It was not a good summer. But Harry's parameters of a good summer were far lower on the scale than anyone of his friends'. Voldemort was back, Cedric was dead. Cedric's parents were now alone, their only child wiped off the land of the living. Mrs. Diggory had said that they didn't blame him, but god he blamed himself. He knew something was wrong. He should have grabbed Cedric and… well he'd thought of all the possible things he could have done. The point was he didn't do any one of them.
His friends hadn't sent him a single letter. Well, two sentence letters asking how he was but no information, nothing. The Dursleys were accommodating in that they left him alone, but were even worse in other regards. For the most part they forgot or purposefully ignored that he needed to eat. That was nothing new to him but after a week of only drinking water from the bathroom tap, his grief was being pushed back but the stomach-twisting hunger was unbearable. Especially as he smelled the roast meal that his aunt was making.
His mood was dark as it was. He didn't particularly feel that he deserved to eat. His self-destructive mood rose until he sat up. It was about to be noon. A memory from the past roamed through his mind and felt bile at the back of his throat. Still, he got up and put on his handed down, worn sneakers on and walked out of the Dursleys' home, breathing a little relieved that the smell of food didn't follow him outside.
Maybe he could just wait out the hunger in the children's park. The light breeze was welcome in this cloudy but hot day. Yet his feet didn't carry him in that direction. They led him down a path he'd forgotten about since his life changed and he went to Hogwarts. A house just like all the rest sat on the corner of the street. The feeling it gave Harry however was a twisted, dark and confusing bitterness. One window of the house had a perfect view of the Dursleys' front lawn. Where Harry would have spent long days doing yard work in his ragged clothes, with dirty hands and face and a hunger unquenched with the meagre scraps he got at the Dursleys.
Harry was rooted where he was and the door opened instead. For a split second Harry wondered if he had done accidental magic but behind the door a grey haired, kind looking man showed his face. He was at least ten years older than uncle Vernon.
"Harry, look how big you've grown. I'm just about to start making dinner. Want to help me?" He smiled kindly and Harry found himself smiling softly despite the racing of his heart and his mind telling him to run.
As a kid, getting welcomed to dinner… it was not a chance he would have allowed to pass. Just like now, with hunger, guilt, grief and fear he took the steps into the house.
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Mrs. Figg had been watching over him this summer. How comforting. Still she didn't mention anything about his visits to Mr. Emwood's place. He was terrified that she knew more than Harry was ever willing to let anyone know.
His rescue by professor Moody and Tonks came with a mixture of relief and panic. He was in a bit of shock all the way there and although he paused in fascination at the sight of a building stretching out from thin air, he almost wanted to run away.
Hermione hugged him the minute she saw him but he tensed up and reacted slowly.
It made him bitter just to know that they'd been here with Sirius while Harry had been stuck in that hellhole. Harry sighed.
He found out that Snape was in the order. How comforting that the horrid man was more trustworthy to join the order than he was.
"He's just a boy." Mrs. Weasely had said. Only Harry had never felt that way. He'd never had much of a childhood, whatever brief moments of innocence he had managed to enjoy had been swiftly stripped away without compassion.
Getting ignored by Dumbledore wasn't very comforting. It made his stomach twist to think that he didn't even want to look at him. Did he know? He couldn't. It was his fault that Voldemort was back. That was all Dumbledore knew.
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Harry wasn't sure what he felt when the blood quill first worked. As it etched the words into his skin. He was shocked. Frightened? A little. Angry? Not yet. As Umbridge looked down at him he couldn't find the words to ask why.
"Yes?" She asked sweetly, kind expression on her face. Another person expressing kindness yet offering the opposite. He needed to learn. He couldn't trust any adult.
"Nothing." He said softly.
"That's right… because you know. Deep down, that you deserve to be punished." She said gently. Harry felt his throat tighten as he stared up at her and tried to feel nothing, tried to think of only anger instead of the way his eyes felt just a little too dry. "Don't you mr. Potter." She smiled gently. "Go on." She encouraged him.
