Alright, so this is my first ever Harry Potter fic. :) I have always been a fan of the books and movies, so the fanfiction for it was just the next step. This ended sooner than I originally planned, because I want to see what you all think. It is a complete work, so don't freak out. But I would be willing to continue it further in more of a follow up, than a sequel.
Warnings: This is an abuse reveal fic. It contains self-harm and physical abuse. Non-graphic (as in no blood and intense descriptions of actions) May trigger for some.
Don't let anyone be a victim of abuse, yourself included.
I'm focusing mainly on reveal and hurt/comfort, not details and logistics, so:
*Minerva McGonagall is Headmistress
*Snape is Potions Master
*Harry turned 18 before the year started up again
*Witches and wizards still lose the trace at 17, but since wizards live longer than muggles (my thoughts, don't know if it's canon or not), they can still be considered underage for a lot of things until about 25. Can still get jobs and stuff, but legally they are still underage.
Hope this will clear things up a bit.
You Can Cry
The war was over. They had won. Things were rebuilding, starting fresh. The trio and all others who missed their last year because of the war were back for one last time. It was finally going to be a mostly normal year.
And it only took four days for Harry to get detention. Well, Harry thought as he trudged along down the dungeon hallway, this happens every year, so I guess this should be classified as normal. So glad I saved him so I can have detention. Harry didn't actually regret saving Snape; he was just not in a great mood. The man was a hero and had saved Harry's life a number of times. Not to mention, Harry was a pretty decent person who didn't generally like seeing people suffer and die. Must be one of his 'quirks'.
So, to keep with tradition, he didn't argue when Snape yelled at him ten minutes into class and took ten points for 'his failure to pay attention or complete the simplest tasks' and then gave him detention when he later dropped his quill on the floor and 'caused a great disturbance in his classroom'. Harry couldn't deny the fact that he hadn't been paying attention. Summer had been...hard.
For some crazed reason, he had had it kindly 'suggested' to him that he spend one final summer with his beloved aunt and uncle before moving on up into the 'adult world'. He knew why he had been booted back to Number 4 Privet Drive. Since the defeat of Voldemort and his subsequent growing fan-base, his childhood became a major facet of interest for the general public. And, to make certain that no queries were made as to the Ministry's possible negligence of the wizarding world's 'Savior' in his younger years, Harry had to make a very public display of happily going back 'home' to spend time with his 'loving family' that he had 'missed so very much'.
Bull. Harry was almost afraid they were going to put him under Imperius to make it seem more sincere, but since reporters only see what they want to see, they bought it. Harry Potter spent a relaxing summer in the muggle world with his family. That's what the wizarding world was thinking while Harry was busy making bets with himself how long it would take before they got back to their old routine.
The answer? Till supper time. Extra strong wards had been placed in a twenty foot radius around the house to prevent any magic from being performed within them or within two miles of the property itself. There were still Death Eaters out there, after all. And with him being exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, and magically from such an exciting year, Harry was pretty much screwed. Once dear Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon found out and got past their initial fear of him, well, it was just icing on the cake. Dudley had changed significantly. In fact, he was heading off to some muggle college far away. He left early so he could get settled in. A few months early, but it was all the way in America. Didn't matter why though. Harry's only sort-of friend in the muggle world was far far away. Well, at least he got to get reacquainted with his cupboard again for a little bit. It was only for the first few nights, but it felt more like home than anything else.
So, add little to no food every few days, nightmares that kept him up nearly every night, a very frustrated (and hungry) Vernon, and an always vicious Petunia, and Harry not focusing in class is the best a teacher could hope for. Not that anyone would ever find out about what was making him such a 'lazy and incompetent fool'. Let the rumor mill roll with that one. He was afraid that when he had begun subconsciously fiddling with his shirt sleeve that Snape had seen something. Something he shouldn't have, despite his many glamours. But the black glance was gone as quickly as it had appeared, and not thirty seconds later, Harry had gotten detention.
