This is going to be a prequel to the Harry Potter stories and will later somewhat follow the books. Characters will be somewhat AU because this is a Severitus story. Snape may also be a bit fluffy while Harry is young. I do not own Harry Potter nor am I J.K Rowling (I wish).
It was a quiet blistering summer day in Little Whinging where the Dursely family of number four, Privet Drive resided. One would say it was the hottest day of the summer and unfortunately for the area of Surrey a large power outage had affected the county.
Mrs. Petunia Dursley had sprawled herself out on the couch fanning herself while trying to entertain her perfect little Dudders. Dudley Dursely a boy of three looked to be about a boy of six with how enormous he was. The obese boy made a fuss of not having the television on and how hot it was. He kept shouting for ice cream since they had run out of it, and it wasn't even noon yet.
"Duddykins please Mummy will give you all the ice cream in the world once Daddy's home." Petunia told her son.
"But I want it now!" Dudley shouted back as he started throwing pillows and pictures all around the living room.
As if on cue the front door opened up and a whale of a man made his way into the house. He had a large beefy purple face with a black bushy mustache and mean beady little eyes. Vernon Dursely was very proud of his normal life where he worked as a director for Grunnings, a drill making company. The large man had a smirk on his face and went over to greet his lovely wife and son.
"Petunia you'll never guess what happened at the store. I ran into a bunch of beggars who had the audacity to complain about this heat and was asking for water and food. Can you imagine my horror to such a thing? Told them they should work for something in their lives rather than ask others to do something for them, that or they can go off themselves, bunch of wastes of space." Vernon grumbled.
The man had no sympathy for anyone of a "lesser status" and based a person by his or her status and wealth. He was a terrible human being with appalling views and loved bullying people, a reason why he loved his job so much.
"Speaking of beggars where is that little freak? Do I have to put away groceries as well as feed his sorry ass?" Vernon continued.
"I'm not too sure Vernon I haven't heard from the boy in sometime" Petunia replied fanning herself while drinking a glass of cold lemonade while giving Dudley three ice creams for being so patient.
"Boy! Where are you! Get in here now you little freak!" Vernon shouted. His purple face becoming an even darker shade of purple with hints of red appearing.
"Comin' Unwle Ve'non" a tiny voice called from outside. The glass door opened and a tiny three year old dark haired boy made his way inside. His clothes were much too large for his minuscule malnourished body. His arms were dirty from pulling the weeds outside and his face flushed from the weather and exhaustion.
"Unpack these bags now boy." Vernon replied barley looking at the freak.
"But I still hafta to fwinish weedin', washin' da car and mowin' da wawn" Harry replied softly with his head down, knowing what was about to happen. He knew he'd be in trouble for not finishing his chores, 'stupid worthless burden can't do anything right'. He couldn't even push the lawn mower, what good was he?
"Excuse me?! What have you been doing all day boy? Sitting on your lazy ass and not doing your chores?" Vernon shouted.
"I fwinished breakfast, wunch, doing da dishes, scrubbin' da oven, cweaning da shower, moppin' da kitchen and da bathroom and dusting da house." Harry replied back in a meek voice.
"Well thank God you at least did something today, you lazy good for nothing freak. I have provided you with a roof over your head, food and the clothes on your back and you can't even repay us for what we have done for you! I gave you five hours and you're not even done. I knew I should have drowned you the second you arrived on our door!" Vernon yelled his face becoming redder as the veins in his neck and veins popped out.
Tears appeared in the young boys eyes as he looked at his feet. He knew his Uncle was right. He should have cleaned the oven and bathroom faster. 'What was wrong with him?' And the lawn mower was just to heavy for him to push at the age of three and he ended up ripping a patch of grass up from leaving the mower there for too long. He knew he would get it when his uncle saw what he had done.
"Unpack these now and then get back to finishing your list boy! And no lunch or dinner for you! If you don't want to work hard enough for things in life you don't get anything. " Vernon growled.
Harry made his way into the kitchen and started working on the bags that were on the kitchen table. No lunch or dinner this would be the third day in a row he had not received anything but a small piece of toast and a couple glasses of water.
