Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
A special thanks to The Lonely God With a Box for beta'ing my story.
Severus looked down at the sleeping boy laying on his sofa. Harry Potter was an enigma. There was so much going on with this boy. But there was a lot that this boy—child—had to deal with as well. Knowing that he couldn't sit up all night watching over the boy, Severus waved his hand, putting an alarm over Harry so he would get an alert if Harry was distressed.
Severus sent a note to Minerva letting her know that Potter was asleep on his sofa. Severus retired to his room.
Harry woke up. He didn't know where he was. The place was dark. Feeling around he could tell that he wasn't in a bed. He wasn't in Gryffindor tower; reaching out, he felt for his glasses. Nothing. Panic started to set in.
Harry sat up on the sofa and with limited sight he tried to figure out where he was. He noticed that there was a low light coming from the fireplace. Fireplace? Harry tried to remember what happened last night. Swinging his legs off the side of the sofa, he heard and felt a small crinkle in his pocket. Reaching in his pocket, Harry found a small piece of parchment. He looked at it, but the act was null and void since he didn't have his glasses.
Harry was starting to feel anxiety growing inside him. He didn't know where he was, and then as if a light shone around him in the dark room, his memory of last night came flooding back. He went to Snape's chambers. The Potions Master called him down from dinner. Then his memory start to get fuzzy.
He heard the sound of a door opening, and a stream of orange light came from another area of the room. The light wasn't bright, but Harry could make out shadowy forms.
"Ah, Mr. Potter, awake I see."
Harry didn't know he was holding his breath until it was forcibly released from his lungs. Professor Snape.
"Professor," Harry said. His voice sounded weak to him.
Severus waved his hand causing the candles to illuminate the sitting room. Harry looked around now that there was light in the room. Even though he couldn't see clearly, Harry saw the blurry shape of his glasses on the end of the coffee table. The boy put them on bringing his small world into focus.
Severus walked over to Harry and sat down in the armchair he was sitting in when Harry came in the night before.
"Are you feeling better, Harry?" Severus asked.
"What happened?" Harry inquired. "Why am I here?"
Severus raised an eyebrow at the teen. "You couldn't keep your eyes open. I assume you've been having a hard time sleeping."
"I sleep alright," Harry said defiantly.
"I'm sure," Severus said, sardonically. "Be that as it may, you couldn't even stand up. You collapsed in my arms. Instead of leaving you to your own dimwitted devices, and against my better judgement, I let you stay on the sofa."
"Well, I'm sorry I was a nuisance," Harry said bitterly.
Harry stood up, but before he could take a step away from the sofa…
"Sit down, Mr. Potter." Severus' voice was not loud, but it broke no argument.
Harry lowered himself back on the sofa cushion. Any fight or defiance Harry was feeling seconds ago left him.
"Why are you keeping me here?"
"Harry," Severus said. His voice was low and soothing. Harry couldn't help but to want to lean into it. "I'm not holding you here. But I would like to know what is bothering you so gravely. You are scaring your friends and you're worrying me."
Harry wanted to retort with a scathing remark that Severus didn't care one iota about him, and that his friends could all jump off the Astronomy tower for all he cared. But he knew neither of those were true. Harry felt tears burn his throat and pool his eyes. He didn't want to cry. He was tired of crying.
"Harry," Severus continued. "You can't go through this alone. Let someone help you. You reached out to me. I will try my best to help you."
Harry listened to his most hated professor, no, the most closed off man, no, his godfather plead for him to reach out. How can he reach out? The world was closing in. Harry felt like he was trapped in quicksand with Devil's Snare wrapped around his neck. Everything was constricting him, making it hard to breath. The snare was wrapped around his mouth and most of his nose so only a thin amount of air could get through.
He couldn't breathe. He couldn't take in air.
Harry started clawing at his collar. His breathing was wheezing. Severus rushed into action. Severus went to Harry's side, pulling the child's hands away from his neck before he hurt himself.
