Harry James Potter sat in the darkness of his bedroom at Number 4 Privet Drive, contemplating how his life had gone so wrong. It seemed as if he attracted danger. After fighting Quirrel over the Sorcerer's Stone, opening the Chamber of Secrets, dealing with the hysteria of Sirius Black's escape from Azkaban, and being forced into the Tri-Wizard Tournament before witnessing a student's death and facing off with Voldemort, it's no wonder Harry felt that he was a walking death magnet. Quite a few of his friends had stopped talking to him after the Tri-Wizard Tournament had concluded, due to rumors that he was the one who had murdered Cedric. His two best friends, Ron and Hermione had neglected to write to him over the entirety of the summer holidays. By the looks they had given him as they boarded the train ride back to Kings Cross Station, and the fact that they did not sit with him on the journey, Harry realized that the two had believed the gossip that had been spreading like wildfire. All of the Weasleys had given Harry the cold shoulder as they got onto the train, which gave Harry a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.
Harry never looked forward to coming back to Surrey, because it meant an entire summer filled with physical, emotional, and verbal abuse from the Dursleys. Of course, Harry couldn't blame them. They were forced to take him in when his parents had been killed by Voldemort. From a very young age, Harry knew he wasn't wanted. Sleeping in the cupboard under the stairs and serving the three other occupants of the home like a house elf was the only life Harry had ever known before he turned 11. The boy would sometimes catch himself thinking about what would have happened if he had died that Halloween night along with his parents. He wouldn't have been the Boy-Who-Lived, the martyr of the wizarding world. He wouldn't have been Dumbledore's little "golden child" and the key to fulfilling the damn prophecy. He would have been just another name on the long list of witches and wizards killed by the most evil wizard of all time. After more than a decade of abuse from the Dursleys, Harry was slowly beginning to unravel, and more often than not, wished that he had died that night. If he had, he never would have been forced to live where he wasn't wanted. Death was starting to sound preferrable to his hell hole of a life.
In two days time, Harry would have to get on the Hogwarts Express and go to the place that he once thought of as his only home. He knew he couldn't face the accusing glares of the other students, especially Ron and Hermione. He remembered how he had practically begged Dumbledore to let him stay at Hogwarts over the summer in his first year. He also remembered how the old headmaster had tried to explain that he was safest in Surrey due to the blood wards bound by love from a family member. The young boy had silently questioned how blood wards could keep himself safe when there was no love for him within the walls of Number 4 Privet Drive. After two consecutive years of begging, Harry had given up hope. He would have taken anything over the Dursleys; he would have even preferred staying with Snape. However, he was dismissed every time.
Bringing himself back to the present, Harry looked down at his hands, his fingers running over the shiny object that he held. He had managed to swipe one of Vernon's guns from his closet when he was forced to clean the house, which included Vernon and Petunia's bedroom. He glanced towards the empty cage that sat in the corner of the room, and then at the open window. Harry had written a myriad of final goodbye letters to everyone who he felt necessary. First, he wrote to Dumbledore and Mcgonagall, explaining how he couldn't bear the weight placed upon him from being the Boy-Who-Lived, and how he could not take any more of the abuse he had suffered since he was 2 years old. He wrote one letter to Ron and Hermione, who he knew would be spending their summer holidays together at the burrow. He thanked them for their friendship, even though it was short-lived. He told them that they were his very first friends, and that he doesn't blame them for siding with everyone else when he needed them the most.
He wrote a letter to Sirius and Remus, apologizing for what he was going to do. A large portion of the letter was informing Sirius and Remus that they were to get everything that was kept within the Potter Vault. Harry confided that he will be happy after he is gone, and that he will finally get to be with his parents who had sacrificed themselves for him so long ago. A letter was sent to Malfoy, dictating that the Gryffindor regretted not accepting his friendship invitation back in first year. Lastly, he wrote a letter to Snape. The young teen had used 3 feet of parchment for the final letter. He had so much he wanted to convey to the man who had made his life difficult while attending Hogwarts. He expressed how the dark potions master never saw the real Harry, and how looks can be deceiving, which Snape would understand well, considering his role in the Order. The raven haired boy finished every letter the same:
"I'm sorry I wasn't good enough for both the Wizarding World and the Muggle World. I never knew what it was like to have a true home and family, as it was ripped away from me at 15 months old. I thought I found that at Hogwarts, but I guess I was wrong. I am just so tired. Tired of the rumors, tired of the lies, tired of living. By the time you read this, I shall be with my parents. Farewell.
