Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

A/N: This is one of the two (three?) fanfics I'm working on right now. The other is "It's Mutual", which is a Severitus Fic. I'm also working on another one, but I don't know if I'm going to post that one just yet. It's a Harry Potter/Animorphs crossover, but I don't know if I'll have time to update it regularly. This fan fiction and "It's Mutual" will both be update on a regular basis.

Chapter 1 – Left Alone

"Yeah, I'll see you guys next summer, if not sooner! Don't forget to write!" said a 12 year old Harry on Platform nine and three quarters.

"Of course, mate!" shouted Ron, walking backwards while doing so. Fred and George saw this, of course, and took the opportunity to trip Ron, which only made Harry laugh. He really liked the Weasleys. He'd give anything to have a family like that. Ron, Fred, and George told Harry on the way to London about the trip to Egypt that they were taking. He was happy for his friends, of course, but their trip made him depressed. He never got to go on any of the family vacations with the Durselys, so he never knew what they were like.

"Bye, Harry," Hermione said, giving Harry a quick hug. "Take care of yourself, now, and don't get into trouble!" Harry laughed again. Of course Hermione would say that!

"Don't worry, Hermione. I'll be fine. Well, as fine as one can be with the Dursleys." Hermione gave Harry a sympathetic look as she, too, walked off with her parents. Hermione had said earlier that they were planning on going to the States for the summer; probably New York. Harry sighed while he crossed the barrier between the muggle King's Cross and the wizard's.

He looked around for his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, but he didn't see them. Pushing the luggage trolley, Harry walked over to one of the benches and sat waiting, hoping they'd come soon.

An hour later, Harry started to get really worried, especially since King's Cross was almost entirely empty. I hope they haven't forgotten about me, he thought.

It wouldn't be the first time they forgot about Harry. One time, when he was nine, he was outside doing chores. He heard the Dursley's car leave, and when he went to the front of the house to see what was going on, the car was already halfway down Privet Drive. Harry only shrugged and went back to his chores, assuming they went to a film or dinner or something. It wasn't until he was finished with his outside chores and tried to get inside did he realize something was wrong.

All the doors were locked, and the Dursleys didn't come back that night. In fact, the threesome didn't come back for three days. He ended up having to sleep in the tool shed where the gardening tools were. Water wasn't a problem, because he had the watering hose, but he didn't have anything to eat for the entire time.

Of course, three days without food wouldn't have bother Harry much, normally. Three days was his usual punishment, and it was about every week in which Harry did something that got him in trouble. The problem was, though, that it was actually six days that he had to go without food, because the day the Dursley's left, Harry was on the third day of his punishment.

The young wizard sighed at the memory. The Dursleys came back on the third day, and it seemed they didn't even realize that Harry was locked out. Getting up with the intention of looking for his Uncle, Harry walked straight into someone.

"Not watching where you are going, Mr. Potter, isn't a very smart thing to do. Of course, what else could you expect from a Gryffindor?" Harry gulped and looked up. It was no other then the nasty potions professor at Hogwarts, Snape.

"Sorry, Professor Snape," Harry started, but didn't go on, not knowing what else to say.

"What are you still doing here, Potter? The train arrived over an hour ago."

"Er. . . I'm waiting for my uncle to pick me up, sir." Snape raised an eyebrow at Harry and he flinched. He really didn't like Snape. Harry thought that there was a possibility that Uncle Vernon was nicer than Snape. It was really too close to tell, though. "They probably didn't know what time to come," Harry added quickly, trying to get away from his professor. He made a grab for his trolley when Snape grabbed his arm to stop him.

"All families were owled with the time, Potter." Harry looked down.

"Maybe they didn't get it," Harry said, trying to convince himself more than Snape, his voice slightly cracking from trying not to cry. "They don't like owls." Snape glared at the small boy through slitted eyes. It really was a poor excuse. Snape was about to say something when Harry caught the sight of his uncle out of the corner of his eye.

"Boy! What have I told you about talking to strangers?" bellowed the man, Dudley trailing behind him with a evil smirk on his face. Harry was about to apologize when Snape interrupted him.

"Mr. Dursley, I presume? I am not a stranger to Mr. Potter," he said. "I am a professor at Hogwarts." Vernon's face started getting purple with anger. "I was leaving the station when I noticed that young Potter here hadn't left yet."