"Calm down, Harry," Severus soothed, pulling the boy to his chest.
"Misty," Severus called out.
Misty popped next to Severus.
"Go get me a calming draught and a cool damp flannel. Hurry."
Misty didn't even acknowledge Severus before popping out of the room and seconds later popping back. She saw Master Harry Potter sir in a state of panic. Dobby had told all the house elves how special Harry was.
Putting the requested items on the small table, she left again, coming back with a small bin.
Severus wanted to get the Calming Draught in the boy, but in the state he was in, Harry wouldn't swallow anything. Severus had to coax Harry to calm down a little. Getting the flannel, Severus pressed the cool rag on the back of Harry's neck, hoping it would ground the boy; get him back to reality.
After a minute, Harry's panic attack didn't stop, but it did lessen enough for Severus to feed him the Draught. With Severus' help, Harry was able to swallow all of the potion. It didn't take Harry long to truly calm down. Severus knew the potion did its job when he felt Harry lean into him. Severus didn't let Harry go. He wanted to make sure that Harry understood that he wasn't alone.
Severus, at first, didn't want to take his role of godfather. When Harry first told him, Severus left the Leaky Cauldron to go home. His errands were long forgotten. Godfather. What did he truly know about being a godfather? He had vehemently refused Lucius and Narcissa when they asked him to be Draco's godfather. It wasn't that he didn't care for the boy, he just didn't know what that meant.
When Severus got home, he didn't stop until he got to his small waist-size table that housed his Firewhiskey. He didn't relax until he downed four shots of whiskey. Godfather.
He knew what he needed to do. Nothing. Nothing would change between him and Potter. It would be like it had been for the past five years.
Yes, that was Severus' plan. But when he saw Harry walking towards the entrance of the school, he noticed that this wasn't the same child he left at the Leaky Cauldron a few weeks ago. Something was dragging the boy down. Severus tried to get it out of his mind. He didn't care about Harry. Harry? No, Potter. As the weeks went on, Severus' feelings towards Harry (yes, Harry) changed. The first seed was planted when he caught Harry in the Owlery. And that seed fermented since then.
Now, Severus was sitting on his sofa, rocking back and forth, trying to calm and sooth his godson from his panic attack.
"Oh, Harry," Severus whispered in the child's hair. "Please tell me what is bothering you? Let me help you."
Harry didn't respond verbally. Just like in the Owlery, Harry reached out and gripped Severus' shirt.
Severus was walking down the corridor to the gargoyle at the end. Harry was still in his chambers. After getting some food into Harry, which was a challenge as Harry would not let go of Severus, he gave Harry a small amount of Dreamless Sleep. Harry needed to get some true sleep. Once Harry loosen his grip on Severus' shirt, Severus knew that the boy was asleep. Laying him back down on the sofa, Severus knew he needed to see Albus.
Severus gave the password and walked up the stairs. The door swung open when he reached the top.
"Severus, my boy," Albus said, welcoming him. "What can I do for you, this afternoon?"
"I need to talk to you about, Potter," Severus said.
"Why?" Albus asked. "What's going on?"
Severus sat down in the chair across from Albus' desk.
"Harry is struggling," Severus said, shaking his head. "He needs to deal with what is troubling him."
"I agree," Albus said. "But I'm curious as to why are you coming to me with this?"
"No one else is doing anything," Severus said. "So, I stepped up."
"I am pleased to see that you are finally taking an active role with Harry, but what is it you want done?" Albus sat back in his chair.
"He needs time away to deal with his grief and whatever else is bothering him," Severus said.
"I agree Harry needs someone to confide in," Albus said. "And I'm glad that you've taken on that role. But you don't need my permission to work with Harry or any other student."
"I'm not asking for that," Severus admonished. "I don't need your blessing for that. Harry needs to leave the school. Have some time for himself."
"Now, that's out of the question," Albus said, adamantly. "Harry is safer at school."
