Chapter 1

Hello everyone.

This is my attempt at writing a Snape mentor Fic as I have come to love these. I did my best to update my writing style by not trying to jump to the juicy parts as soon as possible and just taking my time. I'm curious to see what you guys think!

Disclaimer: All works of Harry Potter belong to JK Rowling and not me. This is just a work of fanfiction.

The Potions Apprentice

Chapter 1

Harry lay slumped against the wall of the smallest bedroom in the house on number 4 Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey. He felt deflated and listless and his aching body seemed to pulse to the rhythm of his heartbeat. He groaned a little, trying to shift his weight to get in a more comfortable position but he might as well not have bothered. The pain was everywhere. He sighed and wished that one day in the near future, his newfound godfather would be acquitted of the false charges he was accused of because of his once best friend, Peter Pettigrew.

But right now, that day seemed as if it would never come. Harry carefully examined his current state. He mostly suffered from heavy bruising and abrasions, but he also had large welts on his back where he felt some blood soak through his much too large shirt. His ankle felt as if it might have been sprained, caused when he tried to get away from his uncle Vernon's malicious beatings. He shouldn't have tried that. Where was he going to go anyways? It's not as if he had much of a choice in the matter.

His green eyes ran across the items in his room. Since finding out that he was, in fact, not allowed to use magic outside of Hogwarts as long as he was underage, the Dursleys hadn't bothered locking up his trunk and school supplies anymore. His wand lay casually on his nightstand, next to the photobook Hagrid had given him. Little use would that do him now. He was not going to alleviate his pain, only to get expelled from Hogwarts. It wouldn't be long now. He just had to lay low for another couple of weeks and then he could return to his actual home for his fourth year.

Harry started to slowly scramble to his feet when he saw a white bird fly towards the Dursley Residence. His owl had been gone for a while, which was for the best really. He couldn't take care of her here. Sure, he had taken loads of feed for Hedwig 'home' but he must have miscalculated seeing how he had run out after just 1 month. So he had sent Hedwig to Hogwarts, trusting Dumbledore to take care of her. That way, his uncle could no longer complain about her screeching, anyways.

But there she was, so Harry got up to open the window for her, his aching bones protesting heavily. After the window was opened, Hedwig swooped in and landed gracefully on top of her empty cage. Harry stroked her feathers softly and she gently nipped at his fingers before extending her foot.

Harry took the yellowish envelope she had carried and smiled when he saw that it was his letter from Hogwarts, specifying what supplies he would be needing for the year to come. There was nothing out of the ordinary in the letter. It was just a short list of additional books and a set of dress robes.

The Standard Book Of Spells Grade 4 by Miranda Goshawk

The Dark Forces: A Guide To Self-Protection by Quentin Trimble

So apparently, most books he would require were the same ones he had already been using in his previous years. This would be a cheap year indeed. Not that it mattered much. He had an enormous treasure pile of money below Gringotts, after all. Not that he would ever tell the Dursleys about this, of course. He could have bought a new broomstick for Quidditch with that little to purchase but his godfather had only recently given him the Firebolt so that was unnecessary.

Either way, the list had given him some new energy. He couldn't wait to see Ron and Hermione again. Hell, he would be very happy to see Severus Snape himself right now. He would just need to be patient. However, he also needed to talk to his aunt and uncle. He needed to get to Diagon Alley and wasn't sure how that was going to work out otherwise.

"I'm sorry, Girl," he said to his snowy owl. "I don't have anything for you to eat." He gestured around his room, signifying that no food was to be found indeed. He did, however, present her with his glass of water in which she dipped her beak gratefully. She drank what she needed before Harry sent her off again, watching as Hedwig disappeared out of sight. He sighed deeply - feeling his ribs twinge just a bit because of the heavy exhale - and lifted himself off the windowsill, closing the window once more and turning to the door, starting to make the dreaded journey downstairs.