While Harry started putting the bags away the Dursley's lounged in the living room drinking lemonade and eating ice cream to stay cool while fanning themselves.
Harry wished for once that he had a chance to eat something like ice cream. Or to even sit on the couch, but he knew his place and he was grateful that his Aunt and Uncle even took him in rather than sending him to an orphanage. He wished that his parents were still alive and hadn't been killed in the car crash. He wished that he had somebody who loved him. Harry dreamed of some unknown person coming to take him away, to show him love. However Harry knew he had no one else, the Durlsey's always told him so. He was just Harry, the freaky orphan boy. The boy who was unworthy of love, unworthy of having a family and would be better off if he died with his parents.
So lost in his thoughts he hit his head when he climbed up on the counter to put away the olive oil, which was always placed above the refrigerator. His head stung causing him to drop and break the olive oil and fall down on the floor. He laid on the ground paralyzed with pain as to what happened. His back hurt and he knew for sure he would have a massive bruise on his back. His head was throbbing from hitting the kitchen tiles so hard and tiny pieces of glass made his way into his arms and legs from the broken olive oil bottle.
He bit back a cry, knowing the Dursley's didn't like it when he made any noise, especially cries, he learned that at a very young age. He swallowed back the sobs of pain and fear that wanted so badly to escape.
"You've done it now! Haven't you boy!" Vernon yelled stomping his way into the kitchen. He grabbed Harry crudely by the collar and gripped his bicep so hard he knew an imprint would be made.
"I didn't mean to I swear Unwle Ve'non!" Harry cried in both fear and pain.
"What you think you can throw a tantrum and break something since you can't have dinner? Huh Boy! Not in my house you ungrateful whelp." Vernon yelled in his face while shaking the young boy.
Petunia gasped as she made her way into the kitchen looking out the glass door. "Vernon come quick! The boy has ruined our yard. Look at this mess!"
Vernon quickly stomped over rage coursing through his veins at the sight of his yard. A small hole roughly thirteen centimeters was in the middle of his perfect lawn.
"What are the neighbors going to think?" Petunia whispered quietly as she thought of the nasty gossip her neighbors would have when they took a look at their lawn.
Vernon slowly turned and walked towards the small three year old who was quietly crying in the kitchen. "You bloody freak, I'll kill you for what you've done" He threatened in a low growl.
Harry shook with fear. Never had he seen his Uncle so livid. He closed his eyes shut and wished that he had never broken the bottle in the first place.
Suddenly just like magic the shards of glass flew in the air and pieced themselves back together while the olive oil went back into the bottle as well. The shards of glass left Harry's skin but the cuts and blood remained. The bottle than placed itself above the refrigerator, just like none of this had ever happened.
Harry stood in shock. His emerald eyes glowing from tears, wonder and awe, "Just like magwic" he whispered.
That one word is what snapped Uncle Vernon out of his shock. He quickly grabbed the boy by the neck and growled "there is no such thing as magic!"
While stomping his way with Harry over to his cupboard he yelled "I'm not having one in the house, Petunia! Didn't we swear when we took him in we'd stamp out this dangerous nonsense?" Uncle Vernon then ripped open the cupboard before throwing Harry roughly inside, banging his head once again on the wall. He then quickly shut the door.
"Let's go. Dudley how do you feel about spending the day at the park?" Vernon asked his son nicely.
"I don't want to go to the park in this neighborhood, the playground stinks. I want to go to the one across town!" Dudley screamed while stamping his feet.
"Of course Duddykins, Mummy and Daddy will bring you to whatever park you'd like and after you can pick the place you want to go to for dinner." Petunia smiled while running her fingers through her sons hair.
"I'll meet you in the car" Vernon whispered to his horse-faced wife as she and his son made her way out of the house towards the car.
Once they were outside Vernon opened the door grabbing little Harry by the collar. Harry let out a yelp as Uncle Vernon backhanded his face. "Listen to me Boy, you sit in there and think of what you have done. If I see one more freaky thing from you you'll be out of this house before you can blink. Understood? Now I want you to repeat after me, I am a burden who know one will ever love."
