This story takes place summer after fifth year. These first chapters are not my best work (but I promise it gets better so stick with it) so if anyone would like to edit I would be grateful. Snape's family is not Canon but I tried to keep him as close to character as i could while he begins to soften up and see Harry in a different light- this story contains abuse, angst, father/son relationship hurt/comfort
Chapter 1- A Dog's Life
The train ride 'home' had not been long enough for Harry. He sat quietly staring out the window the entire way home. Even the sound of the trolley carts squeaky wheels couldn't pull his thoughts away from Sirius. Sirius was dead. He would never see his Godfather's face again. Never see the big black dog wagging his tail. The thought of being so alone nearly sent Harry into a panic attack.
He thought back to his wild behavior in Professor Dumbledore's office. All those delicate little objects lying broken on the floor. It all didn't matter in the end because he still had no one in which he could trust. Dumbledore had forever broken his trust by holding back information that would have kept him away from the ministry, away from getting Sirius killed.
And Remus … well Remus was having just as hard a time dealing with Sirius' death as he was. Besides he really didn't deserve to have Remus alleviate any of his pain.
The guilt over killing his Godfather almost swallowed him whole. If there was any way to exchange his life for that of his Godfather's he would have done it in a second. He noticed the worried looks from his friends but chose to ignore them. What did Ron and Hermione know about pain and loss? They had no idea what losing your last link to family would feel like.
When the train finally arrived to London, Ron and Hermione stood by his side until Vernon yanked him away to begin the hell that was his life. He didn't look back at the looks of horror he knew his friends now wore. Vernon yelled at him all the home about what a nuisance he was. Before they even arrived at Privet Drive Harry had earned himself a swift backhand from his Uncle for back talking.
Vernon had the audacity to say he was happy 'that convict Godfather of yours' was dead. Now they wouldn't have to worry about criminals lurking about. Harry snapped and before he even thought better of it he yelled at his Uncle to shut up. Vernon wasted no time in pulling the car to the side of the road and smacking Harry across the face.
Instead of protesting Harry felt he deserved it. Not for yelling at his Uncle but for all the other regretful things he had done. It calmed him down enough to completely tune out his Uncle's voice and concentrate on feeling guilt-ridden over the death of his Godfather once again.
Things didn't improve when he got home. Dudley looked bigger and stronger than the previous year and openly challenged Harry to a boxing match. Now that Dudley was the golden gloves champion of his school he felt that everyone was fair game to beat up. Uncle Vernon encouraged the intimidating behavior and even went so far as to boast about him to anyone who would listen. Harry's refusal to fight had brought about taunting and ridicule that Harry hadn't experienced since grade school.
All the ridicule and cruel remarks sent Harry into further depression making him loath himself even more.
In the end Harry was so sad and depressed that the family wanted nothing to do with him. He was expected to finish a long list of chores and then return to his room to eat his one and only meal of the day. Even that meager meal had been hard to get down. He had begun to lose weight at an alarming rate. Between the chores in the hot summer sun and the sparse meals, he begun to feel dizzy frequently throughout the day.
Vernon had been looking forward to spending the day with his sister Marge. His life had been so hard lately with his boss yelling at him at work and the bills piling up at home. It had all started when that freak boy came back from his freak school. The boy just wasn't right with his sulking attitude and gloomy demeanor. He decided to ask Marge's opinion on the boy's odd behavior, hoping she would be able to give him advice on how to snap the boy out of his attention seeking ways.
Marge was very wise and knew how to handle such behavior since she had so much experience with handling the dogs that she bred. Her advice had been to the point; beat it out of him.
"Marge, I'm just at a loss as to what to do with the boy. He seems to be putting a dark cloud over the whole house," Vernon said in anger as he watched his sister take another sip of brandy.
"I tell you Vernon, he's a bad influence on our Dudley. The last thing you want is Dudley to start acting like that boy," Marge said with authority and poured another round of brandy for herself and Vernon.
"No, no, that wouldn't do at all. Dudley's such a happy fellow and that freak boy just isn't right, you know?"
"It's like I said before, when there's something wrong with the bitch then there's something wrong with the pup. It's too bad you couldn'thave drowned him at birth, like I need to do from time to time with my dogs," Marge gave Vernon a pat on the arm.
"Believe me if I had known how bad he was going to turn out I would of left him at someone else's doorstep!" They both had a good laugh over that thought.
"Well Vernon, there's only one thing left to do. You must whip him into shape. I don't believe in that namby pamby approach, using kind words and rewards for his type. You must use a cane or a belt on the boy," Marge said with authority.
"Oh Marge, I'm not sure how Petunia will take that," Vernon thought it a fine idea but didn't know if Petunia would approve.
Marge leaned forward in her chair and said with a slight slur to her words, "Don't let her know. Make the boy keep his mouth shut."
Vernon thought that over for a moment and came to the conclusion that he would need to take something special away from him to make the boy keep from telling anyone about his 'lessons'.
"Yes Marge this may work. At least it's worth a try. I'm getting tired of the boy's disrespectful looks and sorry attitude. The next time he steps out of line he will have to answer to me," Vernon had an odd excitement fill him with that thought.
Vernon pulled into the driveway and saw that the boy had disobeyed him by not trimming the rose bushes back as he had been told to do. That's all it took to get a drunk, angry Vernon started on his new plan of discipline for the boy.
"Boy, get your freakish self down here!" Vernon screamed from the living room, knowing that Petunia and Dudley were out. Now that the boy's convict godfather was dead, Vernon knew he wouldn't get caught punishing Harry. Hell, he even looked forward to it!
"Yes Uncle Vernon?" Harry called as he came running.
"Did you finish all your chores boy?" Uncle Vernon growled.