After he opened the door, he could hear the sound of the telly on downstairs. He hesitated slightly, knowing the family would not look to him kindly if he disturbed their mind-numbing ritual of watching other people experience things that they would either hate or love to experience themselves. However, if he postponed this, the chance existed that he would not be able to get his books on time. He didn't want to start off his year with detention if he could help it. He snuck downstairs, determined to not make any sound until he absolutely had to. He expertly dodged the squeaky steps and landed catlike at the bottom. He then waited in the hallway, listening for the commercials. When he could finally hear how a woman was using a cleaning product that could undoubtedly be used on any and all stains and have an immediate result, he walked inside the living room, his shoulders heavy with anticipation and his head respectfully lowered. Dudley ran past him in an effort to reach the loo and be back in time before commercials were over. He sneered at Harry when he saw him but made no comment since he wanted to be back in time for whatever it was he was watching.

"Excuse me, Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia," he began, as respectfully as he could.

"What is it, Boy?!" Vernon asked, clearly disgruntled that he was reminded of Harry's existence.

"I was wondering if I could please go to London, to buy my school supplies," Harry asked submissively, his eyes daring to look at his uncle with hope. Vernon just narrowed his eyes.

"Do you honestly expect me to go into a shop for freaks like you, willingly?" he asked dangerously.

"No, Uncle Vernon," Harry replied quickly. "I was only hoping that you could drop me off at Woking station, so I can get there myself."

Vernon eyed Harry up and down. The boy had a dishevelled look about him as always. The chaos of hair on his head could do nothing to hide the bruises colouring his face, even with his head bowed. The hand-shaped marks on his neck left nothing to the imagination either. In the end, he would have no choice but to allow the boy to purchase what he needed. If he refused, he would most likely get some unwanted company soon. But the boy's face and neck needed to heal first so Vernon thought he might as well make the boy squirm a bit before he agreed.

"If you are good this week and finish all the chores you are presented with, I will take you to the station on Saturday," He said plainly. "I will not be giving you any money, though! And to pay for the petrol it will cost me, you will only get food once every other day, is that clear?!"

Harry nodded vigorously. This was more than he could have hoped for. He must've caught his uncle in a good mood, he thought. It was at that moment that Dudley pushed past Harry, knocking him to the ground roughly and jumped into the sofa which grunted painfully under the sudden weight that was plunged into its belly.

"Now up with you. And don't show yourself unless we ask you to," Vernon growled, his eyes already glued back on the tv.

Harry picked himself up off the ground and obeyed. He gritted his teeth so hard that he thought the Dursleys might hear them crack. It was immensely hard to push down that Gryffindor pride that had started welling up inside of him since he was eleven, but he had to do it for his own good. He needed to make it back to Hogwarts and to do that, he needed to play the part of the meek, dutiful and ever submissive Harry Potter. Not that he could change that even if he had wanted to. Underage magic and all that. And physically, there was absolutely no way that Harry could ever hope to overpower Vernon. So he would just need to endure the beatings, the neglect and the endless list of chores until he was of age and able to fight back.

Once upstairs, Harry flopped down on his bed, rubbing his arm where Dudley had knocked him over. His eyes glazed over for just a short while as he imagined his parents to still be alive. Surely they would have loved him. They would have never deprived him of food and basic care. They would never hurt him and they would have happily taken him to Diagon Alley to get his supplies with him. Why was he dealt this lot in life? But no, that was all the time he allowed himself to dwell on his miserable existence. He would not wallow in self-pity. His mother sacrificed herself for Harry and he needed to honour her for that. If only he could help himself somewhat without using magic to do so. This constant agony was sure to break him at some point.

Then his gaze fell on his stack of Hogwarts books and landed on one in particular.

Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger lay haphazardly thrown on top of Unfogging the Future by Cassandra Vablatsky. A big blue stain was visible in its right corner, undoubtedly from a potion that had spilt after not having corked it properly. Harry's eyes widened. That's it! A small smile tugged at his lips. He was not allowed to cast any spells but surely, drinking a potion or two should pose no problem, right? His smile dropped quickly, though. He was not very good at potions - if he could believe Snape - and asking Hermione for help would surely ring bells he didn't want to be rung. He pondered for a moment before sighing, his ribs aching in the process. Perhaps he had bruised one of those as well.

