A Different Life

Chapter 1 - Predictions

".And thankyou to you all, and do have a wonderful break." Albus Dumbledore said after the professors had finished their end -of-school-year meeting.

The twinkles in Dumbledore's eyes were duller then normal, but still sparkling as he watched everyone getting up and heading for the door.

Only Severus Snape had noticed something was bothering him, but after one more long, hard look at the professor in front of him, he too got up, and joined the mass heading to the door, but he barely got two steps when he heard Dumbledore call his name out, indicating to come over to him again.

Snape only nodded and went to stand in front of the headmaster's desk. Curious as to what the headmaster was about to ask of him. For out of his three years of working here at Hogwarts being the Potions master, he had gotten quite close with the old man sitting in front of him, and he knew the professor well enough to know when he was about to be asked of something, but he had no doubt that he would end up doing whatever was asked of him, he not only owed it to the professor, but Albus had a way of convincing him to do things anyway, he swore that he could read minds. But his train of thought was cut off as Dumbledore began to speak again.

"Severus I must ask of you to do something for me, now I only ask you because you are part of a select group whom I trust, and you are the only one out of that group who as far as I know, do not have any plans for tonight. Professor McGonagall is leaving for a trip to Italy tonight, Professor Quirrell I believe has just left now for his trip around Europe, Remus is recovering from a transformation."

At the mention of Lupin's name a wave of disgust came over Snape's face, but he held in what he wanted to say, knowing Dumbledore would not approve, so Severus forced himself to focus on what Dumbledore was saying.

".and I have an important meeting to attend to soon, and I'm not sure when I will get back and that leaves you, now what I want you to do has to be done tonight, at night time, as not to disturb anyone." Albus continued

"Albus, what is it exactly that you want me to do?" Snape said, trying to get straight to the point.

Albus took a deep breath. "I would like you to check on Harry Potter."

Snape's eyes were in danger of falling out of their sockets; he couldn't believe what Dumbledore had just asked. Why would he want him to check on that spoiled, annoying brat? He would rather have dinner with Trelawney then go anywhere near that boy, let alone go to his home and have to see the stuck-up Potter, in a place where he was treated like a king. He knew he was being a bit harsh, as he had never met the boy, but he was James' son, he couldn't be very far off. But one look at Dumbledore's determined face and he knew that he could either agree, and get it over with, or fight with him, until he was exhausted, and then have to go do it anyway. And he didn't have the energy right then to fight with him. But that didn't mean he didn't want answers.

"Why? Is there a problem?" Snape asked, trying to sound as if he cared, but the sarcasm was still evident.

"Well, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure. That is what I would like you to find out." Dumbledore said, worry seeping of in his voice, ignoring the fact that Severus didn't seem to care for what he was being asked to do.

Snape looked curiously at the man in front of him "Then what makes you think there is anything wrong at all?"

"Severus, please just trust me on this, I will tell you everything when you get back, I just need you to hurry, if what I heard is correct, time isn't with us on this. I would just like you to sneak in, make sure Harry is alright, then go back out, preferably without them knowing, that is why I would like you to go now, since it is late, they will hopefully all be asleep.

If however, what I believe to have happened has indeed happened, then I would like you to bring him back here immediately." Dumbledore said, his eyes now showed no sparkles.

Snape was shocked at what Dumbledore had just said, a hundred questions were going through his mind, what did he believe had happened to Potter? Why didn't he want anyone to see him? Who had told him that they thought Potter was in trouble? But he knew that Dumbledore was sitting patiently, waiting for him to tell him if he would or wouldn't, and he also knew he couldn't say no, which only made him angrier, not at Dumbledore, but at himself.

He nodded, not trusting himself to speak without asking all the questions he wanted.

He silently left the room, his robes billowing behind him, the sooner he left, the sooner he would be back. He only barely heard as he left Dumbledore mutter "I really hope I'm wrong" which only added more curiosity to Snape's already curious mind, maybe Potter was in trouble? Could he have been wrong about him?

No, he knew Dumbledore liked Potter, just like he had James, he knew that Albus was just being overprotective of the boy, but now there was a little bit of doubt etched into his mind, maybe, just maybe something was wrong with Potter?

*********************************************************** 5-year-old Harry sat on his bed, inside his room, silently crying. He didn't understand why his uncle kept punishing him. He really had tried to finish all his chores before he arrived home from work, but he only had got through half of them. He had even missed lunch to try to get them all done, while his fat cousin sat around, eating everything in site, watching TV and pushing Harry around whenever he was on his way to the kitchen to get more food.

