Title: Severus' Reflection

Author: Severus297

Disclaimer: This is the only time I'm going to say this: I own none of the characters at the moment, just the plot. There may be some discrepancies, and feedback is greatly welcomed. This is my first and only story, so please, don't be too harsh on me. I only do the best I can.

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Tuesday, July 31, Harry's 16th birthday. Aunt Petunia's screeches for him to cook Dudley's breakfast jolt him from sleep. The pig himself started banging on the door.

"Get up and make my breakfast, freak!"

Harry sat up and put his broken glasses on. He went down to the kitchen and began frying the bacon, his own stomach growling impatiently. He retrieved the bread from the cupboard and moved to put it in the toaster. While his back was turned, Dudley snuck into the kitchen, turned the burner up as high as it can go, and slipped out again.

A few minutes later, smoke fills the otherwise white kitchen. As Harry frantically tried to clear it, Dudley walked in.

"Mum! Dad!" he yelled. "Harry's burning the food! There's smoke everywhere!"

Uncle Vernon stormed in, face purple. Harry turned the burner off and put the unburned bacon onto a plate.

"YOU!" He yanked Harry around to face him. "Why's there smoke in my kitchen, boy?"

"I-I-I don't know, sir," Harry stuttered quietly. Vernon pushed him roughly against the wall.

"LIAR! You were trying to burn my son's food, you imbecile!" Harry tried to explain that he wasn't doing that, but he was slapped in the face.

Behind his uncle, Dudley snickers. "You're going to get it this time, freak!"

With an evil smirk, Vernon lifted the still burning hot frying pan, the bacon grease sliding to the edge of the pan, and pressed it up against Harry's face. Dudley grabbed Harry's arms while Vernon started beating Harry with the pan. As Harry struggled not to cry out too loudly, Vernon began kicking and punching him as hard as possible. He got Harry so hard in the stomach, he thought he was going to throw up. Then his uncle walked out.

Harry struggled to catch his breath, Dudley still holding his arms. 'Some sixteenth birthday,' he thought to himself. 'Isn't this supposed to be one of the best days of my life?'

His uncle returns to the kitchen, this time with his leather belt with the steel clasp.

"Oh no!" Harry moaned as his uncle folds it in half and tests it on his hand.

"Oh, yes!" Uncle Vernon says, malice in his voice and a horrible smile on his lips. "It's been too long since you've been beaten. And I think you really need it!" He turned to his son. "You can pick out something as well, Dudders."

Dudley grinned as though it were Christmas come early. "I'm going to be a little less harsh," he said, "because I really don't have much energy today." He picked up the stainless steel spatula Harry was using to flip the bacon and walked back to where his father and cousin were.

"Pray for your own death, you worthless pile of shit!" Uncle Vernon said, swinging the belt around. It connected with the side of Harry's face, sending his glasses across the floor. Then Dudley began whacking Harry's arms with the spatula. The pain sears from every inch of Harry's body, consuming his brain. He sees the blood seep out from previous wounds as they are reopened before he passes out on the cold kitchen tile.

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September 1, the Start of Term Feast at Hogwarts. Everyone is present, including Harry. He sits on the end, apart from the others at the Gryffindor table, and listens as his sixth year mates laugh and joke with each other. While everyone else was getting seconds, he was playing with the barely touched food in front of him, taking a sip of pumpkin juice every now and then. He'd avoided everyone on the train and refused to talk when they arrived at the school. As soon as he'd boarded the train, he put several charms on himself to hide the marks that remained from the summer. He didn't want anyone to see what had happened to him, but he knew he'd have to talk to his friends. He'd have to pretend to be normal.

He started to get the feeling someone was staring at him, and he looked up.

It was Professor Snape.

He was watching Harry with a sort of curious look on his face, but when Harry looked at him, he sneered and turned away.

'Figures. Slimy bastard.' Harry thought and returned to his barely eaten dinner.

It seemed to take forever for the Headmaster to give them his usual speech. After the same old warnings and some new announcements, he let them go to bed. Harry weaved his way through the crowd, got the password from Nearly Headless Nick, and was the first to the sixth year boys' dormitory. When he curled up in his bed, he prayed that he would get a decent night's sleep, void of any nightmares.

The next morning at breakfast, their new schedules were passed out. Grabbing his, Harry saw that he had Transfiguration, Charms, DADA, and Potions for the first day. Ron sat down across from Harry, schedule in hand and already complaining.

"McGonagall and Snape in the same day," he griped. "This is where our lives end." Harry grinned and Hermione shook her head.

"So dramatic you are," she said, from behind yet another book.

"Bite me," Ron said through a mouthful of waffles, syrup sliding down his chin.

"We don't want your rabies," Hermione said. "Or any other disease manifestations you may have acquired over the summer." Everyone laughed at that, including Ron.

Their first day passed uneventfully. They had so many notes to copy in Transfiguration that Harry swore his hand was going to fall off. Then in Charms, Flitwick put them through a difficult charm, the Transparency Spell. Of course, Hermione mastered it first. Then they found out how horrible their new DADA teacher would be shortly after eating lunch. Professor Jones was young, but seemed a little nervous about being in the supposedly jinxed position. She made up for it by being extremely uptight and bitchy. Other than that, Harry had no problems until Potions that afternoon.

They were given a relatively easy potion to prepare this time. For once, Harry had it perfect, but Snape decided to torture him anyway. He was examining everyone's progress and stopped at Harry's desk to look at his.

"Well, well, well. It looks like our golden boy learned something over the holiday," he sneered. "He's actually brewed a potion correctly. I guess miracles do happen."

Harry just stood there looking at the floor as the Slytherins laughed and the Gryffindors glared.

"Tell us, Mr. Potter," Snape said maliciously. "Did you do some extra studying or have you somehow finally discovered how to use your brain and follow directions to brew this potion correctly? Because we all know how miserable your performance was last year. It's a wonder you got such a good mark on you Potions O.W.L."

Harry kept his head down and didn't say anything.

"Are you going to speak or are you going to continue looking like an absolute idiot?" Snape snapped. "Everyone, please return to your potions. There's no use in wasting your time waiting for the celebrity to open his mouth."

Harry ladled some of his potion into a vial, his professor still standing there. He still wouldn't speak, nor would he look at Snape unless he had to.

Snape began to wonder if Harry was okay. He took a step closer to Harry, who tensed.

"Potter." It was said quietly so no one else would hear. Slowly, Harry looked up and into Snape's eyes.

Neither said a word as they stared at each other. Snape studied Harry closely, noticing the lack of emotion or care in his eyes, 'Something's wrong,' he thought. 'Something's really wrong....he looks like me...once.' He shook his head and walked to his desk. Hermione leaned towards her friend.

"What was that all about?"

Harry shrugged carelessly. "I haven't got the slightest clue." Looking up again, he saw Snape was looking at him once more, briefly, before the bell rang seconds later.

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Finally. I got off my lazy butt and changed this—again.