Harry whimpered biting down on his lower lip to control the sobs that desperately wanted to come out. Harry's heart squeezed at what Uncle Vernon was telling him, knowing it was true, knowing a freak like him didn't deserve love. "I am a burden who no one will eva wove" he repeated quietly, his voice shaken from holding back tears.
"Good. Now you can sit in there knowing you deserve this treatment for being a freak, and if you want this to end then I want this freakiness to stop. Uncle Vernon told him before making his way out of the house and locking the front door.
Harry whimpered silently in the hot dark cupboard. His uncle had shut the door that allowed some light inside. His cuts were sore to the touch and his head had a rather large lump and he felt like he was going to be sick. The left side of his face also stung and was swollen from his Uncle's fist. It hurt for him to breath deeply since the bruise on his back didn't allow him to expand his lungs as much as he needed to.
Within twenty minutes of being locked in the cupboard Harry started sweating profusely. His pounding head started throbbing more from the lack of water his tiny body contained. Within an hour the heat outside had come to a peak and his dark stuffy cupboard reached a temperature of 104 degrees. Between the ache he felt whenever he breathed and the dense hot air in the cupboard Harry felt as if he was suffocating. His small body was quickly going into shock from the heat and the circulation to his vital organs was starting to fail. Harry wheezed taking shallow breaths wishing that someone would come take him away.
"Ah Severus, come in please." Albus Dumbledore spoke to the dark man who made his way into the Headmaster's office. "Lemon drop?" he asked with a faint twinkle in his eyes.
Severus Snape only gave a quick nod and glared at the old man's question. He already had a busy morning with potion brewing, getting lesson plans started, figuring out and appointing perfects and he still had to make his way to the apothecary to pick up more ingredients, all before noon.
"You wished to speak with me Headmaster?" Snape drawled in a dark monotone voice.
"Yes. I have an important job that unfortunately I can not do myself as I have a meeting with the Minister." Dumbledore replied.
Snape glared at the Headmaster waiting for him to get on with whatever job the old man wanted to do.
"The wards at 4 Privet Drive are faltering which gives me an indication that something is wrong or someone is in danger. I would like you to go over to the house and check on Harr.."
"No." Snape interrupted a sneer of anger and disgust concealed his face.
"Severus" Dumbledore sighed about to start into the reason he needed the man to go over.
"No Headmaster I will not go check on that insufferable brat. What you think the pampered prince isn't being spoiled enough is that it? You're mental Old Man if you think that I'll go check on the little horror." Snape hissed.
"Severus I need you to do this for me. You are the only one at Hogwarts besides myself at the moment. All I'm asking is for you to make sure the boy is safe, nothing more." Dumbledore replied with a calmly.
"Ask the Werewolf to do it. I will not go check on the son of my enemy's and you're foolish if you think otherwise." Snape bellowed as he made his way towards the door.
"Even if the boy happens to be the son of Lily's as well? Your childhood friend? The girl you loved?" Dumbledore replied softly.
"How dare you! Bringing her into this!" Snape sneered turning around quickly stalking his way towards the Headmaster's desk. "You ask too much of me!"
"I know Severus, I know I do but after this consider me done asking you favors. Until the start of the semester of course." Dumbledore replied a mischievous twinkle covering his eyes towards the end of his statement.
"Fine. I'll do it now, but only for her. Not for you, not for Potter or even the Potter spawn, but for her." Snape emphasized as he made his way out of the door.
Snape's robes billowed behind him as he stalked down the corridors and out the doors walking past the apparition wards. He quickly transfigured his robes into a simple pair of black pants and a black t-shirt with a light black jacket to blend into the muggle neighborhood before apparating.
Snape's face sneered in disgust at the houses around them. All looked the same, had the same car in the driveway and everything was almost too perfect. How could someone live like this? He marched his way up to number 4, and was immediately fuming when he saw no car in the driveway and no signs of life inside the house.
He rang the doorbell numerous times waiting to see if anybody would answer the door, already knowing it was pointless since he knew for a fact no one was home. 'Bloody waste of time'.