"Come on, boy," Vernon said with anger, glaring at the potions master. Harry quickly grabbed his stuff off the trolley, trying to dragged his trunk quickly and carrying Hedwig's cage without harming the owl, while Mr. Dursley and Dudley both walked back to the car empty handed. Snape watched this scene, not knowing whether to be amused or irritated.

Severus Snape traveled immediately to the muggle flat that he kept in London in case of emergencies and contacted Headmaster Dumbledore through the floo.

"Hello, Severus. In London, I assume?"

"Yes. I am on my way now, but first I must tell you something. I met a certain Harry Potter at King's Cross waiting for his family. They arrived an hour late, Albus. Probably of no importance, but you said to keep you updated on anything we find out."

"Thank you, Severus," Dumbledore said, thinking. "How long will this errand take?"

"About two weeks. No longer, I am sure." The Headmaster nodded.

"Severus, my child, after your errand, I would like you to check up on Harry, make sure he is alright. I would have someone else do it, but you are in the area. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes."

"Albus, I rather not. You know I do not like the boy."

"Yes, which is why I would send you instead of Minerva. Since she never wanted him there, I fear she would take him out of there for no reason," Dumbledore chuckled. "Please. There is probably a good reason they were late, but I would like to make sure." Snape sighed.

"Fine, I will check on the boy. But that is all that I will do," he conceded reluctantly, only because he knew he wouldn't win against the old man.

"Thank you, Severus. I will see you in two week." Snape nodded, then left the flat.

"So you brought one of those freaks back with you, eh?" Dursley said when they were back in the house on Privet Drive.

"No, Uncle. He just showed up. He was probably going home," Harry answered.

"Don't talk back!" the uncle shouted at the young wizard, slapping the boy in the face with the back of his hand. Harry just stared, stunned more than hurt. They have never hit him before! "If I ever see you with another one of your freaks, you will be even more sorry than you will be after I am done with you today." He paused to allow Harry to let what he was saying sink in. Harry stared wide-eyed at his uncle and what he was implying, scared. Not knowing what else to do, he started to back up, but ended up running into the door to his broom closet.

"No, I don't think so, boy," Vernon said sadistically, grabbing Harry's upper arm, dragging him upstairs to Dudley's second bedroom. Inside, he slammed the door shut and threw Harry onto the ground. When he attempted to get up, Dursley kicked him down again. Scared, Harry just stayed on all fours as he heard his uncle taking off his belt.

Harry wanted to run, but knew that if he avoided punishment from his uncle, it would only be worse next time. He waited for the hit, but when it didn't come, he took the chance of looking behind him. Big mistake. Dursley grabbed his upper arm again, then ripped Harry's shirt off over his head in one big movement. Harry flinched when he was thrown on the floor again.

The young wizard thought he was ready for the pain that awaited him. He lived through the pain of Quirrel touching him and the bite of the basilisk. He wasn't ready, though, so when the first lash came, Harry screamed out.

"Quiet, boy! You will take your punishment without sound!" Harry squeezed his mouth and eyes shut, but every time the belt hit his bare back, he whimpered, which only made the whipping worse. What seemed like forever later, Harry blacked out.

Harry woke up, and all he felt was pain. Remembering the events of before, Harry attempted to move and groaned. It hurt way too much to move. Instead, he stayed on his back and looked around. He was in Dudley's second bedroom. Knowing he wasn't going to go anywhere, Harry willed himself back to sleep.

Five days later, Harry was back to doing his usual chores: cooking, cleaning and gardening. Right now he was gardening. It was extremely hot out, hot enough that most people were staying inside, but Harry wasn't allowed to take a break in the shade. Instead, every time he dried off, he doused himself with water from the gardening hose to keep cool. As long as he was dry before he entered the house, the Dursleys didn't care.

He finished the garden before nightfall, but unfortunately, not before dinner, so Harry was forced to go without dinner yet again. The twelve year old shook his head as he entered the house, wishing the school year was still on. At least he didn't hit me again, he thought, relieved.

Harry was about to go upstairs to the room he slept in, when Vernon Dursley called him.

"Boy! Come here," he bellowed, and Harry obeyed. "Tomorrow, we will be going away for a while. You will not be allowed out of the house, and you will not answer the phone or the door. Tomorrow you will get a list of things you must finish before we return. If you don't finish, you will be punished," Vernon spat wickedly. "If you contact any of your fellow freaks, you will also be punished. Am I clear, boy?"

