This story was inspired by Raven Dancer, Severitus, and AngelZash who might find small bits or resemblances to their stories. Please don't be offended, I absolutely love your work.
Disclaimer: I own NOTHING! And that includes Harry Potter
This story takes place during the summer between the fourth and fifth year and also during Harry's fifth year.
Gold and Silver, Fire and Ice
Chapter I- The Cry for Help
Harry hunched in the corner of his cupboard, pressing the dirty piece of his school robe to his cheek. Upon reaching Privet Drive a week ago, he had been thrown in the cupboard and locked in. Heaven only knew what had happened to his school things. 'At least Hedwig's safe,' he thought. He had felt that it would be prudent to leave his familiar with his best friend Ron, thinking only of her safety. Something had told him that the Dursleys had not forgotten what had happened the summer before. The second he had gotten 'home' he found out just how right he was. The beating had been bad and they were progressively getting worse. Gently he took the bloody rag away from his cheek to change the position of his arm. The large gash had been Uncle Vernon's latest present to him via a sharp hunting knife. Repositioning himself, he closed his eyes, hoping to catch a few hours of dreamless sleep.
"Hedwig what's wrong?" Ron asked the agitated bird. The owl hooted desperately, beating her wings against the cage.
"She wants to be let out Ron." Ginny unlocked the cage, almost being knocked to the floor as the bird flew out the window.
"Well that was certainly a nice thank you," Ginny grumbled, straightening up.
"She must be going to Harry. I hope he's okay," Ron's voice sounded worried.
Harry, however, was not okay. Along with the cut cheek, he now nursed a broken leg. He lay stock still on his bed, any movement caused him excruciating pain. Night was now his favorite time of the day, the only time that the Dursleys left him alone. The rush of wings and a soft hoot made him sit up. Stifling a gasp of pain, he peered through the vent at a pair of sharp yellow eyes.
"Hedwig!" he whispered, flooded with overwhelming joy and fear at the same time. Joy to see his familiar and fear that Uncle Vernon might her. If he did, she would most certainly die.
"Hang on Hedwig." He searched the cupboard as best he could for a scrap of paper. Finding an old magazine, he ripped out a mostly white page and grabbed one of the pens the Dursleys kept stored there. His hands were shaking so badly he only managed "HELP!" and his initials. Folding the paper in half, he carefully slid it out the vent to Hedwig. She clamped her beak on it securely, waiting for further instructions.
"Take this to a Hogwarts professor, I don't care which! Just the closest one," he commanded. Another rush of beating wings told him she was gone. He sat back and prepared himself for the wait. He knew it would take Hedwig a full day to get to Hogwarts, maybe longer if she had trouble finding a professor. He sighed miserably, hoping the Dursleys forgot he was in here.
Severus Snape sat at his desk, irritably flipping through papers that had to be done. He, however, was not in the mood to do them. One reason for his mood was he had gotten back from a Death Eater meeting not long ago and things didn't look good. He had a feeling they knew he was a spy. The second reason: it was cold! Irritation growing at his inability to focus, he waved one of his hands, causing one of the dungeon's high windows to open.
Hedwig, who had just entered the grounds, spotted the open window. Clamping the note more tightly, she swooped down.
Snape looked up in surprise as a snowy owl landed on his shoulder and dropped a note in his lap. Carefully picking it up, he noticed that it was a page torn from a muggle magazine. His lip curled into a sneer.
"Is this important? I have work to do," he asked the animal. The owl hooted loudly, almost desperately thought Snape as curiosity took over and he unfolded the paper. In big, untidy scrawl was the word "HELP!" and two initials, HP. HP? Snape's brow furrowed in confusion, then, it hit him.
"Your Potter's owl?" The bird's head bobbed up and down.
"Where is he? Is he still at his aunt and uncle's?" he asked. The bird nodded it's head more furiously, squeezing his shoulder.
"Can you show me the way?" he asked, reaching for his cloak. The animal took off from his shoulder and waited impatiently. Snape swept out the door, following the owl closely.
"Potter what mess have you got yourself into this time?" he muttered to himself.
