malnourishment/ Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Burns (right and left hand) Depleting Eyesight, Concussion {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Contusions (upper arms / knees) {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Re-fractured ribs {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Displaced Arm Break, Mis-healed ribs, Mis-healed Displaced Arm Break

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Depression, Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, Dissociative Episodes

Ten Years

Physical: Bruising on full-body {Dudley and Vernon Dursley}, Malnourishment / Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight, Concussion, Contusions (upper arms/knees), Mis-healed ribs, Mis-healed Displaced Arm Break

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Depression, Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, Dissociative Episodes

Eleven Years

Physical: Bruising on full-body Malnourishment / Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight, Concussion, Contusions (upper arms/knees), Mis-healed ribs, Mis-healed Displaced Arm Break, Magic core depletion {Wraith of Tom Riddle}

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Depression, Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, Dissociative Episodes

Twelve Years

Physical: Bruising on full-body, Malnourishment / Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight, Concussion, Contusions (upper arms/knees), Mis-healed ribs, Mis-healed Displaced Arm Break, Broken Wrist, Vanished Bones, Basilisk Venom, Magical Exhaustion

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Depression, Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, Dissociative Episodes

Thirteen Years

Physical: Bruising on full-body, Malnourishment / Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight, Concussion, Contusions (upper arms/knees), Mis-healed ribs, Mis-healed Displaced Arm Break, Major Fainting Spell, Dementors Kiss (Incomplete, no lasting damage), Magical Exhaustion

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Depression, Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, Dissociative Episodes

Fourteen Years – to date

Physical: Bruising on full-body, Malnourishment / Dehydration {Petunia and Vernon Dursley}, Depleting Eyesight, Concussion, Contusions (upper arms/knees), Mis-healed ribs, Mis-healed Displaced Arm Break

Mental: Emotional Trauma, Mental Abuse, Emotional Abuse, Touch Deprivation, Depression, Anxiety, Major Panic Attacks, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, Dissociative Episodes

Chapter Text

Harry’s bones and muscles ached, throbbing from staying on the floor for so long, had it really been almost 24 hours? But he didn’t move, he just stared at the bed next to him while his Professor spoke in hushed voices. It didn’t matter what they said or did, it never mattered. They would likely send him back to Gryffindor Tower, where everyone hated him, and forget this whole mess ever happened. Isn’t that how it always works?

“Mr. Potter, we would like to speak with you about your results.” Strangely the voice of his Potions Professor was heavy as if he was holding back his sadness or some other emotion. It seemed odd that the stoic man would allow any feelings to be present as he spoke. Harry turned around to face his Professors and saw the tears in the two women’s faces. Before he could ask what had upset them, he found himself in the arms of his Head of House. He couldn't help flinching as she approached, Stupid freak, just be normal and take the damn hug! But then he quickly relaxed into the motherly woman’s embrace.

“Harry, dear. We had not known” She said as more tears streamed down her face. She pulled back and slowly raised her hand, slow enough for Harry to back away, then rested it against his cheek. She rubbed her thumb in soothing circles over his cheekbone and Harry couldn’t resist pressing into her touch.

“Is something wrong Professor?” Harry asked, unsure what had caused such extreme emotion from the usually reserved Professor. He knew they probably were a bit concerned that he wasn’t in classes, and maybe she was worried about the Triwizard Tournament, but he had never imagined he would see his Professor cry. McGonagall pulled back from Harry’s bed and stood next to Madam Pomfrey, grabbing a handkerchief from the Matron. 

 “Mr. Potter, we have all three just read a full medical report, detailing your health, or lack-there-of, and the results are shocking and highly upsetting,” Snape spoke softly, as if to a child. Under normal circumstances, this may have angered Harry, but he didn’t have the energy to be angry today. Why did Snape care? Shouldn’t he celebrate that Harry was being punished for not being normal, for being attention-seeking with his freakish behavior?

“You are under no obligation to answer, but the three of us would like to ask you some questions about the abuse that is in this report,” Snape continued “would you be willing to clarify some things for us?”

What did he mean ‘abuse’?

“Sir, I wasn’t abused,” Harry replied. The Dursley’s didn’t like him but he wasn’t abused. He was just a freak, and freaks have to be punished. He had seen what abuse looked like, his Aunt would point out the stories on the news to show him how lucky he was. Those kids were chained up, beaten until they were unrecognizable or much, much worse. He shuddered slightly recalling the stories his aunt had shown him after a teacher had questioned him about a bruise on his arm. He wore long sleeves from then on, and that teacher was fired a week later.

His words were met with blank stares until the Potions Master surprised everyone by getting down to his knees, so he could be at face level, and reaching out to touch Harry’s arm.

“Harry”, he said, gaining a shocked look from the young boy, “you may not believe that you were abused, but the results of this medical examination say differently. I do not believe I am a person who is easily shocked or upset but what has happened to you has done just that to me. I feel I must apologize; I was under the assumption that you were safe and spoiled by the relatives you lived with, and I used that as an excuse for taking my past grievances with your father out on you. I am so incredibly sorry, Harry. I hope one day you might forgive me.”

Harry could only nod in response to this, shocked by the sincerity of Snape's words. He could feel tears start to fill his eyes as he contemplated what he just heard. He never would have believed this man would apologize for anything, especially to Harry. He wasn’t ready to say he had forgiven the stoic man yet, but he knew he would.

The three teachers then took seats around Harry’s bed and Madam Pomfrey offered him a cup of tea, which he took gladly, happy to have something to do with his hands.

“Since the age of one you have been considered malnutrition and, according to this report, your Aunt and Uncle are to blame. Was food withheld from you on a regular basis?” The medi-witch asked in a professional tone very similar to Snape. Harry briefly wondered if it was a talent all Slytherin possessed or were they taught after being sorted.

“Um, well yes, but that's a normal punishment. It was usually when I did something wrong.” Harry reasoned. He knew kids were sent to bed without supper when they were being punished, and he was always being punished for something. “It’s not really that bad. I mean, I’m fine, right?” He tried to block out the memories of his relatives sitting at the table eating a meal he had cooked while he cleaned the kitchen. After they would throw any leftovers into the bin and dump detergent over it so he couldn’t eat their scrapes… again. Only a freak would eat out of the bin, remember when you did that?

The three Professors shared a look between themselves, each of them looking tense as they digested Harry’s words. Though none of them said a word it seemed they had reached an agreement to say nothing on this matter because Madam Pomfrey continued with another question.

“And it seems you have multiples years of burns on your hands, how did you get those Harry?” The Matron continued.

“Oh, probably from cooking. That was one of my chores, but I really like cooking” he added. He did enjoy cooking quite a bit, it might not be masculine, but it was fun. “I sometimes would get burnt by the grease, or when I was younger I had trouble reaching the stove and would sometimes drop stuff.” He shuddered, remembering when he had spilled hot soup on himself and the floor, he had been locked in his cupboard for five days for ruining dinner.

Professor McGonagall looked at Harry in disbelief, “Harry, these burns started when you were four years old. Do you mean to say you were cooking, as a chore and not as recreation, at such a young age?”

“That's when I started, but I only made them breakfast and lunch until I was six. I wasn’t good with making too much until I got older so Aunt Petunia didn’t trust me to make dinner.” Harry said, still unaware of why they were reacting so strangely. Everyone had chores, well maybe not Dudley or Malfoy, but he knew most kids had chores. He just had more.

“I believe we should move on, we can come back to this later.” The medi-witch said, stopping Professor McGonagall as she was about to open her mouth. “Harry, there are many injuries listed on this report, did you ever see a muggle doctor while you lived with your relatives?” Madam Pomfrey asked.

Well, of course, he hadn’t, the Dursleys didn’t want people to know they lived with a freak. “No, they usually just threw me in my cupboard til’ I stopped crying.” At this, Professor McGonagall looked at him in outrage.

“What do you mean ‘your cupboard’?” she asked in a tight voice

“The cupboard under the stairs. It was my bedroom until I got my first Hogwarts Letter. Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon thought they were being spied on so they moved me into Dudley’s second bedroom. Didn’t you know about that? My Letter was addressed to ‘the cupboard under the stairs’?”

The tears returned to Professor McGonagall’s eyes. “Those letters are written by an enchanted quill, Harry. We had no idea.” She said.

Harry turned to see Madam Pomfrey, her eyes filled with rage. As both women seem indisposed Snape continued questioning Harry.

“You never saw a doctor? Where are your glasses from if you never had an eye doctor's appointment?” Snape asked.

“Oh, after a teacher complained about me not being able to see the chalkboard Aunt Petunia got a pair from a yard sale down the street. They aren’t great but as long as I sit near the front, I can see the board. They work well enough for me to catch the snitch.” He added at the end, hoping to lighten the mood. He hated seeing Professor McGonagall upset, she was always so nice to him.

“Well, I believe we will have to get you a pair of glasses better suited for your eyes, and soon.” Harry didn’t like the idea of spending money on that, but before he could say that he didn’t need new glasses Snape continued. “This says you have had quite a few broken bones, some of which had not reset properly and major bruising, the report says your Uncle and Cousin are responsible, is this true?” he asked gently.

“Well, yeah. But it’s not that bad. Sometimes Dudley and his friends will catch me when they’re Harry Hunting or Uncle Vernon will throw me a bit too hard during a punishment, but I usually deserve it for doing something freakish.” Harry didn’t understand what the problem was, this was just his life. No one had cared before, why were they asking questions now?

“What do you mean by ‘freakish’, Mr. Potter?” Snape moved closer to Harry, looking him in the eye. “Do mean Magic? Because I would have thought that after the past three years you would see that being a wizard doesn’t make you a freak. You wouldn’t think that about Miss Granger, would you?”

“It’s not the same.” And it wasn’t. Hermione was wanted, she was brilliant, beautiful, and kind. Harry wasn’t, he was a burden, a freak. His relatives had tried to fix him, tried to beat the freakiness out of him, but it never worked. He felt tears escape his eyes once more, falling onto his cheeks for all to see. Stupid freak can’t stop crying like a baby. Freaks deserve to be punished. The never-ending choir repeated loudly in the back of his mind as it grew harder and harder to breath. Harry worked to fill his lungs but he could barely hold onto reality. He pulled his legs to his chest, curling into a ball as his world spun around him, unable to control the pounding in his head. Freaks deserve to be punished. Freaks deserve to be punished. Freaks deserve to be punished.

 “Harry, breath. It’s okay, we are here, and no one is going to hurt you.” A soothing, warm voice repeated. Sweet, gentle words reached Harry’s ears, reminding him of where he was. “That’s right, deep breath in… and out. Good, again, in ... and out.” Harry felt a hand run up and down his back, petting him as if he was a cat, calming him with each gentle stroke as he followed the voice to calm him breathing. The hand never left his back, grounding him as the voice coaxed him back to reality. After what felt like hours Harry was able to sit up again, returning to the present.

“Mr. Potter, I would like to clarify one thing you just said.” Harry turned to see that hand belonged to his stoic potions Professor. He hadn’t known he had said anything out loud, but he blushed in embarrassment, know that the words had likely been. “You did not deserve anything that has happened to you. The abuse detailed in this report is sick, you have survived many horrid things at such a young age, and I personally will not allow you to return to the monsters who have done this to you.”

Harry felt a spark of hope burning within him. If the Professor who hated his most in the world would be willing to help him get away from the Dursley’s, maybe he could actually be free. Tears flowed freely down Harry’s face again.

“Really? I won’t have to go back?” Harry asked, his face filled with childlike hope as if you had told a toddler they were meeting Santa.

“Yes, Minerva, Poppy, and I will not allow you to return. Even if one I must steal you away in the night.” Snape said with a small smirk. It made such a change to the usual sour face of this Professor.

At these words Harry threw himself into the arms of the older man in front of him and sobbed, the floodgates fully opening. The only words he could form through his tears was “Thank you”

Chapter Text

Severus held the sobbing child in his arms, again speaking gentle words of encouragement, reminding the boy to breathe, telling him it was okay to cry, and reminding him that he was there and wasn’t going anywhere.

Merlin, Severus! You’re acting like a damn Hufflepuff.  He chastised himself. But he couldn’t bring himself to care. He had known this boy’s pain too well to care if his mask fell, if the stone face of a spy gave way to softer features. The boy clung to him like a lifeline, and Severus couldn’t help but run his hands up and down the boys back. He winced as he felt every rib and each notch of his spine through his robe.

“Harry, can you sit up and take some potions for us? We are concerned about your injuries and weight and would like to do everything we can to remedy these issues.” Severus asked in his low, gentle voice.

Harry removed his head from the crook of his neck and Severus was met with piercing green eyes, red and puffy from the prolonged tears. For the first time, Severus didn’t see Lily in those eyes, Lily had never known this kind of pain and sadness, it hurt to see those beautiful eyes so distraught.

“Which potions?” Harry’s voice was rough and thick, speaking through the lump in his throat. “And, you don’t need to worry about the weight, I eat enough when I’m at school. I don’t want you to waste them on me,” the boy said. Did he not see himself? He was skin and bones, if Severus didn’t know better, he would have thought he was a first-year by how small he was, not a fourth year.

“Harry, we will not be arguing about this. You will be taking the potions Professor Snape and I give you without question!” Madam Pomfrey said. Her voice was stern but filled with love, like a wise grandmother. Severus pondered that the woman most likely felt that was towards the boy and possibly many others.

Severus pulled out his wand and summoned two potions and two jars from the medical stores. He held the first up to the teenager, a small vial with an iridescent red liquid inside.

“This is a general healing potion,” he began to explain, feeling that Harry would be more likely to take the potions if he knew what was happening. “It won’t heal the extensive damage your body has undergone, but it should ease much of the pain you feel at this time.” He handed the boy they vial and watched as he down the substance without issue.

After a small grimace, the potion contained too much Bubotuber Pus to be anything close to palatable, a look of relief spread across the child’s face. As the potion took effect the Professor could see the tension begin to leave Harry’s back and shoulders.

“Good, now this is a Scar Removal Paste made with Murtlap Essence,” Severus continued, holding up a jar filled with a light blue cream. “I can see you have small burn scars on your hands, and I feel safe in assuming there are more on your person?” he questioned, though both he and Potter knew the answer. With reluctance, the boy nodded. “While this jar,” he said lifting a jar filled with yellow paste, “is a bruise healing salve, will you allow either myself or Madam Pomfrey to use these?”

Though Poppy had said he didn’t have a choice, Severus was not in the habit of forcibly using potions and salves on people, let alone children. The child in front of him was not going to be the exception, especially since Severus was starting to see that this boy was rarely given a choice on how his life and body were treated.

Harry looked at Severus for a moment before nodding again. He sat up and began to unbutton his shirt revealing his chest and stomach, his eyes cast down with shame. The area was covered in bruises and scars. The bruises surrounding his ribs had were a deep purple while the surrounding area had taken on a yellow/green tinge indicating that they were a week old.

Anger like Severus had never known coursed through him.  How could someone do this to a child? Memories came to him of his father and how his body would bruise so easily, but that was nothing compared to the sight in front of him. He thought back to his childhood and the sister of his best friend, how she had taunted Lily and him for their ‘freakishness’, screeching in a shrill voice how they were a danger to society. He remembered the same girl laughed when she saw bruises on Severus’ face, celebrating that ‘at least your father is trying to beat the freak out of you, our parents won’t fix Lily’. How could Dumbledore have placed Harry with Petunia when he knew she hated magic to that extent?

“Oh, Harry.” A sad sigh came from behind his shoulder as Minerva took in the sight of her abused cub. Next to her, Poppy’s eyes were filled with the same rage that Severus felt, the two Slytherin’s both overcome with a need for revenge.