"Yes, Uncle Vernon," Harry replied, confused. They were leaving his here alone? For how long? He wanted to know, but didn't dare to ask. Of course, they've left him alone before, but it was usually only for a weekend, and then they would just lock him in Dudley's second bedroom, or his closet when he was younger, and tell him to behave. Was it because he was older now?

"Go, boy," spat the man, and Harry hurried up the stairs, wondering what was going on. They obviously were going to be gone for longer than a weekend if they weren't locking him up somewhere. But how long?

Back in the bedroom, Harry went to Hedwig's cage. His uncle padlocked the cage closed, so he couldn't let her out, and she was very restless. Harry was glad that they allowed her in his room, but he wondered where they put his trunk. It wasn't in his cupboard under the stairs like last summer and Harry didn't know where else to look.

Pushing his trunk from his mind, Harry thought ahead to the next day. The more he thought about it, though, the more excited he got. He wasn't going to have to see the Dursleys for a while! Sure, he'll probably have more cleaning to do than he would be able to finish in time, but he wouldn't have to have anyone on his back tormenting him, at least for a short time. And, he'll be able to eat whenever he wanted.

The next morning, Harry awoke to pounding on his door.

"Boy! Get up! We're leaving!" his uncle bellowed outside his door. Harry was up immediately, but his brain wasn't fully functioning just yet. He took a few more seconds to wake up, then went downstairs. Automatically, he went to the kitchen, but was surprised to see that his relatives already ate. He could tell because there was three dirty plates waiting for him to clean them on the table. Harry sighed and went into the living room looking for someone to explain what was happening.

Just as he entered the living room, his aunt, uncle and cousin came in from the outside, looking very happy.

"Okay, boy. Remember what we told you yesterday. Here's the list of chores you must have done before we return. If I find out you have disobeyed any of the rules, you will be punished. Understand?"

"Yes, Uncle Vernon," Harry answered, then the trio left, leaving Harry behind, alone in the house. Harry took a quick glance through the curtained windows and saw that his relatives were taking a cab to where ever they were going. He sighed and looked at the list his uncle tossed at him:

- Clean the cupboard under the stairs

- Clean the chimney

- Scrub all floors, walls, and ceilings

- Dust all surfaces

- Clean basement

- Wash all dishes

That was only the first few items on the list. Harry looked down the entire thing and shook his head. He only hoped that the Dursleys would be gone long enough to finish it. Deciding he was hungry, Harry quickly made to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. He was startled to find how little was in there.

There was a quarter package of bacon, three eggs, four apples, and a bottle of ketchup on the shelves. There was other things, of course, but they looked to Harry to be spoiled. Harry shook his head and opened the freezer. There was nothing in there but ice on the sides. How do they plan on me living on this? It was only about four days worth of food, and Harry had a feeling his relatives were going to be gone longer than that. Okay, so I'm going to have to conserve it.

Harry looked down at his list again, and saw that cleaning out the refrigerator was one of the tasks. I might as well do that first, since I'm here. So he skipped eating, deciding he'll wait until he was extremely hungry, and started on the refrigerator.

It didn't take long to throw out the spoiled food and move all the other food to the top shelf. He grabbed a bucket from under the sink and filled it with soapy water so he could clean out the box. Before he got started, he opened the freezer door to let the ice soften.

An hour later, the refrigerator was spotless and the freezer ice-less. Hungry and tired from working so much without eating, Harry sat down hard in one of the kitchen chairs, trying to build up energy. When he thought he was well enough, a few minutes later, Harry decided to get the kitchen finished. The sooner he got everything done, the sooner he could do nothing.

The next week passed slowly. Harry, not wanting to get punished, did his work as quickly and completely as possible. He had finished the kitchen, his cupboard, upstairs, and the basement. All he had to do was the living room, which included the chimney.

He was also extremely hungry. Since he had to conserve the food, he only ate a few pieces of bacon a day, part of a fruit, and he had one of the eggs two days ago.

Harry looked around the living room and tried to think of what to do first. He decided the chimney was probably the best bet because he'd probably end up messing up the floor while attempting the chimney. He went to the basement where he found the tools to clean it and went back upstairs and set himself on his new mission.

