A/N- So I know I shouldnt be starting a new story but my laptop is currently out of commission with my current stories on it I have no choice but to start another. I'm hoping I'll be able to get it fixed soon with my harddrive intact! Besides my stories, I have my year in Europe on that thing! Okay, this story is something I've never done before but I wanted to try, it's been sitting on my desktop computer forever so after editing and adding it's presentable. It's not slash and its a Guardian fic, so I hope you guys enjoy it. Review, but don't flame.
Harry Potter was not a normal person, despite living with his 'completely normal relations'. Note the sarcasm; they were as normal as any abusive guardians could ever be. But that is not how the story takes place. No Harry Potter was a wizard, a bright and intelligent child with so much potential at his fingertips. At the moment however, he was exhibiting anything but, as he tried hard not to let his thoughts take control.
As it was about a week until winter holidays and he had been told that Hogwarts, would be closing to charge the wards. And as such each of the students would be on the Hogwarts Express and going back home for their 3 week vacation. So it was this boy that was worrying about what he was going to experience once he got home and back with his relatives. His eyes flickered throughout the classroom at his peers who he knew wasn't dreading going home like he was, but then again they had nothing to fear at home, he did.
At the moment though he was currently sitting in Potions class; which everyone can tell you is the worst place to be, if you were in any of house other than Slytherin. As it was, Harry was a Gryffindor and so, this was a particularly hard class for him. One in which he held himself back, knowing that it wouldn't do him any good. After all, abuse is a hard lesson, but one he had learnt very well, and at a very young age.
He swallowed quietly, his eyes quickly averting as they caught the dark penetrating gaze of his teacher. He held his breath hoping that the Professor in question simply ignored him. But it was not to be so. He glanced to the left of him to look at his partner Neville, only to mentally groan as he got a look at their potion. It was a fuchsia color when it should be more of a lavender one. It didn't help that the Professor was soon standing behind them which had both boys flinching. They hunched their shoulders as they waited for the biting tone, but surprisingly there was none. Which set the slight boy on edge, as he knew it was coming and he hated waiting for punishment.
Trying to calm himself down, Harry turned to his textbook, choosing to read the next step even if he knew their potion was a complete failure. Still he hoped to somehow save it and not end up with a Troll today. As he turned to talk to Neville, to see if the boy had any idea what went next he saw to his horror that the boy in question was trying to add some doxy wings. He knew (even if their potion was a complete failure) that it wasn't time to add that ingredient. He also wasn't sure how it would counteract to their current mess now, and as this was a volatile ingredient, he really didn't want to risk it. But before he could even think of pulling his friend's hand back he froze as a dark dangerous voice behind them suddenly spoke.
"Longbottom, you imbecilic boy, don't you dare think of putting those wings in that cauldron. Are you that daft boy?" Severus hissed out as the hand in question simply dangled for a moment. He saw it and for a just a second he regretted his outburst as the child's shaky hands soon let go of the wings and he cursed.
"Oops," Neville gasped out fearfully as turned to look up at the man and gave an audible gulp at the look he was now on the receiving end of.
Harry for his part wasn't sure what the hell was going on, only that it didn't bode well for him or Neville. As it was, he could see his Professor's pale face narrow and he tensed bracing for the tongue lashing but it wasn't to be so. He didn't have long as to wonder why as the next thing he noticed was the Professor had his wand out and was starting to cast what looked to be a shield.
But as Harry felt the rumble of the cauldron in front of him, he felt that it was going to be too late. His instincts had him diving underneath the table; barely grabbing onto Neville as it suddenly gave off a loud boom. The 13 year old noted that the classroom had silenced, even more so as it didn't even sound like his classmates were even breathing at this time, was he? He glanced at Neville trying to make sure his friend was okay, the adrenaline coursing through his own body.