“Can you…” Harry began in a quiet whimper; he met Snape’s eyes for a small moment and then quickly looked away, blushing slightly with embarrassment. Severus couldn’t fathom how the boy had come to trust him enough to heal his battered body but, if the boy wanted his assistance then we would give it.

“Of course, I’ll start with the bruises” Severus narrated as he dipped his fingers in the yellow paste and went to work. “It will be a bit cold and possibly sting as it heals Mr. Potter, if it is causing pain you must let me know.” When he laid his hands on the boy he was once again struck by how frail he felt, the bruises were concentrated on his ribs so he could feel how tight the skin was pulled over the bones. Harry hissed at first as Snape applied to Salve but after a moment he relaxed into his touch, the tension leaving as he healed.

“My traditional going back to school gifts, my Uncle is big on traditions,” Harry said in a dry, sarcastic voice. It startled Severus how the boy could joke about such things. Maybe the boy used this as a defense mechanism? Not knowing how to respond Severus focused on his work, gently rubbing the salves and creams into the boy marred skin until he had finished with the front of the boy.

“Well, did he leave any gifts on your back as well?” he asked, knowing the answer. Harry shuffled around revealing his back to his professor, being careful to avoid eye contact. Scars covered the boys back, straight lines running at different angles, some fresh, either still a blistering red or some deeper gashes that had scabbed over, others looking years old, faded to white. The unmistakable sign of a belt being brought down.

Once again Severus felt his control begin to slip as he struggled to not scream. How had everyone, including himself, not seen this? The so-called ‘Savior’ of the wizarding world was watched by all and yet it seemed no one could see the truth of what he was; an abused little boy.

Said boy was currently fighting back more tears as he lay on his stomach before his Professor. Severus could see his lips moving and moved closer to hear the boy.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry” Harry repeated. Severus could feel his heartbreaking, a heart he had long since believed he didn’t possess. 

“Hush child, you have nothing to apologize for. I’m going to use the same two balms I used on your chest, after that hopefully you can get some rest and we can continue speaking in the morning, would that be agreeable Harry?”

“Okay” was all the response he got before he continued covering the boy in healing balms. When he was finished he watched as many of the scars faded dulled in color. He knew the child's skin would never be blemish-free, the scars where too old or too deep for them to fade to nothing, but he would do his best.

“As I mentioned before, many of your broken bone did not heal correctly, so, if you consent, once you fall asleep myself and Madam Pomfrey will be able to reset them. You will not feel a thing, as I am first going to give you dreamless sleep. When you wake up tomorrow, your mis-healed bones should all be in their correct place. How does that sound?”

The small boy nodded, blushing slightly as he re-buttoned his shirt. He was obviously embarrassed by the attention he was receiving, but they could deal with his discomfort later, Severus thought. At the moment he knew it was best to get the child's body back in working order. He felt that, once Harry’s body was healed it might be easier for his mind to heal as well.

“Now, this is a Dreamless Sleep potion,” he raised the purple concoction to the boy. “This should help you get a full night's sleep, something I assume you have been lacking, and allow you to sleep through the realigning of your bones. Drink it all, Mr. Potter. We will be here in the morning to speak more. Goodnight”

With that, he turned around and beckoned the women behind him to follow him. As he walked away, he heard a faint “Goodnight Professor”, but when he turned all he saw was a sleeping boy.

Chapter Text

After Poppy and Severus worked to re-break and reset Harry’s arm and rib, the three adults left the sleeping boy tucked, nice and cozy, in his hospital bed and walked into Madam Pomfrey’s office. Quietly they all sat, none of them having the courage to break the silence that surrounded them. After 5 minutes, or it may have been hours, Severus took in a deep breath and asked the question he knew was on everyone's mind.

“Well, what do we do now? I believe it goes without question that the boy will not be returning to those monsters” he stated, but what does one do when they find out that the orphaned Boy Who Lived is being abused? Dumbledore was adamant about keeping the blood ward intact, but at what cost?

“That depends, do we think Albus knew? Or was he just too focused on the war to notice?” Minerva said, “I watched the Dursley’s the day Harry was left on their doorstep. I told Albus they were the worst sort of Muggles, yet he said it was safest for Harry to be there. I can’t imagine he knew what they were doing.” Her voice was still thick with tears.

“Well he should have!” exclaimed Poppy, surprising them all. “He was in charge of the boy’s well-being and yet he never checked on the boy once!” She was visibly shaking with rage, looking as if she was seconds from finding the Dursley’s and repaying their treatment of Harry tenfold. “Potter is a boy, not a weapon or a pawn in Albus’ war!” As she said these words she walked over to her fireplace and threw floo-powder in before lowering her head to the hearth.

“ALBUS, COME THROUGH NOW!” the Matron hollered. At that moment Severus was thankful for both the silencing wards that were on all Professors Offices and the strength of his Dreamless Sleep potion, otherwise, he was sure Potter would have woken up.

Moments after Poppy withdrew her head from the fire Albus Dumbledore step through, looking blissfully unaware of the situation he was walking into.

“Good evening Poppy, is something wrong?” Severus watched as the old man took in the sight before him. Though he and Minerva got along well it was rare that the two were both needed when a problem with a student arose, the exception usually being Potter.

“Something is very wrong! How could you let Harry stay with those disgusting people all this time!” Minerva shouted, standing to hand the headmaster a copy for Potter’s medical history.

As the headmaster read the report the sparkle of his eyes dimmed beneath his half-moon spectacles. It was moments like these when Severus was reminded that Albus was not just an old fool (however, there was no denying that he often was) but a fearsome wizard. The set of the elder’s jaw and clenched fists around the parchment soothed at least one fear for the Potions Master; Albus didn’t know how his golden boy was being treated. However, that also meant that the old man had not bothered to keep an eye on him. Severus did not think that his ignorance was much better.

“Where is he?” Albus asked in a soft whisper, his voice filled with regret. Good, Severus thought, you should feel like shit for what the boy has been through. He was again struck by how quickly his thought about the boy had changed. In less than a day he had gone from despising the boy for the sins of his father to caring for the boy and feeling fiercely protective.

“He’s sleeping in the infirmary. I gave him a potion for pain before healing his extensive bruises and scaring, I then gave him Dreamless Sleep so Poppy and I could break and reset his bones. I am hoping you can come up with a brilliant idea so that the child doesn’t have to go back to being a punching bag, then maybe I can brew him personalized potions so he can heal faster” Snape sneered.

“I had no idea; I thought the blood wards would keep him safe. These people are his family.” The Headmaster said, obviously trying to convince himself more so than the three other people in the room. “If this is what he has endured he cannot return, but I fear what will happen if he is left without those wards to protect him. When Voldemort returns, I fear that standard wards, even those made by highly experienced wizards, will not be strong enough.”

Severus understood this fear, as the Dark Mark on his arm grew darker every day, he knew that the boy was likely to come face to face with the Dark Lord once more, and soon. The blood ward Dumbledore spoke of used Lily’s sacrifice, her love, to keep him safe. Tethering that ancient magic to the blood of Lily’s sister, the only living blood relative Harry had left… Blood!

“These Blood Wards, they require someone that shares blood with Harry to house him? Do they need to be related to Lily, or do they just need to share blood with Potter?” Severus asked, coming to a realization that may just work. The child needed to consent to it, and they would need to visit Gringotts, but it could work.

“I believe that the person needs to be a blood relative of Harry’s, a close blood relative. If it didn’t need to be close we could have chosen any pureblood family, since they are almost all related in some way” the Headmaster replied.

Leaving the discussion of Pureblood family inbreeding for another day Severus revealed his plan. “The boy could be Blood Adopted? I’m sure the Weasleys would love to take him in,” he then remembered the way Potter’s ‘best friend’ has treated him and amended, “or any old member of the Order, possibly the wolf? He would need to be asked his opinion but I have a strong feeling he will not object.” He knew it would work, and from the looks on the faces around him, they agreed.

“That might work,” Albus pondered the suggestion for a while, “But we cannot ask the Weasleys, no matter how much they love the boy they cannot take another child into their home, especially with the amount of support Harry will need. Lupin is not suitable either as he will be indisposed for multiple days out of the month leaving Harry to himself. He will need someone who can help him mentally and physically heal from his trauma. He’ll need someone with a medical background, at least enough to keep a close eye on him, as well as someone who can prepare him for what will lie ahead without coddling or frightening him. Someone who is a strong enough wizard to keep him safe” Albus finished his description and Severus noticed the three sets of eyes that landed on him.

“No!” Severus said, standing from his chair. “I have made this boy's life a nightmare for the past three years and you think it's a good idea for me to take him into my home?” He was shocked they would even suggest such a thing. “The child has been through enough without having to be adopted by the ‘greasy dungeon bat’. Even if I am better than his relatives, that is a very low bar to surpass.” He reasoned.

“And yet,” Minerva said from the chair to his right. “It was you he clung to when he was sobbing. You were the one who got him to speak, the only one who could stay calm in the face of his abuse, and the one he felt comfortable touching him to apply the Bruise and Scar Pastes. He could have asked Poppy or me, but he asked you.” As she finished she gave him a small smile.

“If memory serves you also promised him that he would never be going back, even if you had to ‘steal him away in the night’, I think that is how you phrased it?” Poppy added. “He trusts you. I doubt he understands it himself but despite the problems you have had in the past he seems to feel comfortable with you.”

Severus contemplated these words. It was true; he was, on paper, suited to take the boy in. He had medical training that came with getting is Potions Mastery, so he understood the spells and potions need to nurse him back to health. Being a Master Brewer he could brew whatever the boy needed to heal. He was familiar with abuse, both from personal experience and from his time as head of Slytherin (too many pureblood families still had an archaic view on punishment) so he was familiar with coping mechanisms, avoiding triggers, and other forms of emotional healing. He was financially able to support a child between his salary and inheritance, so that was no issue. But then he remembered his position, the reason he was by Dumbledore’s side. “And what of my position as your spy?” Severus asked, “Do you think the Dark Lord will allow me to live and remain by his side whilst I am caring for the boy who caused his downfall?”

Albus contemplated his question, “It seems likely Voldemort will not allow you at his side regardless of your connection to our young Harry. I may have hoped to keep a spy within the Death Eaters but, I believe this may be more important. That is, of course, only if this is something you want, my boy,” he finished, the signature twinkle glowing in his eyes.

Did he want this? He couldn’t deny the overwhelming need to protect the boy in the other room. He had seen many children in abusive families while he taught at Hogwarts, Slytherin house was filled with students whose parents were brutal when it came to punishments, however, he had never seen a child so terribly treated the way Potter was. So, yes. He did want this. But would Potter accept him? 

“We will ask the boy tomorrow” Severus decided. “If Harry agrees we will go to Gringotts tomorrow and have the adoption completed, I believe it would be in Harry’s best interest to do this quickly so he can be settled before the winter holiday.” After a moment of contemplation Severus added, “We will also need to get him glasses, his relatives never bothered to get his eyes checked properly.” he stood up and straightened his robes, “I am going to go brew, I feel the boy will need Nutrient Potions with every meal as well as more Healing Potions and Salves. They will be more useful if they have been brewed fresh”

With that he left the office and walked through the infirmary, stopping for a moment at the foot of Harry’s bed. He looked down at the soft features on the child, adorably curled up on his side in front of him; messy black hair, soft lips pulled into a content smile, and little hands curled up next to his chin. Suddenly Severus had a thought, a wild thought for a man who had long since given up on his desire for a family; Tomorrow this boy could be my son.

Dumbledore returned to his office that night distraught, he truly had not known the extent of Harry’s abuse. True, he had expected the boy to be mistreated, he needed Harry to grow a thick skin to handle what the war would throw at him, but if he had known…

He ponders for a moment what he would have done? Would he have come to rescue him? The boy had been exactly what he needed, acting according to plan. He was always running to protect others, even at the risk of his own life, just as Albus knew he would need to do if Voldemort was to be truly defeated. What was the price Albus would allow the boy to pay?

He thought on this for a while, and then his thought stumbled to Severus. Another child who he had allowed to be abused. He had known of the boy's father, how his mother would not use magic to protect them from his beatings. But, he had always believed that those troubled years had made Severus stronger. Maybe he was right, maybe he wasn’t. Either way, it was too later to change the past.

 He had just paired his strongest soldier with his growing weapon… it was the best he could ask for. Severus had become useless as a spy; no one would trust him when Voldemort returned, so it was better to have him training and protecting Harry. Maybe it would bring them some happiness. He was doubtful they would both live through this war, his own days were numbers as it was, but maybe together they could heal a few of each other’s scars and find some joy before they all likely met their end.

Chapter Text

Harry woke the next morning feeling better than he had in years. The aches that usually plagued him had dulled or left him completely. He felt warm and safe. That thought snapped him out of his slumber as he remembered the event from the following nights; The Goblet, sleeping in the cupboard, being found by Snape, talking about the Dursleys, and crying on the man's shoulder, then the embarrassment of having Snape heal his bruised body.

Well, if he didn’t think you were a disgusting freak before, he does now. And you made him touch you, filthy freak.

How could he do that, and after the Professor had apologized to him? Now Snape would never want to be near him. He briefly remembered the promise Snape had made to him ‘You will not be going back, even if I have to steal you away in the night.’ Well, Harry could kiss that wish goodbye; he’d ruined it like everything else in his life. 

Stopping his train of thought, at that moment the infirmary door opened and said Professor walked in, coming to stop at Harry’s bedside.

“Good morning Mr. Potter, are you feeling any better today?” Snape asked. He was speaking with the same gentle tone he had used the night before, but Harry was not convinced that the Professor wasn’t disgusted by him.

“Yes sir,” he replied in a tentative whisper, lowering his head to look at his hands. He was unsure of how the Professor would react but knew that keeping a low voice and avoiding eye contact could save him from punishment. But, freaks deserve to be punished.

“I have made some more potions that I need you to take. However, you will need to eat first, Winnie.” At this, a small house elf apparated to the side of Professor Snape. She was dressed in a clean, white tea towel with the Hogwarts Crest embroidered on the front.

“Good mornings Master Snape, what can Winnie bes getting for you?” The small creature spoke in a high pitched voice, much like Dobby.

“Mr. Potter and I will be needing breakfast.” The Professor said. ‘Did this mean Snape was having breakfast with me?’ Harry thought ‘would he waste his morning on me?’ “I would like eggs with a side of bacon, rye toast, and fruit. I will also be needed a rather large mug of coffee. Mr. Potter, what would you like?” Snape finished, turning his eyes to Harry.

“Ummm, just some toast and pumpkin juice?” he posed as a question, unsure how much he was supposed to ask for. During his previous stays in the hospital wing, he would often wake up to food, Madam Pomfrey likely choosing what he would be eating. He had never minded that, he had become so accustomed to not getting food that we could eat whatever was in front of him happily. “I’m not that hungry,” he lied. However, at this moment his traitorous stomach had decided to voice its opinion on his hunger, quite loudly. 

Snape looked at him. When he spoke his tone was impatient, yet the sympathy in his eyes was undeniable. “Harry, you are severely malnourished from years of being underfed. So, though it may have been your habit to eat such small amounts and not ask for food when you are hungry, I will not allow that to continue. You will never have food withheld from you again, I swear it.” 

Snape never broke eye contact with him as he spoke, and for the first time, Harry felt like someone understood. Mrs. Weasley allows feed him and told him he looks ‘peaky’, Hermione made comments about how he didn’t eat enough, and the quidditch team often made fun of how tiny he was, but no one had understood what was happening. Until now apparently.

