Sirius Black was by no means a stupid man. He may not have had the same level of insight that Remus did, but he knew that there was something wrong with his cub. What teenage boy would want to willingly leave his home with his aunt and uncle to live with a stranger he’d just found out an hour ago was innocent of all the crimes he’d been blamed for? It was too soon for Harry to be so attached to him, not that he minded of course, but the whole thing felt too suspicious. Sirius had let it go for the time being, but ever since he’d been on the run, he’d been investigating the things that simply didn’t add up.
Against his own better judgement, he found himself back at Privet Drive, albeit staying out of sight. As much as he wouldn’t have minded a nice pat from Harry, the less people who saw him, the better. His stakeouts at Number 4 told him a more sinister story that Harry’s letters to him had failed to mention. The Muggles were hurting his Godson. His Cub.
When Sirius had seen enough, he slunk away to report his findings to his Submissive back at Grimmauld Place. Remus himself was initially concerned that Harry had not told Dumbledore what was going on, and that the Headmaster must have been gravely misinformed of the going ons within the Dursley household.
Sirius was not so easily fooled. He had a sinking suspicion that Dumbledore knew more than he was letting on, so he devised a plan. That very day he forged a letter to Dumbledore as Harry, using past assignments and essays from the boy that Remus had saved, alerting Dumbledore to the fact that Harry’s relatives were abusing him, and that he wished to leave and go anyplace that wasn’t with them. The response Dumbledore had sent back was chilling to say the least.
Harry, my dear boy,
I do apologize for all of your family troubles. You of course, must realize that these are problems which everyone faces. And at times, we must make sacrifices for the Greater Good. I know that you of all people will understand why you must stay with the Dursleys. It is imperative that you return to their home every summer, Harry. They are, after all, the only true family you have.
Remus had been confused as to why Dumbledore would want to leave Harry in such a volatile household when it was clear he was being abused. Sirius had a sinking feeling it had to do with his Cub’s creature inheritance, which was to occur any day now, and his instincts had never proved wrong before.
“Remus?” He called, straightening up as he glanced at his Submissive mate. “We’re going to get Harry. Right now.” It was an order, and left no room for debate, not that Remus would have anyway. Sirius was the Dominant, and while Remus’s opinions mattered a great deal, ultimately any decision was left up to Sirius. And this was a matter that was not to be argued over.
Remus simply nodded, reminding Sirius to get into his dog form before apparating them both to Number 4, Privet Drive.
Harry Potter was in a great deal of pain. More so than usual, at least. For the past few days he had been feeling increasingly warmer, so much so that he thought he was literally on fire. When he had tried to explain this to the Dursleys, however, they’d only given him even more chores, complaining about how lazy he was and how he couldn’t do anything right. So despite his pain, Harry had worked himself to the bone, assuming that he’d simply caught a fever or something mundane enough to recover from in a few days' time, even with his incredible workload of chores. But even The Boy Who Lived had a certain physical limit.
He had woken up that morning to searing, red hot pain that made his vision blurry and his head feel dizzy. Not caring what sort of punishment he received at this point, Harry curled up in his bed, feeling like death warmed over by about three hundred degrees.
“BOY?! WHERE’S BREAKFAST!” The loudness of his uncle’s voice made Harry flinch, whimpering at the sound that only made him feel even more in pain than he was originally.
Harry tried his hardest to respond that today of all days, he just couldn’t get it done. He could barely move, after all. But only small whimpers came out as he laid there, curled up and in such horrible pain.
The lack of an answer did him no good, and Vernon Dursley burst into the room only seconds later. At the sight of his nephew still seemingly asleep, his own face grew red, and he went over, shaking the boy like a ragdoll to try to get him to wake up. “BOY! QUIT BEING LAZY AND GET THE HELL UP! NOW!”
It was at that exact moment that Harry burst into flames.