"Are you okay Neville?" He asked the boy quietly as he could hear Snape above them sniping about; he knew it wouldn't be long now. They were so dead, and at the moment he couldn't blame the man. For all he knew they had destroyed his classroom.
"No Harry, I'm not okay, and neither are you," Neville whimpered out as he looked at the potion that had burned both of his exposed arms, not to mention Harry's.
Harry glanced at his friend in confusion before he turned to look at the burned skin on his own body. Now that he was actively looking at it, it did hurt. But he didn't scream or cry or even whimper like Neville was doing. After all, he had had worse than this before.
"I'm alright, hopefully Snape will let you go to the infirmary and I can clean this up," he said knowing the consequences of a detention already in the making for him.
"You need the infirmary too," the slightly chunky boy sniffled in return. He wanted to cry, but Harry wasn't and it looked like the other boy had gotten the brunt of it so he wouldn't too.
"Yeah, but this is nothing," Harry said absently before he looked around and carefully got up from underneath the table.
He could see Ron and Hermione staring at him in concern and horror and he understood that, however he was looking for Snape. He couldn't find the dour man, which was alarming but another look around showed that Malfoy seemed to be missing too. His musings were cut short when out the corner of his eye, he saw something or someone go down. This was followed by a thump and his stomach dropped. He turned only to find his friend slumped out on the floor and he hurried over to him as the rest of the Gryffindors and some of the Slytherins looked at him fearfully.
"Neville!" He screamed out, allowing finally for Professor Snape to poke his head from wherever the hell he had been to come back into the classroom.
"Potter! What have you done to Longbottom?" Severus raged at him, though his heart was thudding fast in his chest. He had just seen his godson stumble and it was only luck that he had the boy into his office before he collapsed. He had only just laid the boy down on the couch in his office when he heard Potter screaming. It was all the stupid Gryffindor's fault and his lips curled in disgust as he stared at the child in front of him.
"Nothing sir, he's just...he just fell out," Harry stated fearfully, wondering if he was next. Had his friend fallen because of the potion or was it something else entirely.
Severus sneered as he looked at the raven hair child below, but he didn't comment. He knew in his gut that something was wrong here, but until he could exam their potion he was at a loss. Albus was going to kill him, however before the thought could passed his eyes flicked back over to where the bane of his existence had taken on a pale complexion.
"Potter?" He asked carefully, another heavy feeling in his chest.
Harry grimaced, feeling awful of a sudden. He couldn't explain why or what it was that came on him suddenly. "P'fessor, I don't feel very good," he whispered out before his body slumped forward onto the floor in a dead faint. It was only luck that he had already been kneeling on the ground next to his fallen friend that he was so low to the ground. The silence in the room was heavy and deafening.
It took a moment for the Potion Master to get over the slight daze before he banished everyone's cauldrons except for the one belonging to the boys on the floor.
"Out! Everyone out!" He roared, as he pulled out his wand so he could transport the teens to the infirmary.
Unsurprisingly it was Granger and Weasley who stayed behind, obviously concerned about their house mates. But he couldn't fault them, not right now anyway. He was terrified about what could be wrong with the three boys. Especially as these particular boys were the heir to the Potter, Malfoy and Longbottom house, all ancient and noble in their own right.
"Professor, how can. we help?" Hermione asked quietly when it became apparent the man wasn't going to address them.
"I assume you both know the hovering charm? Preform it on Mr. Potter and Longbottom, while I attend to Mr. Malfoy," he told them curtly.
"Yes sir," she replied, elbowing Ron who looked ready to say something that would get them all in trouble.
The trip to the Hospital wing was quick and very quiet, each concious person clearly in their own thoughts. Severus was truly worried about his students, but mostly just Draco. He hoped that the two Gryffindor idiots hadn't done something damaging to his godson. If they did he was not to be responsible for his actions.
Once they arrived the boys were set on the beds and the two Gryffindors shut out of the infirmary so Poppy could work her magic. Severus took that time to head to the Headmaster's office so he. would explain the situation.
