Harry didn't know where he was going, or what he was doing, all he knew was that he had to get away from the adults, or they were going to hurt him! Panic set into him, and tears stung his eyes. Oh they were going to be so mad if they found him! And what about Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon?! He had been gone about 18 hours now; they would be ready to kill him!
Rain began to fall from the sky, but Harry barely noticed his soaked skin. He was lucky it was May, for it was early evening but the sun was only just beginning to set. It would be dark soon he realised. Clenching his teeth to stop them chattering, he continued to run, aiming to get as far away from everyone and everything as possible.
"Lupin, you stupid, idiotic fool!" yelled Snape angrily.
"Me!" he cried indignantly. "You're the one who destroyed Harry's living room!"
"Why did you have to come barging in unannounced?!" yelled Snape. "Harry was probably terrified!"
"Yes, although the more likely option of what terrified him was you destroying part of his house!" yelled Remus.
"Enough!" said Acer, snapping his fingers. Both men looked at the elf, annoyed, as they realised he had used a silencing charm.
"Now, here is what you sirs must do" said Acer. "I will find Master Harry Potter, and you shall stay here. Then I bring him back, and you two be explaining yourselves. Understood?"
The two men nodded, still looking annoyed. Acer realised that had these men been anyone else but old friends of Master James and Miss Lily, the elf would be in a lot of pain right now for speaking in such a manner, but he felt safe enough.
With a sharp snap of his fingers, Acer called on the magic that connected him to his Master, and with a pop disappeared.
Moments later, he landed two feet away from Harry, who had let out a yell at the sudden appearance of the elf.
"Master Harry, you need to calm down!" said Acer through the rain. "Come back to the house!"
"I- I can't, that man he- he'll kill me- a- and they both loo-k angry" said Harry through chattering teeth.
"No sir, that be a misunderstanding!" said Acer. "Master Lupin came at the wrong moment, and Master Snape was angry so he be letting out his anger safely! He didn't want to make you scared so he did it when you weren't there!"
"But if he- he's an-g-gry then he'll hurt me" said Harry sadly.
"No sir, remember what Master Snape said?" prompted the elf. Harry shook his head, so the elf continued. "He said he would never hurt you in any way".
Harry's shoulders relaxed ever so slightly, so Acer decided he was okay to return. "Master Harry, hold my hand" he said gently. "I be taking you back now".
The young boy complied, and moments later the pair were gone. The rain continued to pound down, and darkness had almost completely set in. Neither of them noticed that Harry had made it out of the archway. Neither did they notice the figure lurking in the shadows nearby.
"Harry I'm terribly sorry" said Severus a while later. It was around 9 p.m. when the elf had returned with the young boy, and after he had had a hot bath and a clean set of clothes, Acer had led him gently by the hand into the living room which had been returned to its original state. There was a comfortable heat coming from the fireplace, but Harry sat on the edge of the chair nearest the door, shaking.
"First things first, would you like a calming draught? It's a potion which will make you feel relaxed and not so scared". Harry nodded warily, and once Severus conjured the vial he drank it down hastily. Moments later, his shoulders relaxed and his shaking ceased.
"That's better" said the potions master. "As I was saying, I am truly sorry for what happened earlier. You see, I was terribly angry at what your relatives told you. They were wrong, Harry. They shouldn't have hurt you in any way, and they shouldn't have been so horribly negative and told you those lies. I didn't want to scare you, so I asked you to leave the room so I could let out my anger without you knowing. Everything in this room is perfectly fixable as you can see."
"So you weren't mad at me?" Harry questioned.
"Not at all" said Severus. "I'm sorry I made you think that way".
"That's okay" said Harry. "You seem nice enough anyway."
Severus couldn't help but be taken aback at that statement. Harry Potter, son of James Potter, thought he seemed 'nice'? The world was going crazy.
"Who's this though?" asked Harry quietly, pointing at the stranger.
"Ah yes, I wondered when we'd get to me. Hello Harry, my name is Remus Lupin, and I went to school with both your parents. We were the best of friends. I'm sorry I came so unexpectedly, although I wasn't sure whether you would be here at all. Let me assure you though, I had nothing to do with the state of your lounge which you witnessed a little while ago".
Harry nodded warily, although inside he was a bit confused. He was terrified of strangers, but this man seemed oddly familiar.
"Why did you come here?" asked Harry.
"Late last night you disappeared from Privet Drive, causing the wizarding world to be very worried" said Remus. "When I found out you had gone, which was this afternoon, I went straight to a man named Albus Dumbledore who's the headmaster of a school you'll attend when you're a bit older, but we'll talk about that later. We were talking about where you might have gone, when I remembered your mother and father showing me, Severus and another man three cottages which were for emergencies. Because we were their three closest friends, they only told us. There's a special magic for all four of us, where if we are in life threatening danger, we are transported here and healed by the magic. I thought I might search each cottage to see if you were in one of them, but here you are".
"Who was the other man you spoke of?" said Harry curiously.
"He used to be our friend, but that was a long time ago" said Remus sadly. "But never mind that. I'm so glad you are okay Harry, everyone was really worried about you".
"That's nice" said Harry dreamily. "I've never had anyone be worried about me before".
"Well you certainly do now" said Remus. "I'm sorry I haven't been there for you Harry. I would have raised you as my own son, but there was a terrible complication that got in the way, which didn't allow me too. Can you forgive me?"
"It's okay, you don't need to be forgiven" said Harry reassuringly. "You both seem nice, and I feel like I know you from somewhere but I don't know where".
"For the first year of your life, you lived with your parents" said Severus. "We visited many times".
"Maybe you two could tell me stories about my parents sometime" said Harry, stifling a yawn.
"We would love to Harry" said Remus happily.
"I think Master Harry should be going to bed now" said Acer. "It is late and he is very tired, and hasn't slept since he landed on the beach!"
"Very well, of course" said Severus. "I wonder if there is any guest rooms that Lupin and I could occupy tonight. We're all very tired and could do with a good night's rest."
"Of course sirs, I shall lead Harry to his room, and then show you the guest rooms" said the elf.
"I can't sleep in a bed Acer, I'm not allowed" said Harry. "My Uncle punished me when I asked to sleep in a bed".
"Very well sir" said Acer with a sad smile. "I have an idea".