Sincerely, The Boy-Who-Didn't-Live,
Harry James Potter"
After sending out the last of the letters via Hedwig, Harry sat frozen on his bed, tears streaming down his bruised face. This was it, the end of the famous Harry Potter. He ran his fingers over the array of raised scars that criss-crossed his forearms. Shaking his head, he placed the gun to his temple. A moment of hesitation passed over the boy. His ears were ringing with anxiety. It was in that moment that he heard a pop and his eyes darted to the source of the noise. There in the light of the moon coming through the window, was Snape with a peculiar look on his face; one of concern and fear. It was an expression that appeared foreign on the dour potions master. The man's wand was at the ready and Harry backed against the wall, the gun still pressed to his head.
"Get out." He said, his voice void of any emotion. He spoke in a monotone whisper that was reminiscent of a robot as he slid down the wall, his knees tucked to his chest.
"Pot- Harry," Snape started, as he raised his hands in a placating manner. "It does not have to end like this." He slowly inched closer to the trembling teen, his dark eyes locked on the boy who's life was on the line.
"You of all people should be happy about this!" Harry shouted, not caring if he woke the Dursleys.
Snape sighed and stepped towards his student, before stopping and getting on his knees to get down on Harry's level. "I know it may be hard to believe, but I do care about you, Harry." He began, intentionally using Harry's first name. "I know what it is like to be in your position. Feeling like you have no one to turn to in your hour of need." He paused, trying to keep his composure. "I read your letter. It is true, I was never able to see the real Harry, and I would very much like to. I let my past feelings for your father blind me, and for that I am truly sorry."
Harry stopped for a moment and pondered Snape's words. Snape has been in this position before? He's apologizing? His mind questioned. Snape knew that Harry's mind was running a mile a minute. He kept his eyes on the boy, anticipating his next move. He noticed that the hand holding the gun was trembling, as was the rest of the broken boy that sat in front of him. His keen eyes observed the scars that marred his much too pale and thin arms, and the dark circles under green eyes that had once been so full of life, but were now dull and glazed with unshed tears. The eyes that stared back at him were the constant reminder of lost love. Every time Severus looked into the emerald orbs he was transported back to a time when he was under no stress, when he was happy and had his best friend by his side, the two of them against the world. However, his world had come crashing down around him in his 5th year of Hogwarts, much like Harry's was now. The man sympathized with the boy, knowing excruciatingly well what it was like to lose the people you loved unconditionally to something out of your control.
The click of the safety switch brought Severus out of his flashback and back to the task at hand.
"I'm sorry Professor." Harry muttered softly. "I can't take it anymore. Goodbye."
A flick of his wand quickly removed the gun from Harry's hand mere milliseconds before the boy had pulled the trigger. Anticipating what was coming next, Snape prepared himself for the shift in emotion that was bound to come, and just as he suspected, Harry clenched his fists and ran at the man in a rage.
"How dare you?" He screamed, pounding against his Professor's chest as his emotions poured out in waves of rage and despair. "I want to die! Why can't you just let me die?" The last sentence was whispered as Harry started to collapse into the waiting arms of the dark man.
Sinking to the floor, Severus held the shivering boy as the adrenaline began to fade. Harry let out a gut-wrenching sob and emitted a yell that would have made even the most hardened Death Eater take a step back. "It is alright to cry, Harry. I will be here for as long as you need and want me to be." He spoke softly to the teen, while whispering reassurances as Harry continued to sob into his robes.
They stayed in this position for quite a while before Severus heard Harry spoke in a voice so soft, he had to strain to discern what he was saying. "I'm tired... so very tired of it all..." Harry confessed.
"I know, child, I know." Severus nodded, noticing how desperate Harry's hold on him was. "I promise on my magic that I will get you away from here. Where are your belongings?" He asked, noticing the barren room for the first time.
"Cupboard... under the stairs... my old bedroom..." Harry whispered. Severus saw red for a moment but swallowed down his emotion, as it would do Harry no good to lose control of the situation.
"Come with me. We shall retrieve your possessions and then use my emergency portkey to Hogwarts." The man informed.
Keeping physical contact with the boy, the two wizards descended the stairs silently. Once on the first floor, Severus whispered an Alohamora and then a Lumos. His breath caught in his throat when he shined the light into the small, cramped cupboard. A tattered blue baby blanket with the initials 'HJP' lay in a small pile on the edge of an old baby mattress. A crumpled piece of ripped paper had been taped to the wall, with "Harry's room" scrawled in crayon in a child's handwriting. What caught Severus's attention was the faint blood stains on the mattress and blanket. Freezing for a moment before remembering what he was doing, Severus grabbed the trunk from the cupboard, quickly shutting the door and locking it once again. All the while he kept a hand on his student's shoulder, to reassure him that everything was going to be okay. Rummaging through his pocket, he found his emergency portkey and looked at Harry, who now appeared exhausted in every sense of the word.
"Hold on tightly to me." Severus whispered as he held out the portkey for Harry to touch. The boy took one last look around at the house that caused him so much pain, letting a stray tear escape his eye and travel down his cheek. They placed their hands on the portkey simultaneously and left Number 4 Privet Drive. Harry didn't look back.