A small under nourished teen quickly added another item to a small pile. It was a sheet of blank parchment but to those who knew what it was, it was a map. The Marauders Map had been his father's. The boy looked down at his wand. If this didn't work he would have no way of protecting himself. Not that he had any way now. Shrinking the package with his wand the teen attached his wand and the package to a large snowy owl.
"Go to Hogwarts and find someone to give this to. Please hurry."
Instead of pecking him like she normally would the owl simply hooted softly and left. Sounds of bolts being drawn made the young teen turn in horror at the door. In his world he was powerful. In his world he was respected and adored. In his world he was Harry Potter. But in this world, he was nothing.
The single lunch table in the Great Hall held all of the professors still at Hogwarts. While it was the summer holidays the teachers usually stayed for a while to organise next year. As it was the end of the week, many of the teachers had gone home. Albus Dumbledore surveyed his colleagues. Minerva and Severus were arguing passionately about something, Hagrid was quietly talking to the new, or possibly old addition to his staff, Remus Lupin, and Poppy was staring of into the distance lost in thought.
What looked to be a badly cared for bird flew into the Great Hall and dropped its package in front of Minerva and Severus. Severus was the first to reach it and as he opened it, it grew larger. He pulled out a firebolt, a cloak that all people around the table recognised as an invisibility cloak, a photo album, a cracked mirror, and an old piece of parchment that made Lupin gasp and reach over to grab. Severus then saw the wand. Pulling it of the bird slowly he handed it to Albus. Albus' breath caught in his throat and his twinkle left his eye. Without looking up he said,
"It's Harry's, as is the cloak."
Sighing Remus looked up,
"And this is his map."
Hagrid, too, looked like crying as he reached for the photo album.
"This is his too."
The group assembled were quiet as they contemplated why these items would have been sent. The sound of Hagrid sobbing slowly broke the silence. Minerva was the first to speak.
"I think we should pull him out of his house and bring him here. It looks like he thinks his things are in danger there, and he probably is too."
There was a murmur of assent around the table. Albus took one last look at the wand; he knew his staff was going to hate him for what he was about to say. Clearing his throat Albus looked around at each of them.
"For now, he stays where he is. We need to know exactly what us going on. Acting prematurely could do more harm then not acting at all."
The uproar this caused wasn't surprising, however, when one certain member stood up and started yelling along with the others, Albus had to work hard not to allow it to show. It always seemed as if Severus hated Harry. He made the boys life harder for him often enough. Yet, he had saved Harry's life a few times. Standing up Dumbledore yelled,
He then stormed up to his office and told the gargoyles to refuse to open even if the person did know the password. Albus looked around his office remembering the time at the end of last year when Harry had destroyed any number of his things. He was simply grateful that the boy hadn't thought to use magic. He knew that his staff thought he was crazy for not taking Harry away from the Dursley's, but he needed to be there. Without his mother's blood there to protect him things would be harder. Maybe if one of his father's relatives were still alive and able to take him, things would be different. Sighing Albus tried to work out what he could do.
A tap on his office door made Severus look up. Opening the door he saw Minerva. Motioning for her to come in Severus studied her intently. He and Minerva didn't get along too well, although it was better then the way he got along with other members of staff. He sat in one of his favourite chairs and saw Minerva slowly do the same. Before speaking she took a deep breath.
"I know you don't really like Potter, but were as angry as the rest of us when Albus said we wouldn't be getting him. I do trust Albus; it's just that I think he's wrong. And if there was anyone I would break his orders with, it would probably be you. So, is you decide you want to get Harry out of there, you know where my office is."
During her little speech Severus hadn't said a word. He had just continued to stare at her, a calculating look on his face. Standing up Minerva headed to the door, as she reached the doorway Severus stated,
"I'll think about it."
Then she was gone. Severus stayed in his chair contemplating what had happened. After a few minutes he went to his lab to work on some potions.
Dinner had come and gone. The entire affair had been awkward. No one had said a word to Dumbledore, and the few conversations that were held were hollow and empty of meaning. Severus was making his way back to his lab to finish of a potion when he felt a burning on his left arm.
"The Dark Lord."