"They're not home young man, took that little boy out for the day seeing as the how the power is out and that little one can put up quite the tantrum if he doesn't get what he wants." An old lady told Severus from next door, watching him with curiosity as to why he would be visiting the Dursely's. "Friend of theirs?" she asked.
Severus scoffed rolling his eyes. He was absolutely correct with his assumption on how Potter would be and couldn't wait to tell Dumbledore what his precious Golden Boy was like. "No, not a friend." Severus replied curtly. Turning around he was making his way away from the house, away from the woman to report back to Dumbledore that all was well and that the Old Man was just loosing more of his mind.
He was desperately ignoring the gut nagging feeling of turning around and examining the house more. He wanted no part in this. Wanted no part of Potter. He was halfway down the driveway when the woman replied back making him turn around abruptly.
"Wouldn't figure you're a friend of theirs, don't see them having a lot of friends with how they act. I can see where their son gets his attitude. Do you know the other little boy? Their nephew I believe they said? Quiet little thing. Doesn't talk much, I've tried to invite the poor boy inside for a snack when he's outside but he runs away every time. Very polite though." The old woman rambled on. Severus thought she could be a good friend with the Headmaster seeing as both of them babbled on like buffoons.
"The little boy, their nephew, he's also out with the Dursley's?" Severus asked cutting the woman off.
"Didn't see him get in the car, he might be being babysat by one of the neighbors." The old woman pondered.
Severus could now not ignore his gut feeling. The feeling that something was wrong and that he needed to go inside the house. He couldn't fathom why Petunia would take her family out for the day but the woman saw no sign of Potter with them. Surely they worshipped the boy like everyone did in the wizarding world. His heart clenched, surely Petunia didn't pass on the hatred she had for Lily to her son.
'Why wouldn't she? Isn't that what you have been doing? Belittling an innocent child for who his father was?' Severus thought solemnly.
Severus quickly strolled back to the front of the house, making his way back towards the front door, but not before pulling out his wand, pointing it at the elderly woman next door.
"Obliviate" his voice rang clearly, erasing the exchange the two had, making sure that nobody would know he was there before turning towards the front door. "Alohomora"
The house was in prestige condition if Severus would say so himself. Not an ounce of dust, or an object out of place could be detected. He made his way around the house quietly, years of spying made him an expert at sneaking around. He noticed several things were out of place as he made his way around the house. One that there was not a single picture of Potter to be found anywhere. Every picture on the walls or mantle was of Petunia and her horse-faced tightly wound smile, which made her look like she always had something stuck up her bum. An enormous whale of a man whose face look to be of a permanent complexion of red and purple. And a boy who was quickly following the steps of his father with the three chins he was already sprouting.
Severus looked on with disgust, as to how somebody could do that to himself but also to their child. The second thing he noticed was that that there were two bedrooms, one for Petunia and her Oaf of a husband and the second bedroom for their son. As he opened the door to what would be presumed as the third bedroom he was shocked to find a room filled with brand new toys, a television and also a toy chest that read 'Dudley's'.
'Where was Potter?' To an outsider the house spoke of a family of three, but Severus knew better, he was there when Dumbledore came back explaining where Lily's son had ended up and the reasons for giving him to the muggle family. His stomach was now sinking deeper, he knew something terrible was off, you didn't need to be a spy to see that.
Swallowing the random nerves that had imbedded themselves in him he made his way back down the stairs to search the downstairs closer. Sweat had begun to drip down his back while tiny dribbles covered his brow and upper lip. The house was roasting due to the heat outside. Severus prided himself on being emotionless, it was why he was such a good spy, he couldn't comprehend why he felt so unsteady, so nervous, especially for Potter's son.
'Because this reminds you of your childhood, and no child deserves that, especially Lily's.'
As he made his way around towards the kitchen he heard the faintest whimper making his heart stop.
"Potter!" He yelled. Making his way more towards where he heard the whimper.
A tiny bang was heard when Severus called for him. Severus quickly made his way towards the noise but stopped. There in front of him was a small cupboard door under the stairs, which had two deadbolt locks and a tiny flap.
Rage consumed him as he stared at the door. There was no way. It would be inhumane, they wouldn't put a child in there, their nephew. Severus prayed that when he opened the door he would find it empty, but his gut told him otherwise. Unfortunately for him, his gut was always right.