When his uncle had got home and found that half of Harry's chores were un- finished, he had gotten so mad, even Dudley had gone up into his room, afraid at the look on his fathers face. Harry couldn't blame him, all he wanted to do was run away and hide, but he knew he would have to face this sooner or later, and later would only make his uncle angrier, so Harry stayed, and let his uncle hit him again, and again, until he had had enough, throwing Harry into his cupboard and locking it.

That was two days ago, and Harry was so very hungry. He could barely move, as every time he did, he had a spasm of pain. But pain was no stranger to Harry, ever since his uncles business had started to go down the drain he had taken his anger out on Harry.

Harry knew it was late, and even had an idea of sneaking out and getting some food, but two things stopped him, one, he thought he heard a door open outside and footsteps, so he knew someone was awake, and two, he didn't even think he could get up if he wanted to, he didn't have the energy, and it wasn't worth the pain, he could only hope that his aunt had pity on him and let him out in the morning, for he knew his uncle wouldn't.

He let out a whimper as he felt tears of despair falling down his checks, and as he did every night before he went to sleep, he prayed to someone, anyone that would listen, to rescue him. He then fell into an uneasy sleep.


Snape entered the house of Privet Drive, after apparating into an alleyway nearby. On the outside the house looked like a normal muggle house, and after using a spell to open the front door, it looked normal enough inside, but after walking around, he noticed that there only seemed like there were three people living in the house, in the pictures, there was only ever one boy and two adults, and that boy looked nothing like either Lily or James', so Snape could only assume that this was Potter's cousin.

He looked all around downstairs and saw no one, assuming that all the bedrooms were up-stairs, he began to make his way up the stairs, as quietly as possible, not forgetting what Dumbledore had asked him about not being seen. On the way up the stairs, he thought he heard crying from inside the cupboard, but as soon as he heard it, it was gone, so he quickly dismissed it. He didn't want to be in the house any longer then he had to, he just wanted to find Potter and then be able to leave.

Up on the second floor, he saw four doors, one was open, which was a bathroom.

Snape went to the one closest to him, which once opened, revealed two adults soundly sleeping, he quietly shut the door, and went to the next one, when he opened it, he was amazed by three things, one was that he had never seen so many toys in one room before, another one was he couldn't believe how big the boy was for his age and the last one was, he couldn't believe how loud his snoring was. It was even worse then Lucius Malfoy's, and that was saying something, he often wished they didn't have to sleep in the same dormitory, but Snape quickly shook his Hogwarts days out of his head and also quickly concluded that this boy was not Potter, assuming that the last door was Potter's, he quietly shut the door and headed towards the next and final one.

Opening that one to, he was again shocked; he didn't think he had ever seen so many broken toys! Looking around he saw no sign that anyone living there; there wasn't really anything in there besides broken toys.

He started to get a tiny bit worried, though he would never admit that to anyone. Where was Potter? He thought that he must have missed a room downstairs, he again made his way down there,

He was about to go into the kitchen when he walked pass the cupboard where he had heard the noise from before. He immediately shook the thought that was entering his mind away, no one was that cruel as to place a child in a cupboard when there was a perfectly good room upstairs, and surely not Potter's relatives.right? But he found himself moving closer to the cupboard, he went to open it but found it locked. Who locks their cupboard? Dread starting to fill him, he muttered the same spell as to what he had used to open the front door, and looked inside; it was to dark to see anything, so he muttered another spell and a light appeared at the end of his wand.

What he saw was enough to make him fall over in shock, which was beginning to happen a lot to Snape in this house. The cupboard was really small, there was nothing in there but a tiny mattress which he guessed was meant to be a bed, and a little boy who looked badly beaten, holding onto a small thin blanket as he slept, one leg dangling off the side of the mattress, facing Snape. Snape then knew why Dumbledore wanted him to go tonight, it was obvious that the boy had been beaten badly. He quietly called the boys name, trying to wake him up, just to make sure that it was indeed Potter.

"Potter? Potter, wake up" that didn't seem to work, so he put his arm on his shoulder, horrified at how thin it was, and lightly shook him, but with the effect that it had, he immediately wished he hadn't. The boy woke up with a yelp, and quickly moved away in pain. Looking frightened at him.

They just stared at each other for a few minutes, Snape in shock, and Harry seemed too scared to speak.

It looked like the boy was using up a significant amount of energy just to stay awake; he looked so weak and helpless. It was obvious that this was indeed Potter, he looked just like James', a mirror image. He could also see the scar on his forehead that had made him so famous. He even had the same type of frames for glasses as James' always did, though Harry's looked broken. Snape knew the boy wasn't going to be able to stay awake much longer, so he decided to quickly introduce himself, so he could try and get him to talk, tell him where he was hurt. He could already tell that his ankle was badly hurt, as it was on the side that had been dangling in front of him before he had moved, it looked as if it was badly sprained from the bruising and swelling around it.