With that Severus grabbed one of the two portkeys in his pocket. They were not ordinary portkeys. They could be activated over and over again, as long as the person knew the code. This portkey took the holder to Hogsmeade. Severus said the code word to activate it and counted down. As he arrived in Hogsmeade, Severus changed his robes, put on a white mask and apparated away. With a crack he arrived, with other death eaters, at the Dark Lords hideout. One by one the bowed and kissed the hem of the robe the Dark Lord was wearing and stood in a circle around him. It was a usual meeting. All were asked to report. None of the Death Eaters had any useful information, which led to many crutius spells. The recent Azkaban breakout meant there were three more among them. If not for Severus tipping of the Order of the Phoenix there would have been a lot more free. Lucius Malfoy unfortunately was one of the three who was free. Son was Bellatrix Lestrange. Severus, as one of the Dark Lords more trusted servants, did not receive so many of the painful spells. As the meeting ended and the Death Eaters started apparating away, Voldemort, with Wormtail, left to go to another room in the old house. Severus slowly followed. Dumbledore had asked him to try and find out what information he would get if he talked to Wormtail alone. Though Wormtail barely left his masters side. As Severus approached the room Voldemort and Wormtail entered he heard a moan of pain.
"Why is this happening Wormtail?" Voldemort turned his red eyes on Peter, "What's going on?"
He grasped his arm in obvious pain. As Severus watched he saw for just an instant the red eyes turn to a brilliant green colour. He stepped back in surprise and quickly apparated away. He knew those eyes. He had been seeing them for five years. A strange idea dawned on Severus. What if the boy was being attacked and he was sending the pain to the Dark Lord. Potter had been feeling what the Dark Lord felt for years now, what if it could work both ways? But the Dark Lord had seemed in so much pain.
Mind made up Severus apparated to Little Whinging. Number four Privet Drive looked exactly like it always did. Waving his wand Severus' clothes turned back to his normal cloak. He swept up to the house, cloak billowing, and knocked on the door, it was opened by a thin, blonde lady with rather a lot of neck. Severus looked at the bruise on her cheek.
"Petunia, what happened?"
Relief washed over Petunia's face.
"Thank goodness you're here. Oh Severus, I told him to leave Harry alone and he hit me." Petunia took a deep breath to gather her thoughts. "I though you said you would never take the kid."
"I did." Replied Severus with a strained expression on his voice, "But then again, so did you. Where is he?"
Nodding, Severus pushed past her and headed for the stairs. He saw a door covered in locks. It was open and there was a large man holding a baseball bat. He started to swing it,
"You're a freak, and a murderer. You shouldn't be alo…"
Vernon Dursley was at the instant hit by a very powerful body binder. Pocketing his wand, Severus stepped over to where there was a boy. Harry was bruised and bleeding. Many of limbs were sticking out at odd angles and the clothes he was wearing could barely be called clothes. Severus quickly reached into his pocket and pulled out the other portkey. This one went straight to the Hogwarts infirmary and Severus had used it any number of times. Holding it gently to Harry's chest he whispered,
"Phoenix. Three, two, one."
A familiar pull just above the nasal and they both ended up on the infirmary floor. Gently picking the boy up Severus walked over to a bed and placed him on it. Alerted by ringing bells that meant someone had portkeyed in Madam Pomfrey headed to the two figures. She was not at all surprised to find Severus there, but as she approached she saw who was on the bed, it was another story. Potter had been in here often enough, but not in as bad a condition as this. Not ever. Pomfrey quickly headed to a cabinet and began pulling out potions. First things first, she had to stabilize his breathing. That done she looked over him. Too many potions and his body would start to reject the magic. With a few spells she healed all his broken bones. She then gave him a blood-replenishing potion. All the while Severus stood at the head of the bed in a silent vigil. After a nourishment potion Pomfrey stepped back.
"What is it?" Severus' voice had a small quaver in it as he looked at the boy. "Can't you do any more?"
"Not until tomorrow." Madam Pomfrey started to walk away, as she looked over her shoulder she added, "He could do with some clean clothes though."
Then she left through an office door.