Nothing could prepare him for what he saw when he undid the bolts and opened the door. His heart fell into his stomach and he quickly brought his hands up to his mouth to withhold a gasp.
There Potter laid drenched in sweat, his face was puffy and red from tears and the heat and Severus was sure the boy was well on his way to having a heat stroke if he had not already. The left side of his face was covered with an ugly bruise and his lip was split and bloody. A giant lump appeared on his head as well and his arms and legs were covered in cuts and bruises. He quickly noticed another bruise forming on the child's arm, one that outlined a handprint. The boy's breathing was shallow and weak.
Severus saw red. How dare they. Those monsters. How dare they do this to a child. Never had Severus felt such rage, not with the Marauders, not at himself when he lost Lily's friendship, not even when he witnessed unspeakable events as a Death Eater. He would make those muggles pay. Make sure that they never touched a hair on the boy again.
"Potter. Potter!" Severus called shaking the boy.
"Harry" Severus called gently, surprising himself with just how tender his voice sounded, a tenderness he didn't know he possessed.
He gently caressed the child's face and his heart broke when he saw the child flinch even while unconscious. He slowly scooped the small boy into his arms and carried him into the living room, sitting down and placing the boy on his lap with him leaning against his chest.
"Harry, little one, you're okay, you're safe. They will never harm you again. I need you to take some medicine for me child." Severus whispered to the boy as he stroked the child's hair. Something his mother did for him as a boy when he seeked comfort.
Harry squirmed in Severus's arms and was slowly brought back to consciousness. He opened his eyes noticing that he was in the Dursely's living room and then noticed the dark man who was holding him the way he saw Dudley held when he was hurt or frightened. The dark man looked down at him, his dark eyes sparkling with concern and also a tinge of sadness and anger. Harry didn't understand why the dark man would look at him so gently. He did understand the anger though, everyone knew he was worthless and that's how everyone always looked at him. Except for the beautiful woman with red hair in his dreams, she looked at him with love.
"There you are." Severus smiled at the young boy who did not look big enough to be three. Severus's breath caught in his throat as he looked at the boys sparkling emerald eyes, Lily's eyes. Eye's he never imagined he would look into again. "I need you to take some medicine for me Harry. Can you do that? It will make you feel much better?"
Harry slowly nodded his head, wincing at the movement, his head hurt tremendously bringing more tears into his eyes. He wouldn't cry though, he knew the rules he wasn't supposed to cry.
"You're okay" Severus whispered noticing that the boy was on the verge of crying. "You're very brave did you know that Harry?" Severus continued as he reached into his pocket to retrieve some potions he always kept on him for emergencies.
Harry looked at the dark man bewildered by what had he said. Never had anyone told him he was brave, never had someone spoke to him with such tenderness. Harry wanted to tell the man who he was, that he was a freak and unworthy of this sort of treatment but couldn't find it in his heart. He was selfish. He craved the affection and allowed it to carry on knowing it would all end once the Dursley's came home and the man discovered what he was.
"Here drink these two first, one is a pain reliever and the other is for your head. I think you may have a concussion, which is just a fancy word for your brain is hurt, which we can't have. Now you have some bruises and cuts I'm concerned about so I'm going to rub some of this salve on them. Is that ok Harry?" Severus asked the boy in his arms.
Harry nodded yes to the man and drank the funny looking drinks making a grimaced face at the taste of them. He noticed that the dark man had an amused smirk on his face when Harry grimaced. Before he could think more of the subject he noticed that he felt a lot better! Harry looked up wide-eyed at the dark man in amazement. He hadn't felt this good in a while.
Severus smirked at the boys reaction to the potions and was thankful that they took effect so quickly. "Now is there anything else that hurts right now? We'll have to use the salve for the next couple days for your bruises so you may feel a bit sore."
"No sir I feel a wot betta. Tank you verwy much sir." a shy voice responded, barely above a whisper. Why was this man helping him? Using his medicine, which he paid for using his own hard worked cash. Didn't he know Harry was a burden that didn't deserve this treatment? How would he pay the man back?