Only again Harry felt pressure in his throat as tears lined his eyes. He had spent years holding back tears, they only lead to harder beating and longer punishments, but in the past two days, he had cried more than he had in a lifetime. 

Harry moved his gaze from his Professors to the house-elf in front of him and fixed his order. “Can I have the same as Professor Snape with Pumpkin Juice, please?” He quickly turned back to the Professor, seeking approval. He had not known how important getting the man's approval would be, but when he was rewarded with the faintest ghost of a smile, a sight he had never thought he would see, he couldn’t deny how wonderful it made him feel.

Winnie vanished with a crack only to return seconds later with two hot breakfasts. Snape conjured a chair for himself and accioed a tray table for Harry to rest his food on. The food smelled delicious and Harry was struck with how hungry he was, had he really not eaten since the feast two days ago? Before he could take his first bite Snape placed a vial filled with a green liquid, to Harry.

“A nutrient potion, it will help you gain weight and strengthen you, much like muggle vitamins. It also has an appetite stimulant and anti-nausea properties, both will help you eat a bit more than you might usually be able to.”

 Without a second thought, he downed the contents, grimacing at the taste, and began eating. He had to force himself to take it slow; knowing what would happen if he ate too fast after not eating for a while, even with the potions, he did not trust his stomach. ‘I will not throw up in front of Snape, he only just stopped hating me’ he thought to himself, slowly chewing each delectable morsel. 

The two men ate, in silence, neither comfortable making small talk. But, the silent company was comforting to Harry. He had tried to grow accustomed to the loud atmosphere that accompanied Gryffindors wherever they went, but it was always too much for him. He preferred this; quiet company. That explained how his closest friend was Hermione and why he had been growing closer to Neville, they understood the need for calm.

When the two men had finished their breakfast Snape levitated both plates and moved them to the side for the house elves to collect. Snape then sat before Harry, hands clasped in his lap, looking down. They sat like this for a few minutes before Snape spoke.

“Harry, last night we, that is Professor McGonagall, Madam Pomfrey, The Headmaster, and I, may have found a solution to your living arrangements.” The Professor paused, and Harry took a moment to understand what that meant.

‘A solution to your living arrangements’ did that mean Snape hadn’t lied? Could he really be done with the Dursleys? Harry said nothing, afraid he would jinx his luck if he dared acknowledge where this conversation may be leading.

“We looked into the blood wards that were being used to protect you while you stayed with those… your relatives.” He spoke the last words through clenched teeth “It has become clear that to keep those intact for your protection we will need to house you with someone who shares blood with you and is a close relation”

Just as quickly as his hopes had risen they crashed down once again. He had no one else, no family that anyone knew of at least. He felt his body begin to shake as he resigned himself to his fate, he would be with the Dursley’s until he came of age… ‘If I last that long’

He was vaguely aware of his Professor speaking to him but he couldn’t focus on his words. Instead, a litany of all too familiar phrases taunted him; you thought someone else would want you? Freaks don’t get good things, and that's all you are. Your Aunt and Uncle were right, you have no one.

Suddenly he felt his hand being picked up and jerked his head up to look at his Professor, having moved to sit on the edge of his bed, as he placed their combined hands over Snape’s heart. 

“Follow my breathing, in… and out… Good, when you feel my chest go up breath in… and when it goes down breath out… that’s it… just focus on my voice… and your breathing… just like that… good… a few more times… and out.” Harry hung onto every word, and slowly the other voices disappeared; there were only his Professor’s calming voice and the gentle rise and fall of their breathing.

After a moment Snape removed their joined hands from his chest, however, He did not let go out the child’s small hand. Harry didn’t mind, it felt nice; safe. 

“Harry, I assume you became upset because you believed you would be sent back to the Dursleys. However I will remind you, I made you a promise and I intend to keep it. You will never be going back there.”

“But sir,” Harry said, hoping that his Professors had thought this through. “I don’t have any other blood relatives.”

Harry watched as his Professor took a deep breath as if bracing himself for something terrifying.

“Harry, have you ever heard of a blood adoption?” When the Professor asked this Harry was certain he heard a bit of trepidation, but he doubted that. Severus Snape didn’t seem the type to be timid in anything, so Harry disregarded that notion.

“I haven’t, but I assume it’s like a normal, muggle adoption but magical… and it has to do with blood?” His answer sounded childish after he said it but, if Snape had any comments, he thankfully kept them to himself.

“I the simplest terms, yes. Blood Adoptions are a form of magical adoption where an Adult and a Child are bonded through a potion containing the blood of both people. It is done at Gringotts and, after the ritual is completed, the two people are considered Parent and Child in the eyes of the law, Lady Magic, and by blood” Snape explained.

“Alright, that sounds simple enough, but that means someone would have to want to adopt me. We’d have to find someone who’d want me.” Harry couldn’t help it when the voice in his head reminded him ‘who would want a freak, no one wants you!’

“Well, Harry. That is actually what I wanted to speak with you about. How would you feel if I adopted you?”

Chapter Text

“Well, Harry. That is actually what I wanted to speak with you about. How would you feel if I adopted you?” Severus asked, trying to not sound either desperate or overly emotional.

He had been thinking about this as he brewed through the night, imagining what it would mean to take the child into his home, and he couldn’t help but smile. He had always wanted a child, but his place as a spy wouldn’t allow for it, he would be putting any children he may have at risk. But, Harry was at risk no matter if he was his son or not. Unlike most, this boy could be safer with Severus by his side.

The child looked down at his hands distraught, and though he’d never admit it, Severus’ heart grew heavy with the weight of his incoming rejection.

“You’re being forced to take me, aren’t you?” came a timid voice from the bed next to him. Potter’s eyes never left his hands as he spoke. “I don’t want to be a burden on you, Sir. I know you don’t actually want me. I’ll tell Dumbledore that it’s ok if I go back, you shouldn’t be forced to deal with me.”

Severus leaned forward and slowly extended his hands, being careful to keep him moments gentle so he would not frighten the small boy. Finally, his hands reached their destination and he held both of Harry’s small hands in his own. Green eyes lifted to meet obsidian, and once again Severus was struck by the pain in the small boy’s stare.

“Harry, I will not lie to you and say this was my idea. I would not have thought of myself to be your… guardian” he chose the word carefully, feeling that ‘father’ was not entirely appropriate. “However, I was given a choice, just as you are being given one. I would like to adopt you Harry, but if that is something you do not want we will find another way. As I said before, you will never be returning to the Dursley’s home.”

The boy let out a shaky breath, “But, why would you want a freak like me? I’m just a burden, sir.” He said these words as if they were drilled into his head, and possibly they were, Severus thought.

In a rare showing for vulnerability, Severus decided to be honest and open with the boy. “Because I was once in a very similar situation, having someone try to ‘beat the magic out of me’, but I had nowhere to go to be safe. I want you to feel safe, Harry. I want you to have somewhere that is a home, and I believe I can provide that. I know you have never seen anything from me but cruelty and anger, but I promise I am not as jaded as the Professor you have known. I am not the kindest man, I am not emotional or sentimental, but I will do everything in my power to keep you safe if I am to adopt you. But, it is your choice entirely, I will not force you to do this, nor will I allow anyone else to manipulate your decision.”

When he finished he sat in silence, allowing Harry to digest everything he had just said. He kept the boy’s small hands in his; gently rubbing his thumbs over Harry’s knuckles, hoping it would keep the boy grounded.

He thought more about how he had come to see this boy, yesterday he was an attention-seeking arrogant prince, but after last night he saw more. He didn’t run into danger because he was being a hero, it was because he had little regard for his own life. He didn’t disrespect authority; he had never had an adult he could trust. He didn’t think he was better than others, he had been taught that he was a burden so he never asked for help. But he was never going to feel that again, Severus vowed. Whether this boy accepts being adopted by me or not, I will keep him safe.

He was pulled from his musing by soft sniffles, “You really want me?” Harry asked, his eyes filled with longing.

“Yes, Harry. I would not have asked you if I did not want you.” He would repeat this as many times as he needed, he doubted the boy had ever heard them before. “You are very much wanted, child”

Once again, the boy threw himself into Severus’ arms, silent tears running down his cheeks. “Yes, I would like to be adopted… if you really want me,” the boy whispered. “I promise I’ll be good! I’ll clean up, and get good grades, and I won’t cause any trouble” Harry rambled on as if trying to prove he was worthy.

Severus tightened his hold on the boy, desperately trying to express as much affection as he could, a feat for a man who has never been considered affectionate.

“Harry, I know you will ‘be good’, though I doubt you will no longer cause trouble as trouble seems to follow you. You do not need to convince me, this is the easiest decision I have ever made.”

Severus moved his hand up onto the boy’s messy locks and began to pet them, trying and failing to smooth the untamable strands. This is how Poppy and Minerva found them moments later. Severus sensed their presence but was in no rush to let go of the boy in his arms.

“So, I believe you need to head to Diagon Alley?” Poppy interrupted after a moment. “You have too much to do today for me to allow you both to stay like this for much longer” she added with a smirk, obviously amused by Severus’ rare display of affection.

Blushing, Harry extracted himself from Severus’ arms and sat back on his bed. “Will you be coming with us?” He asked the two women.

“No, Harry,” Minerva replied. “A blood adoption cannot have witnesses aside from the goblins, is that alright dear?”

Harry nodded, keeping his eyes trained on his hands, his cheeks still red from the embarrassment of being caught hugging Snape.

Severus couldn’t help but think about how adorable the small child looked, he would never say that, obviously, but the blushing boy looked so sweet, you could almost forget the horrors the boy had faced.

“Before we go I will need to reapply the salves to your front and back and you will need to take a few potions. These should work faster as I made them last night.”

With that Severus extracted two jars and vials from his robe while Harry took his shirt off. “If you ladies wouldn’t mind waiting for us in Poppy’s office?” he quickly added, hoping to give the boy some privacy. Once the two women had left, Severus turned to see how the boy was healing. The markings on his body had already begun to fade, though the worst of the bruising was still a sickly yellow. Severus took great care to be gentle as he rubbed the balms into the abused skin, hoping that the boy would come to associate his touch with a feeling of comfort and safety. He had a feeling that touch had only ever meant pain to Harry; beatings and punishments were likely the only skin-to-skin contact the boy had experienced. He would work to change that, it would take time, possibly years, but he would be there for him.

When he was done applying the healing balms and giving Harry the pain potions as well as a mild bone-strengthen potion (of Severus’ invention) he helped the boy stand from his bed, finally taking notice of the clothes he was wearing. A shirt that was close to six sizes too big, jeans that were also too large held up by a tattered belt, and trainers that seemed to be falling apart.

“Harry, before we go, we will need to get some clothing from your trunk in the Gryffindor tower. Do you want to go up and get them or should I send a house-elf?” Severus asked.

The boy looked down at his feet once more, contemplating what Severus believed would be a simple question. The boy thinks he is a burden, obviously, he doesn’t want someone else to retrieve his things for him but, he is also terrified to go back into the lion’s den, a small voice in the back of Severus’ head reminded him.

“I think it would be quicker to have my house-elf get you so clothing, is that agreeable?” Severus quickly added, hoping the child would be more comfortable not making the decision himself. He would need to be cautious about asking Harry to make his own choices, for a young boy who hasn’t had much say in life decisions could be daunting, but he also needed to become more comfortable with finding his voice.

Once again Severus summoned his house-elf, “Winnie, this is Harry, he will be becoming my…ward today, and so if he needs anything, he may at some point call on you. Right now, I need you to go to the Gryffindor tower and bring us a clean set outfit for him to wear to Diagon Alley. While we are away would you please make sure the guest room in my quarters is in acceptable condition?” He finished with his instructions for the little elf and turned to Harry.

“Harry, if there is anything you need you are free to call on Winnie, she is incredibly smart, trustworthy, and has been in my life for years. You will need to get used to her presence because she follows me like a shadow.” At this last bit, he and the little elf shared a small smile and laugh. Some may think it strange to be close with one house-elf but, having cut himself off from so many, he found that her company was always welcome.

“I is very happy to be meeting you, Little Master. Dobby be speaking so much of how kind yous is,” Winnie said. Moments later she disapparated with a crack

Moments later the little elf returned, looking frazzled. “Master Snape, these is being the best clothes the Little Master is having that is not his schooling robes.” The elf handed him a pair of jeans and a shirt, both far too big.

“Well, I guess we will add a bit of clothing shopping to today’s outing,” Severus said. “For now I think these should be thrown out. Winnie, please bring something of mine, I think it will be easier to shrink down my clothing than these” He turned to Harry once she left to retrieve those clothes. “I hope you don’t mind that I got rid of those… garments. Am I correct in assuming they were not originally bought for you? They don’t seem to be remotely close to your size.”

This made the boy laugh; a sound Severus was desperate to hear again once it faded. “No, I only ever got my cousin's hand-me-downs. Nothing really fit, it was like I was wearing elephant skin, but I never cared.” He quickly looked down again; this seemed his reflex when he thought he had done something wrong “I don’t want you to worry about that, though. I have enough clothing, so we don’t need to buy any.”

Holding back an exasperated sigh, Severus placed his finger under the boy's chin and lifted his head until their eyes met. “Harry, you deserve to have good things. You were given less than the bare minimum when it came to the essentials and I intend to fix that. After the bonding is done, we will first be getting you glasses that are made specifically for your eyes, no more excuses for messing up in potions because you will then be able to read the instructions” He added this last bit hoping for another laugh. Instead, he was met with a small, shy smile, which was good enough for now. “Then, we will go and get you some new clothes and shoes, as the trainers in front of me look like they also need to be put to rest.”

He knew how hard it was to accept the help you were offered when you spent your whole life relying on only yourself. Severus had been much the same when he was Harry’s age. It was simpler to trust no one. He was all too aware of how difficult it was for Harry as he wrestled with his desire to be cared for, versus his fear of being hurt by the people he trusted once more. He could see that all Harry wanted was to have someone take care of him, it was obvious in the moments when his walls tumbled down and he sunk into Severus’ embrace. But he had been taught that no one ever would care for him, protect him, love him, and he believed it.

Before either could continue with this conversation Winnie reappeared with a pile of Severus’ clothing. “I is bringing muggle clothing for the Little Master. I is also getting his underthings, they is needed to be bought new too” this caused Harry to blush, making Severus internally laugh at how innocent and childish he could still be after living through so much.

“Thank you, Winnie,” Severus said. He then handed the pile of clothing for Harry and instructed to change, once he was dressed Severus charmed the clothes to fit him better, noticing sadly how even his own clothing swallowed the boy. For now, there was nothing to be done about the shoes, but he would only be in them a little longer.

“Before we leave, do you have any questions about the Blood Adoption ritual? What it entails?” Severus asked, hoping to relieve any worries he may have about the ritual.

“What will I have to do?”

“It is actually quite simple. There will be some paperwork, and we will need to change some things in your vaults since you will be considered my ward. The ritual itself will require both of us to drink a potion with seven drops of blood in it. I will bring a numbing balm so it doesn’t hurt, but I will need to cut the palm of your hand and you will do the same to mine. We will both drink the potion, which tastes horrid I am told, and then say a few words, they will mostly be in Latin and spoken by me, often this ceremony is done with an infant.  You will not feel any effects from the potion and ritual until you wake up the next morning.”

Harry looked at his professor with fear, “Will it be painful?”

Severus looked at the boy very seriously “Well, some of your physical features will change slightly too look more like me. It will only be a small amount as you will still have the DNA from Lily and James. So there could be excruciating pain, because… I’m sorry to tell you this Harry, but… you may get my nose”

And there is was, the sweet laugh he had heard before. But this time it was deep, a full belly laugh that brought tears to the boy's eyes as he giggled at his Professor’s self-deprecating joke.