Severus found some of the pyjamas kept in the hospital wing then headed back to Harry. He slowly peeled of the boys blood soaked clothes and tossed them in a heap on the floor. The very slowly, as to not injure the boy more he put on the pyjamas. Sighing Severus pulled a chair over to Harry's bed and sat down to wait for morning.
Walking into the hospital wing the first thing Madam Pomfrey noticed was that Severus was asleep in a chair beside the bed, head resting next to Harry's outstretched hand. As she reached him, Pomfrey saw that he was looking a lot better. Over the years she had been caring for Harry in the hospital wing, she had never worked out how come he always healed faster then everyone else she treated. She cast several spells, healing most of his cuts and bruises, gave him another blood-replenishing potion as well as a nourishment potion. He would need more potions later that day, but for now sleep was probably the best thing for him. As she headed down to breakfast she pondered whether the headmaster knew that Potter was here. As she arrived in the Great Hall, she saw everyone still at Hogwarts eating their breakfast in a stony silence. As she approached she pondered whether or not she should tell them Potter was here. Deciding she would, she dropped into a seat.
"Poppy, by any chance is Severus in the hospital wing?"
"Yes, he is. But he's not the only one. He brought Potter with him."
The response to this was immediate. Both Minerva and Albus jumped to their feet, Hagrid began quietly sobbing again and a look of extreme relief crossed Remus' face.
"They're both sleeping at the moment so I ask that no one disturbs them." Breakfast quickly finished and with a silent mutual agreement they all headed up to the hospital wing. As they reached the door Pomfrey turned to face her colleagues,
"I need you to all be quiet, no matter what you see. And I want you all, that includes you Albus, to just stay away from them."
Opening the door she let them in. They were both in almost the same position as when they left except that Harry was now firmly holding Severus' hand. For the most part Harry was looking better. Without his accelerated healing process it would have taken a few days to reach this stage. After seeing how well he was going both Hagrid and Remus left after a few minutes. Minerva, Albus and Poppy watched the two sleeping wizards. As they watched they saw a look of horror cross Harry's face. He then squeezed Severus' hand, who squeezed back before opening his eyes to stare at Albus. Slowly he moved his gaze to Minerva who he could have sworn was trying to keep from smiling.
"What happened Severus?" Dumbledore queried.
"We had our meeting. I tried to catch Wormtail on his own. But he was with the Dark Lord. He screamed out in pain and then his eyes turned green. Then I went to Privet Drive and rescued him." Turning his black eyes to the boy on the bed his whispered, "He shouldn't have needed saving."
Dumbledore looked at him sadly "The only other choice wouldn't accept him."
"I know," replied Severus. "I'll tell you if there's any change."
As Minerva and Albus left the hospital wing, Poppy watched as Severus smoothed Harry's hair from his face.
It was four days later that Harry woke up. He didn't open his eyes at first. The hand that he had been clinging to when he was in the dark place was still there. He didn't hurt all over and his felt safe and warm. He slowly opened his eyes. Harry couldn't see much as he didn't have his glasses but as he tried to sit up an arm came round his back from the dark shape next to his bed. He knew instinctively that this was the person who had held his hand and saved him from the Dursley's. Leaning against the shoulder Harry started crying for the first time in days. The one holding him simply started rubbing his back and saying words that Harry couldn't work out. Pulling his arm up he hugged the person back.
Severus reached into his pocket and pulled out the glasses he had found next to the boy on the night he had saved him and with a tap of his wand he fixed them and placed them on the boy in his arms. Harry looked up. Even though he knew the person wasn't Mrs Weasley he still half expected to see her red hair. The person he did see shocked him so much that for a few minutes he couldn't speak.
Harry couldn't help but stare, if he could have chosen one person who it could have been it definitely wasn't him. He probably didn't even fall on the list of the top one hundred people. While all these thoughts were running through his head, he hadn't let go of Snape's hand and he had also kept leaning on his shoulder. Severus wasn't sure if the boy had simply forgotten he was hugging him or if he really didn't mind. He wouldn't have blamed the boy if he hated him. Severus had done a lot to make his life miserable. But he had never caused him physical pain. He had even saved the boy a few times. Over the past few days he had stayed by the boys bed thinking. It really shouldn't matter whom his father was, at least not that much. It was time to come clean with the boy, and himself for that matter.