He was once again pulling down on the sleeve as he neared the very familiar door. Harry knocked and waited for the ominous, 'Enter!' that always echoed from somewhere in the far back. The dungeons were as cozy as ever and filled with plenty of cauldrons for him to scrub. He knew the drill. So, without thinking, he rolled up his shirt sleeves and went to work on the cast iron.
Due to his head being deep within a tipped over pot, he did not hear the approaching footsteps.
"Potter. Making assumptions. As always." Harry rolled his eyes, but pulled out and gave the man an exasperated look.
"Well, was I wrong, Sir?" Snape sneered at him, but there was something else in his eyes that Harry couldn't quite figure out. Then again, since being saved from the brink of death, Snape had seemed to alter his vicious personality ever so slightly so as to appear a bit more like a decent human being rather than a dungeon bat. So it could have been that spark of humanity, but more than likely it was just anger at his cheek.
"Five points from Gryffindor for disrespect. And, yes, stupid child. You were wrong. I was waiting in the back for you to come a speak with me, but instead I walk out here and find you scrubbing away at my first year detentions for tomorrow. Next time try to use whatever passes for a brain in that skull of yours, and stop just barging in and assuming with that brilliant lion pride of yours!" Now Harry was getting pissed. Okay, so for once Snape didn't want him cleaning out his precious cauldrons? Well, he will never make that mistake again. Geez! The man pretty much dies, and even that doesn't loosen him up! Harry's hands are clenched into fists, and there is a slight breeze that tickles the back of his neck.
"Well, I'm sorry, Sir, for making the assumption that you would have me do the same thing that I have always done. Clean your bloody cauldrons. So, you're here now, so what was it you wanted to say?" That actually seemed to give Snape some sick satisfaction, as the man smirked at him.
"I'm glad to see nothing can shake that temper of yours. You are a lot like Lily." Harry thought for a moment that he had died again. Everything just stopped, including his magic that had begun to rile up.
"Wait-What?" His anger just dropped and was replaced by bewilderment.
"She was quite the firecracker. You gave her any snark, and she threw it right back at you. You may be a carbon copy of James Potter, but you are so much like your mother." Maybe death had messed with the man's head more than he had thought? And just like that Snape's semi-dream-like expression changed to a hard and determined stare. That eyebrow was raised.
"And she always fidgeted when she was hiding something." Oh. Harry's disbelief left and was replaced by annoyance again. Snape probably was going for the shock factor. Bring up the dead mother. That will get him to talk. However, Harry couldn't stop his fingers from touching the end of his rolled up sleeve just briefly. That seemed to be enough for the potion's master though.
"So, tell me, Harry. What have you done this time?" Again, Harry was shocked, this time at the use of his first name. He's on a roll tonight. "Don't look so surprised. You saved my life in the war as I have saved your own many times. I think that puts us on a first name basis."
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you it was nothing. So what do you want me to say, Sn-Severus?" Snape stepped closer, his eyes trained directly on Harry's eyes as if he could channel Lily through them. Harry, uncomfortable with the professor's proximity, backed up until he felt a table dig into his spine. Before he could react, Snape had shot a hand out and latched onto Harry's wrist, pulling it towards himself.
"I want you to tell me why you are wearing concealment charms on your wrist." That...was not what he was expecting. In fact it was at the bottom of the list, and yet...he can't find it in him to be surprised. At all. It would be just like Snape to see something like that...and then use it against him. So, he threw up every wall he could and yanked his arm back, pulling down harshly on his cuffs.
"I don't know what you are talking about, Professor." Snape lifted both eyebrows now- and his wand!
"Harry, I really don't want to use this on you, but I am still your teacher. If I believe you to be in danger or endangering yourself, I have a right to use force. You are still a minor and-"
"Excuse me?! I am eighteen! I am an adult! You can't do that." Harry searched desperately for an escape. He did not go to all of this trouble to hide everything for Snape to find out in ten minutes. Snape's voice came back, calm and soft.