Chapter Text

The two walked into Madam Pomfrey’s office towards the floo, ready to depart on their journey. Severus was feeling great about himself, better than he had in years; he was going to do something good, be someone good. Not some self-sacrificing, loathsome, martyr for the ‘Greater Good’, put a guardian to a boy in need, a confidant and protector.

Severus reached his left arm forward to grab some floo powder from the bowl beside the fireplace when his sleeve rolled up, exposing the darkening skull and snake that stained his skin.

Does he know what I was? At first, Severus felt sure that he must, but if he didn’t then he would be basing this adoption on a lie, and Harry had been lied to by too many people.

“Harry, before we go I need to tell you something. I want you to make an informed decision before you are permanently stuck with me.”

Harry looked up at him, bewildered momentarily before nodding. Severus gestured to the two seats in Pomfrey’s office and they both sat.

“Do you know what a death eater is?”

“They work for Voldemort”

Severus flinched at the sound of his old master's name, a stinging heat coursing through his arm for just a moment.

“They do, now I have been working for Dumbledore for many years, but I was at one time a death eater, Harry. I promise you, I am not and have not been since before the time you were born. But, when I was at Hogwarts I was recruited to join the Death eaters, I was told that my skills in potions would be revered and I would have a respect and admiration for my peers, which is something I had never had. This was all a lie, I came to find that out quite quickly, but its a lifetime commitment, so I was stuck until I received help from Dumbledore.” Now, wasn't the time to bring up the fact that, though Dumbledore helped, he was now asked too much from Dumbledore and often taken advantage of for his past mistakes.

Harry sat in silence, looking at the ground as he took in this new information. Severus waited patiently, allowing the boy to digest each word, hoping it wouldn’t drive another person away.

“Why did you leave?”

“You and your mother. I knew your mother very well, we grew up together and were very close. When I heard the Dark Lord was planning to hurt your mother I went to Dumbledore and told him, I asked him to put your mother into hiding, to put all of you in hiding. At that moment I became Dumbledores double agent, a spy for the Light. Unfortunately, I did not know Pettigrew was also a double agent for the Dark Lord or I may have been able to keep you all safe.”

He hung his head in shame. He had thought like that in years, he spent his days looking forward, marching along until death relieved him of his duties. But today, looking at this sweet little boy with green eyes, Severus was confronted with all the sins of his past while looking into the face that could be his redemption.

“I understand if you have changed your mind about the adoption Harry, know that I will continue to be here for you and will make sure you never go back to the Dursley’s no matter what you choose. I needed you to know everything.”

Harry looked at him a moment looking, he seemed to be wrestling with something in his head for a while before standing and extending his hand to the professor. Severus reached forward and laced their fingers together, waiting to see what the boy was up to.

“it's ok, people make mistakes and you made up for them. We should hurry up, I don’t think goblins like to be kept waiting.”

Severus looked up into the forgiving eyes, feeling for the first time that he was worthy of that forgiveness.

Walking into Gringotts Bank with his Professors, Harry couldn’t help but reminisce about the first time he had walked through the immaculate halls. He had felt so small standing beside Hagrid, staring up at the little goblins perched in their raised desks. Walking beside Professor Snape made for a much different experience than walking next to Hagrid but, Harry felt just as tiny. It wasn’t that Professor Snape was tall, it was the way he held himself, it made him seem like the tallest, most fearsome person in a room, and now he was standing beside Harry, swearing to take him in and protect him.

For now, soon he’ll realize he made a huge mistake helping a freak like you.

Harry knew in his heart that those words were true; his professor would be stuck with him and would learn to see him as a freak, a burden, a waste of space. He was holding onto the hope that Snape hadn’t lied, that the intelligent man beside him was being honest when he had apologized and when he offered to take him in. Snape hadn’t lied to his yet…but who knew how long it would be until that changed.

The truth of Severus’ past with Voldemort was not too shocking to Harry. He had known Severus had a darker past, it was kinda obvious from the demeanor and the way Malfoy spoke about him. He had been surprised about Snape’s friendship with his mom, one day he might ask for stories about his mother growing up, but the pain in Severus’ voice as he spoke about Lily kept Harry from asking his many questions.

He could look past his mistakes, he knew Snape had done so much to keep him safe from Voldemort already, no one who was working for that maniac would have done so much to help ‘The Boy Who Lived’. Maybe he was too quick to forgive, too easily trusting, but he would deal with that another day.

Harry continued to follow his Professors down the marble halls before they stopped at the last desk.

“May your enemies cower at your feet,” Snape said to the Goblin perched high in the desk, bowing his head slightly.

“And may your gold every flow,” the Goblin replied, bowing to Snape in turn. Harry was quite confused by the display, he hadn’t seen Hagrid do this when they had come to Gringotts, or maybe he hadn’t noticed, but it seemed important.

“Lord Prince, what can we do for you today?” the goblin, asked. But who was ‘Lord Prince’? Before Harry could ask Snape replied.

“We need a private audience with Ricbert, I understand that we have not scheduled a meeting in advanced, however, this matter has become quite urgent,” Snape spoke quietly then, whispering something to the goblin that must have been intriguing. The Goblins eyes grew wide and he stared at Harry, a hungry smile spread across the goblins face making Harry’s stomach turn.

“Of course, Lord Prince. Please come this way.” At that, a set of brass double doors appeared to Harry’s left, opening wide for the group of four to walk through. They followed the goblin to another set of double doors with the name Ricbert, Chief Bank Teller on a golden plaque.

Inside was a large office, multiple chairs stood before a large marble desk. Everything in the room was either brass, gold, or marble. Harry couldn’t help but laugh thinking if everything is so fancy do they have a golden toilet? As he took his seat in one of the cozy-looking brass and leather chairs, he used this thought to distracted himself for the extreme change his life was about to go through.

“Harry,” Snape's voice was once again gentle as he brought the boy from his thoughts “It will be a while before Ricbert is with us, currently they are preparing contracts and necessities for the ceremony. But before we do this I want to make sure you are absolutely certain that you want to do this? The ceremony won’t work if you aren’t willing but even still, I wanted to check in with you”

Harry stared blankly at his Professor, shocked. Of course, he wanted this. Though he still did not know if he could fully trust the man, he knew one thing for certain; he wasn’t the Dursley’s. Snape was offering him an escape, a chance to have an actual life during the summers. He didn’t know what Snape’s ideas on punishment were, but if they didn’t involve a belt, Harry would be happy.

“I want this Sir, I really want to be adopted… by you,” he timidly added.

He had never seen the Potions Professor smiled, it was a small ghost of a smile but it was unmistakably there.

 “As do I, Harry. Well, I do think there are some small things we should figure out before the Goblins come back. I called on Griphook, the goblin who looks after the Potter vaults and estates to join us.”

“What did you say to the Goblin upfront?” Harry asked. He hadn’t liked the way the goblin had looked at him in response.

“I told him that I intend to adopt a man who is the Heir of a one Great and Noble House, and possibly others. I don’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable, but from the goblins' perspective, it is best to see this as a transaction. I do not care what is in your vault and I have no intention of touching.”

“Okay.” Harry wasn’t sure he was an Heir of anything and had never given much thought to the gold in his vault. He knew he had a good amount left but that shouldn’t be enough to excite the notoriously wealthy-loving goblins.

“We should also discuss some things for after the ritual. It is common that a child will be given a new name once they are adopted; however, I wanted to check with you first. I assume you enjoy being ‘Harry Potter’ and would like to stay with your own name.”

Harry thought this over. For the number of times, he had hoped to be someone else he had really never given thought to the idea of a new name. Either way, he knew that changing his name wouldn’t stop him from being ‘The Boy Who Lived’. But maybe…

“I would like to be ‘Harry Potter’… but Sir…since you are adopting me…will I also become a ‘Snape’… or is it ‘Prince’?” He shyly stammered. He wanted to be a good ward to Snape, but maybe this was pushing it? Maybe Snape didn’t want to share his name with Harry? Maybe that was too permanent?

“You would be, and Harry I would be honored if you too my last name, however, I do not want you to feel you must. As for your question on if I am a ‘Snape’ or a ‘Prince’. My father, a muggle had the last name, Snape. However, my mother was from the Ancient and Noble house of Prince. As I am the last surviving person with blood to that title I am ‘Lord Prince’. One day, now that I will be adopting you, that title will be passed down to you. Today you will become ‘Heir Prince’. I will explain all that the titles entail later. So I believe if you were to take my name your title would be, ‘Harry James Potter-Snape, Heir Potter and Heir Prince’ as well as possible other Heirships you are entitled to.”

Harry’s mind was spinning when the Professor finished. Not only was he allowed to use the Professor’s last name, but he was going to be his heir? He had heard briefly about the Lordships and Heirships from classmates. He knew Malfoy wore an Heirship ring, he would constantly brag about it, and he had seen Neville’s a few times. However, he had no clue he was part of one of those Noble families. Why had no one told him?

Snape was looking at him with curious eyes, waiting for a response or reaction. Harry smiled at the man, realizing that he had probably zoned out in thought after Snape had finished speaking.

“Harry Potter-Snape sounds great,” he said with a sheepish grin

“I would also like for you to call me Severus when we are not in classes or with your peers. I want you to become more comfortable around me and I feel that if you only call me ‘Professor’ we will be unable to form a relationship outside of that of a teacher and a student.”

Again, Harry was speechless, Snape wanted to form a relationship. He wanted to get to know Harry.

Smiling, Harry nodded and said “Alright… Severus,” as if testing the name out to see how it felt coming out of his mouth. It felt weird, but he assumed it would take some getting used to.

Two Goblins came through the double doors at that moment, both carrying large stacks on papers. When the papers were safely deposited on the desk the two Goblins turned to Severus and Harry,

“May your gold ever flow, Lord Prince and Heir Potter,” Griphook said, bowing slightly, his black eyes locking with Harry’s. He had the same look in his eyes that the previous Goblin had.

“And may your enemies cower at your feet” Severus once again stated, bowing to the Goblins. Harry made a mental note to ask Severus what the phrasing was about, had he been being disrespectful?

“I have been told that you, Lord Prince, intend to have a Blood Adoption Ritual performed today. You also wish to check on Mister Potter Heirships and titles?” Ricbert sat behind his large desk and spoke with a sneer that could rival the man to Harry’s right.

“Yes, I am aware that he should have a Lordship for a Great and Noble House, which he will inherit on his seventeenth birthday. I also believe Lord Black has made him his Heir, though I am not sure. Either way, I will need to have him set as my Heir and begin a trust in his name. I believe it would be more prudent to do the banking and paperwork first and then the ritual”

Severus took his place in the seat next to Harry and went about signing documents. Though it was likely interesting the Goblins and Severus seemed to be speaking a language Harry didn’t understand. So he zoned out, daydreaming about Quidditch, and treacle tarts, and a summer without the Dursley’s

“Harry, did you know you have this many titles?” Severus asked, placing his hand on Harry’s arm. Harry was startled out of his musings by the sudden contact and could not process the question?

“What…? I didn’t know I had any titles until today. Why, do I have more than one?” He found that hard to believe as he had no family. Maybe Sirius had made him his Heir?

As a response, Snape handed him a piece of parchment from the stacks on the table



The Ancient and Noble House Potter - Heir (by Blood)

The Ancient and Noble House Black - Heir (by Appointment)

The Noble House Gaunt - Heir (by Conquest)

The Most Ancient and Noble House Peverell - Heir (by Blood)

The Most Ancient and Noble House Slytherin - Heir (by Conquest)


Harry, not understanding the weight of these titles immediately wondered if this would somehow hinder Snape from adopting him. Was there a rule about this stuff that Harry didn’t know?

“Sir… um, Severus, I didn’t know about these but, umm…” he looked down at his feet, trying not to worry too much and embarrass Snape in front of the Goblins. “You're still allowed to adopt me right?”

 “Yes, Harry. I am still able to adopt you. These titles just mean you and I will have a lot more paperwork to sign today. When you are older these titles will come with responsibility, but for now, they just come with a bit of jewelry,” he said holding up his right hand to show his Lordship ring and smirking, obviously trying to lighten the mood and calm Harry down.

Harry let out a little laugh at Snape’s joke; it was so strange to hear the man say anything remotely funny. He let this settle him, knowing the Professor was making and effort just for me made Harry feel better than he had in years. He soaked up the attention like a sponge, hoping that when it all came crashing down, he could hang onto the memories to keep himself going.

“Due, to the vast amount of Lordships you are set to inherit I think it may be wise to go through some of Heir Potter's finances and properties. They will be under your care until he comes of age, Lord Prince.” The Chief Goblin said.

Ricbert places a single sheet of paper and handed it to Harry.



Potter Trust Fund Balance - ʛ 3,199.23

Black Trust Fund Balance - ʛ 14,538.47

Gaunt Trust Fund Balance - ʛ 353.19

Peverell Trust Fund Balance - ʛ 64,791.34

Slytherin Trust Fund Balance - ʛ 13,639.10


Am I rich? Harry couldn’t help but think. He had always known he made money, the vault he’d seen four years ago had been filled with gold, but he had four more vaults, and all of them had more galleons in them then he could even picture.

“I feel it will be best, to begin with, the Potter Trust Funds As is your main account until you are able to use the full extent of the Potter Vaults,” Ricbert said, in an emotionless voice, as if such large sums of money meant nothing.

“There’s another vault?” Harry could not fathom how that was possible. He had been told his whole life that he cost too much to care for, but here he was sitting on mountains of gold and he had never known.

“Yes.” The goblin said, annoyed at being interrupted. “As I was saying, Heir Potter, you currently have been using this account for school payments and a monthly payment to your muggle relatives, which we have been converting to Pounds”

The harsh sound of a chair scraping against marble made Harry jump. He turned to see Severus, his eyes made with rage standing from his seat.

“Those animals have been being paid from Harry’s vault while they neglected and abused him? Who authorized these payments and how much were they paid?” Snape spoke in a low, yet deadly voice, it would have been less frightening if he had screamed but instead his voice was cold, calculating, and controlled.

It frightened Harry, but strangely he also found it comforting. He knew somewhere deep down, that the man in front of him wasn’t angry at Harry, but rather, he was angry for Harry. Regardless of that, Harry still shrunk back into the leather chair, making himself as small and unnoticeable as possible.

Unfazed by Severus’ anger, the goblin picked a folder out of his desk and perused the contents before speaking.

“The sum of 200 galleons, roughly converted to 1000 pounds was transferred to the account of Vernon Dursley every month on the 1st since November 1st, 1981. The payments were authorized by Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore in accordance with his role as Executor and Magical Guardian to Heir Potter.” He closed the folder once more and placed it back on his desk.

Harry was at a loss for words. His whole life he had been told that he was a burden, that the Dursley’s couldn’t afford him and were forced to spend their ‘hard-earned money on a worthless freak’. Yet, they had been taking his money. They had been taking 1000 pounds a month from him for almost fourteen years. Harry did not care about the money, he had enough and it had never meant anything to him. But to know that the whole time, while they beat him and mocked him, the Dursley’s were profiting off of him.

He was livid and based on the tensed shoulders and scowling face next to him, so was Severus.

“Over 150,000 pounds have been taken from this, close to 33,700 gallons, without the Heir permission. I would like to retrieve the funds that have been taken without Harry’s consent. I assume you have a way to do this?” Severus retook his seat and slowly moved his hand over to the arm of Harry’s chair. He placed his hand palm up as if offering Harry the opportunity to take it. Determined to enjoy this newfound affection while it lasted, Harry moved his hand to sit atop the long-fingered hand of Severus Snape.