He had no choice. He would have to start studying potions a lot harder than he ever had before. Perhaps if he managed to do that, he could not only keep himself alive and perhaps even slightly comfortable, but he might even get grades good enough to get an OWL in the subject which he would need if he ever wanted to become an Auror. Seeing as he had nothing better to do anyway, he grabbed the book he had first grasped in his first year of Hogwarts and started studying, beginning with page one. The basics would probably help him greatly.

The week had been nothing if not rough. Harry's uncle Vernon had maliciously written an enormous list of chores, several feet long for Harry to complete during the week if he wanted to be allowed to go shopping on Saturday. Among other things he had fixed the roof; mowed the lawn; trimmed the hedges; removed all weeds; planted new flowers; painted the garden shed as well as organised its insides; painted Dudley's room; sanded and varnished a second-hand cabinet aunt Petunia had purchased from one of her neighbours as well as cooked and cleaned the house every day. It was nothing short of a miracle but Harry had managed to do everything on the list.

Not only that but Uncle Vernon had beat him less severely over the week. He had obviously avoided Harry's face and neck as well as his lower arms and legs which didn't leave a whole lot to be used as a punching bag. Not that Uncle Vernon hadn't tried but it seemed as if he stopped a lot quicker when he had to be careful. That fact had certainly helped Harry to complete that long list of chores. Nonetheless, Harry felt the ache throughout his entire upper body and was secretly wishing he could have a pain reliever potion right about now. Luckily, sleep came easily enough because of the exhaustion he felt after each day full of labour.

Finally, it had come, though. Saturday! True to his word, Vernon had all but shoved Harry in the backseat of the car, and had taken off like a madman. The entire way to the station, not a word was said. While the silence was definitely tense, Harry was thankful for it. He didn't have the energy to try and uphold a pleasant conversation, constantly fearing that if he said something wrong, Vernon would just turn the car around. When they finally reached the station, Vernon turned around in his seat and sneered at Harry, his eyes bulging, and that purple vein seemingly ready to pop at any time.

"I will be back here at six," he said. "Be here on time or find your own way home."

Harry nodded dutifully and got out of the car quickly, his emptied trunk with him so he could fill it up again. As he watched Uncle Vernon speed off, almost knocking an old lady off her feet in the process, Harry couldn't help but smile. An entire day to himself! No chores, no beatings and no Dursleys. Gleefully, he made his way through the intricate system that was public transportation. It took him about thirty minutes to get to London. There, he took the underground for another forty minutes until he finally walked the last bit before seeing The Leaky Cauldron emerge at last. He made himself as presentable as he could, which honestly wasn't very. He didn't know if he hoped to bump into someone right now, or not at all. Either way, he went inside the Leaky Cauldron, nodded to Tom - receiving a curtly nod himself - and made his way to the back quickly before anyone could exclaim, 'Look, that's Harry Potter!'.

As soon as Harry had tapped the stones and Diagon Alley appeared he felt truly at home for the first time in many weeks. The alley was bustling with witches and wizards as always. Children were dragging their parents to 'Sugarplums' sweets shop' just like they would in the muggle world; A small group of babbling witches came out of 'Obscurus Books' all holding a copy of the same book and there was a small crowd of teenagers Harry's age in front of 'Broomstix', admiring the Firebolt. Harry grinned, knowing he had one himself. He evaded all the shops for now and went straight to Gringotts. The scenery was very much the usual. He presented a goblin with his key who scrutinized if for a few seconds before leading Harry to the usual cart. The rollercoaster ride was over quickly. Harry might be getting used to these rides but they were still not something he looked forward to. He much preferred to keep the meagre meal he had eaten the day before contained inside of his stomach. After retrieving the money he needed, plus a bit of extra pocket change he allowed himself, he made his way back into the hustle and bustle that truly was Diagon Alley.