It was only a few hours later when one of the boys stirred, the other two in a healing sleep. This one In particular was used to short and light sleeps. After all growing up with the Durselys made sure of that. Harry woke to a semi-lit room that seemed vaguely familiar to him but he couldn't place it. He reached over to put his glasses on and noticed two sleeping boys on either side of him. They were both snoring to a degree but he knew better then to wake them up. What if they turned out to be a friend of Dudley? At that thought he stilled and any chance of him getting ready to leave the bed was diminished in seconds.
He didn't know what to do, but his Aunt and Uncle didn't like it when he made noise so he stayed quiet. As he was swinging his legs on the bed the door to the infirmary opened, and in walked this man wearing all black. He looked angry and Harry instantly dropped his gaze to the floor, he knew eye contact wasn't allowed. He heard the man come closer but he didn't look up again until he was addressed
"Potter look at me," Severus hissed out. He had seen the expression in the child's face once he had entered the doors but he wasn't thinking about that right now. He had had a few hours to test their potion and see where they went wrong and the results he were coming to wasn't encouraging. He needed answers.
Harry's head snapped up so fast to obey his order he swore he heard his neck crack. He looked warily at the man's chest, he couldn't make himself look any higher, and he waited for the man to speak. What had he done to make this man hate him so much? For Harry could hear the hatred and disgust in the stern man's tone. Had Uncle Vernon gotten to him?
"What stage did you and Mr. Longbottom mess up on your potion?" He questioned him immediately. Severus noted that the boy in question was refusing to meet his gaze, and he wasn't getting a good vibe at that. Potter had always been defiant, what had changed?
Harry gave the man a look of confusion. "Sir?" He asked, wondering if this was some kind of joke, everyone knew Potions weren't real.
Severus gave the child on the bed a hard look as his brain started to come to a conclusion on just that one word. He wasn't liking where his thoughts were going. "Do you know where you are Mr. Potter?" He found himself asking, needing confirmation for what he was sure he knew.
"No sir," Harry replied timidly hoping this wasn't a trick question, where he would end up hurt in the long run. The man wasn't overly big like Uncle Vernon but he knew already this man was just as dangerous, if not more so then his Uncle.
Severus's gaze narrowed as he took in the features on the boy on the bed, refusing to acknowledge was he was seeing in front of him. "How old are you Potter?" He asked in a wary tone, as if needing something confirmed for him.
Harry smiled, now that was a question he could answer. "I'm 9 sir," he said proudly.
Severus made a choking sound at that, his eyes swiveling from Harry, to Draco and then Neville and then back. "Impossible," he said quietly as the ramifications of the boys words hit him.
Harry shook his head, unsure why the man found that hard to believe. Sure he was shorter and smaller then most nine year olds but it wasn't that unbelivable. He made to protest when be found himself suddenly over come with this sharp pain in the side of his head and he groaned softly.
The potion Master's eyes were once more riveted to the child awake on the bed, moving closer to see what the problem was. "Potter?" He asked unsurely.
"My head," Harry was able to whimper out before the blessed darkness took him, relieving him of the pain.
Severus stared at the boy on the bed, his wand out as he started to preform a diagnostic charm just to make sure nothing was really wrong.. It revealed that the boy was indeed 9 years old, but he wasn't sure if he would stay that age. He glared at the boy below him before he roughly pulled the blanket back over the child. It wouldn't do for the little moron to get sick; he knew it would end up as more work for him. He made sure the child was secured in the man, vehemently telling himself, he was not tucking the brat in. He shook his head to clear it before he headed to the Headmaster's office, they had much to discuss.
He was not alerted by Poppy or his own wards that the children had awoken again so he took the free time he had to try to find out where they went wrong. How in Merlin's name did the little idiots turn a forgetfulness Potion into a Deaging one? Thankfully the next day was Saturday so he had no classes to prepare for, but that didn't stop him from waking up early the next morning to check on his godson.