"That may be true in the muggle world, Harry, but you are a wizard. We live longer, so you are technically still underage in the eyes of the wizarding law. That's one of the reasons you were sent back to live with your relatives over the summer. Now, tell me why or I will drag you to see Madame Pompfry and remove the concealment charms without your permission. Which will it be?" The boy was desperate. Old fears sprang back up. If he was still underage then he could be forced to stay with them! But he just couldn't let anyone find out! No. No. He would do anything to keep that from happening.
"I- It's...I got a tattoo." That should work. It wasn't a lie, but the tattoo wasn't on his wrists. Snape scoffs and rolls his eyes at the boy.
"Oh really? And why do you feel the need to conceal it, hmmm? Did you go through a rebel stage this summer and get a muggle rendering of the Dark Mark on your wrist?" The thought seemed ridiculous. Like Uncle Vernon would ever let him out of the house! Harry crossed his arms defensively and raised his chin in defiance.
"Maybe I did. Now, if that is all I would like to either be dismissed or allowed to finish my detention." Harry pushed his way past Snape, but only managed to get about two feet from the man, before he felt a hand wrap tightly around his biceps. His hiss of pain echoed around the nearly empty room. Slightly frightened at the lack of response, Harry peeked from behind his fringe. Snape's eyes were like coals, and they seemed to burn right through to his soul. Maybe that was a bit over dramatic, but it was pretty intense. The Dungeon Bat's lips were pressed into a thin line, and his hand seemed to loosen its grip a bit.
"My chambers, Mr. Potter. Now." With Snape's hand still locked on like a boa constrictor to his arm, Harry could do nothing but comply. The halls were deathly silent, even as the walls bounced back the sounds of pounding and stumbling feet. The stone walls seemed to get colder and darker the farther they went, until Harry didn't even recognize where they were anymore. His heart was pounding. Give him the Dark Lord any day; this was terrifying beyond belief. After what felt like forever, yet not long enough, Harry found himself pulled into surprisingly cozy looking chambers and shoved into a rather comfortable arm chair. Snape was leaning down with a hand on either arm, his face only four inches away. Harry's breath trembled, as he felt something probe at his mind. He pushed back and threw up as many walls as he could to prevent Snape from seeing anything. The potions master seemed slightly amused by this.
"I see my lessons were not in vain. However, now is not the time to do this. Talk to me, Harry." He heard the pleading in the man's voice, saw the slight fear and great concern there, and knew. Snape knew. Something in him just...broke.
"W-why? No one else has ever cared. Why do you?" It was barely above a whisper, but the silence made it perfectly loud enough for Snape to hear every catch of breath and tremor.
"I promised your mother that I would look out for you if anything happened to her or your father. I had thought I was doing as she had asked, but I now believe that I have been remiss in my duties." Harry snorted and rolled his eyes, even as a lone tear shook loose from his lashes.
"Figures. It's always duty. Someone's job to make sure the bloody Boy-Who-Lived' isn't about to drop dead, or worse go crazy like Voldemort. No one's noticed, because it doesn't matter! Since none of this has ever mattered before, why should it now!?" His voice began to rise, and his magic started to build the pressure in the room. "What, now you have a change of heart? Starting to grow a conscience? Or do you just want to see how low the 'great Savior' has fallen? Is this what you wanted to see?!" Without thought, Harry rips his glamours away baring his arms for the world to see. His breaths were coming out in sharp pants, and his magic seemed to now be caressing him, trying to soothe his anger. Harry didn't notice the tears pouring from his own eyes, some leaving smudges on his glasses.
Snape stood on front of the boy, mouth hanging slightly open. He figured he might find bruises. See the signs of neglect better (the boy was a bit small for his age). He found himself surprised and heart broken at the sharp lines that crisscrossed the boy's wrists. Long, thin fingers reached out slowly and took hold of one quivering hand. The fingers traced the scars, most old, but some not even a few days into healing. Short puffs of air could be heard coming from the boy, and finally Severus looked up.