First, he went to Madam Malkin's for his dress robes. She tutted and measured and did her thing. Not even half an hour later, Harry had his dress robes. They were kind of silly but Harry guessed they looked alright. After that, he went to Flourish and Blotts to get the two books he needed. He found them easily enough seeing how they were both stalled near the entrance, probably so all school children could pick one up easily, but Harry didn't leave it at that. Thinking about his potions idea, he went to the Alchemy section of the bookstore to look around. He ended up also getting:

One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi

Advanced Potion Making

Potion Opuscule

He would probably need Advanced Potion Making later on in his education anyway so what did it matter if he already bought it. No harm in looking, he thought. Harry had also wanted to buy 'Most Potente Potions' but was not allowed to because he was underage. Damn it! Well, nothing a visit to the restricted section underneath his invisibility cloak couldn't fix. With his new loot safely locked inside of his trunk, Harry made a beeline towards Slug & Jiggers Apothecary next. He bought some extra vials both glass and crystal and a collapsible cauldron just because it was so easy to take with him. Yes, he already had a cauldron but he wanted to be able to make multiple potions at a time if needed. Some potions could take days, if not weeks to brew. Granted, Harry should have paid more attention back in the day and was unsure which potions would take that long to brew except for Polyjuice but he knew that the option was there and that he should be prepared for it. He doubted that Snape would lend him an extra cauldron.

Harry glanced at his watch. It was hardly 1 o' clock and it would be a while before he had to meet up with his uncle Vernon. So he thought he might as well look for a place to get a decent meal lest he faints from hunger. Especially seeing how he wasn't going to get another meal today. He looked around somewhat, past the many groups of people - obviously families and friends - and felt a sharp pang of loneliness constrict his chest. His eyes fell to the ground shortly before he bravely picked himself up again and with steady strides walked towards what looked to be a small bistro with a terrace overlooking the busy Alley. It looked cosy enough. Harry looked up to read the name plaque. Madam Pippins Nips and Nibbles. Only one of the three terrace tables was taken at the moment by what seemed to be a young couple sharing a dish. Harry did not see any 'reserved' signs on either free table and decided to seat himself at the table farthest away from the couple fawning over each other. From inside the bistro, a menu came flying through an open window and landed on Harry's table, opened at the lunch section. Harry smiled to himself. He loved magic so much. He scanned the page almost drooling from just looking at the descriptions. In the end, he couldn't decide between a platter of Fish and Chips or a Shepherd's pie.

"Can I help you, dearie?" A short, plump blond woman with big green eyes and red, poufy cheeks greeted him cheerfully. "Or do you need some more time?" she added when she saw Harry's doubting face.

"I can't decide," Harry admitted. "Everything looks delicious." His eyes scanned the page quickly again. "But I'll take the fish and chips as well as some pumpkin juice please."

The woman beamed at him. "Coming right up, sweetie," She exclaimed before swishing around with a grace you would not expect from a woman her size, and disappearing inside. The menu followed her as if it were a well-behaved pet bird.

Harry sighed contentedly as he sat back in his plush covered chair and pulled out one of his newly purchased books. He decided to go for Potion Opuscule. He wondered if he could find some recipes that might benefit him in the future in there. It didn't take long before he was fully engrossed in his reading. He scanned the pages eagerly, only taking his eyes off of them briefly when his food arrived to say, "Thank you, Miss."

In front of him was placed an abnormally large portion of food that Harry eyed hungrily. A pitcher of pumpkin juice was set across from him where he could easily reach it. He tried eating while watching the crowd but felt that it made him feel everything but cheerful so he went back to reading his text. This book was somewhat elementary but Harry liked that. He would need a lot of practice before he could even begin making sense of Advanced Potion Making. But this book was easy enough to understand, especially since it had been written by the same author as his very first Potions book. The one he had gone through entirely again back home. At least twice. Harry was so engrossed in his reading that he hadn't even noticed a figure stopping at his table, while Harry happily kept eating.

"Well well, if it isn't Mr Potter," a sullen voice droned. Slightly spooked, Harry looked up to meet dark, piercing eyes. In front of him stood a man with black, greasy hair and a hooked nose who was always clothed in black robes of the extra billowing kind. His frosty gaze always communicated a whispered threat and Harry couldn't help but swallow thickly as his potions professor raised an eyebrow.

"Professor Snape," he uttered unbelievably. "Nice to see you." He wasn't sure if he meant it.

Well, that concludes chapter 1. Be sure to let me know what you think. Thanks for reading :)

Revised last on 19/09/2020.