Severus smiled at the boy but inside his heart broke, no child should ever be so timid. Yes he thought all children should be respectful, but he also knew that children were free spirits. Full of adventure and Harry looked like his family broke him into submission. No. He couldn't call these muggles Harry's family. Family did not treat each other like this.
Severus rubbed the boys back in small little circles, not liking what he felt. He knew the child was small but this was borderline skeletal. He could feel the boy's vertebrates and spine, 'when was the last time Harry had a meal?' Severus wished that he had a nutrition potion with him.
"How about we step into the kitchen and grab something to eat? Also you may want a small glass of water, I know more than anyone how nasty those potions taste." Severus smiled down at the boy.
Harry knew that if he ate he would be crossing a big line. He knew that his Uncle would find out and then he would be in big trouble. Also why did the dark man call those funny drinks potions? Potions were make believe, just like magic. Harry knew that Uncle Vernon wouldn't like this man for sprouting nonsense.
"No tank you sir. I'm not hungwy sir." Harry replied, his eyes facing the floor. He felt guilty to lying to the nice man but he knew the rules he wasn't allowed to eat. Not to mention take something out of the kitchen on his own, he learned that the hard way.
Severus sighed. He could tell the boy was lying, he didn't have to be an expert in Legilimens to know that. He had to figure out a way to get the boy to eat something or else he might fade into nothing.
"Well I for one am starved. I accidently skipped lunch today due to work. Would you care to join me Harry in the kitchen? I'd love some company." Severus asked. 'You've officially gone bonkers. Asking for company? You sound as senseless as Albus'.
Harry knew it was rude to say no, especially to a guest and after everything the nice man had done for him the least he could do was be with him while the man ate. 'He could even make him lunch!'
Harry grinned at the realization that he could repay the man for everything he had done. "Yes sir, I'd like to join you."
"Harry you don't need to call me sir" Severus replied, bewildered knowing this was the first time he had ever uttered such a sentence. "My name is Severus Snape, how about you call me Severus?"
"Yes sir… I mean Sevewus" Harry replied, his face was suddenly hot and he knew he was red with embarrassment from messing up already.
Severus laughed at the boy as he made his way into the kitchen Harry following in tow. Severus made his way towards the refrigerator and cupboard planning to make a simple sandwich. However he was stopped when Harry ran in front and started pulling out various ingredients for what it looked like a sandwich.
"Decided you were hungry after all?" Severus drawled curious at the boy who was running around the kitchen grabbing materials.
Harry stopped and looked at the man who seemed to stare at him with amusement and interest. "No Si..Sevewus this is for you. Is there anything in the mood you like?" Harry's small voice replied.
Severus was baffled. The boy acted like a house elf. Never had a child waited on his hand and foot. Harry still a toddler, a mere boy of three, is this what his life experiences contained? Being a slave to this family? The Boy Who Lived to be a house elf?
Severus made his way over to the small boy picking him up easily… too easily. Severus could carry a lot of weight due to how heavy cauldrons could get and he knew children were light but Harry was too light for his liking, he would fix that.
Placing the boy on the counter he looked him in the eyes before saying "Now Harry I am the adult, you are the child. It is my responsibility to take after you not the other way around. I want you to sit here while I prepare lunch. Okay?"
"Yes Sevewus." Harry whispered. Stupid. He couldn't do anything right. Didn't this man know that all Harry was good for was to cook and clean? Didn't he know he was worthless and had to earn his keep?
Severus gave a small nod before making his way back over towards the bread and deli items. "So Harry do you like too cook? Is that why you wanted to help?"
Harry shrugged. He wasn't quite sure what to say.
"Do not shrug young man, only indolent people use such motions and I know you are not so use your words."
"Sowwy Sevewus. Uh it's okay, I don't mind it." Harry replied.
"If you have no love for culinary why did you run over here?" Severus replied his eyebrow rose slightly. Of course he already knew the answer but he needed the boy to say it.