As he got closer to the Hospital doors he heard noises on the other side of the infirmary that concerned him. He quickly opened it to see Poppy trying to settle down a hysterical blond child, while two other boys raven and brown haired respectively sat quietly at her feet. Even as he took in the scene in front of him, he was in obvious denial.
"Poppy, what are you doing with toddlers? Where are the boys?" He asked out his voice, sounding strained to his own ears.
He watched the woman fix him with a look between amusement and sorrow. "These are the boys," she stated carefully.
"Poppy, when did this happen?" He somehow managed to ask. Even as a nine year old Potter spoke with him last night, he never imagined them at this age. The thought was imaginable and yet here they were.
"I was awoken about a half hour by Mr. Malfoy here, who was distraught I assume waking up somewhere unfamiliar. He hasn't stopped crying since then," she explained as she tried to rock the hysterical child in her arms.
"I see and what of Potter and Longbottom?" He asked unable to even sneer at moment, his thoughts were going a mile a minute.
"Harry was awake, I assume from Mr. Malfoy's cries, but he never made a sound. I only knew he was awake because i turned to find solemn green eyes carefully watching me," she said, unsure to tell him how fearful he had looked at her.
"I see and Longbottom?" He asked, needing to be thorough and generally curious now. Why was the only Slytherin child in here throwing a fit?
"Neville was sitting up on the chair, his bed made and was waiting quietly for me to address him. He apologized straight off the back for not being dressed. But how could he be, his clothes aren't up here," she said quietly, her heart had gone out to him as well. She knew how the Matriarch of the Longbottom household could be.
Seveus found himself frowning then, a terrible feeling clenching in his gut, but he would not address this now. At the moment he needed more answers and he needed Draco to hush so he could think. He reached his arm out for the child and was quickly handed him, He noted the boy glanced up at him before giving a sigh of relief at recognition and was soon suggling into his chest. He grimaced but didnt push the child away, he was quiet after all. He ignored the surprised look Poppy was now giving hm, there were more important things they need to discuss.
"Do you know their ages Poppy?" He asked her not it wanting any more surprises. His eyebrow rose as he saw her attempt to pick up one of the children. He wasn't sure who it was, only that the child in question was starting to shake like a leaf. Nothing needed to be said as she clearly saw it too and stopped.
"According to the scans I took, they are all five years old, give or a take a few months depending on their birthday," Poppy replied as she frowned once more.
Severus gave her a questioning look at the expression on her face. "I sense a but coming," he prompted her.
"That's because there is," she said with a faint smile but said nothing further.
"Then what is it woman?" He hissed out his patience, non existent to begin with.
"We'll have to discuss it later, Harry and Neville do not take to kindly to raise voices," she said with a pointed look.
Severus gave a curt nod unsure if he even wanted to have that talk. He had a feeling his world was about to some crashing down and he wasn't at all prepared for it.
"Why are they on the floor?" He asked as the previous conversation had come to a close.
"To be direct they are afraid," she told him with a sad smile before she looked down to find Neville pulling on her skirt. "Yes?"
"Miss? C-may I haff some food please?" Neville asked politedly as he looked at the medi-witch above him. He had been whispering very quietly to his new friend next to him when his own stomach had growled. He was sure that Harry was hungry to but was afraid to ask the healer. So Neville took it on himself to do it, no matter how mean the man in black looked. He was sure the Healer wouldn't let him hurt them.
Poppy gasped and snapped her fingers. "Of course, dear me I had forgotten they haven't even eaten breakfast yet," she said as she turned to address the house elf only to stare in horror as Harry who had been silent since they first woke up, suddenly gave a screech before he dove head first under the bed.
Severus was staring wide eyed where the green eyed boy has been sitting silently about a second a go. He didn't understand right away which is why the disgusted expression crossed his face. Why was Potter being stupid? Apparently he wasn't the only one who thought that as Longbottom laid on his stomach to look at the other boy curiously.