"Is the school safer with Harry?" Severus challenged. "I have seen Harry's magic become overwhelming. He almost destroyed my chambers because he got upset. It is only a matter of time before he truly loses control."
"That won't happen," Albus said. "You'll work with him. Show him how to calm himself down."
"You're a fool, Albus," Severus said, standing up. "There is absolutely no way a couple of hours will get Harry to deal with whatever is bothering him. Whatever the child is going through is eating the child alive."
"I have total faith in you, Severus," Albus said. "You will take care of this."
A complete waste of time. Severus walked into his chambers and saw that Harry was still asleep on the sofa. Looking at the boy, he could see that this was the calmest he's seen Harry since their visit at the Leaky Cauldron.
Severus knelt beside the sofa at Harry's head. Looking down at the child that carried the entire world on his shoulders as well as whatever is bothering him. Severus lightly brushed the hair off Harry's forehead and looked at the foreboding scar that is the cause of most of Harry's problems. Severus let the child sleep. He couldn't sit here and watch over Harry like a hawk. Severus still had papers to grade. Harry would be asleep until the next morning.
The next day, Harry left Severus' chambers with orders that if he was feeling down or upset that he was to come to Severus' chambers and talk it out. Harry nodded, not at all planning on doing that. The child just wanted to get out of these chambers.
Severus watched Harry as he walked down the dimly lit corridor, heading for the stairs. Severus hoped that things would get a little better, or that Harry would seek help on his own. But when do things ever work out like that?
Severus walked down the corridor. It had been a long time since he came down this way. They appeared as if they didn't get along, but it was just a ruse. They both had respect for each other. Severus needed to talk to someone that would take his concerns seriously and not brush them off. When he reached the door, Severus knocked. Once he was bided entrance, he opened the door and walked into the Deputy Headmistress' chambers.
"Severus," Minerva said. "What was so important that you wanted to have this meeting?"
Minerva waved her hand over her pristine desk. A tea service appeared. Severus sat in the chair opposite Minerva.
"Have you noticed anything different with Potter?" Severus asked.
Minerva looked at Severus for a moment. "Yeah, he's seems withdrawn. I know his friends try to talk with him. The boy doesn't seem that responsive."
"Several things have come to light since the end of Summer holidays. No one other than the people it concerns knows of this new development."
"What is it?"
"I learned that I'm Mr. Potter's godfather," Severus said.
One of Severus' reasoning was that he wasn't sure how people would take an ex-Death Eater as the godfather of The Boy Who Lived. Though Minerva was someone Severus could call a friend, he didn't know how she would receive the information.
"Harry knows this?" Minerva asked.
"He was the one who told me," Severus answered. "Did you know he ran away from his relatives?"
Minerva's brow furrowed as she shook her head. "Has something happened?"
"Harry won't say," Severus said. "There's a lot of things he won't say."
"What do you mean?" Minerva asked, her tea forgotten.
Severus told the Transfiguration Professor what happened the first week back at the start of term, then he went into what happened and why Harry was with him for two days.
"Have you talked to Albus about it?" Minerva asked.
"Yes," Severus said, nodding. "He won't acknowledge it. I feel that the fact that whatever is bothering Harry the child is not processing right, his magic is going to get out of hand. During the time with me, he almost exploded my belongings. I believe that Harry needs to be taken away from the school so that he can properly heal."
"Where do you think Harry should go? St. Mungo's is out of the question. The last thing he needs is the public in his business more."
"I agree," Severus admitted, taking a sip of his tea. "I am planning on taking him to a secure location and staying with him until we can get to the root of the problem."
"How can I help?" Minerva asked.
"If it comes to taking Harry from here," Severus responded, "I'll need your support. I'll be going against Albus. He doesn't want Harry to leave. For a lack of a better phase, Harry is a ticking time bomb. Can I count on your help?"
"Yes, you can, Severus."
Severus nodded. Severus needed his total focus to be on Harry. Not worrying if he had to evade Albus.