"Cause it's my job! I'm supposed to cook and cwean. How else am I supposed to earn my keep? My Unwle and Aunt were nice enough to take in such a wofthwess fweak, a burden, so the least I can do is make sure I work for such pwivileges!" Harry exclaimed. His voice actually loud and zealous rather than the meek voices Severus was used to hearing. It would almost make him happy to see Harry shouting like a child if it wasn't for what he said.
Harry knew he was in trouble. He wasn't suppose to make any noises, especially yell. He stared frozen at Severus wondering how he would punish him for such behavior. He could see that the man was angry. He was still, his hands white knuckled on the knife which was spreading mayonnaise on the bread. His eyes clouded over and Harry could see the rage building up. Harry gulped. He was doomed.
"What did you just say" Severus seethed pronouncing every word slowly as if it was its own sentence. His voice deadly quiet, the voice he saved for dunderheads who screwed up royally at school.
"I'm sowwy sir! I shouldn't have been so loud. I'll take whatever punishment you see. I won't even make a noise." Harry cried his head hung down awaiting his fate.
Severus did his best to calm down, taking deep full breaths occluding his mind. Harry didn't need his rage right now, Merlin knows he's seen enough rage to last a life time. He slowly made his way over to the shaking boy on the counter. He bent down slightly and gently grabbed the boys' chin, wincing when he saw the boy flinch at his touch.
Once the two were eye and eye Severus sighed, "Shush child, I am not going to punish you. There is no need for punishment. However I do need to know why you said such things. Why do you think you're a 'worthless freak'?
Harry's voice shook with the suppressed sobs, which wanted so badly to escape. "Because I know what I am. The Durlsey's have told me that for as long as I 'member. I can sometimes do fweaky things and they say only fweaks can do them. I know I need to stop but I can't help it! They told me dat one of da weasons my pwarent's died was to trwy and kill me. You see sir my dad was a drunk, I'm not too sure what dat means but I know its not good and they died in a car accident and my Unwle told me that everyone was hoping I would die but I didn't! It's my fault! Now I'm left all awone, just a fweak who is unworthy of love!"
Harry couldn't contain his sobs anymore and he finally willed himself to cry. He threw his head into his hands and wept.
Severus was still. How dare those muggles! A car crash? A car crash could never kill his beloved Lily, how dare they tarnish such a beautiful woman with slurs of hatred. He may not have liked James Potter, in fact he loathed the man, but he knew for certain that he was not a drunk and would and did risk his life for the life of his wife and son. Harry's final words hit him like a ton of bricks. The boy thought he was unworthy of love? What a silly concept, when the whole Wizarding World loved the boy, when all the staff at Hogwarts was memorized by him, and when Severus could feel the ice chipping away from his heart and opening it for the tiny boy.
Severus quickly scooped the boy into his arms one hand rubbing up and down his back while the other brushed through that mop on his head he called hair. He soothed the boy whispering nonsense into his ear to call him while bouncing him lightly. "Shh Harry. It's okay, let it out little one." Severus murmured laying his cheek gently on the boys hair.
After several minutes they fell into a comfortable silence and Severus sat down on one of the kitchen chairs, still holding harry close to him. "Now I want you to listen to me." Severus whispered. "You are not worthless. You are not a freak. You are a brave, smart little boy who is filled with so much potential. What your Aunt and Uncle told you was a lie. Everything they told you was a lie. Your parents loved you so much, more than anyone could love anything. They died to protect you because they wanted you to live and grow up to be an amazing young man. Harry listen to me. You are so loved. So so loved."
Harry cried silently as he listened to the man. This was all he wished for in life. To have someone care for him, to hold him, to love him. He wanted to believe Severus, wanted to believe it more than anything but after years of belittlement being driven into his head he couldn't accept it. For now though, he recognized what Severus said, a small part of him wanting to believe it. Harry quickly turned around in the man's arms and wrapped his tiny arms around Severus's neck. He laid his head in the crook of the mans neck, still crying in silent with hiccups rocking the boy every couple seconds. He breathed in the man's scent. An aroma of lavender, sandalwood, old spices with a hint of something Harry couldn't detect.
Severus couldn't help but think that he would push away and sneer at any snot noised kid who would dare to touch him in such an intimate way. However Severus couldn't push the boy away he was becoming rather fond of the boy. He tried to tell himself that it was because he was Lily's son but he knew that there was another part of him that was beginning to love him as his own.
