Chapter 33

Harry did eventually doze off, the day finally catching up with him. It was nearing two when a house elf appeared, its bulbous green eyes flitting between Harry and himself. "I is checking on's Harry Potter." It whispered, noting that the teen was sleeping. "I bring his petses and some lunch, nots trustings the foodses here."

"Thank you." Dryden replied not moving as the two small snakes slithered across the bed towards their master. The house elf lay the meal out on the table and popped away.

Harry smelling the food started to stir. Blinking his eyes sleepily he shot up surprised that he had dozed off. "How long have I been out?"

"About and hour." Dryden informed him. "Are you hungry? Your house elf brought you lunch, and a couple of friends to keep you company."

Confused Harry looked around, spotting the two snakes before him on the bed. "Dobby was here?"

"If that's his name than yes. He didn't want you to trust the food they would try to give you here. Smart elf if you ask me." Dryden said smirking.

"Sometimes too smart." Harry agreed getting up to check out what the elf had brought for lunch. There were two small pot pies and a jug of milk; frost clinging to the glass. Dobby had left glasses, forks and napkins. Sitting down, he pulled one of the pies toward him, blinking when Dryden set a glass of milk next to it. "Thank you." He whispered, lifting his fork. The pie was still hot, steaming as he broke the crust mixing it into the beef broth.

There was silence while they ate, comfortable despite the location. A sharp hiss from Astra warned them a second before the door opened.

The sight that greeted the minister when he returned with child services was not what he expected. The boy was sitting at the table eating lunch, or at least that's what he had been doing until the door had opened. Now both the boy and his bodyguard were sitting looking at them their forks poised above their half finished meals. "Don't stop on my account boys." The Social worker said cheerfully pushing past him, where he stood in the door way. Then turning to face him the woman smiled sweetly. "I'll let you know when we are ready to speak with you minister." She informed him before shutting the door in his face.

Harry stared at the woman, she turned from the door and gave them a motherly smile. "Its alright finish your lunch, I can wait till your done hun."

Dryden who had continued eating while keeping watch on the scene at the door finished his pie and pushed the dish to the middle of the table, before standing and walking over to the woman. She was about a foot shorter than him with friendly blue eyes and long redbrown hair tied in a pony tail at the nape of her neck. "You must be Mr. McKinley's son, Dryden." She said politely, holding her hand out to shake his. "I'm Judith Bernstine, from child services. Your father has already filled me in on what Professor Snape and Headmaster Dumbledore say has happened. As well as the reason why Harry is with Mister Snape instead of his family." She said when he accepted her hand shake. "I need to talk to Harry about what happened, and we need to find out why his case was never given to child services."

"I was kidnapped in my own home, by someone impersonating one of my teachers from school Ms. Burnstine. As I've told everyone else who has come to talk to me." Harry said standing at the edge of the table.

"We need to get this figured out, I will do my best to get you home as soon as possible Harry." She said, moving toward him slowly having been warned about his magic. Harry watched her warily but could feel no duplicity from he as he had from the others. "Shall we sit so we can figure this out?"

Harry nodded and sat back in the seat he had occupied for lunch, Dryden sat beside him, while Ms. Burnstine wisely sat across from Harry. "Now your lawyer told me that you where taken from your relatives because it was your uncle was abusing you?"

"Yes." Harry hissed.

"Why wasn't child services informed?"

"You'll have to ask Professor Dumbledore that ma'am." Harry said folding his hands in front of him on the table.

"How did Mr. Snape get involve in all of this. Its widely known that the two of you don't get along."

"Things change." Harry stated simply. "He was the one who found out that my Uncle was beating me, and removed me from his home."

"How does he treat you Harry?" Ms. Burnstine asked her voice soft, sympathetic.

"How is he supposed to treat me?" Harry asked getting annoyed. "He doesn't treat me like the Durselys if that what your worried about. He takes care of me, makes sure I eat enough, and stays with me if I have a nightmare." Harry glared at her green eyes sparking. "He even tries to protect me from stupid Minstery officials who only want to use me as a pawn in their chess game." He spat, air crackling around him.

"Easy there Harry, everything is going to be alright." Dryden soothed moving to crouch beside the teens chair.

"I want to go home Dryden, Draco and I are supposed to start Riding lessons tomorrow. Severus promised he'd teach us, and we were going to go swimming in the lake when he got home from Diagon alley this afternoon." Harry's eyes were shining with unshed tears. "Things were finally starting to go right until all this trial shit started. Severus loves me, Draco and I are getting along. He and Ron stopped fighting. My lessons are going well. Can't I ever get a break." He said falling against Dryden, when he moved to pull him into a hug.

"Shh, I know, I know." He whispered, rubbing the teens back in small circles. Meeting Ms. Burnstine's gaze over Harry's shoulder. She nodded to him before standing and going to the door.

Judith closed the door quietly behind her. She was strangely touched by the boys out burst. She had dealt with abused children before but after speaking and listening to Harry she could see that he was already on his way to healing. To most that would send up a red flag but after reading the reports filed by the medi witch at Hogwarts she had no doubt that he had been neglected, and if nothing else emotionally abused. Reading the report from Harry's interview with his lawyer however incomplete, made it clear that at least in his early years the boy had been harassed and bullied by both his Uncle and cousin.

The minister stood waiting for her outside the door. "He needs to be moved to some place he feels safe, some place familiar." The minister looked ready to protest. "He feels threatened, despite his bodyguard being with him. It isn't good for his health or mental state." She said, walking away from him, going to her office to call off the arrest order for Severus Snape. Once done she floo called Hogwarts to set up a meeting with Severus Snape and Headmaster Dumbledore. Both men were present when she popped her head through, and She was promptly invited through.