It had been three weeks since Harry stayed in Severus' chambers. Severus noticed that Harry was becoming more and more withdrawn. Severus tried to reach out to Harry, but he was ignoring his messages. Severus tried to keep Harry after class so he could know what was going on, but then Harry stopped coming into class. After a while, Harry stopped coming to the Great Hall.
Severus noticed that besides Minerva it seemed that no one else except Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasley were worried about the state Harry was in.
Things came to a head when, during dinner, Ms. Granger came into the Great Hall with Harry in tow. She looked determined to have Harry sit and eat. Even up at the Head table, Severus and Minerva could see magic rolling off Harry in waves. Minerva and Severus looked at each other in alarm. This is not going to end well, Severus thought. No sooner than the thought passed his mind, it happened. The Professors could cast the spell fast enough.
When Professor Snape let Harry go, it seemed that Harry couldn't get away from him fast enough. It wasn't that Harry didn't like Snape's company. The complete opposite. Harry didn't like the feelings he was getting. Harry didn't deserve comfort. He didn't deserve understanding. The world should be angry with him. The world should hate him. Harry didn't want to contaminate anyone else.
Once Harry stopped walking, he noticed he was in the Owlery. He looked around. There weren't any owls on the ledges. Harry figured they may be out hunting for food. He wanted to whistle for Hedwig, but his owl was pure as her feathers. The last thing he wanted was to stain his owl.
Harry turned and saw Hermione standing in the doorway.
"Yeah," Harry said.
"Are you alright?" Hermione asked as she walked closer to him.
Harry didn't answer. When he saw Hermione get close, he moved away from her. Harry looked at her and saw pity and hurt in her eyes. The last thing he wanted was to hurt her. Hermione was his best friend.
"Ron and I are going to see Hagrid," Hermione said. "Want to come?"
Harry tried to force a smile which probably looked more like a grimace. Deep down he wanted to say no but didn't.
"Yeah, sure," Harry said.
Hermione and Harry met up with Ron and they headed towards Hagrid's hut. That's how things went for a while. Hermione and Ron tried to get Harry to do something, anything. They were at a loss as to how to help Harry.
As the weeks went by, Harry was becoming more and more withdrawn. He completely stopped talking. He'd gone into the habit of skipping classes. When Hermione or Ron tried to look for him, they couldn't find him. Ron suspected that he was going around in his Invisibility cloak.
Finally, Hermione caught a glimpse of Harry. Before she could lose him again, she casted a body bind on him. She released it once she got close enough to grip his arm.
"Hermione, what are you doing?" Harry asked. His voice was hard.
"You have been avoiding us," Hemione said, just as angry. "You are coming with me to the Great Hall and have some dinner. I know you haven't been eating."
"Let me go," Harry raged. He tried to pull his wrist from Hermione's grasp, but he couldn't.
Harry didn't want to go to the Great Hall. He didn't want to be around anyone. Why couldn't everybody get that? Yes, he'd been avoiding people. Obviously, he didn't want to talk. He didn't want to see anyone. He'd been dodging Snape. He saw that McGonagall was watching him too, so he kept his distance from her.
Just leave me alone. Just leave me alone. Just leave me alone. JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!
Hermione was able to successfully pull Harry into the Great Hall. As she was walking to her seat. The floor started to rumble. Before Hermione could register what was happening, she was thrown across the room. Everyone within ten feet of Harry was thrown. Hufflepuff and Gryffindor's tables erupted into splinters.
The professors couldn't stop the blast of magic, but they were able to cushion the walls and floor so that the children's landing wouldn't be devastating. There was screaming and crying heard throughout the Hall. Minerva and Severus looked at each other. They nodded. Severus got to Harry's side. Harry was unconscious on the floor.
The blast of magic took away the anti-apparation over the Great Hall. Severus picked up Harry. Severus looked at Minerva again. Severus, with the boy in his arms, apparated out of the Great Hall.
A/N: Thank you to everyone who reviewed, favored, and followed my story.
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