Severus Snape was with his godson, Draco Malfoy, when the incident occurred. Draco had been spending a fair amount of time at Severus’s house over the summer, and given that Draco was his godson, Severus couldn’t find himself minding too terribly at all. Besides, the boy was soon to come into his creature inheritance, and Severus would have been lying if he had said he was not interested in learning what Draco’s creature inheritance would be. Everyone would always guess, but really, no one could know what kind of creature they’d inherited until they came into their inheritance. During the inheritance claim, they would also learn who their mates were, if any.
Severus himself was a rare exception. He had come into his creature inheritance at fourteen, as everyone did, but had not been shown or pulled towards his mates at the time of his inheritance, which meant his mates either weren’t in existence yet, or had not yet come into their inheritance. Judging by just how long he had waited for them, Severus was positive that they would be a great deal younger than him, which was not necessarily something he had planned for, but then, getting a mate wasn’t like dating someone or even marrying. Mating was for life,
“Draconis, please don’t torment my tapestry,” Severus sighed, glancing at the boy with a resigned look that acknowledged Draco probably wouldn’t listen to him at all. “Blasting my ancestors with petty spells won’t get you any favors from them, you know.“
“Oh please. Your great grandmother mocked my outfit this morning, she deserves to burn,” was Draco’s reply.
Severus rolled his eyes, about to go back to pouring over his Potions book when a sharp cry had him looking up. “Draco?” He called. “Draco!”
Severus was on his knees next to the boy in an instant, watching him clutch at his head before squirming around on the ground in obvious pain. Draco was coming into his creature inheritance.
Something inside Severus came alive, and there was an instantaneous need to protect the younger boy. Not caring to resist, Severus quickly scooped the blonde in his arms, not willing to let anyone touch his…
Switch, his brain was quick to supply him with. An odd choice for a mate, but Severus hardly minded. “Shhh...little one,” he murmured, his hydra resonating with the whimpering, wriggling creature in his arms.
“Dominant,” Draco whimpered out, clinging to Severus’s neck like a lifeline.
“Yes, little Switch,” Severus replied. The pull to him was strong, but something else was pulling him. Instinctually, Severus knew his Submissive had come into his creature inheritance as well. That was not what had him so on edge. What had him wanting to tear the room apart so he could protect his Submissive was the fact that he could feel that the young creature was in danger.
Draco seemed to be able to sense it too, because he clawed at Severus’s chest, leaving little claw marks as he yowled in panic. A kneazle, of course. Because what else could Draco have possibly been?
“I know, Draco. He’s in trouble, I can feel it. Just hold on. I’ll see if I can communicate with him...he feels so afraid.”
The kneazle wriggled again, seeming to want to very badly take off to go find their hurt Submissive, but Severus gripped him more tightly, and closed his eyes to try and communicate with the small creature.
The pain was blinding and white hot as Severus pushed his way into the Submissive’s mind. Likely a Phoenix or dragon, with this much heat.
“Little one?” He called out to the embers and flames. “Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you, I promise.”
From the depths, Severus could see a creature lying on the ground. A small one with wings and gorgeous feathers. Phoenix Submissive, his mind supplied him, and Severus rushed over, forcing himself to stay in his human form for the time being. The Submissive seemed young and the hydra was very large and protective. He did not want to frighten the small Submissive on their first meeting.
“There there now. You’re alright. I’m going to help you, little one,” Severus cooed as he softly ran a hand over the delicate feathers.
“Hurts...Submissive hurts…” the Phoenix whimpered. “Wasn’t supposed to hurt this much...”
“I know, little one, something is very wrong,” Severus agreed, gently plucking the little creature off the ground to hold in his arms. “Where is your human self? Can you tell me where to find him?
“Bad home….bad people….needs Dominant…” the Phoenix sounded so weak, and Severus shushed it.
“I will be there little one, but you feel so far away from me. I’ll need more information to be able to find you. Do you have an address? A name? Anything I can use to help you?”
“Submissive...name...Harry Potter…” And that is when the Phoenix bursts into flames.