Author: WinterRepublic PM
You know what they say about the quiet ones. They oft tend to be the most dangerous of the crew. There was always something a little off about Harry. He never spoke a word. 'Just quiet' they said. Speech is such a corruptive tool...Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Mystery - Harry P. & Severus S. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 13,749 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 36 - Follows: 82 - Updated: 05-24-09 - Published: 07-29-08 - id: 4432691
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: If JKR knew what I was doing with her characters, she'd smash my laptop and run over it thousands of times with a car before pouring tea all over it and laughing as it smoked in its untimely demise…
Title: Silent Witness
Art: Not at the moment, no.
Warnings: Slash, extreme child abuse, torture, character death, trauma (recovery issues):: If any of this offends you, please DO NOT read this fic. If you continue ahead, I will not be responsible for your feelings or if you find anything offensive. I WILL NOT apologize to idiots who flame me because they don't read the warnings.
Summary: You know what they say about the quiet ones. They oft tend to be the most dangerous of the crew. There was always something a little off about Harry. Insanity, they said. He knew all of their secrets. He knew everything that would happen. He knew what would happen even when they didn't know themselves…and he never spoke a word.
One: I know Something You Don't Know
Heavy footsteps were heard making their way up the stairs inside the house of Privet Drive. A strange dragging noise accompanied the steps It sounded surreally close to that of a body being dragged across the floor. It couldn't be that, could it? No, this house was normal. Perhaps a bit too normal. The steps came to a stop outside the plain white wallpaper of the hallway. Behind this paper, was a door.
This door was average sized, but that's where the normal ended. Along the opposite edge from where the hinges were, hung large padlocks. Seven to be exact. Chains crisscrossed all along the front of the door, locks of every kind hanging from where the lines connected. The door, once a pristine white, was lined with age and wear beyond it's years. The edges were frayed and splintered, leaving no room to slip a hand underneath. A small flap was located at the bottom. Long enough for a bowel or small plate to barely fit through.
Inside this room was hardly a thing; a cot, sheet, pillow, lamp, small wardrobe and a window. A small shelf was located on the wall opposite the bed, which was tucked away in a corner. The wardrobe was located right next to the door and it hung slightly open to show the sparse clothing inside. The lamp, long ago broken, sat in the corner next to the bed. The room, extremely dark; the window bricked up. Underneath the window was a makeshift cage. The only incriminating evidence that would lead someone to believe an animal once lived inside was the midnight black feathers and specks of dried blood.
On the bed lay a small nest of spider webs and snake scales. A slithered trail of dark brown started in the cobweb nest and ended somewhere under the bed. There was no trace of a serpent anywhere, only soft hissing echoing in the empty room. A small comfort in a non-comforting hole.
Locks and chains clanked and grated as they were undone and the door flung open. There, the silhouette of a man stood. He was portly with a head full of blonde, graying hair. His arms, though meaty, had enough muscle to manhandle the small burden in his arms. At his feet lay the small burden. It was so small that laying flat as it was, it almost blended in with the outline of the floor. The man, reached down and grabbed the burden, a boy no bigger than an average seven year old, and tossed him inside.
The body met the floor with a crack. The man shut the door just as quickly as he opened it and the sound of the locks and chains being redone could be heard. The boy moved not a whit as he became intimately acquainted with the floor of his bedroom again. Blood pooled underneath his body. It was hard to tell where it was coming from as it had already soaked through the shirt on the boy. Pants weren't even required when one was so small.
Soft hissing once again echoed through the room, louder this time. A slender snake, about the size of a man's length in shoulders and arms, slithered from beneath the bed. The trail it made was bright red, the sticky substance leaking from a harsh line drawn on its back. The white scales shimmered softly as it made it's way to the unmoving lump on the floor.
Winding in the raven locks, the snake made its way across the expanse of body. As the snake slithered along, small cuts began to stitch close leaving nothing more than unmarred, pale flesh. The snake gently rested its head on the floor beneath one thin hand. It took only moments before the hand began to slowly stroke the cool scaly head.
Vernon was not a happy man.
If it weren't for that old man, who looked like he should have died several decades back, he'd never have taken in that freak of a nephew. Despite all of his misgivings, he was assured that nothing untoward would happen until the day they came to get him, but no, nothing happened as he said it would. Nothing happened like the note pinned to the baby said it would. Vernon was so angry the first time he saw this 'magic' happen. He nearly carved up the babe with the very pin used to hold the note in place. Throwing it into the cupboard under the stairs, he thought that his troubles were over.
