Severus woke with a start, his chest heaving deeply as his breaths came in heavily. He could feel a weird tugging sensation in his chest, foreign to that one that would usually take him to his demise at the feet of his master. He quickly tugged the blanket off the top of him, and he quickly and quietly tugged clothes over his head, in order to not wake up his lover, who was still restfully sleeping. He snatched the wand from under his pillow, and focused on the pull he felt beneath his skin, quickly disapperating from his room toward the pull. Severus landed on shaky grounds in front of-
‘Where am I?’ he thought, staring at the rows of identical houses that sat upon a street. The night was eerily quiet, apart from small cries he heard from the house he appeared upon. With a quick glance to find a street name, he saw a sign labelled ‘Privet Drive’, and the number ‘4’ on the letterbox of the house in front of him.
‘4 Privet Drive, what am I doing here? I don’t even know where I am.’ he thought bemusedly. Severus slowly made his way to the front door, and made his way inside the house when he felt the door was left unlocked. Closing his eyes, he focused on the pull, putting aside any noises or smells that flooded his senses. He stepped forward lightly, as to not make any noise, with his still closed and focused on the tugging force. He ended in front of a small door centered under the stairs, locked with numerous padlocks. With a quick swish of his wand, Severus slowly opened the door, to face a small boy, with a sock in his mouth to muffle his cries and tears running down his face.
Severus’s eyes widened and his face paled at the poorly state of this young boy. He slowly and quietly fell to his knees and reached out his hand to the young boy’s shoulder, recoiling as the boy flinched at his touch.
“Hey, hey, it’s ok. I’m not going to hurt you. I promise. Are you ok?” Severus asked quietly, not wanting to wake any other people in the house. The young boy wiped the tears from his cheeks, and took the sock from his mouth.
“I’m fi-fine sir.” The young boy whispered quietly, trying to back himself further into the small cupboard. As the young boy moved further back, he whimpered as the movement aggravated his wounds. Severus could see small puddles of blood on the thin blanket the boy was lying on, and was quick to stop his movements.
“No, it’s ok. Don’t move. Lie back down and I can fix your wounds. I’m not going to hurt you. Can you tell me your name?” Severus spoke quickly, and relaxed as the boy stopped moving further back, and began to lie down again.
“My-my name? Whi-which one?” The boy stuttered softly as he began to lay back down.
“Which one? How many names do you have?” Severus responded confusedly. “I need to take your clothes off so I can fix your wounds, is that ok?” he added quietly.
The little boy flinched at the thought of taking his clothes off, but nodded slowly before he started speaking. “Well, my aunt and uncle and my cousin ca-call me freak or boy, but-but sometimes the nice teachers at my school tell me that my name is Harry. Harry Potter, I fink.” Harry spoke, quietly, eyes lost in his thoughts.
Severus was stunned at what the little boy had said. ‘Harry Potter? But, it can’t be! Albus told me he was fine, living in luxury, like the pampered prince he was!’ He thought. His mind whirled at a furious rate, until he realised that the tugging feeling he had previously felt was the Vow he had made to Albus to protect Harry. It had brought him all the way here, to ensure he would help protect Harry.
What would Remus think? He would kill Dumbledore for having left him here! There was no way Dumbledore would have left this little boy on the doorsteps of a muggle family, without checking up on him every now and then!
“O-ok Harry. I’m going to take your top off now, is that ok?” Severus said, reaching for the hem of the oversized shirt Harry was wearing. Harry winced at the movement of his shirt upon his body. Severus sighed at the darkness, and pulled his wand out of his holster, and cast a small lumos to light the room.
Harry looked up in amazement at the light that formed on the ceiling of the room, and looked up at Severus with wonder in his eyes. Severus softened his gaze at the little boy, and, to keep him entertained, also charmed a small teddy he found in the corner of the cupboard to jump up and down. Harry let out a little giggle, which he quickly covered with his hands, lest his aunt or uncle woke up.
“They won’t hear you Harry. It’s ok. Do you like my magic?” Severus asked, pointing to the teddy that was bouncing on the small shelves on the wall. Harry nodded with a small smile, before speaking softly.
“I fink I’ve done some magic before, bu-but I don’t know how I did it. I wish I did, because I could stop doing it. My aunt and uncle weally don’t like me doing my magic.” Harry added with a sad sigh.
“Harry, do you know your aunt’s real name?” Severus inquired, his wand running across the small bruises on Harry’s chest. He nodded back, replying “Petchu-Petunia, I fink.”
Severus’s wand abruptly stopped mid air as he tried to reign in his anger. ‘Petunia?! Lily’s sister? How could Dumbledore have left Harry to someone as rude and disgusting as her! So she was the miserable cow who was responsible for putting this little boy in a cupboard? Remus told me how she treated Lily, the jealous piece of trash!’
With a sharp inhale and exhale, Severus continued healing the small bruises, before nudging Harry onto his stomach to see his back.
‘What else is Dumbledore lying about?’ Severus thought.
“C’mon Harry, let me see your back.” He said, helping the boy onto his stomach, as he started to whimper again at the small movements. Severus removed the rest of Harry’s shirt off of his back, and a gasp left his mouth as he stared at the large cuts and welts that littered his back.
“Oh, Harry! Who did this to you?” Severus gasped in shock.
“M’ uncle. I acci-accidentawy spilt water on the floor when I was cleaning the dishes after dinner.”
“Harry, do you cook dinner often?” Severus asked, praying for the answer he was hoping for.
“I cook dinner all the nights, but sometimes my aunt does it instead, if I can’t move when uncle hurts me, or if I’ve been naughty and i have to stay in my cupboard.” Harry replied, picking at the fraying hem of his bed sheet.