Darkened black eyes met dimmed green, and a wall shattered. Snape could see it all, the pain, the loss, the grief, the loathing, the shame...the exhaustion. He lifted a hand, slowly so as not to startle the frightened animal, and brushed away the stalled tears. The potion's master kept his voice soft and non-threatening. He wasn't demanding. He was concerned and wondering.
"Why would you hurt yourself, Harry? Are...are there more?" Knowing he was referring to his scars, Harry shook his head.
"Not like this." Snape led him to a soft brown couch, and they sat facing each other. The man kept running a hand along the wrists as though to keep away the chill that was threatening to invade. Whether for Harry's sake or his own, he wasn't entirely sure.
"I don't understand. Not like this?" This was his chance. He could end it. Here. Now. Get someone to listen when no one before had even noticed. Harry made up his mind. He had to speak up. But, the problem was he could not get the words out. So many years of fighting them down, out of fear or hurt, made this moment like pushing a boulder up a mountain. Instead, he decided to let the pains speak for themselves. He stood, and when Snape moved to follow him, he held out a hand.
"Just...just wait." Harry took a deep breath as his fingers took hold of his tie. They stumbled a few times, before untangling himself from the finger trap. Then he moved on to the buttons of his shirt, which was even harder to accomplish than undoing his tie. His hands were shaking so bad he was afraid he wouldn't be able to get his shirt off. Snape continued to sit there without making a sound, his eyes unmoving from their point on Harry's hands. When the last button was undone, then only thing that was left was an undershirt. It was plain, white, almost see through, and luckily without bloodstain. Harry had become adept at that charm as soon as the trace was lifted. It was a lot easier than doing it manually. He always avoided wearing white shirts in the summer for that reason.
His mind snapped back to the present. Right. Shirt. He felt about ready to pass out from how fast his heart was beating. Finally, like jumping straight into a cold pond, he ripped it over his head and threw it down. Harry felt an immediate urge to cross his arms and curl up into a ball into a corner. Protect his now vulnerable spots. It shouldn't have surprised either them, when he stepped back as though struck when Snape slowly stood from his spot on the couch.
The professor could see that he was shaking like a leaf, the half naked boy in his living quarters. He needed to check for any fresh or open injuries, but that would not happen if the boy was frightened to death of him. So, he lifted both hands in a placating manner and spoke in soft calming tones.
"I will not touch you, if you do not wish me to, Harry. I just...can you show me? I need to see how badly you are hurt." He nodded to the bruises that encircled Harry's upper arms, after he pushed the rage down deep inside so it would not show and scare the boy more. Harry knew to what the professor was referring, but it was a difficult thing to acknowledge to someone else. Granted, from seeing inside Snape's mind that one time, he knew the potions master was no stranger to scars, but...it was just so private. Finally, Harry just took a deep breath and nodded. 'You've gone this far. No point in turning back now.' Ever so slowly, Harry turned, dropped all of the glamours and bared his back for the world to see. He did not miss the sharp intake of breath Snape gave.
Old belt marks laid the raised background for the younger overlain patterns. There were yellowing bruises painting the boy's ribs, yet a few were still in the purple stage. Snape didn't flinch when he could count those ribs that stood out, stretching the boy's pale skin. Some marks curled around Harry's prominent hip bones and below his waistband. That would be a difficult discussion, he knew.
However what stood out the most, also appeared to be the most recent addition. The word 'FREAK' was carved crudely right in the middle of his back. The lines were still pink with fresh healing and red around the edges. Snape would have to deal with what appeared to be the signs of a slight infection himself, as he knew he would never be able to drag Harry to see Pompfry. The boy seemed to know what had captured his attention as he said,
"It's not so bad, Sir. It'll heal eventually." The potions master did not miss that Harry had slipped back into his formal titles as the fire had left him. Snape shook his head even though Harry couldn't see him, and he slowly drew his wand.