He hadn’t noticed until that moment that his hand had begun to shake, maybe Snape had and that was why he had offered to hold hands? Maybe he just wanted Harry to stop shaking and embarrassing him. Either way, Harry tried not to dwell on it too much.

“We will contact the muggle bank and start the process. I assume you also wish to spot payments?” The goblin looked overjoyed at the prospect of getting Harry’s money back into the bank.

“That sounds wonderful. I will leave the rest of the financial matters in your capable hands for today unless there is anything you believe needs to be sorted? I would like to move on to Harry receiving is Heir Rings as well as the Adoption Ritual.”

Harry watched as Ricbert walked from behind his desk and came to stand before Harry. When he was face to face with the young boy he summoned the first of the small boxes.

“This is the Potter Heir Ring. It will be placed on your right ring finger and we will see if it accepts you. After that, we will continue with your other Heir Rings from each house. I would suggest placing the Potter, Peverell, and Prince rings on your right hand. While the Gaunt, Slytherin, and Black rings should be on your left. The Magics from the separated families will do better this way.”

Harry nodded, not truly understanding what the Goblin meant, but trusting the advice he had received. He watched as the box in front of him opened to reveal a simple, thick banded brass ring. In elegant script was simply the word ‘Potter’ written inside the band.

Harry held out his hand, feeling silly, for Ricbert to place the ring on his finger. When the ring was nestled below his knuckle, it resized to fit his perfectly. Harry was then struck with a flood of warms as the Magic of the ring accepted him. He turned to look at Severus and smiled, feeling giddy at the closeness he felt with his family for the first time.

“The Potter Ring has accepted you as its Heir. Moving on,” he summoned the next box to them. “The Peverell Ring.” Opening the box Harry was meet with another brass ring, though this one had a peculiar design, that of a triangle with a circle in it and a line going through it. Once again the ring was placed on Harry’s finger it resized and merged with the Potter ring filling him with warmth. Though the warmth he felt was distinctly muted compared to the feeling of his family ring.

They continued with each ring, The Black ring, a black color ring with the engraving ‘Toujours Pur’ on top made Harry shiver. The Gaunt ring made Harry feel sick for a moment, but it still accepted him, though with obvious reluctance. Lastly the Slytherin Ring, which gave Harry a pleasant thrill, as if the ring was imbibed with mischief.

“And now, Lord Prince. I believe we are ready for the Blood Adoption” the goblin said, gesturing for the two to follow him through the door behind his desk.

Chapter Text

Harry and Severus followed Ricbert into the small, candlelit room behind his office. Before them sat a small altar with a simmering cauldron set upon it. There were two large cushions before them with a small space separating them.

“Lord Prince, have you brought your own dagger?” the Goblin said, walking towards the cauldron and ladling out two goblets of the potion and placing them on the ground between each cushion.

Beside him, Severus withdrew a silver dagger from his robes. The hilt was beautiful, with a serpent engraved into it and two emeralds for eyes. “Of course.” He turned to Harry, displaying the blade and pointing particularly to the eyes. “I thought it would be fitting to use this, seeing as you are an emerald-eyed boy who can talk to snakes.” He smiled down, and Harry and the small boy felt a pressure in his heart. He was touched by the small, if not strange, gesture.

Severus knelt down on one of the cushions and motioned for Harry to follow suit. Once the two were facing each other on their knees, Severus extended his hand out to Harry. Harry reached out to the older man and felt a cool gel being spread across his palms, and then numbness washed over him from his wrist to the tips of his fingers.

Raising his dagger, he looked into Harry’s eyes and spoke. “I, Severus Tobias Snape, Lord of the Ancient and Noble house Prince, take Harrison James Potter to be my son. I vow to guide and protect, educate and discipline, care for, and comfort him as he grows, so mote it be.” He brought the dagger down and drew it across the flesh of Harry's palm, piercing the skin. He then held it over the goblet closest to his and dropped seven drops of Harry’s blood into the potion. “Puer meus, Nunc et Semper.”

When he was done, he raised his wand to clean and heal Harry’s bleeding hand and then thoroughly cleaned the dagger and handed it to Harry. Though he had no set words for the ritual, Harry spoke, only to Severus, in a low voice. “I vow to be good. I will always try to be the best I can be for you. Thank you for adopting me.” He then brought the dagger down, the same way Severus had and sliced his palm, holding it over his own goblet to drip seven drops of blood into the potion.

Severus then spoke in Latin for a while; Harry did not know exactly what he said, then raised his goblet to Harry. Together they drained their potions, both grimacing as their taste buds were assaulted by the taste of rotted fruit and gasoline.

Ricbert approached Harry once they had finished their potions, holding a small box in his hand.

“Now, the final Heir Ring.” Ricbert opened the box to reveal a black ring. Unlike the Heir ring for the Black family, this ring was in the shape of a crown. Harry once again held out his right hand to accept the Prince Ring, know that if the Ritual had worked, the ring would accept him. He worried for a moment how it would feel. Would it be reluctant like the Black ring, not genuinely wanting him but submitting because it had to?

All fears disappeared as the ring merged with that of the Potter and Peverell, and a sensation took over Harry’s body. Safe, that was the feeling that overflowed his senses and brought tears to his eyes. This ring, this family, would keep him safe.

He caught Severus’ eyes and smiled, knowing that the safety he felt had everything to do with the man with him.

Harry watched as Severus said his goodbyes to the Goblins and paid for the Ritual as well as their time. Then the two walked out of the bank together to enjoy their first day as father and son.

After Gringotts, Severus brought Harry to have his eye’s check and new glasses bought, over the summer he might be able to have corrective surgery, but he would need a week to heal, and Harry did not have the luxury of time. For now, he was fitted with black, square-framed glasses, very unlike the circular ones he once had. Severus wouldn’t admit it, but he was glad to see Harry in glasses that did not resemble James Potter. He looked good in the new lenses, the black contrasted with his striking green-eyes making him look quite handsome. Severus only hoped his DNA didn’t ruin that for the boy.

Following that, they visited Madam Malkin to him measured for new robes and shoes. Though Severus knew he might grow overnight as the Blood Adoption took effect, it seemed best to get him something now and have Winnie use magic to fix it later. He would order Harry some new muggle clothing later and have it delivered by owl. Then they could throw away the tattered mess he had been wearing.

After too much shopping, the two had stopped for supper at Leaky Cauldron. Severus took note of how excited Harry looked eating his Sheppard’s Pie and made a mental note that he would have to have it made more often, as it was clear this was the boy’s favorite food. After dinner, feeling the need to overindulge his newly adopted son, he suggested getting dessert before returning to the castle.

Sitting outside of Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, Severus looked over at the child … his son beside him as he ate his chocolate ice cream. Sporting new glasses; charmed to modify their prescription to suit Harry’s eyes, and a smile. The boy looked quite adorable, younger than fourteen, with a sweet childlike innocent joy. Severus secretly hoped he could keep that joy in his eyes, but he knew that wouldn’t be possible. Not with Harry being in the Tri-wizard Tournament, a competition he was sorely unprepared to undertake.

The boy’s life had already had too many struggles; he had dealt with more adversity than most adult wizards ever had. But all he could do was stand by the boy’s side and teach him, guide him, and protect him as he faced each challenge head-on.

Speaking of challenges, he would have to figure out what he was to do about Albus. The oaf had been paying the Dursley’s with Harry’s money but never bothered to check on the child? He knew the betrayal had devastated Harry; the boy had trusted Dumbledore so much. To know that he had been so careless about Harry’s safety had almost sent Severus into a blind rage, but he had been determined not to frighten Harry further.

“Harry, how are you feeling? A lot has happened today, and I know you must feel a little overwhelmed.”

Harry paused, holding a spoon of ice cream aloft as he contemplated the events of the day. He then set the spoon down in his bowl and gazed into Severus’ eyes. The emerald orbs were tainted with anger and sadness. When he spoke, it was as if he was in a daze, not truly in control as the words spilled from his mouth.

“He was paying them with my money but never checked on me. The whole time I lived with the Dursley’s, they would tell me that I cost too much money, that they used the money they would rather use on Dudley to keep me. When they thought I cost too much, they sometimes would take my light bulb from my cupboard.” He spoke in an emotionless monotone as if the things he said weren’t horrid. “There was a month when I wasn’t allowed to shower because I had ‘wasted all the water.’ I had taken a fifteen-minute show to get all the dirt off me from gardening; apparently, it was too long. I thought Dumbledore cared about me, but that was dumb. Of course, he didn’t, I’m just a stupid freak, why would he care.” His voice began to rise, and his breathing turned to pants. “Why didn’t he care? Why didn’t anyone care?”

He turned to Severus with pleading eyes, begging for an answer to a question Severus was ashamed to answer. He didn’t know; he had no excuses or explanations for why the boy was in that abusive household. So instead, he offered the boy that only thing he could, comfort. He slowly reached for the boy's hand and grasped it in his own, rubbing soothing circles into the knuckles. Without his permission, he began making ‘shhing’ noises to calm him as well. He continued like this until Harry’s breathing returned to an even pace.

“I don’t know, Harry. I know I was blinded by an idiotic grudge, but I am as appalled as you that your treatment went unchecked. All I can do is promise you this; you will never live like that again. You are now my son, Harry. I will never deny you food; from now on, you will have three meals a day and snacks whenever you would like… as long as they are healthy.” He added this, knowing that Harry had a particularly significant sweet tooth from watching him at feasts. “You will have a room of your own, filled with books, and a warm bed, and clothing that will fit you correctly. Tonight, the room in my quarters has been made up simply for you, but we will decorate it to your liking, we can change anything about so it does not feel like a guest room, but your bedroom.”

Severus could have gone on for hours about the many things he planned to do for the sweet child in front of him; they would travel, and he would teach him potions, they would go on vacations that were educational and fun. Harry wasn’t the spoiled prince Severus had once believed, but now he couldn’t wait to spoil his son. His son, who looked like at any moment he might fall asleep in his ice cream bowl.

“Speaking of, I believe it might be time to return to Hogwarts. I am quite exhausted.” He decided to put the blame on himself as to not make the boy self-conscience.

After paying, the two men returned to the Leaky Cauldron to Floo back to Severus’ quarters, anxious for their first night as father and son.

Chapter Text

Snape’s room was nothing like Harry had expected. One day when he and Ron were bored, they had thought up what Snape’s living room was. They had imagined skull and crossbones, dark black furniture that was uncomfy and uninviting. A freezing cold room with no life in it. A dungeon.

Instead, Harry entered the opposite. The room was warm and inviting — a plush burgundy carpet in front of a large, rich, brown leather couch. Beside the sofa, on each side, sat armchairs of the same leather with a small ottoman in front of each. Harry imagined this was where Snape sat and did his grading at the end of the night. There was a cherry coffee table with a stack of books in the center of the carpet. It looked homey, and Harry could see himself comfortably doing homework on the couch or on the floor leaning on the coffee table.

Off to the left of the living space was a small dining area, a table with six seats, and a small vase of flowers. Severus walked past the table and opened the door to beckon Harry inside. They then stood together in a rather large kitchen. The floors were the same stone as the other rooms; the countertops were made of dark marble and connected to a breakfast bar.

“This is the kitchen. Though you and I take our meals in the Great Hall, I would like for you to eat when you are hungry, so feel free to come and grab a snack if you are in need of one. You, of course, can also call Winnie if you are need of something, but I would caution you to not do that in public or around too many people.”

Harry looked around at the space; he had always loved cooking, even though it was a chore. He had only disliked that he never got to taste his creations and that the Dursley’s never said anything nice about the food he made; maybe Snape would be different?

“Am I allowed to cook in here?” He asked tentatively. He noticed a small frown on Snape’s face as he asked. He hoped he hadn’t overstepped, Harry had thought doing something for Severus would be okay.

“You do not have to cook anymore.” Harry looked down at his shoes; think that he shouldn’t have asked. “Harry, do you enjoy cooking?” Harry refused to look up but nodded his head all the same.  “If it is an activity you enjoy, then, of course, you may. However, make sure I am in our rooms if you are using the stove or oven.”

Harry looked up to see that Snape had already left the kitchen and was making his way back to the living area.

“Harry, this room is going to be your bedroom,” He gestured to the door to the right of the living room. “You will, of course, be staying mostly in your dorm, but you are welcome to stay here whenever you please” He then gestured to the door beside his bedroom. “This is my bedroom, if you need me at any point, for any reason I want you to come and get me. You will not be bothering me or burdening me, so please don’t worry about that. I will always want to help you.”

Harry couldn’t help the blush that came to his cheeks at Snape… his adopted father's words. The man in front of him really wanted him, for now.

Severus then opened Harry’s bedroom. It had plain cream-colored walls dark stone floors, the same floors that covered the entire castle. It was huge, or in Harry’s mind, it was. Pressed against one wall was a queen-sized bed covered in mint green linens and piled high with pillows. On each side of the bed were small end tables reach containing a candle.

On the one wall was a large enchanted window, spelled to show the outside of the castle. Currently, Harry was gifted with the view of the quidditch pitch, lit but the moon and stars. Beside the mirror sat a simple cherry desk and a chair of the same leather as the chair and sofa in the living room.

Harry was floored, he had never seen somewhere so lovely, and he couldn’t believe Snape was allowing him to stay in such a beautiful room. Being in this place felt like a dream; he just wished he would never have to wake up. He felt like it was too much, like he did not deserve to be somewhere so warm and inviting.

But Snape did not seem perturbed in the slightest. He continued his tour of the room as though it meant nothing. As though this wasn’t the most beautiful place Harry would ever stay the night.

“This door leads to your bathroom. Winnie as supplied it with fresh towels and toiletries, but if anything is missing, call her, and she will bring you anything you need.” He opened the door to reveal an immaculate bathroom. A large mirror dominated the wall behind a large double sink. Across from the sink was a bathtub or rather a small swimming pool. The tub was massive and deep, likely it could fit three to five people in it comfortably. Across from the toilet was a large walk-in shower; on the shelf was a row of Harry’s shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

“Even when you return to your dorms, I have a feeling you will prefer coming here. I loathed the shared showers in Slytherin when I was a student, so take advantage of this,” the professor said with a smirk. “Remember two things; one, I will never comment on how much water you use or stop you from washing yourself. As you are a fourteen-year-old boy, I will most likely encourage the latter as too many of your peers seem not to understand the need for soap.” Harry couldn’t help but snicker a bit at this, knowing that a lot of the Gryffindor boys usual smelled and didn’t notice. “And two, even if you are still struggling with your Aunt and Uncles comments about wasting water and money, remember we live in a magic castle. No money or water is being wasted,” he finished, turning to exit the bathroom and continue his tour.

“That door leads to a closet; your new robes will be there as well as some pajamas. After tomorrow we will add some muggle clothing. I did not wish to purchase anything until we saw what effect the Adoption had on your height and size.”

Harry stood, given speechless by the man's kindness. This was, apparently, his life, for now, and he was incredibly grateful. He had been given more from Snape in one day than his Aunt and Uncle had given him in a lifetime. But he couldn’t help feeling suspicions, as if at any moment the kindness would go away and he would be back in a cupboard with no food.

“I will leave you to rest. I don’t want to give you Dreamless Sleep tonight, as it is highly addictive. However, if you are having trouble sleeping, come find me.” With that, he crossed the room to Harry’s and slowly raised his hand to rest on the top of Harry’s head. They stood side by side as Snape ran his fingers softly through Harry’s hair. After a while, he stopped and laid his hand on Harry’s cheek, turning his head to look him in the eye.

“If there is anything you need, I am in the room right next to you. Goodnight Harry”

“Goodnight… Severus.” Harry was still confused about how to address the man who had adopted him, but Severus was right for now.