"Harry, why you hidin'?" Neville asked his new friend in confusion.
Harry stared fearfully at the other boy afraid to talk or even move at this point. He forced himself to give a slight shrug unsure of what the other boy wanted. Why wasn't any one else afraid of that thing?
Neville continued to stare at the boy before he glanced at the two adults who he noticed were watching the scene in earnest. He turned back to the boy, who wasn't even looking at him now. "Harry, you my new fwiend. Why you 'noring me?" He asked out sadly.
Harry uncurled at that admission, his eyes taking on a hopeful look. "Hawwy, youw'e new fwiend?" He repeated out slowly, his voice slightly hoarse. It was easy to see that his speech was less developed then his companion.
"Yep, so why you hidin'?" Neville repeated out.
"Scawwy Monstew out 'dere," he told the other boy.
"Thats not a monster, that's a house elf. They bwing you food and clean up for you," he explained.
"Oh," he said with a frown. "And dey not huwt me?" He asked to confirm it.
"That's right, they pwotect you," he promised as he held his hand out, relieved when Harry took it.
Throughout this, Poppy had taken the time to order their food, refusing to look at Severus as he was sure he was starting to connect the dots. She had the scans as proof but the knowledge of knowing it didn't make it any easier for her to take.
Severus was silent for a moment before he looked down at the boy in his arms. "Draco? What of his report? Did you find anything amiss in his?" He asked in a pleading tone that he was unable to drop. If the other two boys had slipped through the cracks, then who's to say that he had been so blind to his godson as well?
"Draco is a healthy five year old boy, with loving parents," Poppy told him seriously. That little boy wasnt being hurt, slightly overspoiled but all things considering it was alright.
"We will be discussing this," he told her firmly.
"As soon as their eating breakfast," she promised, at the same moment 3 child trays popped up with breakfast cut into pieces for the children to eat. She stood up and and enlarged the table in the corner before setting up 3 chairs with a protection ward so the boys couldn't fall off. "Time to eat boys," she announced.
Severus watched impassively as Longbottom bounced up and headed for the the table, his hand still clasped insid of Potter's. He also noted that the boy-who-lived was dragging his feet as if he didnot want to eat. If the conclusions he was coming to were correct then he could wager why. He looked down at his godson before him on the chair. "Eat and be nice," he told him knowing how the boy could be.
"Okay Uncle Sebbus," Draco said eager to just have something in his tummy.
Severus made a face at the butchering of his name but the child was five and he wasn't surprise as he had done this when he had been this age the first time. He turned to help the Longbottom heir onto the chair when his blood froze as he heard Poppy trying to convincs Potter that was his plate of food.
"No Miss, you don't undewstand, fweaks wike me don't eat at da tabwe. We eat on da fwoow whewe we bewong. An' dis is too much food, fweaks can't evew haff dis much," Harry was telling her matter-factly only she didn't seemed to be listening.
"I understand just fine Harry, but it is you who doesn't understand me. You will sit right here and eat on the table just like Neville and Draco are and you will not try to get down. You don't want to make me mad do you?" Poppy said sternly hating this but it had to be done. He needed the nutrients and he had to know not everyone would starve him. Her voice was stern because she couldn't let her emotions get away from her, even as her very heart hurt at what he had to go through.
"No, otay den, I'ww stay," he whispered out fearfully when it became apparent she wasn't going to let it go. Under her watchful gaze he took his toddler fork and scooped up a bit of sausege before bringing it up to his mouth. He was rewarded with a smile and he realized she wasn't going to hurt him for eating. However instead of digging in like he wanted too, he knew better and took slow and deliberate bites so he wouldn't be sick later.
Severus made sure Draco was okay before he pulled the witch a few spaces away from them before spelling a charm around them. It was a 2 way silencing spell, one in which the children couldn't hear them, but they could hear the boys. He then fixed her with his trademark glare of his. "I'm getting a picture in my head about their home life and I dont like it one bit," he started out darkly.