Severus Snape walked down the street to Arabella's home. He finally finished his errand and had to check up on the Potter brat before he headed home, but he decided to stop by at the squib's house first to see if she knew of the boy's recent whereabouts. Dumbledore informed Severus earlier that Arabella often watched over the boy when his relatives were away.

When Severus got to her house, he knocked on the door and waited. Almost immediately the door was opened.

"Severus! I'm glad you came. You look terrible! When was the last time you eaten? Come in, dear child." Snape rolled his eyes at the old lady's ramble, but entered and allowed himself to be seated in front of the fire. "Now, you are here about Harry, correct?"

"Unfortunately, yes," Severus answered.

"Oh, Severus. I don't know why you don't like the child. He really is sweet. I'm surprised at how sweet he has stayed over the years, with how they treat him." Severus shook his head.

"The boy is a spoiled brat with no consideration for others. He revels in the idea of being in the center of attention."

"Oh, Severus, if you only knew," Arabella said so quietly Severus was almost unable to hear. "Well, I'm glad you are here. I am unable to check up on the boy because the Dursley might suspect something, but I'm afraid something has happened. I know Harry is home, but I haven't seen the Dursleys for the past week. I'm afraid they've left him there alone."

"He's twelve. Don't they leave him with you when they go somewhere?"

"Usually. I do know that they have left him alone for weekends before, but I haven't been able to do anything but watch out for him."

"They have probably just been inside. I am sure there is nothing to worry about."

"I hope you are right, Severus. Will you stop by and tell me how it is after you are done?" Severus sighed.

"Alright. But I'm sure nothing is wrong."

"Would you like something to eat before you go?"

"No, I will find food later," he answered, leaving, and Arabella rolled her eyes at the man's stubbornness. Walking down Privet Drive, Severus smirked at the neatness of the neighborhood. He was one who liked organization and precision, but the neatness here was almost sickening.

Finally he reached Number Four and he studied the house. There was a car in the driveway, but the house seemed pretty dead. The curtains were drawn in every window, so it was impossible to tell if there was any movement inside the house. I guess I have no choice but to knock, he thought with disgust, remembering the attitude of the man who picked up Potter from King's Cross.

Severus made his way up the path to the front door and knock reluctantly. When he got no answer, he knocked again. Still no answer. He put his ear to the door, and there definitely was movement coming from inside. So why is no one answering? Once again, Severus knocked on the door hard from annoyance.

Then it came to him. If the boy was here alone, he was probably told to not answer the door. Sighing, Severus took out his wand and unlocked the door magically, then opened it just has a small figure fell to the ground. The boy was up immediately, though, poised to run if necessary. That in itself was odd for the Gryffindor Golden Boy. Another thing that was odd for the boy was that he was covered in soot.

"Potter, what are you doing?" Severus asked the boy, who relaxed very slightly when he recognized who it was.

"Cleaning the chimney, sir," the boy answered. "What are you doing here?" he asked suspiciously, tensing up again.

"I have come to check up on you. Not by choice, mind you," sneered the professor. "I was asked to by Headmaster Dumbledore."

"Why?"

"That is none of your business, Potter," he answered, but the boy looked at Severus doubtfully. "Where are your relatives? I would like to speak with them." Potter seemed to become nervous at the question, but Severus just raised an eyebrow at him, daring him not to answer.

"There aren't here."

"And where are they?" Potter shrugged.

"I don't know sir," Harry answered, not knowing what else to say. He knew his uncle will be mad if he finds out that Snape was here. He didn't know when his relatives were coming home, and they could pull up any moment.

"Then I will wait until they arrive," his professor stated. Harry just stared at his professor standing in the doorway. If Snape was here, especially in the house, when they came back, Harry was going to be in big trouble.

"I don't think . . ." he started.

"You do not have a choice, Potter. I will be speaking to your aunt and uncle." Harry just glared at his teacher and went back to his chimney. He didn't want Snape to watch him, but he wanted to finish it before his uncle got home. He didn't want to be whipped with the belt again, and he was sure that was to be his punishment if he didn't finish his chores.

When the boy went back to cleaning the chimney, Severus walked into the room, sighing. No manners at all, he thought, closing the door behind him. He watched the boy for a few minutes, glad that Potter was given chores to do. At least his relatives aren't blinded by the boy-who-lived.