"I'm eleven months younger then my brother, so we both ended up in the same year at Hogwarts. However he is only my half brother because it was only a month after having my bother that she conceived me."
Harry had no idea where this was going but listened interested anyway. It wasn't everyday that Professor Snape talked about himself.
"I have only met my father once, and that was one time to many, however I did take his last name. My stepfather hated me. He would always give my brother everything. He was so spoilt. My mother tried to make it up to me, but her health was failing. She would teach me small magic, and she would try to get the house elf to pay more attention to me. When I was eight, she died. I kept her wand and continued learning magic on my own. My stepfather payed me no more attention then he ever did and I was forced mainly to care for myself. When our letters came for Hogwarts, my brother got a party to celebrate. He got all the newest things while my stepfather only brought me second hand things. He was sorted first and went to Gryffindor. When I got to the sorting hat I was thinking anything but Gryffindor. Obviously, I was made a Slytherin. I only went home during the summer holidays. My brother made my life at Hogwarts horrible. He was the older of us and had always been able to push me around. I hated him so much. Around our seventh year his father died. I was left the house as it was originally mothers and she wanted it passed to me. I also got all her money while my brother got all of my stepfathers. He got married and had a child, a little boy. The Dark Lord killed my brother and his wife, but not the boy. The child went to live with his mother's sister. For a long time I hated the boy. However, when his life had been in danger I saved him. It was kind of a family loyalty thing. My brother wouldn't have saved my kid, but his wife would have. Then lately I've realised that he is not his father. I've realised that he needs someone to be there for him, a real family. That maybe Dumbledore was right all along, and I needed one too."
Snape stopped talking and looked down at Harry. Harry had tears in his eyes.
"My halfbrother was James Potter."
Harry sat up straight and stared at Snape in the face.
"Uh huh. So that makes you my uncle?"
Snape nodded watching Harry for a response. Harry stared at his hands thinking. He had finally let go of Snape's hand. He stared at a spot on the floor not really seeing it. Snape had always hated him. But whenever Harry had needed him most he had been there. When he had been alone and scared and lost in a white world where nothing had made sense he had held his hand. When he had cried, Snape had held him. Snape had told him about his past. Something Harry would never have believed possible. But above all, it meant Harry would finally have a family. Deciding he would give Snape a go he looked up.
"Can we get something to eat, I'm starving?"
Snape looked as though he had just been slapped on the face. He had just dropped a bombshell on the boy and he wanted food!
"Yes. Of course. Dobby"
Harry watched as Dobby appeared and bent low.
"Get as some food."
"Yes of course Master Snape."
Dobby disappeared with a crack and Harry leant back on Snape's shoulder.
"Would I still have to call you Professor Snape or could I call you Uncle Severus or maybe just Severus? Because I want to start again."
Snape looked at the boy in surprise. He was taking this amazingly well.
"Any. But don't call me Uncle Severus around people you don't know and trust. When you're feeling better you could come back to my house if you wanted to and live there."
Severus tried to keep the hope from his voice. He hated living all alone, but no one had been able to breach his defences. Not until Harry. And Harry had achieved it by almost dying which wasn't the most useful of getting to know someone. The last year, he Severus Snape, had been really worried that when Harry was in the Department of Mysteries the Dark Lord might have killed him. Of course, then he hadn't wanted to admit what he felt so generally treated the boy the same as before. It was only later when he thought back on it, that he was ashamed of the way he had treated Harry. Then when they had both been sleeping Severus had seen some of Harry's early childhood. He supposed that Petunia and her husband hadn't treated Harry any better then he would have himself. But it didn't help. The boy had lived a bad childhood. Severus had always thought that the boy would have lived a very pampered life. But he hadn't. This too, was one of the things that really bought his defences down and changed his opinion of the boy. It made him realize that the boy was more like him then he was like James. Yes, he looked like James and had his skill at Quidditch, but his personality was different. He wasn't as mean. He was even honourable. In fact, thinking back, Severus couldn't remember a single time Harry had ever initiated a fight. He retaliated a lot, but was usually not the aggressor.