"H-Harry?" For the first time in a long time, I actually stuttered. "My name in Severus Snape, I'm a teacher at a school called Hogwarts," He left off the 'school of Witchcraft and Wizardry' not knowing if he knew anything about magic. He continued. "I'm here to take you away from your Aunt and Uncle, you are no longer safe here." He paused to see if Harry was still with him and to see if what he had just said had any impact on him, but the boy just looked lost, maybe he was trying to think? He couldn't tell, he just decided to keep going. "Can you tell me where it hurts?" and for the first time Harry talked, though it was more of a hoarse whisper.

"Everywhere." Tears began spilling down his face.

Snape felt despair for the boy sitting in front of him.

"Is it okay if I pick you up?" Snape knew there was no way he could levitate the boy from where he was as there was not enough room, plus he might alarm the boy in doing so. After he saw the boy slowly nod his head, he placed his wand on the mattress, where it could still give off light, and he brought his arms forward, towards the boy to pick him up, Harry flinched, as if Snape was about to hit him and Snape quickly pulled his arms away.

He needed Harry to know that he could trust him. "It's okay, I'm not going to hurt you." Again Harry nodded, and again, Snape brought his arms forward, but more slowly this time and Harry didn't flinch. But when Snape picked Harry up, he seemed to be in a lot of pain, his breathing become more un-even. Snape quickly put him back down, and took out his wand, he muttered a few words, so Harry could barely hear them, and again picked Harry up, but this time, Harry wasn't in as much pain, he just felt numb.

Snape brought him closer, and leaned the boy against his chest, one arm supporting him, and Snape's other arm was leaning back over to pick up his wand. Once he had it he left, and headed towards the door. He felt his shoulder getting wet as Harry cried, but he didn't mind.

He felt Harry go into the creak of his neck as they walked out onto the street.

Once reaching the alleyway Snape apparated to Hogsmeade. From there he made his way to Hogwarts as fast as he could without waking up the boy that now lay sleeping in his arms. Feeling amazed at just how light he was.


He rushed into the hospital wing, and was glad to find that Madam Pomfrey was yet to leave as he could still see her bags on the floor near the door. He urgently called her name, and she was rushing towards him within moments. But as soon as she saw Harry she was so shocked that she had to grab hold of a nearby bed to stop from falling, but after a few seconds of shock, she went into full nurse mode. Ordering that he put Harry onto a bed while she grabbed some things she needed.

Snape carefully put him down onto a bed and watched him sleeping. But when Madam Pomfrey came back he was quickly shooed away. He waited at the end of the bed as she began examining him. After taking off Harry's shirt she gasped, there were bruises and scratches covering it. Even Snape covered his mouth in shock. The boys ribs could be easily seen indicating that he was barely feed, but when he thought to the other boy, Potter's cousin, he was extremely big, indicating that he ate way to much. Snape couldn't just keep looking at the boys beaten body, so he left, heading towards Dumbledore's office, leaving Madam Pomfrey to her work.


When he arrived at the Gargoyle, he said the password, and quickly entered, but when he arrived, he found that Dumbledore was no where to be seen, and then he remembered a meeting that Dumbledore had mentioned having, but looking back at the conversation Dumbledore and he had had, it sounded like Dumbledore had known what had happened to Harry, yet he still went to that meeting. It should have been Dumbledore that had gone to get Potter tonight, not him.

But seeing as there was no reason to think that he would be back anytime soon, Snape headed back towards the Hospital Wing to see how Potter was going.

By the time he got back down there, Madam Pomfrey had finished checking on Harry, as he was dressed in pyjamas, sleeping peacefully in bed, having more colour in his face. He sat by Harry's bed, feeling completely exhausted, and hoping Dumbledore would get here soon so he could talk to him, and ask him those questions that he had had before.

But a few minutes later Snape too found himself falling asleep, and was soon fast asleep in the chair besides Harry's bed.


Dumbledore entered his office very early that morning, he hadn't realised that the meeting he had would go for so long, and he couldn't believe how stubborn Cornelius Fudge could be, even if he was new at being Minister of Magic that was no excuse at being so blind.

He had really hoped to come back with adoption papers for Harry Potter, but instead he had gotten temporary hold of him, no matter how hard he tried to convince the board that Harry was not indeed safe with his relatives, the main reason they disagreed was that protection could be offered for him at the Dursleys, as they were blood relatives, but he knew that they may give him protection from the outside world, they didn't from his family.