Unfortunately for Harry, the Dursleys did not forget about him. He grimaced as he shifted his arm carefully. 'At this rate,' he thought, looking down at his mangled arm, 'I won't have any bones left intact.' His only hope and comfort at this point was that Hedwig had found someone. 'Someone...' he thought as he drifted off to sleep.
Snape apparated at the end of Privet Drive and continued to follow the owl. Not an easy thing to do with only street lamps for illumination. The years spent down in the dungeons, which were by no means brighter, finally paid off as he spotted the owl hovering in front of one of the houses.
"Alohomora," he whispered quietly. The door swung open noiselessly on it's hinges, allowing him to enter.
"Where?" The bird flew past his ear and hovered by the stairs. Snape made his way over, carefully avoiding the muggle alarm system at the door. Kneeling down, he pressed his ear to the open vent.
"Potter?" All he got in response was ragged, pain-filled breathing. Unlocking the cupboard, he peered in, gasping in surprise. Harry Potter, The-Boy-Who-Lived, his most hated student, was trembling in the corner of the small space. Carefully, Snape reached out and shook his shoulder to wake him. He jerked back when the boy hissed in pain even at the small movement.
"Potter? Harry?" he called again. The boy jerked once then slowly opened his eyes, surprising Snape by how hollow and empty they were.
"Who...?" he trailed off, bringing his glasses to his face.
"Professor Snape?!" Harry's mouth hung open in shock at the sight of the worried face of the Potions Master.
"No time Potter, I've got to get you out of here." As gently as possible, he pulled the boy into his arms and stood up.
'This boy's much too light,' Snape thought worriedly.
"Potter when was the last time you ate anything?" he asked.
"Hogwarts," the boy answered weakly. Snape's worry became more extreme.
"That was over a week ago."
"Like the Dursleys care. Professor you better silence my voice, I have a few broken bones and I don't want to give us away," Harry suggested. Snape did a quick once over. Broken arm and leg, cut cheek, several bruises; what the hell had these people done to this boy? He did as Harry suggested, heading back out the front.
"I'll come back for your school things later, after I get you some help. I think I'll also have a little talk with the Dursleys," Snape's eyes narrowed, his anger flaring out. As he stepped out the door a shrill bell sounded through the house. There was the crashing of doors and pounding of feet as the occupants of the house raced down to see what had tripped the alarm. Snape looked down at Harry as the boy tugged at his robes.
"Go and leave me, hurry," he mouthed, his voice still under Snape's charm.
"No, I will not," he squeezed Harry more tightly, then lifted the charm on his voice.
"Go NOW! I can handle their wrath, I don't want to see you hurt!" Harry tried again. Snape shook his head, holding his ground, and Harry, as the Dursleys reached the bottom of the stairs.
"What do you think you're doing here? GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! Leave the boy here, we're taking care of him." Vernon brandished his rifle at the stranger, hoping to intimidate him. Snape, however, was not the least bit intimidated.
"I am going, but I'm taking Harry with me. You've starved him, beat him, not caring ONE BLOODY BIT!" Snape spat furiously. Vernon's face purpled as he sneered, cocking the rifle.
"He got everything he deserved, the brat. He's more trouble than he's worth." Snape's anger flared out again, almost to the point of being a tangible thing. The silver-white light glowed around him menacingly. Harry realized that, in his anger, Snape hadn't noticed Vernon's finger moving toward the trigger. Wrenching himself free, Harry landed in front of Snape, shielding him from what he knew was coming next. The shot rang loud through the otherwise silent house. Harry watched the bullet, everything moving in slow motion; he saw it leave the barrel, sail lazily through the air, then connect with his shoulder, just where Snape's heart would have been. He cried out, more in surprise than in pain, as he began to fall. Two strong arms grabbed him, lowering him the rest of the way. Harry opened his hollow green eyes and stared into Snape's panic filled ones. 'He's worried about me?' crossed his mind.
"Did he get you?" Yes, it was a stupid question but Harry had to ask. The Potions Master shook his head.
"He got you," he croaked. Why had the boy saved him?
"Strange, it doesn't hurt," Harry coughed out. Snape couldn't see how, the bullet had probably shattered the boy's entire left shoulder.