"Then you'll hate their scans," she told him softly as she accioed them from her office.
Severus closed his eyes silently as he took a breathe. "Tell me about Longbottom first," he requested as Potter's behavior was screaming at him and he had a feeling he knew why that was.
"Neville has brusing on his arms and over his body. Though when I questioned him, he told me that was to be expected as his family thinks he's a squib so his Uncle likes to throw him from time to time. To makes sure he's magical of course," she said grimly.
Severus stilled as he turned too looked at the Longbottom child, only to find him giggling as he talked with the other two. He had heard a few of his Slytherins, Draco in particular teasing him for being a squib. But that was harmless, as everyone knew you wouldn't get an invitation to Hogwarts if you were. But this, throwing a child of five just so he could show magic was abuse, very much so. It explained so much, of why the child had always been afraid of him.
"I see," he said with barely reatrained anger. "Anything else?"
"He's deathly afraid of fire, as his Uncle locked him up in his room after setting his curtains on fire with Incendio," she rushed out quickly, before her emotions could seep through.
"When was this?" He seethed out, so many things were starting to fall into place. How could he be so wrong, how could he not see?
"About 4 months ago, he told me his Uncle said it was a birthday present to himself as he didn't burn to death," Poppy said shakily.
"I'll kill him," he vowed. "It does explain so much," he murmured to himself.
Poppy allowed a small smile to grace her face for a moment. Never would she ever think Severus would be on Neville's side, but child abuse was something else entirely. And she was very glad that the shy boy had this man's support. He may not know it yet, but Severus would be there for him.
"Aside from that, he's healthy?" He asked her, needing to be thorough as that was his nature.
"Physically speaking yes, I will heal his bruises after I take photos of the evidence. Emotionally speaking I cannot say," she said softly. As her oath as a healer this could not be swept under the rug.
"I know," he said softly, and he did know having been there. "Now tell me about Potter,"
Poppy shook her head sadly as she looked at the dour man in front of her, but she couldn't let her emotions rule her. Not today and definitly not about this subject. "He's neglected, starved and routinely abused. He addresses himself as a freak and it only goes down hill from there,"
Severus was trying to control the murderous feeling in his chest he was feeling towards Potter's relatives. "I always knew Petunia was a jealous bint but I didn't think she would be abusive to her sister's child," he said with a look of disgust. "I should have seen, the signs are there," he muttered to himself.
Poppy ignored that, not about to rip a bandaid off a bleeding wound. She knew why he didn't see, he let his prejiduce and hatred of a dead man cloud his judgment and condemned a child for the father's sins. A father the boy didn't even know. "Also, all things magic is forbidden. He gets in trouble just for saying the word so I have no doubt he gets beaten for preforming accidental magic."
"He will not be going back there," Severus told her vehemently.
"It's not me you need to convince," she told his quietly.
"As a healer its your duty to disclose of this information to WCS," he told her as he stared her down. Was she neglecting her duties and sending children back into their abusive homes?
"Don't go there Severus, I'm only saying Albus isn't going to like this," she said quietly.
"Its out of his hands anyway, he had a chance and he failed. I will definitely be talking to him about this," he promised her. He prided himself on saving his students from having to suffer through an abusive home, and something like this had slipped through the cracks? And on Lily's child no less? What had he done?
"Of that I have no doubt," she said as she turned to see the children were almost done.
Severus shook his head as she canceled the charm and made her way back to the boys. He walked slowly as he headed to them, his opinion had shifted and broken. How could he be so blind? How had he not seen? He had no one but to blame for shook the depressing thought away before the grief could eat at him. He would be fixing them, and making sure both boys knew their worth. He had a lot of things to make up for and at the moment could finally start to see the silverlining in this situation. He would make this work, he wouldn't fail them, not again.