Dobby appeared back in the room carrying a large tray of food that he deposited at the side of the bed.
"Are you feeling better Harry Potter, sir? I was worried"
"No. I'm fine Dobby really. How are you and Winky?"
"Winky is still drinking sir, but not as much as usual. I'm hopeful that soon she will stop drinking all together."
"That's wonderful Dobby." Harry closed his eyes and tried to push away a dizziness that was slowly become more and more obvious. "I'll see you round then."
"Yes Harry Potter sir. Of course."
With that Dobby disappeared with a crack. Harry stretched out his hand and sipped at the pumpkin juice that was in front of him. As he finished the glass he set it back down and fell asleep on Severus' shoulder.
Making his way out from under the boy Severus positioned Harry on what looked to be a comfortable on the bed and finished eating what Dobby had brought. Madam Pomfrey showed up a few hours later and as she was moving around Harry opened his eyes and smiled up at her.
"Oh, you're awake Mister Potter. How are you feeling?"
"Fine. A lot better. When can I leave?"
Laughing Madam Pomfrey looked Harry over. He always tried to get out of the hospital wing as soon as possible but often would have to come back in a short while. It was amazing how many times that boy had had to come to the hospital wing. He did however seem to be almost completely healed.
"You can probably leave in a few days. Today you may go down to dinner as long as Professor Snape is with you, and you must come right back."
Harry smiled and looked imploringly at Severus.
"What time is dinner?"
Madam Pomfrey walked off smiling leaving the two to talk.
Dinner had already started when Harry, Severus and Madam Pomfrey walked into the Great Hall. A hand resting on the boys shoulder he firmly steered Harry to two seats together. They were in between Minerva and Remus, which he was grateful for. Out of everyone there they were probably the two most level headed. Harry sat next to his head of house and looked up smiling.
"Good evening Potter. I trust you are feeling better."
"I am. How are you? Last time I saw you, you were still walking around with a cane."
"I'm feeling much better now Potter. I only have to sit down more often then I used to for a while, just till I'm back on my feet. By the way, I'm really not meant to tell you this but you're the Gryffindor Captain for Quidditch. I hope you're up to it."
Harry's smile was contagious and soon they were talking about Gryffindor's chances for the cup. That topic lasted until the start of dessert. At that stage Harry stared around the table and his eyes fell on Dumbledore briefly and the table saw the anger reflected in his eyes. He then realized Remus was there. He had known he was there before but it hadn't really registered that he was here.
"Professor Lupin, what are you doing back?"
"Dumbledore has asked me to come back and teach Defence Against the Dark Arts."
It was a bit after that that Harry started to feel dizzy again. He tried to push it away but it didn't work.
Severus turned to see Harry was slumped in his chair with his hands over his eyes. Picking the boy up he quickly excused himself and walked up to the hospital wing with a very agitated Madam Pomfrey following. As Severus set him back on his bed, Harry started to feel better and a little sleepy.
"Are you ok Harry?"
"Just a little sleepy" Harry replied truthfully.
Within a few minutes Harry was sleeping peacefully.
The peaceful sleep didn't last long however, and soon Harry was remembering.
"I didn't mean too. I didn't want them to die. It's not my fault. Please believe me, I didn't mean to get them killed."
Snape stared at the sleeping form. Who had he killed? Not knowing what else to do he whispered legilimens and entered Harry's head. He was in a maze. There was the Triwizard cup, and there was Cedric Diggory. He watched as Harry and Cedric took the cup together. He watched as they arrived in the graveyard and Wormtail killed Cedric. The scenery then changed and Severus recognised it as the ministry. He saw the order fighting Death Eaters. Severus watched in shock as Sirius Black fell through the veil after a spell shot from Bellatrix Lestrange hit him. Saw Remus restrain Harry from following. The scenery changed again and he was in a house. He heard a voice he never thought he would hear again.
"Lily, take Harry and run. I'll try to hold him off."