He quickly moved to the closet and found sweatpants and a baggy (but not as loose as his cousins) tee-shirt. Throwing his clothing into the hamper in the bathroom, he changed and crawled into bed. The mattress felt like a cloud, and the sheets were softer than anything he had felt before. It wasn’t long before his lids became heavy, and he drifted off to sleep.

A hand wrapped around his throat, dragging him out of the warm bed. He didn’t have time to grab shoes, and when his feet hit the icy floor, he winced. He was pulled by the throat against the person who had awoken him, hot breath, stinking of whiskey, hitting his neck.

“You really thought he wanted you, Boy? You thought someone would want a freak like you?” His Uncle asked, throwing him to the floor.

Harry couldn’t move; he knew that struggling only made it worse. So he accepted his fate as he heard his Uncles belt being unbuckled. He braced himself for the first strike, turning his head to protect it with his hands when he saw Snape.

Sitting in the comfy leather chair, the potions master began to laugh as blow after blow rained down on Harry’s back.

“Stop, please! I’ll be good, I promise! Please, Severus,” he cried, begging the Potions Master to return to the man that had adopted him.

“Shut up, Potter. Freaks like you deserve to be punished” Snape sneered, laughing again as Uncle Vernon brought his belt down again.

Severus sat up in bed; it was nearly two o’clock in the morning, and yet something had awoken him. He had momentarily forgotten the day's event until he heard the screams.

He rose to the aid of his son, wondering what monster had gotten passed his wards to harm the boy. However, when he pulled back the door, he saw that there was no monster in the room, only the ones in Harry’s past, still assaulting his mind.

Harry was curled up on top of himself, the sheets twisting around his small form as he struggled to get away from the violence he was experiencing in his dreams. His hands were balled up fist covering his face, but Severus could still see tears running down his face.

“Please, I’ll be good. I promise! Please, stop! I didn’t do anything! You said you’d take care of me! Why are you doing this!” he whimpered as the dream continued to haunt him.

His heart broke for the boy. He walked quickly to the side on the bed and sat down, running his hands over his back.

“Harry, wake up. It’s ok. Nobody will hurt you. Wake up, Harry.” He spoke loudly, hoping to pull the boy from his sleep. “Please wake up, Harry.”

It took a few minutes, but finally, the boy's eyes opened. His eyes were red and puffy, filled with despair. He pulled back from the potions master, cowering back into the pillows behind him, shaking uncontrollably.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I woke you up, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to! Please don’t send me back! I promise I’ll be good. I won’t wake you up again.” Harry choked out the words between sobs.

Severus could not help himself; he reached out and pulled the trembling boy into his arm, positioning himself to be seated in the pillows with Harry’s head nestled on his chest.

“Hush little one, you had a nightmare. It’s okay that you woke me up. I am glad you did.” Harry burrowed further into Snape’s chest, his sobs still shaking his little body. “Hush child, I told you I want to help you and be here for you. I’m right here, little one. I’m not going anywhere, and you are never going back. You’re stuck with me.” He continued to speak like this, running his hands through the messy mop of black hair, not noticing that it had begun to get longer overnight.

“Would you like to tell me about the dream?” Severus asked, once Harry’s breathing had returned to normal. The boy shook his head, refusing to look up into Snape’s eyes.

“Alright, would you like to speak about something else? Or maybe have some food or water?”

“No, thank you. I’m sleepy, but I’m afraid to go to sleep.” He said, the statement punctuated by a yawn. Severus knew panic attacks and nightmares could take a lot of energy out of you, having suffered many himself. So he moved to sit on the chair beside the boy's bed, but Harry’s arms tightened around him.

“Please, don’t go.” The words were whispered into his chest, and how could he refuse.

He arranged himself and Harry so the boy could keep his head piled on the older man’s chest. He then straightened the covers around Harry and summonsed a quilt from the living room for himself and then settled in for the night, thinking how he would not trade the way he felt with his son in his arms for all the rare potions ingredients in the world.

He continued to run his hands through the messy mop of hair until the child fell asleep. And if Severus pressed a small kiss onto the top of his head, no one was there to see.

Chapter Text

When Severus woke up the next morning, it was to the sight of Harry, trying to sneak out of bed. The boy carefully extracted himself from the Professor's arms, obviously hoping not to wake him. But, between the years of spying and his less than stellar childhood, Severus was quite a light sleeper.

“Good morning, Mr. Potter.” Severus couldn’t help but smirk at the blush that crept into his young ward’s cheeks at being caught.

He took in the new appearance of the boy in front of him. He still looked like himself, just with small influences from Snape. His hair had darkened slightly and grown out, the unruly curls straightening to waves, making it less messy than the mop that usually sat atop his head. His cheekbones were higher, and his face elongated. Luckily for the boy, though his nose did grow, it did not resemble the beak Severus had adorned his whole life. Severus was pleased to see that he had kept Lily’s green eyes. 

As Harry scurried out of bed to stand, Severus also took note that he had grown. He still on the shorter side, but about four inches had been added to his tiny stature. Severus thought he looked quite good, but he still worried that the boy might be sad to lose some of his father’s attributes. He knew Harry had spent the last few years at Hogwarts being told how much he looked like James, now however he looked like a mix of three parents.

“I think you should go take a look at yourself, Harry. I hope you won’t be too disappointed with the changes the Adoption has given you.”

Harry looked at Severus curiously. Then quickly, as if suddenly remember the effect the Adoption would have on him, ran to the bathroom.

While Harry inspected his new body, Severus summoned some of his clothing and transfigured it fit the boy. He assumed he wouldn’t want to spend his Sunday in robes, and they would need to speak with Dumbledore today, he should be comfortable.

He summoned a pair of jeans and his one-and-only tee shirt, a plain black shirt he rarely wore. He called to Harry through the door, informing him that there were clean clothes on the bed for him and that Severus would be in the living room with breakfast.

Snape reclined into his chair and spelled the fireplace to a roaring blaze; he basked in the comfortable warms as he lounged peacefully, if only for a moment.

“Winnie,” he called. The little elf appeared immediately with a French press of coffee and a large mug, as she did every morning.

“Thank you. I would like you to bring breakfast for myself and Harry. I believe full English would be acceptable as well as a bowl of fruit. Also, a glass of Pumpkin juice, as that seems to be Harry’s drink of choice, I believe we should keep that in the kitchen for him from now on.” Severus realized at that moment he would need to do some research into feeding an underweight, malnourished child. For the moment, though not the healthiest option, the breakfast he had chosen would suffice.

Once the elf had popped away, Severus became lost in his thoughts once more. Adopting Harry had been impulsive, something Severus was proud to say, he was not. But he had yet to give thought to many things. How would he explain this to the people in his life? He was Draco’s Godfather; would Lucius still allow him to have a relationship with the boy? Would Harry and Draco end up killing each other if he was? What would he do about Harry’s potions grades; surely, he was not allowed to grade his own son? Of course, there was also the tournament; was he able to help his underage son?

The questions continued moving through his head until Harry emerged from his bedroom, dressed comfortably and smiling. This broke Severus from his musings, unable to focus on much else but the shy boy walking towards him.

“I assume you aren’t too disappointed?” he chided playfully, smirking at the boy as he took a seat on the couch. He sat on the edge, back straight and shoulders held back, as though he was afraid he wasn’t allowed on the furniture. Well, maybe he wasn’t when he was living with monsters!

“I’m taller!” he said with a smile. “I’ve always been short, and people would make fun of me for it. I’m still shorter than Ron but no by too much now.” His smile fell at the mention of the youngest Weasley boy. Damn that ginger.

Winnie took that moment to come back with two hot breakfasts. Harry eyed his plate and then turned to stare at Severus questioningly. Understanding that Harry was waiting for permission, he reached in his pocket to retrieve a nutrient potion and handed it to him.

“Dig in; I didn’t know what you would like, so I went with full English. If it isn’t to your liking, Winnie will gladly get you anything you’d like.” Severus knew he would be repeating these same words for a long time. Needing to drill into Harry’s mind that he could ask questions or for things he needed without punishment. Severus knew the damage done by his relatives was not going to be resolved overnight after a few sign pieces of paper and a potion. I would take months; years of positive reinforcement, building trust and communication. But, he would do it. Severus had never been mistaken for a patient man, but he could learn to be for this boy.

Harry nodded, drank his potion, and dug into his meal. Severus was thankful that his recipe for this particular potion had an appetite stimulant and an anti-nausea serum; it would make it easier to get the boy's weight up.

They ate in silence, and Severus added more things to his to-do list in no particular order. One, get Harry a Mind-Healer. Two, Tell Lucius, Narcissa, and Draco. Three, Set up private lessons for Harry with him to prepare for the Tournament. Four, Buy Harry more clothing and have them delivered to Hogwarts. Five, Get his room set up. Six, throttle the brats in the Gryffindor tower (possibly just Weasley?). Seven, Throttle Dumbledore for being a fool and a terrible guardian. Eight, murder the Dursleys.

He smiled to himself at the last one. No, he couldn’t actually murder them; death would be far too kind. But he was looking forward to catching up with Petunia. He hadn’t seen her in so long, and he was excited to speak with her again; it would be a long chat.

Severus continued eating while thinking up ingredients for a truly remarkable potion. He wondered how Petunia and her husband would feel if they could experience everything they had done to their nephew. The clattering of silverware on porcelain brought him for his musing, and he looked up to see Harry had finished everything and was staring around the living room with the dishes in his hands.

“Where is the sink so I can wash these?” He asked. He thinks it his job to clean everyone's dishes like a house-elf — another thing he would need to work on.

“Leave them on the table for Winnie, you and I have an appointment with Dumbledore. I think he will be wondering how yesterday went.” And I think I would like to scratch something off my to-do list.

“You damn fool! You were paying them, with the boy's own money, and yet you couldn’t bother a trip to Surrey to check on him? I have never known someone to be so ignorant, and I have been teaching here for almost fifteen years! How, in the name of Merlin, did you think any of this was okay?”

Harry watched as the vein in Severus’ neck pulsed as he yelled at the Headmaster, pacing through the office. He was usually nervous when he heard anyone yelling, but in this case, he was glad for it. He sat beside Snape, letting his new guardian yell for him.

Professor McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey stood to the side of the office watching the exchange. They had been just as livid with the Headmaster upon hearing what had been discovered at Gringotts and seemed to be enjoying the show as Snape threw insults at the elderly wizard.

“Severus, I was only giving what was previously allotted for child support. It is customary in the muggle world and had been set aside for that reason.” Dumbledore spoke calmly, which only seemed to infuriate Snape further. Harry, as well, was reaching his tipping point. He could feel his magic bubbling up inside of him with his rage, an unwelcome but familiar feeling. He had become good at controlling his magic when he was emotional at the Dursley’s. But, it was easier to save your energy when you had so little to begin with. Now, fully rested and feed, Harry had energy in reserve.

“And still, you gave it without question or care. You have allowed this boy to grow up in abject hell because you were too careless! I told you! I knew what Petunia was, and yet you lied to me! You said she was happy to take her Nephew. That he was spoiled, treated like a prince; loved. Did you even speak to the woman?” Snape was pacing back and forth as he berated the man. “His medical report says he had Hypothermia when he was two, and it blamed you. Did you just leave him outside to be found?”

Dumbledore was silent, confirming this. You were dumped on a doorstep in the cold by a man you thought loved you. He didn’t care. He didn’t give two shits about you. Why? Because you’re just a worthless little freak.

Harry did not realize it, but at the moment, the trinkets lining the walls began to shake. His Aunt and Uncle had always said that he had been “left at their door, giving them no choice,” but he had never assumed this, he had thought it was an exaggeration. He had indeed been left on their front stoop, like a morning newspaper. You’re worth less than a paper. People want their news; nobody wants a freak.

“You don’t even deny it! The boy... no, sorry I’d like to clarify. The infant who had just saved the Wizarding World from the Dark Lord and lost both his parents was left outside, overnight, in November! Have you ever heard of a doorbell? Or knocking? Or, I don’t know, maybe WAITING UNTIL IT’S FUCKING MORNING SO A BABY WON’T BE LEFT OUTSIDE OVERNIGHT!?”

The Headmaster turned from Severus to come to stand before Harry’s chair. Harry instinctively scooted backward, pressing himself further into the cushioning. He no longer trusted the wise old man, the same man he had once thought of as a Grandfather.

“Harry, my boy. You must understand that I only want to protect you. I believed that the Blood Wards erected from your mother's love would keep you safe. I also was assuming your Aunt would love you and care for you as her own son. I am sure you understand that and can forgive my mistakes.” The elderly man said in a gentle yet condescending voice. As he spoke, the objects in the room continued to shake, but Dumbledore took no notice. However, Harry saw out of the corner of his eye, Snape casting a subtle shield charm around himself and Harry.

Harry felt his heartbreak and rage consume him, his skin tingling as he lost control of his magic. He felt more worthless than he had before, and all because of someone he had trusted so much. Dumbledore assuming Harry’s forgiveness was the final straw. He had been willing to forgive him when they had arrived, but having his trusting nature used against him set him over the edge.

“ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?” He screamed, standing from his seat as multiple glass jars exploding as his magic burst from him. “I have been living in hell for fourteen years, and you assume it okay, that I’m just gonna forgive you? Why didn’t you bother to find me or check on me? Why didn’t you listen when I asked to stay at Hogwarts after First Year? I told you I wasn’t happy at the Dursley’s! I told you they hated me!” He sank back into his chair, wiping away tears he hadn’t known he had shed. As quickly as the rage had come, it fell away. Leaving only heartbreak and despair in its wake.

“But, you didn’t care, you obviously never cared. Why didn’t you care? Why wasn’t I good enough? Why didn’t you help me?” Questions kept coming; each time his voice become more shaky and quiet, he stopped asking Dumbledore but instead was asking the universe at large. And why should he have cared? All you are is a freak with a famous scar. That ugly scar on your head is the only reason anyone tolerates you.

Harry felt a hand on his shoulder and looked up into obsidian eyes. “Harry, I need you to breathe and calm yourself for me. In threw your nose… and out through your mouth… good and again… in… and out….” The continued like this as they had before, a simple routine already established to calm Harry through the worst. “Good job Harry, I know that was difficult, but I am very proud of you for composing yourself. However, though I understand and agree with your sentiments, you, as a fourteen-year-old student, cannot use that language with your Headmaster and in the presence of three teachers. As punishment, I believe twenty-five points from Gryffindor would be acceptable.”

Harry felt like he was probably getting off easy, either because Snape really agreed with everything he said but felt he needed to do something in front of the teachers or because he wanted things to go smoothly since the adoption. Either way, Harry felt outstanding after yelling at Dumbledore, so it was worth it.

Harry looked up to apologize to Severus and noticed that his face was scrunched up, a confused look in his eyes.

“Twenty-five points from Gryffindor, Mr. Potter,” He repeated, slightly louder. Harry didn’t understand why he felt the need to do this twice. He saw that the other Professor’s had a similar confused look on their faces, as though something had gone amiss.

“Well, It looks like we may have another problem to sort out Harry,” Severus said, pinching the bridge of his nose, as though he had a headache. “The castle isn’t allowing me to take points from Gryffindor. Albus, I think we may need to have a chat with the Sorting Hat.”

Chapter Text

Severus held Harry in his arms while the boy's anger subsided. He contemplated his next move, his first time disciplining Harry as a father guardian. He agreed with everything the child had said, but he couldn’t allow a fourteen-year-old boy to shout obscenities at his Headmaster. Well than Severus, you will need to watch your mouth in front of Harry, he thought, remember that he had also been swearing at Albus.