"Harry?" his voice became tight with rising panic as Harry's eyes dropped closed.
"Harry?!" The boy didn't answer. Snape heard the gun cock behind him.
"That boy got what he deserved," Vernon said. Something inside Snape, snapped at that comment. The silver-white aura, that had all but disappeared, flared back out, this time in full force. The professor slowly stood, turning toward the trembling family. Vernon's finger shook on the trigger as the man's already powerful aura increased. Snape raised his hand, not bothering to look for his wand.
"Accio," he called, his voice low and dangerous. The rifle flew out of Vernon's hands and into Snape's The beefy man cowed back, watching in horror as the gun simply bent in half in Snape's hand, under the force of the man's glare. Then he turned that glare back on the Dursleys. The look on Snape's face, which would have made any student within a ten mile radius run for the hills, didn't frighten them nearly as much as his next words.
"Know this: I will be back and the consequences will not be pleasant for you," Snape raised his hand again, pointing it at the Dursleys.
"Stupefy!" he growled. The family fell to the floor, stunned. Snape turned his attention away from them and back to the injured teenager. His panic was back now, doubled in its intensity. He scooped Harry into his arms and ran out of the house. He ran until they were outside the enchantments surrounded the Dursley's home. When they were, Snape apparated them into Hogsmeade, taking off running again. He skidded to a stop in front of what looked to be a medical clinic. He pounded heavily on the door.
"Seri! Kit! It's me Severus! I need your help!" No one answered but the lion-faced door knocker came to life.
"Kit and I are out at the moment," the knocker intoned, sounding bored, "We will, however, be back soon. Please leave your name and state your emergency after the roar. Thank you and have a nice day," the lion paused briefly, then roared.
"Seri, Kit, this is Severus. As soon as you get back come to Hogwarts. I have a student that was severely injured." After completing his message, Snape turned on his heel and ran non-stop toward the looming castle in the distance.
Snape panted as he reached the door to the castle, clutching Harry more tightly to his chest. His silver-white aura flared out again, causing the doors to burst open with a resounding bang.
"ALBUS!" he screamed at the top of his lungs as he headed toward the hospital wing. Half-way there the headmaster caught up with him.
"What is it, Severus?" he asked, his tone full of concern. He looked down at the bundle in the Potions Master's arms, his eyes widening in disbelief.
"Harry?" He looked up at Snape, his eyes flashing in obvious anger.
"Who?" he demanded coldly.
"His uncle," Snape answered, increasing the speed of his running. They were at hospital wing in next to no time.
"I'll get Poppy." Dumbledore hurried away. Snape laid Harry gently on one of the beds, brushing the boy's unruly hair out of his face. The coldness of Harry's skin bothered him a great deal. He knew it shouldn't feel that way. A few seconds later Madam Pomfrey came bustling in.
"Out, now," she snapped, glaring at Snape. Snape didn't bother to glare back. He shook his head.
"I will not leave," he stated flatly, but moved out of the nurse's way, his stare fixed on Harry's waxed face. A hand on his arm carefully guided him to the other end of the room, sitting him down on a bed.
"What happened, Severus?" Dumbledore's soft, soothing voice, brought Snape back to reality.
"His owl showed up in my office tonight with a note. It took me a moment to make the connection. I went to his house to find him LOCKED in a cupboard under the stairs. He was battered and bruised; told me he hadn't eaten anything in a week when I asked. In my haste to get him out I tripped the muggle alarm system. The entire family came down; his uncle had a gun. They were going to shoot me. Harry put himself in between. He saved me, Albus. If he hadn't taken that shot I would be dead, it was aimed for my heart," Snape put his head in his hands and Dumbledore continued to rub his back soothingly. After a while he looked up to meet his mentor's eyes.
"If he dies, Albus, it'll be because of me. Albus, no none, NO ONE, except Voldemort deserves to die because of me." Dumbledore pulled the younger wizard into a hug.
"He's not going to die, Severus, Poppy will take care of him. Now lets go get you cleaned up and to bed," Dumbledore helped him to his feet and out the door.
"I'm coming back," Severus said with such conviction that even Dumbledore didn't argue.