"I think so," Harry said with trepidation as he smelt the alcohol coming from his uncle.
"You little liar" Vernon screamed as he backhanded Harry across the face with such force that Harry fell against the telly. The television wobbled and fell crashing to the floor. Uncle Vernon turned five shades of purple at the sight of his television on the floor.'Now that good for nothing freak is going to begin to pay!' thought Vernon, with an odd excitement.
Harry sat on the ground rubbing his face, in complete shock.
"Get up to your room boy! I'm going to give you the punishment you deserve!"
"Whoa, wait a minute! This is rubbish! You can't do this," screamed Harry, his anger rising but still in shock. He stood up and took a few steps back as his uncle came closer. What the bloody hell is going on?
Vernon grabbed Harry by the front of his oversized shirt and pushed him towards the stairs.
Harry began walking towards his room with Vernon walking behind him, pushing him every step or two. Harry was trying to figure out how he could get his wand out of the locked closet in the hallway. He'd worry about the consequences later with the Ministry of Magic.
"Uncle Vernon why are you doing this!" Harry asked in a panicked voice.
Vernon slurred out, "Because you're nothing but a murdering freak! Yes, I know all about the way you killed that boy last year and now your convict godfather is dead."
Harry's heart nearly stopped over hearing those words. The guilt and pain was so fresh and raw that his heart actually hurt. Everything Vernon said was true, he was a murderer.
When they finally reached his room, Vernon grabbed the back of Harry's hair and pushed him into the wall. Vernon struggled to pull his belt off his extremely large waist still holding the boy's head against the wall. Harry pushed his head against his Uncle's hand and tried to turn around. Vernon wrapped the belt around his meaty paw while the buckle end dangled down, then raised his arm high in the air. Harry continued to struggle out of his Uncle's hold but was pushed harder into the wall.
"Turn around boy and if I hear so much as a peep out of you, that bird will be floating in a bucket of water! Shut up and put your hands on the wall!" Vernon hissed in the boy's ear.
Harry was about to protest again but Vernon quieted him with a punch to the ribs.
He glanced over at Hedwig sitting in her cage and turned back around facing the wall placing his palms flat against it. Whatever his Uncle planned for him would be less painful then losing Hedwig. He still couldn't wrap his mind around what was happening to him.
He was suddenly pulled into a reality filled with pain as the belt made painful contact with his back. Harry took in a sharp breath and bit his lip to hold back a scream. The belt continued to rise and fall until Harry could take no more and crumpled to the ground, taking large gulps of air. He was just on the brink of screaming out in pain when his uncle stopped.
Vernon finally exhausted himself with all the effort it took to punish his nephew. He felt that freak deserved more but he was too tired at the moment to continue. He grabbed the boy by the back of the hair again and made him look up at him. Seeing the boy's petulant face angered him further.
"You cause nothing but problems boy! You know you deserved this. Your freak school let me know how you killed your Godfather. You deserve to be punished, so don't go blabbing this to your mates or that owl of yours will pay!" With that he grabbed the owl in her cage and slammed the door closed and locked it. Harry could hear him get in his car and drive away, wheels screeching. Hedwig was gone.
Harry tried to push himself up onto the bed but the pain coming from his back was too great. He slowly sank back down to the floor and layed on his stomach, panting with the effort. He was trying so hard to hold back his cries.
'Uncle Vernon is right,' thought Harry. 'I did cause Sirius to die. It was my fault'. A worse thought entered his mind, a thought that would change the course of his life:'I deserved to bebeaten.'
When he awoke the next morning it was to thunderous steps coming towards his room. He tried to scramble up as best he could but the pain in his back was making him move slow. He bit his lip to hold back a scream, causing a cut to reopen again. The door burst open and Uncle Vernon glared down at him.
"Laying about again, you lazy freak!" yelled Vernon noticing the bloody lip.
"You better not bleed all over the floor or your aunt will be plenty mad!"
He threw down a long list of chores and stomped out of the room.
Harry picked up the list and knew he better get started or he would not be finished in time.
He was so hungry and thirsty but he would have to make himself forget about that for now. Harry picked up an old shirt and pushed it onto his lip to stop the flow of blood. When it finally stopped he made his way downstairs, each step an effort. He painstakingly began to clean the kitchen. Aunt Petunia and Dudley must have gone out for the day so he would be able to sneak some bread and water and any leftovers from the morning meal. After scrubbing the floor till it shone, he made his way down the long list and headed down to the basement. He just couldn't gather why his Uncle had treated him so harshly but kept thinking he had deserved some sort of punishment for killing his godfather.
Harry didn't even realize it was almost 6:00 pm until he came up from cleaning the basement and saw how the sun was starting to set. Still he didn't see Aunt Petunia or Dudley home yet. Suddenly the front door flew open and banged against the wall, Vernon strode in looking smug.
"Boy! Get over here!"
"Yes sir," Harry said sharply.
"Did you get your chores done?" Vernon's fat flabby face pushed down closer to the pathetic teen.
"Yes I cleaned everything," Harry said in an angry voice. "Uncle Vernon where is my owl?"
"That's none of your concern, you just do as I say and the bloody bird will 'd better of done all your chores boy?" Vernon began to make his way down to the basement.
"I did," said Harry, tentatively following his uncle down the stairs.
Vernon began looking for any infraction down in the basement. Right away he saw that the boxes hadn't been stacked neatly. Wasn't that # 4 on the list?
"Get over here, you good for nothing laze about!"
Harry slowly continued making his way downstairs knowing what was to come. He knew he could make a run for it but he thought of Hedwig. He wasn't about to lose her too. He didn't care anymore about anything. Because of him Sirius died. Because of him he lost the one chance, the one hope of escaping this place. Now he felt he would pay the price.