The little runt was found in the nursery the next morning. Vernon was so angry he beat the child black and blue. He threw the child under the stairs, locked the door and threw away the key. As it grew older, more strange things began to happen. Petunia taught the boy never to say a word, and Vernon, being the man that he was, only backed the claim with powerful hits. Then it happened. Birds! Birds of all kinds began to accumulate in the trees near the house. Petunia even refused to go weed the garden in fear of all the snakes and cats gathering there. The boy didn't even say anything. Vernon had beat the child near death. The magic had to be gone by then, yes?
The next day, the boy was as good as new. Vernon beat him within another inch of his life, snapping a few bones for good measure. The boy was fine the next day. He shipped the boy off to St. Brutus's only to have the wretched boy sent back, with grades far beyond measure to boot! Vernon stabbed him when he walked through the door. There was no sign of a wound the next morning. In a sudden thought, they institutionalized the boy. He was sent back saying that he should be in college with the knowledge he possessed. Vernon slashed his throat. The next morning, a line blending in with the boy's skin, was the only evidence to the matter.
Last night, Vernon throttled the boy with more force than he ought to. The boy had stopped moving. He never cried out, so that made his task easier, but this time, he may have finally done it. He found his nephew with not even a scratch the next morning. Long trails of dried blood led to the boy, under the bed, and back. Vernon tipped the wardrobe on him. He'd finally had it with the little cretin and done off with him.
A screech from below had Vernon locking up the door real quick, pulling down the wall paper to cover the door. He marched down the stairs, stopping halfway, staring at the people in the doorway. One was a severe looking woman, the other, a pale man with black hair to his shoulders. Both were tall and scary in their own right. They both wore flowing… robes. People he thought he'd never have to see again.
No. Vernon was not a happy man.
Petunia stood back in the family room, holding the spatula she was cooking with out in front of herself like a weapon. She had Dudley protectively behind her. Vernon growled.
"What do you want?!"
"We're here for Mr. Potter, there." the sever woman said, slight annoyance tainting her voice.
The tall black haired man just sneered. He mumbled something that could be interpreted into 'disgusting boy', but Vernon couldn't be sure.
"That's not Potter. That's my son."
Shock was written plainly on both faces. The severe looking woman placed a hand over her bosom and the man just looked on, incredulously. Disgust was in both gazes, though, relief was apparent in the woman's. The man recovered first.
"Where's Potter, Dursley?"
Vernon narrowed his eyes. Petunia attempted to cover Dudley from sight and screeched, "Who are you and what do you want with that wretched boy?"
"I am Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Minerva McGonagall and this is Potions Master Severus Snape, a teacher at the institute." McGonagall recited.
"We're here to give that brat his letter." Severus snapped. He really didn't want to be in this muggle house longer than he needed to be. Potter had already ruined his dreadful summer by being spoiled. He didn't need it to get worse by having the little brat's family refusing to let him be seen. It was a lie, they were really here to check on the boy, but no one really had to tell the Dursleys that. It was none of their business anyway.
It did strike him as odd the way Petunia referred to her nephew. It also seemed that while the family didn't want them to see Potter, for the sake of not being seen, they didn't want him to be seen for reasons still unknown. They were showing signs of something akin to fear. His spy skills certainly came in handy at the most strange of times.
It was said so quietly that if Severus had not been listening for an answer, he'd have missed it. Since Minerva was the closest to where the answer came, she heard it as well. It came from the portly boy standing behind his mother.
"What?" Minerva asked, lost. Both parents talked as if Potter was alive and here their son was, saying that he was dead.
Vernon's eye twitched.
Severus Snape wasn't a spy for nothing. He rewound the events in his head, starting from when they first arrived to the more than normal home. Birds. Birds of every species around decorated the trees nearby as well as the roof of the house. They all situated on a certain area of the roof, some spilling onto a jutting piece of wood which probably at one point would have been a window box. Then there were snakes. Hissing could be heard from the flower gardens around the front and sides of the house. Snakes were partly visible in the bushes as well if one knew how to look. Most of the snakes lay in a knotted mass below the place where the birds spilled over.
Snape's eyes glared up the staircase. Cats. Felines of every size, color and race shacked up on the Dursley's front porch. They sat upon the trashcan out in front and the railings. Magical cats of every caliber melted in and out of shadows, their eyes glowing from beneath the porch steps and bushes. It was strange. None of the animals attacked one another. Birds situated on shoulder of cats, snakes wound loosely on necks of birds, sitting quietly on the window sill outside. This even disturbed Minerva and she was a cat animagus.
"If he's dead," Snape began, "then you wouldn't mind showing me his room. You know, to pick up a few souvenirs for the Headmaster to confirm this and all."
Vernon visibly paled, "N-No… that's personal…"
Petunia swallowed thickly before she put on her front and brought tears to her eyes. She, with her husband, led Minerva into the kitchen to tell her their made-up sob story. Perhaps they would have taken him as well if he looked just as heartbroken as McGonagall.