"Harry, these cuts are getting infected. I am going to have to take care of them myself, unless you want to visit the infirmary." Harry hastily agreed. The thought of showing anyone else his scars nearly threw him into a panic attack. So, as hastily but properly as he could, Snape drew the infection from his back, then turned away to get a few potions to help. When he returned, Harry was sitting, well more looking like he had collapsed onto, the couch and staring off into space like he was a hundred miles away.
"Harry?" The boy jumped, then shivered as the cold of the lower levels finally started to seep past the emotion fueled heat.
"Sorry, Professor. I was just...thinking." Snape sat beside him then coaxed him into sitting up and turning around.
"Yes, well. This is a pain potion. Try not to smell it before you swallow. Then I want you to take this. It should clear out any other infections that might have gone unnoticed and speed your healing. Can you tell me how long ago...this happened?" Harry didn't answer for a while. Just took his potions, vehemently scowling at the first, and then sat quietly, contemplating.
"Five days before I left to come back here. Un-Uncle Vernon...was drunk, and I had been cooking dinner for them. I had a knife out on the counter, and he saw it. I don't know what was going through his head, but...apparently this did." Snape nodded that he was paying attention, even as he continued to check Harry's back for more injuries than the ones that he had already noted ten times. Finding none on his back, he asked Harry to turn back to face him.
His front was also littered in scars, these however being quite a bit older. But severe bruising colored his ribs and no doubt made it difficult for him to breathe.
"I need to check for any broken ribs, Harry. This might hurt, but-" The boy pulled back from the approaching hands and held up his own to ward then back.
"It's alright, Sir. There were two, but I dealt with them quick enough. They are fine now, if a bit more tender than the others." Snape sighed at the thought of the boy knowing how to set broken bones and having to check himself for them in the first place.
"Well, at least allow me to reassure myself that they were 'dealt with' properly. May I?" He waited as Harry seemed to think it through, before the boy nodded. Snape moved quickly, running his hands over each rib and finding...nothing. The boy had healed his broken ribs flawlessly.
"How did you manage to do this? Did Poppy teach you how to, so she would not have to deal with you so often during the school year?" Harry seemed to almost crack a smile at Snape's poor attempt at lightening the mood. However, he just shook his head.
"No. I found out a long while ago that wandless magic was pretty helpful when it comes to these kinds of things. After my second year, I was doing it without thinking. Although sometimes, it takes me a while longer to get to it, if I...can't focus too well." Snape could translate that as: "Sometimes, more likely most of the time, I am in too much pain to focus, and I have to wait a day or two to let it die down before I can try healing myself." Severus had to take a few breaths to calm himself.
"I...am very sorry that you have to know how to do this, Harry. A young boy should never have to worry about such things." Harry just looked down to the floor and shrugged.
"Can I put my shirt back on, Sir?" The potions master nodded, and the boy was quick (well, quick as he could) about getting his clothing covering himself again. Once he had worked his shirt back on, he seemed unsure of what to do. Unfortunately, Snape didn't know where to start either. Years of being the most hated teacher at Hogwarts did not give him much experience with students.
Here he made himself pause. He refused to make excuses for himself. Severus may not know how to deal well with children in emotional crisis or such difficult circumstances, but he had been in such a situation personally. He understood what Harry was going through right now, and years of watching over the boy had given him at least some insight into how he worked. Harry, however, seemed to come to some sort of conclusion and stood from the couch looking decidedly uncomfortable.
"Um...thanks, Professor. I'll just be on my way, if that's all." He tried to make a run for it, but Snape couldn't let him escape this.
"Mr. Potter, wait." The stern tone was enough to make the boy freeze. He turned and implored him with his eyes to let it go.
"Sir, please. It's already after curfew and if I get caught in the halls this early in the school year, I won't make it to June." But Snape shook his head and with a slight flick of his wand, made it so the door could only be opened by him. A risky move considering what the boy's first thoughts and instincts would be, but Snape told himself it was a necessary precaution.
"Harry, we need to talk about this. You can't just hold this all in." Harry nearly rolled his eyes, more confident now that he was fully clothed and his scars were covered.