 “Harry, I need you to breathe and calm yourself for me. In threw your nose… and out through your mouth… good and again… in… and out….” Severus placed his hand on the boy’s cheek and tilted his head up so they could look at each other, He had found this technique had worked for him in the past and was hopeful it would continue to calm him.

When he noticed Harry’s breathing had returned to normal, he began to speak to him, knowing this was his first time disciplining the child as his parental figure. “Good job Harry, I know that was difficult, but I am very proud of you for composing yourself.” He started with praise, hoping to dampen the blow any form of punishment might have. “Though I understand and agree with your sentiments, you, as a fourteen-year-old student, cannot use that language with your Headmaster and in the presence of three teachers. As punishment, I believe twenty-five points from Gryffindor would be acceptable.”

He paused, waiting for the tell-tale shimmer he would feel as Hogwarts accepted his point deduction. At times, when he was in a particularly foul mood, Hogwarts would reject the points he had taken away. Once, he had tried taking points from Charlie Weasley for his hair being “too loud,” but it didn’t work. However, deducting points for swearing was always acceptable. Was there something wrong?

“Twenty-five points from Gryffindor, Mr. Potter,” He repeated, slightly louder. Once again, he was met with silence and confusion.

“Well, It looks like we may have another problem to sort out Harry,” Severus said, pinching the bridge of his nose. It seemed like complications just followed Potter wherever he went. Get used to it, Severus, he’s your son now. “The castle isn’t allowing me to take points from Gryffindor. Albus, I think we may need to have a chat with the Sorting Hat.”

Without further question, Albus moved to the shelf behind his desk and retrieved the Sorting Hat. He then placed it on his desk, facing the group.

“Well, would you please explain why I cannot take points from my son’s house?” Severus asked, feeling strange speaking to a hat.

“Well, as the boy is now your son, he can no longer be a Gryffindor. Any child of a Head of House is automatically placed in the house of their parent. I knew he would do well in Slytherin, and now he will finally be in the house I wanted for him. Funny how fate works, isn't it Mr.Potter-Snape?”

Severus turned to look at Harry, The Boy Who Could Not Catch a Damn Break, to gauge his reaction. He was expecting anger, fear, more swearing, but nothing would have prepared him for the boy’s response.

Uncontrollable laughter erupted from the small child. Severus watched in shock as Harry doubled-over, grasping is stomach while laughter as if his change in house was the most hilarious thing he had heard in years.

“I guess I shouldn’t have fought you so hard on my house First Year.” He chocked out between breaths as he tried to regain his composure. “I just ended up a Slytherin anyways.”

The hat wanted him in Slytherin? Severus thought to himself. It was not so shocking in truth; many students who had troubled home-lives would end up in his house. But, with James and Lily as his parents, it was strange that he would be considered for anywhere else.

Snape came face to face with Harry. “How do you feel about this change in House, Harry?” Severus was nervous about Harry joining his snakes. He would need to have a long talk with them, especially Draco. He knew it would be difficult for his Godson to accept Harry as Severus’ son, but at minimum, he would need the boy to accept Harry as a Slytherin.

“It can’t be too bad. Sure, I don’t like being stuck with Malfoy, but I don’t really know the other Slytherins that well. I’m not wanted in Gryffindor, so this makes sense.” Harry looked down again, concealing a look of disappointment. The Weasley brat had made him feel as though the whole house had turned from him, and though Severus had no liking for the lions, he knew they were more loyal than that.

“Also, I’d be in your house, so it’d be okay,” he added sheepishly. It continued to astound Severus how quickly the boy had come to trust him. He would need to continue to earn this trust, showing that his past actions are no longer who he is or how he feels. He could see that the damage of his past actions had begun to heal; the mental scars he received at the hands of his relatives would not heal so quickly.

“Harry, that is not true,” Minerva spoke up for the first time, though she kept back, giving Severus and Harry space. “Mr. Longbottom is the reason we found you. He was incredibly worried about your safety. He and Miss Granger spent yesterday coming to my office every hour, demanding to know where you were. On occasion, the Weasley twins would join them in coming to ask for you. As I understand it, when they were not coming to my office, they were…” She paused, seeming to choose her words carefully. “They were... having a discussion with their brother.”

Severus could only imagine what that meant. The twins were brilliant, though he would never admit it. Where the ‘marauders’ pranks were juvenile, the twins made started developing potions and spells themselves, though still childish, the power of their combined magic was quite sophisticated. Severus almost felt pity for the youngest Weasley boy; the twins likely showed him no mercy.

Harry gave a small smile, and relief spread across his face knowing that he still had friends in Gryffindor.

“I am sure they will be happy to see you later today,” Severus said, once again, carding a hand through Harry’s black tresses. “However, with this news, I think it might be best if I called my fourth-year snakes to my office. Albus, we are not done speaking about this.” He helped Harry from his chair and made his way towards the door.

“Severus, aren’t you forgetting something?” Snape turned to look at Minerva, seeing a smirk on her face. “Were you not going to take points from Harry for his swearing?” The old witch grinned like a wolf, knowing the Potions Master loathed taking points from his own house.

“Minerva, hasn’t the boy been through enough” He replied dramatically, leaving the smirking woman behind him, he went with Harry, making his way to the dungeons to meet with his snakes.

Chapter Text

Pacing in the Potion Master’s office, Harry contemplated the meeting he was about to have. He was a Slytherin now. According to the Hat, it was where he always should have been, but he couldn’t help but worry that he would once again be the outcast.

At minimum, he’d be close to Snapes… Severus’ Quarters and could stay in the guest… his room if they kicked him out of the dorms. He wouldn’t have to sleep in a closet again. But that is where good little Freaks are supposed to sleep.

He shook that thought from his head and continued to pace. Severus had promised to take care of him. He wouldn’t have adopted him and shown him such a nice room just to take it away, would he?

Harry remembered the many meals he had cooked from Aunt Petunia, being promised that, if he was a good boy, he could have dinner with the family. He would try so hard, but he was never a ‘good boy,’ so he never got to join dinner. The food would be wafted in his face, and he would watch them eat, waiting patiently for his relatives to finish eating so he could clean.

Would this be like that?

“Harry, are you still with me, child?” A hand guided him to a chair, and Harry looked up into black, concerned eyes. “You are nervous about becoming a Slytherin?”

Snape did not bother to pose this as a question; it was quite obvious. Harry had been honest in Dumbledore’s office; he did not have a problem being a Slytherin. Unlike Ron and many other Gryffindors, he did not think the house was evil, but he was worried. He knew Malfoy’s parents were Deatheaters, and there were probably many other kids in Slytherin with parents who supported Voldemort. Would he be safe, or would he wake up with a wand at his throat?

“I’ll be okay, right?” he asked timidly. “I know that Slytherins aren’t evil or dark, but I also know that some of them support Voldemort… will I be okay?”

Severus was silent for a while, what felt like an eternity to Harry, before finally answering.

“You will be perfectly safe, I will see to that. I will not lie to you; some of the student’s parents are supporters or sympathizers to the Dark Lord. But, I will ask you to remember, at this moment they are children, they are not Deatheaters even if their parents are. I know certain members of my house have been vocal when speaking of their family allegiances. Still, most of those children do not understand what those allegiances are, nor do I think they genuinely believe in them. They hear what their parents have told them and feel important and better than others because they are considered ‘pureblood.’ I have found that most students of mine fall out of those behaviors after graduating and coming to the harsh realization that their blood means very little to the larger Wizarding population.”

Harry took in these words. He remembered how Dudley would just repeat whatever his father said, even when he didn’t know what it meant. There was a whole summer when Dudley called everything and everyone a ‘faggot’ because Uncle Vernon had called a waiter at a restaurant that. It was not till later that Harry understood what that word meant, and it likely took Dudley much longer. He never wanted to be called that, he was already too much of a freak, freaky little faggot!

Shaking off that thought, Harry focused on his conversation. “So maybe kids like Malfoy were also just copying their dads? That doesn’t make it better; he's still a git to Muggleborns.”

“Language Harry,” Severus said with a disapproving stare. “However, you are right, it doesn’t. The things said by some people in my house are disgusting. But, if you don’t mind me making a parallel with your own life, you have been called terrible things by your relatives your entire life, and because of this, you have come to believe these falsehoods. My godson has been told his whole life that he is better than everyone else and that using the word ‘mudblood’ is acceptable. I will never excuse those actions, but I can provide an explanation as to why some students behave the way they do.”

Harry pondered this for a while. It made sense that if you grew up a certain way, you’d think that was normal. He had thought it was normal to sleep under the stairs he was six.

He was glad Snape wasn’t defending them or saying what Malfoy did was okay; instead, he was being honest with Harry. It felt strange to have an adult speak so openly with him; he hoped he would grow used to this.

A knock on the door alerted Harry to the arrival of the Slytherins, his new housemates. Severus walked to the door, pausing before opening to look at Harry. He gestured with his hands and took a deep breath and exhaled, reminding Harry to do the same. Then, he opened the door, releasing the snakes.

“Hello, Uncle. What can we… why is Potter here?”

And so it begins, Severus thought himself. He watched as his Godson sneered at Harry, noticing how Harry uncharacteristically shrank back into himself, likely worried about starting a fight with Draco.

“He has been invited, as have the rest of the Slytherin Fourth-years. Please take a seat; we have much to discuss.”

He surveyed his snakes, looking at their reactions to the green-eyed boy already seated. He noticed how Theodore Nott and Blaise Zabini sat down comfortably in the seats beside Harry; he saw how Pansy Parkinson was waiting for Draco to take the seat on Theodore’s left before taking the seat behind him. The remaining, Tracey Davis, Daphne Greengrass, Vincent Crabbe, Gregory Goyle, and Millicent Bulstrode took their places in the remaining seats.

“I have just been informed of a statute in the Hogwarts bylaws that states that any child or ward of a Head of House will automatically be placed in their guardian's house. As I have adopted Mister Potter-Snape yesterday, he is now officially a member of Slytherin House.”

He watched as disbelieve crossed the faces of his young snakes. He had always been kinder to the members of his house then he had been to others. He was known to keep tabs on those that struggled at home; he often would be comforting homesick first-years in the beginning months of school late at night. But becoming a father overnight likely shocked his snakes.

“What the FU…”

“Draco, I would caution you not to finish that sentence.” Severus had expected an outburst like this from his Godson, Draco had always been emotional and was prone to speaking without thinking first. He watched as Draco slumped in his seat, sulking in annoyance before remembering himself and straightening his back once more. He knew Lucius loathed terrible posture.

“Harry is now my son and a member of Slytherin. I expect him to be treated as such. I also hoped you would take it amongst yourselves to go over the covenant of our house with him, though if you would prefer, I can leave that of a prefect?”

The Slytherin Covenant was basically the bylaws for the house. It stressed the importance of house unity and self-preservation, something Harry seemed to be lacking greatly, and was taught to each snake on their first night at Hogwarts. He knew the Fourth-Years would take great pride in teaching these to Harry, as it was usually something the Seventh-Years did, they took it as a badge of honor to instill these lessons into their new housemates.

“No, sir. We would be more than happy to show Potter what it means to be a Slytherin.” Blaise answered. Snape held back a smile; he had assumed that Blaise or Theodore would be the quickest to accept Harry. Unlike Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle, those two were rarely involved in the fights and arguments that took place between the Lions and Snakes. They were likely found in a corner with their nose in a book, much like Miss Granger. Though each child came with a few downsides. Notably, Theodore Nott Sr. being a death eater, and Clarissa Zabini allegedly has murdered all of her husbands. Those, however, were matters for another time.

“Good, now more than ever I will need you to hold tightly to the tenant of our house. Harry becoming a Slytherin will not only be hard for him, but it will also open our house to more scrutiny. There will likely be those who will try to ‘save’ him or something similarly idiotic. When they realize that he does not need saving, it will likely be worse, be on guard. As always, no Slytherin is to walk the halls alone, it isn’t safe.”

A Slytherin walking the halls alone was target practice. It was something every student learned once the hard way, Severus hoped his son Harry wouldn’t have to learn this particular lesson, but, it seemed life was often cruel to the small boy.

“You are all excused. Harry will meet you in the Great Hall; there will likely be an announcement of his change of house and adoption. You may all talk to the members of the house about what I have told you, however, keep it in the house.”

With that, his snakes respectively got up and moved towards the door. “Before you go, I should remind you do not pry; you are not owed an explanation from Harry or me. If I hear you are sticking your nose where it does not belong, you will come to find your weekends filled cleaning cauldrons.”

With shocked looks on their faces, the children quickly left his office, giving Severus a moment of peace to cross another task off his to-do list. Notably, writing to Lucius and Narcissa.

He had hoped to have a bit more time to contact his friends, but with Harry’s change of house, he knew he only had a few hours before Draco wrote his father.

Lucius and Narcissa,

I hope you are both well, as I have some exciting, though shocking, news to share. Recently it came to the attention of some of the Professors at Hogwarts that a student was being abused by their muggle relatives. As we could not allow this to continue, I took the opportunity to adopt said student. I am quite pleased with my new son, though you may be shocked to hear that it is Harry Potter. He has recently been moved into Slytherin House and will be in close quarters with your son; I expect his owl will be arriving only moments after mine.

I do not wish to put your family in danger, but I cannot bear the thought of losing my two most dear companions. I will understand completely if you need to distance yourself from me but know that I will always be here for you and Draco.

       With the greatest care,


Chapter Text

Harry sat, nervously fidgeting, in the Slytherin Common room, taking in the soft green glow from the black lake. The fire in the hearth warmed the room, but much like the rest of the dungeon, a chill clung to the air, though Harry did not find in unpleasant, instead it felt invigorating.

“Like what you see? I’m guessing the Gryffindor common room is bright red, loud, and overheated. We’re a bit more refined down here,” Malfoy said with a condescending air.

Harry thought to answer that, yes, it was nice but decided it might be fun to bait the blonde boy a bit. “Yeah, it’s great down here, but I’ve already been in this common room before, so I knew what to expect.” Maybe one day, he would tell them about using Polyjuice potion to sneak in, but for now, it was fun to watch Malfoy turn red.

“When where you…”

“So, there are rules I need to learn?” He asked, cutting Malfoy off with a smirk while surveying the group of students sitting around him. Malfoy stood to the side of the group, staring at him with narrowed eyes, obviously disgruntled that new addition to his house had cut him off.

Daphne took it upon herself to speak first. “Yes, Harry, there are quite a few rules for our house. Some are things implemented by Snape, things like study groups, mandatory health checks, and bedtimes. But, I believe it may be best to go over the Slytherin Covenant first.”

“Wait, bedtime? You guys have a bedtime? What time is it? How do you get all your work done if you are forced to go to bed early?” Harry thought about how, in Gryffindor, it was not strange to spend every night up till midnight, how he would often be stuck in the common room late at night doing last-minute homework.

“Snape’s big on order,” Blaise said from his seat at Harry’s side. “He sets a bedtime and a study time for every year, no exceptions until you’re seventeen, but even then most students are just so used to the schedule they continue as if they are still on it. As Fourth-years, our lights out is at nine-thirty o’clock, but that isn’t the important part of this discussion. We can go over stuff like that after dinner, but you need to know the Covenant before going into the Great Hall.”

Harry nodded, allowing his housemates to continue. He would deal with the rule later, though he still thought a bedtime sounded absurd.

“The basic part of the Covenant is pretty simple. Slytherins protect their own. You may have been a Gryffindor before, but you are now one of us. We protect you, and you protect us.”

“Gryffindors protect each other too, it’s not just a Slytherin thing,” Harry interjected, feeling the need to defend his past house.