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The world must hate him. First having to deal with Umbridge now Snape. But if Snape could truly help him… He stumbled after him as the man tugged him by the arm down the spiral staircases to his office.
"P-proffessor I…" But Snape just sat him down and moved efficiently and quickly through the office, organising his things, making Harry feel even more disoriented.
"You and the Dark Lord seem to have a connection, which he may or may not be aware off yet." He said. Harry felt his blood run cold and felt his hands grip hard onto the fabric over his knees.
"So… he can read my mind?" He mumbled.
"And much more than that. Reading your mind will be the least of your worries when he handles you like a puppet on strings or drive you to the brink of insanity and push you off."
Harry breathed deeply trying to still his racing heart. "Professor Dumbledore he said… so all this time… I'm a liability… what do I do?" Harry whispered.
"These lessons will teach you to block your mind." He said coming closer. Harry looked up, Snape looking as sour as ever. "I will try and intrude in your mind and you will attempt to keep me out. Prepare yourself."
Horror pierced through Harry then. Snape was going to read his mind? "No, wait!"
"Legilimens!" The intrusion was more psychic than physical but it was as debilitating as if he was being continuously bashed on the head.
Visions of his parents. Of Voldemort on the platform. Visions of Cedric. Visions of doing chores in the Dursleys' yard. "No!"
"Stop it!" Harry cried as Snape pulled back.
"Concentrate Potter!" he spat hatefully. "Legilimens!"
Visions of Sirius, of 12 Grimmauld place. Vissions of Umbridge's detentions.
'You know you deserve to be punished.' That quickly connected to the house at the end of the street. He felt the fear, the disgust, the hunger.
Harry forgot that it wasn't summer. He forgot that he was in Snape's office. Because now he was stepping into the house. The door closed behind him as he made it to the livingroom.
'I thought you'd forgotten about me.' Mr. Emwood said kindly and passed his fingers through Harry's shaggy hair. Harry wanted to inch away but instead looked at the kitchen. 'Ah yes, I really was about to start preparing lunch. Come, give me a hand.' He said going ahead to the kitchen. 'You must be hungry.'
'Yeah…' Harry said softly and came to help the man, opening cupboards, knowing where things generally were. It was tense, every time the other got too close. Harry was making the salad when he felt the larger man press against him.
'You're getting bigger, why don't you visit me anymore? Your relatives treating you better?' He said. Harry shook his head.
'I go to boarding school… St. Brutu's Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys.' He mumbled
'I heard. You shouldn't be going there. You're a good boy.' He said rubbing his arms comfortingly.
'Th-thanks…' Harry whispered pressing more against the counter to put some space between them.
'Such a pity… if you ever need me, you know where I am.' He said gently, caressing his waist, tucking a hand under his shirt and into his trousers.
'What is this?' Harry turned his head, seeing Snape standing there. His eyes widened.
Harry felt Snape pull out so hard that Harry himself toppled forward, off the chair. Snape however only stepped back looking at him with an angry, horrified expression.
Harry felt the wetness of his cheeks. Anger and embarrassment surged through him. He wanted to run but found himself unable to find the strength of his legs to get up and run like he wanted to. Instead he wiped his cheeks.
He shakily managed to sit up. "I… I don't want the dark lord controlling m-"
"What did I see Potter?" He hissed.
"… nothing." He whispered looking away, crossing his arms over his chest. Snape said nothing. He finally moved only to get another chair and sit in front of him. Harry managed to swallow back the lump in his throat and looked up but Severus Snape had a blank expression on his face. "You won't tell anyone will you?" At that he frowned.
"Don't. I need to think." He said taking a deep breath. Harry looked down and fidgeted.
"Please don't tell anyone." He whispered. Tears formed and he looked away. Why did his most hated teacher have to find this out?
"Be silent!" Snape hissed, closing his eyes, rubbing his temple with his hand. Harry looked back down, taking a deep breath to calm down.
There was only one thing Harry knew for sure. He was in trouble. Serious trouble.