He really had wanted to get Harry out himself, but he knew that the meeting could not be put off, and either could getting Harry out of that house. He knew that if he was to have any chance of getting what he wanted Severus to do, then Severus had to be the one to get him out of that house, he had to see what it was like for Harry.

He really had hoped that Sybill's prediction had been wrong, like every other one she had made, but he knew that it wasn't, he knew in his heart, she had never acted like she had when she was making this prediction, she couldn't even remember what she had said after.

Dumbledore sighed, he decided to go down to the Hospital Wing and see how Harry was doing, and then head down to the dungeons to check on Severus.

When he saw both Harry and Severus he couldn't help but smile, he had imagined that Severus wouldn't want to be anywhere near Harry, but there he was, asleep by his bed, as if he were a worried parent.

But then looking at Harry, worry came over him again. It must have been bad if Severus actually stayed with him. He closed the door to the room and walked over to Madam Pomfrey's office to see how Harry was really doing.


Harry woke up to the sound of a door closing. He looked around and realised that he was not in his room anymore. Where was he? He slowly looked around, getting scared all the while, he didn't recognise anything.

He saw a man sleeping in a chair next to his bed. He couldn't see the man's face, but he did seem familiar. He got out of his bed and faced the man, so only the bed was between them. His could barely just see over the bed.

Suddenly the man moved and caused Harry to jump in surprise and quickly move away from him. The man's eyes slowly opened and he turned his head so he was facing Harry. Why did this man seem familiar? And where was he? Looking cautiously at the man he slowly backed up until he was against the wall.

The man slowly opened his mouth as if he was about to say something when the door opened and a old man with a long white beard and a woman walked through the door, they were talking between themselves, and didn't seem to notice that Harry was out of bed, or that he was looking very scared. Harry immediately began sliding against the wall until the reached the corner of the room.

Who were these people? What did they want with him? The old man and woman suddenly stopped talking, after seeing the bed empty and after looking at the man that seemed familiar, they followed his gaze to land on Harry. They both took a step forward and they held their hand out trying to catch Harry's hand to bring him back to bed as he could easily catch a cold being bare-footed on the cold stone floor.

They said his name soothingly but he didn't trust them, he didn't know them, what if they were trying to harm him? He quietly whispered "Please Don't" and he slid down the wall, bringing his legs to his chest, which made them take their hands back immediately. They took a step back so they had a good distance away from Harry, trying to make him feel more comfortable. The old man looked as though he was about to say something when the other man got up.

Where did he know him from? How did he get here? The man walked around the bed and stopped directly in front of Harry, he then knelt down so he wasn't so tall, he looked Harry directly in the eye, then spoke.

"Po- Harry, do you remember me? My name is Severus Snape. I met you last night. You are at Hogwarts, the school I told you about."

Harry looked at the man, trying to remember what he had said had happened. Last night.Then he remembered. He smiled slightly at the man, he remembered what had happened!

"You had the stick, with the light!" Harry said, remembering the stick that had lit up when the man, Severus had said something, he couldn't remember what.

Severus nodded. "Yeah, that's right," Harry smiled weakly, he had got it right.

Then Severus spoke. "Harry, why don't you come back up to bed, you look awfully tired, and you need some sleep, please." Harry thought for a second, he was tired, but he didn't feel comfortable sleeping with those other people watching him.

Severus looked strained at saying those words, actually being polite and civil to James' Potters son.

Harry looked past Severus' head and over at the two people standing behind him and saw that they were watching carefully. The old man with the long white beard was smiling and his eyes seemed to twinkle.

Severus looked at what he was looking at, and rolled his eyes at the old man who looked as though Christmas had come early, he scowled at him and then looked back to Harry.

"Harry, this is Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts." he said indicating to the old man with the long beard. ".and this is Madam Pomfrey, she is a nurse here, she helped to heal you." He indicated to the woman when he mentioned her name, and then pointed to Harry's ankle when he mentioned how she had healed him, and it was true, he had walked on it fine, and it wasn't hurting now. "You can trust them, they won't hurt you"

Harry just nodded, he really was feeling tired. He yawned. He could feel his eyes starting to droop. He managed to get one more word out before drifting into the world of dreams.


Severus couldn't help it, as much as he tried to hide it as soon as it happened, he tried to place the mask that he normally had over his face back on, and for a moment he thought that it had worked, no one had seen it, but one look at Albus told me other wise, he had seen it.

As Harry said that one word, the unthinkable happened, I smiled. And it wasn't a fake smile but it was a true smile, one that reached my eyes. Harry had said something that I hadn't heard in a long time, and it was something I needed to hear.

He had said "Thankyou" And as Harry fell asleep, I surprised myself by picking him up and putting him back gently to bed.