After some time and Harry had settled down the two just sat in silence, an occasional deep shivering breath breaking the silence. Finally Severus pulled the boy a little apart padding away the stray tears with his thumbs.
"Good Harry?" Severus smiled half heartedly.
Harry paused before giving the man a smile through his glassy tear stained eyes "Yes Sevewus."
"Good. Now how about you sit here and I will make us both some lunch. No arguments." Severus quickly added when he saw Harry open his mouth to interrupt him.
Harry nodded and stayed at the kitchen table watching the man prepare both their lunches. After Severus was done he made his way over with two turkey sandwiches. He placed one plate in front of Harry and the other for himself. He wasn't actually hungry but he would take a couple bits to ensure that Harry would eat the meal.
Harry watched the man anxiously biting his lip. Was he supposed to start first? Never had he been the one to start a meal. Realizing that Harry wouldn't start until he did Severus took a bite out of the sandwich and watched with relief as the boy did the same, and then he took another bite.
Harry bit back a moan, this was one of the best thing's he had ever had in his short life. Of course he never really did get any substantial meals, mostly toast with the occasional cold four-day leftovers. This was heaven.
Severus smirked as he watched Harry devour his sandwich, glad to see the boy finally eating and looking noticeably happy. His heart still clenched though at the thought of something so simple making the boy so joyful.
"So Harry how old are you?" Severus asked already knowing the answer, not only was he good friends with his mother but everyone in the Wizarding World knew Harry's age and birthday.
"I just turned fwee sir." Harry replied shyly.
"And what does a three year old like yourself like to do"
Harry bit his lip once again. What did he like to do? Gardening wasn't so bad, but he always got cuts and his skin turned red and hurt to touch. He did like the flowers though, could he say that was something he liked to do?
Severus noticed that the boy was deep in thought. Any other brat would have told him anything from a toddler broom, exploding snaps or collecting chocolate frogs. Not Harry, he didn't know such luxuries.
"I wike to garden." Harry replied
Severus quickly peaked into the boys mind unknowingly and saw that while this wasn't a lie it wasn't something the boy genuinely liked to do.
"How about something besides the chores your Aunt and Uncle set aside for you?"
"Well then I guess I wike to rwead." Harry replied quietly. "I mean I don't really know how but I've been taking some of Dudley's books and teaching myself. Mostly I like looking at the pictwures and I come up with my own story." Harry's face turned bright red. He was embarrassed to tell the man that he was stealing from his cousin but also that he couldn't read.
Severus on the other hand was impressed. Most children began reading between six and seven, some between four and five. He knew Lily was a bright girl and she seemed to pass on her love for learning down to Harry. Reading, now that was something Severus could work with.
"That's great Harry. Many children don't learn to read until they're about five. You must be very proud of yourself. Do you have a favorite story?"
"No. Well I guess there is one. I heard my Aunt Petunia rweading to Dudley once, it was called 'Good Night Moon'. That's da only story I've ever heard, but I liked it a lot."
Severus knew at that moment that he would not only make sure this boy was safe, but cared for. He couldn't let the boy remain in these doors. If Albus didn't send anyone the boy may of died from a heat stroke, and he couldn't ignore the bruises.
"That is a good one. I much prefer the stories out of 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard'. Severus smirked recalling stories his mother read to him as a boy.
"Neva heard of dem." Harry replied.
Severus smirked and let out a small chuckle. No he wouldn't think the boy hadn't seeing as no one even told him about magic or that he was even a wizard.
Finally Harry had finished his sandwich and let out a small smile. For once his stomach felt content and he owed it all to the man in front of him.
"Are you still hungry? If so I can make you something else, it's no bother. Don't feel forced to eat more though, eating too much can harm your stomach as much as starvation." Severus asked.
Before Harry could even think of a response however he heard the front door open. Harry's stomach dropped at the next sound.
"What the hell do you think you're doing!?" He heard the roar of his uncle.
Let me know what you think! Again this is a AU story so Snape will be different especially with young Harry. What do you think will happen next?