“Not like us,” Malfoy stepped forward slightly, speaking to Harry for the first time since leaving Snape’s office. “We saw you Second Year when the Lions turned their back on you because you're a Parselmouth. We heard this weekend how the Gryffindors kicked you out and didn’t believe you when you said you didn’t enter the Tournament. That’s not how it works here. I don’t like you Potter, but you’re not going to get that here. You say you didn’t do it, we will believe you…" Draco trailed off for a moment, then continued with a devious grin. "Well, some people might not, but at least we will tell everyone we believe you and stand up for you when people call you a liar.” Malfoy went on, passionately talking about his house, his love for it evident in his tone. “We stand together because if we are divided, the other houses will take notice and exploit that. You need to know this; we can’t have you being all ‘Gryffindor’ and going off on us in public. If you have a problem with someone in the house, save it for in the dorms, we don’t fight in public. If Snape catches us, the punishment is pretty severe. Usually, a month of detention with the person you fought with, so you have to clean cauldrons and work out your issues.”

Harry pounder this for a while. It was true; he had never heard of any infighting between Slytherins. In Gryffindor, it was usual for fights to break out in the hall between people who were at odds with each other. He had watched Ron and Hermione do this last year over their pets and had seen it with the Weasley brothers on more than one occasion.

“Okay, so no fighting in public with you, Malfoy, I’ll save that for the dorms. Is that it?” He asked. He noticed Malfoy smirk a bit at his comment and even thought he heard a snort of laughter.

“That’s just the gist.” Theodore or Theo, as he had asked Harry to call him on their walk to the dungeons, continued, “We don’t report things to the professors. If we catch you doing something wrong, we won’t tell, and you will do the same for us. We know you sneak out a lot, so as long as you don’t get caught or hurt, we will turn a blind eye.”

That works, Harry thought. He had a feeling with the Tri-wizard Tournament being forced on him; he would need to spend some time sneaking into the restricted section or an abandoned classroom to practice spells.

As if understanding what Harry was thinking, Pansy took over. “We will want you to succeed in the Tournament as well. When one snake succeeds, we all do, so most likely, everyone in the house will be offering to help you, especially since you’re now Snape’s son. So before you sneak out and lose us points, come to us? If you get caught by another Professor and lose points or get detention, Snape will add on to your punishment, right Draco?”

Pansy turned to the blonde while everyone laughed, even Malfoy, who nodded and turned to Harry to explain. “First-Year, when we had to go into the Forbidden Forest, I also had detention with Snape every night for two weeks. I would clean cauldrons for an hour and then wrote lines, ‘I will think first before putting a plan into action because I am not a Gryffindor.’ I had to write that two-thousand times. He was more annoyed that I got caught though, he’s okay with us being a bit bad every once in a while because he understands that we're kids, but he thinks if we are being a bit naughty, we should be smart enough not to get caught.”

Harry laughed, thinking about how annoyed Snape always was about not catching Harry when he was sneaking around. He knew that the Professor knew about his invisibility cloak, but he did not know about the Marauders Maps, maybe one day, he would tell him, but that wouldn’t be for a while.

“I don’t get caught anymore,” was all he said to the group. “Is that it? Don’t tattle, don’t get caught, and don’t pick fights?”

“For now. We’ll go over more after dinner. Before we go to the Great Hall, let’s show you the dorms.” And with that final statement from Blaise, the boys made their way to the Fourth-Year boys' dorm, and Harry settled into his new room.

Sitting at the Slytherin table, Harry tried to ignore the stares. He purposely sat with his back to the other houses; however, he had come to regret that, as he could feel eye burrowing their way through the back of his skull.

“Your attention, please.” Harry turned to see Dumbledore standing before the lectern on stage on the high table. “I am sure many of you have noticed that a certain member of the school is seated with a different house. I am happy to inform you that Professor Snape has adopted Mr. Potter, and as such, is now placed in Slytherin. I am sure Gryffindor will miss him greatly, and Slytherin is thrilled to welcome a new student into their midst. As for Professor Snape and Mr. Potter-Snape congratulations on finding a family on one and other, I believe I speak for everyone when I say we couldn’t be happy for you both.”

For a moment there was no reaction until slowly the Slytherin table began to applaud. He could not tell if anyone else had joined from the other table, but in his head, he imagined the looks from the Gryffindor table. Harry moved his eyes to look at Severus, feeling a slight panic. The corners of Snape's lips heightened slightly, undetectable to most people, but Harry saw the shadow of a smile. The Professor made the same small hand gesture he had made before in his office, reminding Harry to take a deep breath in and exhale slowly. Harry complied, doing this multiple times before turning his attention back to the table, now filled with food.

He noticed the two small vials, the red as a healing potion and the green as his nutrient potion/appetite stimulant, next to an already filled plate. Severus had told him that he would be getting pre-decided meals for a while. Snape and Madam Pomfrey had informed him that he needed a ‘balanced diet,’ and they worried he’d struggle to get exactly what he needed. He had to eat what was in front of him first, and then if he wanted more, he could choose from anything at the table. Looking at the plates in front of him, he had no issues. A large piece of broiled chicken breast, crispy green beans, sweet potatoes, and a side of yogurt topped with fruit, nuts, and honey. He downed both potions without a word, disregarding the concerned looks on his housemate's faces as they wondered what the potions were for, and ate silently until he felt a hand on his shoulder.

He jerked around, instinctively preparing for a fight, only to be met with the honey-colored eyes of Hermione. Before a word could leave his mouth, he was tugged into the arms of the girl he considered a sister.

“I missed you, Harry. Come to the Library after lunch? Neville and I want to talk to you?” She whispered in his ear, still holding him tightly. Harry tightened his grip, burying his face in the mess of brunette curls, inhaling the lavender scent that clung to the bushy tresses. He still had Hermione and Neville; they hadn’t left him even though he was a Slytherin now. The thought alone almost made him cry. Harry stayed hidden in Hermione’s curls till he knew the tears had retreated from his eyes; he refused to cry in front of his new housemates.

“I’ll be there. I missed you too, Hermione,” he replied, extracting himself from her warm embrace. Hermione looked past him momentarily, making eye contact with Malfoy, her eyes hardened before she smiled at Harry and left the Great Hall.

Harry turned back to his meal, determined to clear his plate, hoping it would make his new guardian proud. He did not know how he would do it, but Harry was determined for Severus to be proud of him. If Harry was going to be Snape’s son ward, he would find a way to be worthy of the title.

Chapter Text

When Harry had finally finished dinner, most of his class had already left the Great Hall. However, as rules dictated Harry could not roam the halls alone, so Blaise had been the one to wait for Harry to finish eating and walk him back down to the dungeons.

“I’m not gonna pry,” The boy said as they walked, finally breaking the slightly uncomfortable silence they had been holding. “But I’m assuming something major had to happen for Snape to adopt you. So, if you wanna talk about it… well, I’m a good listener.”

Harry looked at the dark-skinned Italian skeptically. He hadn’t expected any of the Slytherins to try and be friendly; he had been planning to spend the remaining years just getting by. But, it seemed that at least one of the snakes might be nice. Harry did not think he would ever trust him with his past, he doubted he would ever tell anyone the whole truth, but the offer was nice.

“Thanks… Why are you being nice to me?” He wasn’t used to this kindness, especially not from any of the Slytherins, so Harry was waiting for the shoe to drop. He didn’t even know Blaise; the boy never really spoke in class and, though he was often walking with Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle, he never participated in their bullying. It seemed too good to be true that he could find a friend so soon.

“Well, I don’t really know you, and you don’t know me. I think if you are going to be a Slytherin, you are going to need someone by your side, and that’s not gonna be Draco, at least not for a while. At some point, you should know that he is going to turn into a mother-hen, he has done that with all of us. Even though he’s the youngest…, well actually now you’re the youngest now, he is everyone's big brother. Get ready for him to start re-wrapping your scarfs and scolding you if you forget your gloves. If he thinks you haven’t eaten enough he’ll start piling food on your plate, it’s a bit ridiculous.”

This may have been the most shocking revelation to date; this description didn’t sound like Malfoy, it sounded like Molly Weasley. Harry was looking forward to seeing this side of his old foe, at minimum it should be amusing.

“Anyway, that’s off-topic. Honestly, I thought I might as well give you a chance and try and be friends. You can’t be all that bad if Snape adopted you.” He said all this in a very matter of fact tone. As if it was obvious.

“Oh… okay… so…” Harry tried desperately to think of something to say. His brain immediately went to Quidditch, but he didn’t know if Blaise liked or played Quidditch.

“You know we have a class snake?” Blaise said, breaking Harry from his thoughts. “You can talk to snakes, so it will be really cool to introduce you to Herc, that’s short of Hercules. Each year gets a snake in the first week of school, it’s a time honor tradition, and we keep the snake for the seven years we are at school. Each summer someone takes the snake home with them, last summer it was Pansy. It will be nice having you talk to him, and maybe we could find out more about him.”

“Really? What kind of snake? Who gets to keep him after we graduate?” Harry couldn’t contain his excitement. He knew if he had a snake in Gryffindor, he would be judged, but he had always wanted to get a pet snake. He had thought it would be the perfect companion, someone he could tell everything to without fear that they would tell anyone his secrets.

“Herc is a ball python. Most years either get a ball python, a ladder snake, or a corn snake because they aren’t venomous. Usually, when we reach Seventh-Year we let the snake choice who they want to go with, though everyone usually tries to visit them, I think that’s why they do it, so we are forced to stay connected with our year. At some point during seventh year, everyone sits in a circle, and they place the snake in the center, whoever they slither to takes them home. I have a feeling you will be the one taking Herc home with you.”

The two boys reached the stone wall of the concealed the Slytherin Common room. Stating the password, which was, ironically, Polyjuice, the two entered the fire lit room and took their place on the couch next to the fire.

“Pansy, while we start explaining the rule go get Herc, I can’t wait to see what he says to Harry,” Blaise spoke with a devious grin on his face. “I hope you guys haven’t revealed too many secrets to our beloved snake, now that we have a Parselmouth, nothing will be secret for long.”

“I won’t tell you anything,” Harry said quickly, hoping to keep what little good-will had been shown to him this far. “I promise, I’ll tell Hercules that I don’t want to hear what you have told him. That wouldn’t be fair.”

Everyone laughed as if he had said the funniest thing imaginable. “Potter, don’t be such a Gryffindor.” Malfoy sneered from his place laying on the couch. “You could have held that over our heads for months, but of course, you have to be noble. As it is, I doubt the snake will keep his mouth shut, but you probably will, or at least you’ll try.” He finished speaking with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

“Okay, rules. Most of these are basic, parent-type stuff. Snape can be really strict, but most of his rules are really just about us being healthy.” Daphne took a seat next to Harry, a piece of paper in her hand. “As we said, bedtime is nine-thirty o’clock on weekdays, and weekends it’s up to you. Snape makes no exceptions for this, even when it comes to Quidditch. If he catches you out of bed for anything other than an emergency… well, don’t get caught. Each year has a mandatory study group one day a week, ours is on Friday nights for two hours, seven o’clock to nine o’clock. Snape hosts them in the classroom next to his office, but he set it up like a common room, so it's comfy for us. He comes and sits with us, usually doing his markings, but doesn’t interfere unless we have a question or a fight. However, his first response will always be ‘have you asked your peers,’” She said this in the best Snape impression, gaining a laugh. “So if you are having problems with homework, ask us first. It’s his way of getting us to all play nice. One of his big rules is no skipping meals, we saw that you had a meal plan, you aren’t the only one in the house so don’t worry about that, but when you are off, you will notice that Snape is super strict about diet. We don’t get the junk food that the other houses get except on weekends and holidays. If he notices you aren’t eating at all or just aren’t eating healthy, he puts you on a meal plan for a month.”

Harry thought over all these new rules. “McGonagall never had rules like this. It was basically ‘don’t fight, don’t die, and don’t cause trouble.’”

“Well, that’s what happens when you put all the students with no impulse control into the same house. I doubt she could have gotten any of the Lions to listen even if she did place rules like this on them.” Pansy said, walking down the stairs carrying a snake in both hands.

Harry took in the sight of the beautiful Ivory Ball Python’s startlingly bright white scales and eyes blacker than Snape’s, with blood-red pupils.

“I am sure you can guess who picked a platinum white snake,” Pansy said, giggling as she transferred the snake to Harry’s waiting arms.

“Hello, Hercules. I’m Harry, I just join Slytherin, and I am very pleased to meet you” He spoke clearly, or as clearly as one could hiss, hoping to convey his reverence for the beautiful reptile.

Ah, a young speaker. I have never met a hackling who could speak. I am quite glad to meet you, young one. Your companions are kind but misled, it shall be nice to speak my mind to one who can hear me,” the snake replied, slithering its way up Harry’s arm until he was slung over his neck like a scarf.

“Misled how?”

“They have misnamed me. I have not male, and the name they have given me does not reflect the beauty I possess. It displeases me greatly.”

Harry took in the snake’s word. He wanted to help but didn’t want to offend his housemates. He looked up at the people around him and noticed that many in the common room had gathered around the Fourth-Years, obviously intrigued by Harry’s abilities.

“What wrong, is he okay?” Malfoy said, moving directly in front of Harry to card his hand down the pearlescent white back of the beloved snake. “You need to work on your poker face Potter; you wear your emotions too easily.”

Disregarding the snub from Malfoy, Harry explained. “Well, he is actually a she, and she doesn’t like her name. She says it doesn’t represent how pretty she is, and it displeases her.” He spoke in a small voice, hoping they wouldn’t take offense. They had been with this snake for four years, how dare Harry come in and tell them how to treat their combined familiar.

“Oh, I’m sorry, girl, we didn’t know.” Harry looked up again to see Malfoy talking lovingly to the snake, unashamed as he cooed his apology. “Potter, is there a name she would prefer, or would she like us to choose?”

“I would like you to choose for me; however, I will tell you if the name is distasteful,” The little snake replied, flicking its tongue against Malfoy’s nose as if to she was giving him a kiss.

“She says we can choose, but she wanted veto powers.”

With that, the Fourth-Years went back and forth between names. The serpent had disregarded many of the first options, such as Annabel, Rose, Carina, Katharine, Selena, and Gemma.

“How about Mira?” Crabbe said, surprising everyone by joining the conversation. Harry had barely ever heard him speak before, except for when he and Ron took Polyjuice potion. “Like the star, ‘Mira the Wonderful.’ Hercules was a constellation, so it only makes sense that her name is a star or a constellation. Mira is also a red star, like the red in her eyes; it seems to fit.”

Wait, is Crabbe smart? Harry couldn’t help but think to himself. He had never heard the large boy put more than a few words together in a sentence, but it seemed he had a basic understanding of Astronomy.

“I like that human, he doesn’t speak often, but when he does, it is always worth listening,” the snake replied, furthering Harry’s confusion. “Yes, I wish to be known as Mira the Wonderful, for I am truly wonderful.”

“She likes it,” Harry said, smiling down at the serpent still wrapped around his neck. He would come to terms with Crabbe’s newfound genius at another time.

Harry spent the rest of the evening in the common room with Mira. Each year had decided to bring their snake to Harry, checking to make sure they like their name, were comfortable with their living space, or to see who their favorite person in the year was. Mira stayed with him the entire, staking her claim to the small boy. At times when one of the snakes would ask him to visit, Mira was quick to remind them that Harry was her hatchling, not theirs.

Surrounded by snakes, literally and figuratively, Harry found a small bit of peace. He may not have won over everyone, but he found that it was not going to be too hard to become friends, or at least acquaintances, with the Slytherins; he just had to learn to speak their language too.