Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harry Potter.

A/N: So after reading many, many Harry Potter fics I decided to write one for myself...here goes.

Summary: A six-year-old Harry's life changes forever when he is rescued from the Dursley home by none other than...Severus Snape.

Hand in Hand

Prologue

_________________________________________________________

The boy sat huddled in a corner, covered in filth and shaking with fright. He clutched his legs to his chest and hid his head between his knees. The dark and overwhelming mop of black hair that adorned his head remained motionless, as did the rest of the boy's body. A loud bang echoed through the dark cupboard in which he was cowering, which caused his head to jerk upright. He stared around the room for a moment bewildered, searching for the origin of the loud and unexpected noise. Finding nothing, he lowered his head back between his legs and continued sulking in silence. He could hear yelling which he could only assume was caused by his bickering Aunt and Uncle. He weakly attempted to drown out the nagging row by placing his small hands over his ears, the noise, however, was still fully audible.

"Vernon please, just leave the boy alone," Petunia Dursley pleaded, the tone of her voice raised through her pleading.

"He's a freak Petunia, and if I don't teach him his place who knows what he'll do," Vernon Dursley's voice boomed, causing bits of plaster to dislodge themselves from the cupboards ceiling and land in Harry's already disheveled hair.

"Oh Vernon no, just leave him be until morning," she pleaded, her voice getting louder and louder as she and Vernon approached the cupboard's door. "There's still a bit of light outside, why don't you and Dudley try out his new bike or skateboard," she offered weakly, already knowing her husband would decline. Petunia Dursley felt no particular attachment for the boy hiding in the cupboard, no; her pleading was merely caused by her dislike of blood and her husband's rising temper. The cupboard door was forcefully slammed opened causing Harry to bring his legs even closer to his chest. He wanted to disappear, he had never wanted anything so bad in his short little life. He closed his eyes tighter as Vernon's brutish hand wrapped itself around Harry's small neck, jerking his body from the floor. Harry kept his thoughts focused; if only he could leave just for a moment, escape the cupboard, the house, and his Uncle's malicious grasp. Vernon dragged the child out of the darkened cupboard and dropped him on the kitchen floor. Harry's eyes remained closed; he thought that if he could perhaps close them tight enough, his Uncle would not be able to see him, just as he was unable to see his Uncle. Then, as if by magic, Harry was gone. His shivering body was no longer huddled on the bare linoleum floor; in fact, it was no longer in the house at all.

Dumbledore sat in his office, momentarily unaware of Harry Potter's sudden disappearance. His office was cluttered as he made preparations for the coming school year. Piles of scribbled parchment were strewn about his uncharacteristically cluttered desk as bottles of ink and messily used quills lay scattered among them. Yet beyond the mess, Dumbledore rested calmly, his eyes an unwaveringly cool blue that seemed to personify the serenity of his character. At that moment a rather scruffy looking cat entered Dumbledore's office, causing the old man's eyes to lift from his bundles of parchment and turn eagerly to the doorway.

"Minerva, I didn't expect to see you for another couple of weeks," he said, his voice clearly expressing his exhaustion. The cat approached the desk, and as it did, it's whole body stretched and contorted until no longer resembled the initial feral tabby, but instead a well-dressed, gray haired woman, her hair pulled into a tight bun.

"I have just received some rather shocking news from the Ministry," she said urgently, pulling on a hat as she spoke. "Fudge wanted me to deliver the news to you immediately," she added, finally looking into Dumbledore's tired eyes.

"And what is this urgent news?" He asked, his voice filled with genuine concern.

"Harry Potter has disappeared," she began, closely watching Dumbledore's expression change. "The Ministry doesn't know exactly what happened. One minute the boy was in the Dursley home and a minute later he had disappeared".

"How?" Dumbledore asked, stepping out from behind his desk and donning a dark colored robe.

"We don't know, the Ministry seems rather dumbfounded," she said as she stepped out of Dumbledore's way. The Headmaster was now hurriedly clearing off his desk as he made preparations to leave Hogwart's grounds.

"Has the Ministry been to the Dursley residence?" He asked as he led the way out of his office.

"They were on their way when I left them," Minerva followed Dumbledore closely as they wound their way out of his office and down to the dungeons.

"I want you and Severus to go there also," he began as the pair wound their way down a series of staircases to Professor Severus Snape's office. "If you find Harry, bring him back here, I'll deal with the Ministry later". Dumbledore knocked quickly on the office door and was soon greeted by a dark haired man, his face fixed with a permanent scowl. "Severus, sorry to come calling so late but I must ask a favor of you," Snape's face remained emotionless.

"Anything Headmaster," he mumbled, his voice only giving way to the slightest hint of sarcasm.

"You are to accompany Professor McGonagall to the Dursley home. It seems young Harry has disappeared and I would like you and Minerva to locate and retrieve him".

"I'm sure, that since Mister Potter was capable enough to get himself into this mess, he is quite able to get himself out," Snape sneered, not moving from his spot in the doorway.

"Normally I would be inclined to agree with you," Dumbledore began. "However, because of the recent Death Eater movement," Dumbledore glanced down at Snape's arm meaningfully, "I am more than eager to have Harry returned to safety". Dumbledore stood there a moment longer, willing Snape to move. Eventually Snape gave in and grabbed a warm woolen robe from a nearby stand. "Excellent!" Dumbledore exclaimed as he stepped out of a disgruntled Snape's way.