"No offense, Sir, but I have been dealing with this by myself for a long time. I don't need to talk about it. Thank you for your help, Sir, but I'm fine." Snape shook his head, and he couldn't help the anger that seeped into his voice at the boy's stubbornness.
"You are obviously not, Harry. Do you think that it's healthy for you to slice open your wrists every other night? To try to take your own life?" Harry shook his head at the man, denying his words.
"I have never tried to take my own life. I just...it helps. You wouldn't understand." Snape stepped closer to the young man, which seemed to start the boy shaking almost imperceptibly.
"You seem to be making quite a few assumptions tonight, Harry. Is that what you tell yourself whenever you find a chance to tell someone what is going on? Why don't you try me, Mr. Potter, before you so dismiss my intelligence." Harry kept his mouth shut. He just kept shaking his head, refusing to say it out loud. Snape stepped even closer, not allowing the boy to think that he would back down with enough refusals.
"Harry, this is real. You cannot deny that this is happening. That someone cares. Look at this, Harry." Snape grabbed his wrist and pulled the sleeve up. He held it, scars up, and used his other hand to force Harry to look at them.
"You are doing this to yourself. You have so many scars already, why are you adding more? Listen to me, Harry. I am someone who cares that you are hurting. I want to know what you are thinking that makes this seem okay. Please. You can trust me." Harry couldn't take his eyes off of his own wrist. The old scars seemed to shine a little with how smooth the new skin was. The fresh ones still burned some and glared accusingly at him. He couldn't hide them anymore. That part of him inside that begged and pleaded to be let out finally burst. But first he had to make Snape understand.
"It...it helps." Severus wouldn't have heard him if the room wasn't deathly silent. Harry started to trace the rigid lines with his finger tips. "I can control it. It's up to me, not anyone else how I get hurt. It's like the only way to let the pain out of me. It's me." He knew his words were stalled and choppy, but he had never really tried to articulate it before. The thoughts that drove him to harm himself. They resembled closely those that Voldemort had slithered in past his barriers, but these were much sharper, more potent than the Dark Lord's could ever be.
Snape let the silence reign for a while, let the boy collect himself, let himself come up with an appropriate response. He found that he was still holding Harry's wrist and his thumb had started to slowly run along the fresher scars. What had Lily said to him?
"I understand, Harry. All your life, someone else has made decisions for you. You never had any control over it. Then, the people who were supposed to love you, did nothing but hurt you. You weren't allowed to leave, so you took control of the only thing that you could. Your pain." A drop fell on Snape's hand, and when he looked up he saw that the boy had started crying. His shoulders began to shake, as did the hand that Severus had never let go of. Severus did the only thing he felt he could.
Using the hand he had a hold of, the potion's master gently tugged the young Gryffindor into an embrace. His arms wrapped around the boy, and he rubbed his hands up and down his back as gently as he could. Harry was tense, keeping a hard pressed hand between them, refusing to let himself believe that this could actually be happening.
"You are not alone, Harry. I care. I care that you are hurting, and I will not let you be hurt ever again. It's okay to cry, Harry. You can cry." Harry broke down. He leaned completely on the potions master, when his knees buckled from the emotional strain. Severus eventually maneuvered them so that they were on the couch again. Harry curled into him even more, nearly ripping his robes from the grip he had on them. It was there that Snape proved to himself that he cared for Harry, not just because of who his mother was, but because of the strong young man he had become despite everything. Snape meant what he said. He would never see Harry Potter hurt ever again. His arms tightened around the boy, and he breathed the promise into his unruly locks.
"Never again, Harry. Never again."
Was it good? Bad? Deserving of a follow up? And if you couldn't tell, it was very much not slash. This is meant to be and will stay a mentor!Snape fic, if slightly protective.
This is a one shot, but there will be a follow up/sequel to it. The sequel will be multi-chapter and hopefully go in depth into Snape's and Harry's relationship. I am hoping to start uploading that in a few weeks. It will be called 'You Can Live'. Keep an eye out for it. :)
Please let me know what you think. :)