“What else do you do around the house?” Severus asked, sewing together a particularly deep cut with ease.
“Um, well I pick up the weeds sometimes, I fold the cloves, sometimes I have to put the gwocewies away, and yesterday I vacuumed for the first time.” Harry spoke softly.
“Harry, if I could take you away from here, would you come? I could take you to another family with lots of little children, or you could even come and stay with me if you wanted to. But you don’t have to. It’s up to you.” Severus asked Harry as he finished closing the last of the gashes on his back.
Severus sat back on his knees, and helped Harry up to his feet in the small cupboard. Harry’s eyes widened when he realised that the pain he previously felt was no more, and he had felt better than he had in ages. Without a second thought, Harry flung his arms around Severus’s neck in a quick hug, and then pulled back, adjusting the too-big glasses on his face nervously. Severus gave him a quick smile, before speaking to him.
“Is that a yes? Would you like to stay with another family or with me? My… friend at home knows who you are. He would also love to have you.” Severus said. Harry responded ‘With you!” almost immediately, and smiled sheepishly at his brashness. Severus smiled at Harry, and conjured a small trunk to put Harry’s belongings in.
“Ok, I need you to put everything that is yours in this trunk, so I can take it with us.” Severus spoke, gesturing to the trunk he had conjured. Harry stood up and placed the few shirts and pants that were resting on the bottom shelf.
“What’s your friend’s name?” Harry asked quietly.
“His name is Remus.”
“Uncle Moony?!” Harry almost squealed.
“Yes, he did tell me that you used to call him that. How do you still remember his name?” Severus asked Harry with wide eyes, shocked at his little memory.
“I remember his name. I fink my dad used to call him that. Sometimes I remember fings from when I used to have my own room, and not live in this cupboard.” Harry added with a sad sigh.
“Harry, can I ask you a question?” Severus asked, gently. Harry nodded, and Severus continued. “Do your aunt and uncle hurt you like this very often?”, trying to tread lightly on the subject.
Harry picked up the teddy that was previously charmed, but now lay still on the shelf, as he pondered his answer.
“What’s your name?” Harry asked instead, dodging the answer to Severus’s previous question. Severus sighed dejectedly, already having a feeling that Harry would be nervous about answering those questions.
“If I answer you, will you answer me?” Severus retorted, with a slither of hope in his voice. When Harry nodded for the second time, he spoke. “My name is Severus, but you can call me Sev if you like.”
“Ok, Sev.” Harry said, sitting back down in the middle of the cupboard, Severus still on his knees in the door frame. With a pointed look and a raised eyebrow, Harry began to answer the question previously asked to him.
“I’m not supposed to say…” he started nervously, fiddling with the buttons on the teddy’s stomach. Severus reached out and placed his hand on top of Harry’s, revelling in the fact that Harry no longer flinched from his touch.
“I’ve already told you Harry, I’m not going to hurt you or get you in trouble. Once we’ve finished here, I’ll take you away and you won’t have to come back here again. I promise.”
Harry pushes his glasses further up his nose, and started to recall his childhood.
“Sometimes they hurt me when I do fings wrong or if I make a mess when cooking or cleaning. Aunt Petunia only hits me or frows me into my cupboard, but Uncle Vernon…” Harry started, shivering as he thought about his Uncle’s punishments. “Uncle Vernon uses his belt or just his hand on me when I’ve been a very bad boy, like when I accidentally frew Dudley to the wall when he was trying to hit me. I don’t know how I did that, I didn’t even touch- wait! Do you think I did magics like you?!” Harry squealed, to the amusement of the older man.
“Yes, you may have had some bouts of accidental magic. But Harry, why does your Uncle Vernon hurt you? What makes you a bad boy?” Severus asked, bringing the conversation back to the topic.
“Well Sev, bad boys and freaks need to be punished.” Harry retorted sarcastically, as if saying ‘Duh, don’t you know?’
“Harry, I need you to listen to me. What your Aunt and Uncle do to punish you is very wrong. They shouldn’t hurt or touch you at all. If you’re sure you want to stay with me, I want you to know that I’d never hurt you like that, ok?” Severus asked comfortingly.
“Weally? But- what if I do something wrong?” Harry asked timidly. Severus let out a small sigh, and rested a hand on Harry’s shoulder, the other hand caressing his cheek.
“Harry, if you did something wrong, then we will talk about it and I’ll help you so that you don’t do it again. It isn’t right to hurt you like that. Now, let’s pack everything up and we’ll get you out of here, how does that sound?” Severus asked, ruffling Harry’s hair.
“Sounds great! I can’t wait to see where you live Sev!” He proclaimed, knocking his glasses off in the process. He scrambled around to find his glasses, and placed them back onto his face, and reached for Severus’s hand as they made their way out of Harry’s cupboard.
“We’re going to have to get you new clothes, you know?” Severus asked Harry, to which he nodded contentedly.
The pair made their way to the front door, where Severus quickly stopped, pulling Harry back to his side, who had kept on walking.
“Sorry, Harry. I just want to quickly check something.” Severus spoke, pulling out his want to reveal the wards around the house.
As he expected, there were no wards present, not even the blood wards that Dumbledore had promised were there. Severus was almost fuming.
“Well, let’s get going then, Harry.” Severus said, picking up the trunk and leaving the house, hand in hand.
Remus was going to freak out when he opened his front door to see his lover with a small child on his hip.
And Severus would be surprised if Dumbledore would be alive at the end of the week, already predicting how Remus would react to this news.