Disclaimer: Not mine, not for profit
WARNING: The story will contain CP of preteen at some point. If this offends you, stop reading now.
The story begins as Ron and Harry arrive (by car of course) at Hogwarts at the beginning of the second year. Professor Snape catches them speculating about why he might be absent from the Great Hall…
Chapter 1: Betrayal
Ron and Harry stumbled back from the window of the Great Hall.
"I would suggest you curtail that sentiment Mr Weasley," snarled Snape, his cheeks uncharacteristically tinged red in anger at the speculations he had just overheard. Harry and Ron glanced at each other in despair. All possibility of mingling with the arriving students was now lost.
"Leave your belongings and follow me."
Snape did not pause as he swept around and proceeded, long-strided and commanding, towards the Headmaster's office.
"We're going to be expelled, for sure," hissed Ron. "Mum's gonna kill me, Dad's gonna kill me. Oh my God, Bill and Charlie are gonna come home and kill me." He had turned a deathly white.
"They can't all kill you Ron," Harry tried to joke.
"They can all have a good try," his friend replied as Snape gave the password and waited for them to catch up at the bottom of the spiral staircase. Harry could see the satisfaction in his sneer and looked despondently at the embracing wings of the stone gargoyle. He wondered what sort of magical creature it represented and whether he would ever get the chance to find out.
At the top of the staircase was a small ante-chamber lit by candlelight. Snape pointed to an oak bench next to the study door and the boys huddled together as far away from him as possible. With a flourish, he produced a newspaper from beneath his robes.
Harry groaned as he saw the photo on the front page. The Ford Anglia was rising steeply up from King's Cross Station, disappearing when Ron had remembered the invisibility booster.
"How many laws do you think you broke today? How long do you suppose the Ministry spent today covering up for you? Can your tiny brains comprehend the costs involved with modifying a memory? Are you aware that your father could lose his job over your little adventure?"
Harry felt sick with guilt. The Weasleys had been so good to him. They had so little money and they had had made him so welcome, shared everything, made him eat seconds and even thirds at every meal. Snape's diatribe washed over him. As vicious and insulting as the comments were, Harry could only imagine the taunts from Uncle Vernon and Dudley, the smug satisfaction of his Aunt Petunia and the despair of his locked bedroom when he returned home.
Next to him Ron turned from white to grey. He was shaking.
"This is gonna be worse than the time Fred and George exploded all the cabbages in Mr Wendell's garden. They had to call the Obliviators then, but it wasn't in the bloody Prophet. I won't be able to sit down for a month!" he wailed.
"And well deserved!" said Professor McGonagall, as she arrived at the top of the stairs. "If you will accompany me, Mr Weasley, your father is waiting in my office."
"It was my fault, Professor," blurted Harry. "Please don't expel Ron. When the barrier didn't let us through, I panicked. I was so scared to go back to the Dursley's and I don't really understand the Statute of Secrecy and everything, and I didn't think. Please tell Mr Weasley I'm sorry. And I'll pay for everything. There's lot of gold in my vault. He can have the key." Harry brushed his treacherous tears away.
"Mr Weasley must take the consequences for his own actions, Mr Potter," replied Professor McGonagall tartly. "Professor Dumbledore will be here shortly to deal with you. Now sit down and eat." A plate of sandwiches and a glass of pumpkin juice appeared on the bench beside him and to his relief Snape departed silently into the headmaster's study.
"Albus the boy is out of control," stormed Snape. "Clearly, his relatives have given him no boundaries and your encouragement of his Gryffindor tendencies last year has convinced him that he can disregard the law."
"Well, you may be right Severus, but we can't be too hard on the boy," soothed the Headmaster. "You understand he must stay at Hogwarts? But perhaps- yes perhaps- he needs to be made more aware of the customs and expectations of the magical world. Perhaps a magical mentor?" Dumbledore eyed Severus with benign amusement.
"Surely, Headmaster, you cannot be suggesting that I…"
"Indeed, Severus, I have made up my mind. Who could be more perfect? A friend of his mother, an exemplary Head of House, a man of magical power and integrity. Who better to serve as a role model for the child?"
"But nothing, Severus. It is a marvelous idea. You will get to know him well, this week. And I think this will benefit us all."
"Let us invite Harry to join us, Severus. I think he has waited long enough to hear his punishment."
Harry could not meet the Headmaster's eyes as he stumbled through his explanation. He could feel the waves of disappointment emanating from his favourite Professor and this affected him much more than the anger and disdain emanating from Snape.
"I didn't think of using Hedwig sir. I'm sorry. Please tell Mr Weasley, I'm sorry"
"Well I can see you are truly remorseful, my child," the Headmaster began, "but this is a most serious piece of mischief and could warrant expulsion."
Harry looked up cautiously. That word "could" gave him a glimmer of hope. Anything would be better than having to go back to the Dursley's. And maybe Ron would be okay after all.
"Well Harry, I have decided that you are in need of firmer guidance and to that end you will be placed under the guardianship of Professor Snape…"
"But he hates me!" Harry yelled. "Not, him. You know he hates me!"
"Do not interrupt the headmaster you insolent brat" interjected Snape firmly" I can see your manners need to be addressed with the utmost urgency."
"Harry, Professor Snape does not hate you. Like myself, his concern is regarding your recent behaviour." The headmaster spoke firmly and Harry flushed under his scrutiny. He began to rethink the belief that anything would be better than the Dursley's. I'm not safe here anymore. Snape's a bully, an adult wizard bully. And Dumbledore has just given him power over me. No-one can protect me. No-one will protect me.
"You will spend a week on internal suspension in Professor Snape's quarters. During that time you can expect to receive a parental punishment in line with that of Mr Weasley and you will write an essay for me outlining your transgressions and how they could have been avoided. Most importantly, you will begin to understand more fully the expectations and etiquette of the wider magical community. Your professors will send your classwork and you will take your meals with Professor Snape in his quarters. Do you have any questions, Harry?"
Harry sighed and slumped his shoulders.
"After that week…?"
"Professor Snape will be responsible for all disciplinary issues. He will meet with you regularly to monitor your schooling when you move back to Gryffindor Tower. I'm sure he will explain more fully in the course of the week. Now I suggest you take the floo to avoid unnecessary attention."
"Come," barked Snape. His eyes were inscrutable but Harry could feel satisfaction mingled with dislike. Harry raised his chin defiantly and tried to inject poison into his glare.
Show no fear.