It had been a month since the dark lord was found essentially bludgeoned to death in his lair. There had been many arrests since then and unlike the last time Voldemort fell his followers were being given no chance to wiggle their way out. Even the untouchable Lucius Malfoy had been given the Dementor's Kiss only minutes after his capture.

However, that was one of their chief problems, for while Lucius was responsible for Harry's kidnapping, the death of Sirius Black, and Merlin only knew what else, he was also the only person that Harry had let near him.

The Aurors who stormed Malfoy Manor had been more than a little shocked to find Harry Potter sitting next to Lucius Malfoy in the parlor, apparently listening to him read

something. Lucius had gone quietly; something that surprised even to Severus, though he assumed Malfoy was betting on his money to get him off the proverbial hook once again.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. They had led Lucius from the Manor and allowed the dementors that accompanied them to give him the kiss before even leaving the premises. They were taking no chances. However, when one of them had tried to approach Harry, the young girl had been knocked several feet back without any sign that Potter even comprehended her presence.

It had been the same with the other Aurors, and for the past few weeks a barrage of people had been coming to Malfoy Manor to try and get Harry to, at the very least, respond to them. So far, none of them had had any luck. Harry was shut up in his own world and he'd be buggered if anyone was going to drag him back out. They hadn't even managed to budge him from the sofa in his sleep.

Severus wondered what was in that world that was so enticing. Was it a world where he and his son were living together without care or worry or fear of Voldemort breathing down their necks? Was it a world where Lily and James and Sirius were there? Wherever it was Harry didn't seem likely to leave any time soon. He was content to sit silently and occasionally allow one of the house elves to feed him.

Dumbledore had given up almost all hope, but he'd had one last option, not a likely one, but all the same… He had asked Severus to have a go at getting his fellow Professor to at least talk, to try and figure out what was going on inside of Harry's head so they might find a way to bring him back.

So, Severus had stood at the doorway to the parlor in Malfoy Manor for the past hour, watching Harry closely as he took deep breaths in and out in a hypnotic kind of rhythm. It was perhaps the most peaceful he had ever seen in Harry in all the years he had known him.

He finally decided that it could be held off no longer and stepped forward, expected at any moment to be thrown back into the hallway that was now padded with large pillows to prevent head injuries. Instead, he felt a shudder pass through him and he continued to move forward, undeterred.

Harry hadn't moved, or acknowledged that he knew Snape was there. The choice to let him come close must have been subconscious. When he had reached the sofa, he sat awkwardly on the arm and looked down at the side of Harry's face. It was very surreal to watch someone knowing they couldn't watch you back.

He waited another few minutes, hoping that Harry would become accustomed to his presence, before moving to kneel in front of the young man. He did not feel that it would be appropriate to touch him just yet. He didn't want to be in close proximity should Harry suddenly decide he wanted to be alone.


The green eyes didn't waver.

"Potter, if you're vying for sympathy from me then you are unlikely to succeed."


He sat back in an undignified manner and continued to watch. It wasn't right. Potter had never been weak, but then even Severus had been somewhat in shock at the events of that night.

He had been called for a routine meeting, had allowed Voldemort to know about a made-up rumor going around Hogwarts about Lucius. Dumbledore had postulated that if they could get the Dark Lord against Lucius than Malfoy would have no other choice but to come seek sanctuary with Dumbledore. And Dumbledore would have granted it, if for no other reason than having Harry and Evan back where he could keep them safe.

It had been a fairly brilliant plan, or at the very least it would have worked, if Sirius Black, the impetuous little sod hadn't performed some very dark, dark magic to find Harry and infiltrate Malfoy Manor. Lucius had panicked and shown up in the middle of a deatheater meeting that he was not meant to.

The results had been disastrous.

Voldemort had been trying to break Harry for over seven years and he had finally succeeded. Severus looked into Harry's vacant face and tentatively brushed a strand of dark hair behind the other man's face. Harry didn't move at the contact, not to come towards it, but not to back away, either.

Voldemort had finally broken The-Boy-Who-Live and gotten himself killed in the process.

Severus slowly pulled out his wand and set it to Harry's temple, mumbling the sleeping charm under his breath. He caught the man as he fell forward and allowed himself to snake an arm around Harry's shoulders and hold his sleeping form. Perhaps Dumbledore would agree to let Snape take care of Harry himself, perhaps he wouldn't take him to St. Mungos or one of the other many facilities the wizarding world had to offer.

Snape ran his fingers through Harry's knotted, unwashed hair. A Snape taking care of a Potter, but stranger things had happened. Perhaps…