He saw the flash of green light then he heard Lily pleading for her son's life. There was another flash of green and a high cold laugh. Severus was thrown from Harry's mind as he woke up. Severus reached out for him, holding him. Harry had seen his parents die. How could he have remembered? He was so young when they died.
"It's my fault they died. It's all my fault."
Severus looked down at his nephew in astonishment. "It's not your fault Harry. It was never your fault." Snape looked down at the pair of green eyes that were looking at him in disbelief. "There was nothing you could have done to save them. Believe me Harry. It's not your fault.
"Are you sure?" If anyone else had told Harry this he wasn't sure he would have believed them, but Snape never said anything nice if it wasn't true. In fact, he didn't say anything-nice full stop. Snape nodded and gently kissed the boy on the top of his head. They stayed that way for a long time. Neither wanting to be the one that broke the contact. Morning came and went before either of them moved. Harry sat up and looked Snape in the eyes.
"You saw it didn't you. All of it."
Snape looked down at the boy in surprise, "What for?"
Closing his eyes, Harry soon fell asleep on Severus' shoulder. He woke only briefly to take the potions from Madam Pomfrey. At dinnertime however he got up and started to walk to the door before Severus had even realised he was awake. The two arrived in the Great Hall a few minutes later and once again sat down next to each other. Harry talked pleasantly to everyone on the table except Dumbledore who he didn't even look at. That night Harry was released from the hospital wing. Not quite knowing where he was meant to sleep he turned to Severus.
"Uncle Severus," he still wasn't sure about addressing the man this way but wanted it to be true all the same, "Where do I sleep?"
"You could sleep in the Gryffindor Tower in your normal bedroom, or, I could create a room for you in my quarters."
"A room in your quarters would be nice" Harry admitted.
Snape nodded and started to lead the boy to his quarters they were just beside his office so the boy would have no trouble finding them as he had been to the office many times before. As they reached the painting that guarded the door it made a strange hissing noise. Severus recognised it as the same noise it had made when these became his quarters.
Harry looked at the painting before replying in parseltongue, "Hi"
"You can speak it. Are you of Slytherin?"
Not quite sure how to respond to the snake Harry shook his head, "No. I'm in Gryffindor. Severus is my uncle. I'm going to be staying with him for a while. My name is Harry."
"I am Kanio. I look forward to talking to you Harry, not many people can understand me. I would love to have conversations with you sometimes."
Severus listened to the strange hissing sounds between the boy and the portrait for a while. After a while they seemed to have stopped talking. The boy might as well have his own password. He looked down at Harry.
"Create a password with the snake so you can enter."
Harry nodded, "I need to create a password with you. I think it will be 'family'. If that's all right with you."
The snake nodded. Turning to his uncle Harry wondered what would happen next. Severus said something Harry didn't catch and the portrait swang open. Both climbed in. It revealed a spacious sitting room with several doors leading of it. Wandering up to it Snape waved his wand before turning and motioning for Harry to open the door. Harry apprehensively opened the door and found a cosy room with a large bed, writing desk, bookshelf and wardrobe. The room was decorated in true Gryffindor style. Snape sneered at the colours but didn't comment. There were two doors in the room. One leading out and the other to what Harry assumed was the bathroom. Snape walked out to the sitting room and waited for Harry to finish examining his room. The first thing Harry did was cast a Silencing Charm over his bed. It had become a habit for him to do it every few months. He then went to the wardrobe and when he opened it he found one set of robes and his invisibility cloak. On the table was his photo album, Sirius' mirror, his firebolt, the Marauders Map and his wand. In the corner was Hedwig's cage.
Walking into the sitting room he found a cosy looking chair and sat down opposite Snape.
"I know you probably don't want to, but tomorrow we are going to Little Whinging to gather your things that are not already here."
Snape watched the boy carefully for any sign of reaction. But all that happened was that Harry nodded.
"You'll have to go to bed soon or Poppy will skin as both alive."
Harry looked up smiling. Had Severus really just made a joke? He stared at him curiously for a few minutes before getting up and going to bed. He had been lying in his bed for a few minutes to comfortable to get up and turn of the light when Snape walked in. He walked over to Harry's bed and kissed him lightly on the head before turning the light out and whispering