He turned his attentions back to the rest of the house. All of it looked too normal to be incriminating. Then again, the normal that's too normal is the thing that isn't normal at all. He noticed the boy…Dudley was still there looking at him curiously.
"Did you know him? I didn't know him. Mum said he died when he was really small. Were you really gonna teach him…m-magic?"
Severus beat down the urge to roll his eyes and say something biting to the boy. Instead, he opted for a way to get some information, "Yes. I was friends with his mother."
One stray thought rolled around his head constantly. This boy, Dudley, didn't know his cousin existed. Apparently, Potter was dead since the beginning. Good riddance, Snape snorted.
Dudley pointed to the cupboard under the steps. "He used to sleep there, you know."
"Do you mind if I take a look?" Being nice to muggles was leaving a really bad taste in Severus's mouth.
"No." Dudley shook his head.
Snape eyed the door warily. He stepped up to the door that somehow felt oppressing to his senses. This couldn't really be a room, could it? Severus took a silent deep breath opened the door, and gagged. The room was covered in spiders that scattered the minute he opened the door. The room slowly gained color as they retreated to every corner, hiding until the door closed again. A familiar blue baby blanket bled into life, the spiders crawling beneath and into the folded crevices of the blanket.
Along the back wall, pictures, children-drawn pictures, hung down, held in place by a series of connected spider webs. Childish handwriting marked the floor boards closest to the back wall. The back wall looked like it a child had repeatedly scraped a word over and over again into it. If Snape looked closer, he could see fingernails splintering out of the bloody word. It spelled out the word, quite frighteningly clear: 'S-A-N-C-T-U-A-R-I-I' Blood splatters that were long ago faded into the walls, covered almost every inch of the room. Fresher blood was quickly being covered by the spiders' intricate webs.
Severus shut the door quickly. In his head, his own childhood coward back, no match for this. Behind him, Dudley looked curious. "Dad says that Harry died because he used to do such strange things. Said the spiders killed him. They put all his stuff in my second bedroom and locked it up."
Severus would have smiled if he was the type to do so.
Dudley nodded, "It's upstairs. There's only a wall there now."
"Can I see it?" Stupid child.
"Yeah, sure. Since it's only a wall, I don't see why we can't."
Dudley led Snape upstairs and down to the end of the hallway where the light didn't reach. He was right. It was only a wall. Severus reached forward and pushed on the 'wall.' The rustling beneath his hand gave way and he immediately balled it into a fist, ripping the paper away. The paper came down to reveal a door covered in padlocks and chains.
Behind him, Dudley was shaking now. Why, this wasn't a wall at all! Is this why his father had forbid him to enter this end of the hall? Is this really where his cousin slept? Was he really alive? His parents wouldn't lie, right…?
Footsteps were heard rushing upstairs from the kitchen. Minerva could be heard shouting off stunning spells. One thump could be heard and continued footsteps towards and up the stairs could be heard.
Vernon came up the stairs with a purpling face, "GET OUT OF MY HOUSE YOU FREAK!"
In the next instant, Vernon was trying to wrestle his way out of magical binds. Snape pointed his wand at the door, "It seems something worth hiding is in here. Is this where you're keeping Potter?"
Minerva gasped, "Severus, you don't think…"
It took a total of five minutes for the quick unlocking spell to decipher through all of the locks; a total of five minutes that nearly drove the two magical folk into insanity with worry and fear.
Snape pushed on the door slightly, a soft click the only sound giving way that it had opened at all. Behind the spy, Minerva could be heard choking. The room smelled of rot and decay, like dead animals were rotting away; dead animals or…a human body. Severus cast a 'lumos' and just as quickly put it out. On the floor lay a painfully thin boy no older than seven. Severus deduced this to be Potter, so apparently the boy was not seven in actuality.
Stains cover the room from the ceiling to the floor. Broken toys lay scattered in the corner covered in what looked like the remains of a bird. Childish writing covered the walls of this room as well. None of the words could be made out except a few. Words that made Severus' insides freeze with fear.
Soft hissing, that could be interpreted into a lullaby, could be heard in the silent room. Snape approached the boy cautiously, checking his vitals. A faint heartbeat could be heard, but they were few and far in between. Severus shifted so that he would be able to pick up the boy, but changed his mind seconds later. He was too afraid of breaking the poor boy, not that he'd admit this out loud.
The hissed lullaby tapered off, the white snake slithering out from beneath the bed. The body of the slender snake came to rest on top of the boy's hip, its head beneath one thin hand. It took only moments before the hand began to stroke the smooth scaly head…