Deciding that this wasn't a detention, Severus left the boy to his work and looked around the house. He started upstairs. The first room was a bathroom, in perfect shape. Absolutely nothing looked to be out of place. The next room looked to be the master bedroom. Once again, it looked as if it wasn't even lived in, it was so neat and clean. The next room wasn't a neat. It looked as if a young boy lived in it, but by the pictures on the wall, it seemed to be a muggle boy. Guessing it was Potter's cousin's room, he went on to the final room on the floor. It was pretty bare, with nothing but a bed and a dresser.

Severus guessed this room was Potter's, but only because the boy's owl was in a cage on top of the dresser. Looking closely, he noticed the locks on the cage and shook his head. That was no way to treat an owl, but he had a bad feeling that it wasn't Potter's choice. He heard from Minerva and Hagrid that the boy loved the owl. He walked over to the cage, magically unlocked in and let the bird out. It few out immediately, and nipped friendly at Severus. He shooed him away, but didn't let it outside. It was a muggle town in the middle of the day.

Severus left the room, disgusted. There was no way that could be the Golden Boy's room. It must be a guestroom, he thought, making his way down the stairs quietly. His room must be on the ground floor. At the bottom of the stairs, he turned into the kitchen, not at all surprised to find that it too was spotless. Not seeing another door, he went back into the hallway to check those rooms. Another bathroom and a room that was definitely a guestroom.

The wizard was now more than a little disturbed. He expected to find a room decked out with Gryffindor colors and posters of quidditch players lining the walls. There was nothing but the owl to indicate that Harry Potter lived in this house. Not even any of the pictures on the wall and mantle piece had the boy in them. Shaking his head, he went back to the kitchen, planning to find something to eat, noticing he was hungry.

"Would you like some tea, Professor?" Harry asked the man who just walked into the kitchen. After the professor left the living room, Harry gave up trying to clean the chimney, deciding it would be smarter to try and persuade the wizard to leave without speaking to his aunt and uncle. He was afraid of his professor, but he was even more afraid of the belt.

After he cleaned up and changed his clothes, he realized that someone let Hedwig out of his cage. He was happy she was able to get exercise, but also afraid. One more thing that I will get in trouble for, Harry thought. He rushed down stairs and offered tea to Snape, remembering that was what his aunt usually did for company, both expected and unexpected. Since Harry was the one who usually made the tea, he knew where everything was. Snape looked surprised at the offer, though, and Harry had to suppress the urge to laugh.

"Yes, that would be agreeable," Snape replied, and Harry got the kettle out of the cabinet, filled it with water, added two tea bags, and set in on the stove top to boil. He did this slowly, trying to think of a way besides being polite to get Snape out. It felt weird being polite to Snape. Actually, it felt really weird with Snape in his house.

"Potter," Snape started when Harry finished the tea and brought it and a cup to the table. Harry turned to face him.

"Yes, sir?"

"Why was your owl locked in it's cage?" Harry looked at Snape, surprised at the question, then looked down, embarrassed.

"My uncle, sir." Severus sighed. The boy obviously wasn't going to volunteer information unless he was asked.

"Why?" The boy have a half-heartily shrug.

"He doesn't like her. He doesn't like anything that has to do with magic, actually."

"Well, that would explain a lot," Severus said under his breath, thinking about how he was treated at King's Cross and the fact that they seemed to be ignoring the boy. On a hunch, Severus stood up from his spot at the table and opened the refrigerator. Except for a few things on the top shelf, there was nothing in there. He turned on the boy, closing the door. "Do you know where they went or when they will be back?" he asked, just noticing how much thinner the boy was than he looked at the train station.

"No, sir. They didn't say."

"How long have they been gone?"

"Er. . . a week."

"Did they leave you money? A way to get into town? Someone to contact in case something happens?" The boy was silent. Severus assume it was a consent, but wanted to hear it come from the boy's mouth. "Well?" he asked, starting to get angry. He didn't like the boy, but it wasn't right to leave a 12 year old alone for any period of time to fend on his own.

"No," Potter answered quietly. Severus sighed.

"How much have you been eating? Answer truthfully," he added. He was used to speaking to his Slytherins, and they usually did not answer truthfully if it portrayed a weakness. The boy didn't answer at first, but then relented.

"Not enough," he whispered.

"Elaborate," Severus ordered.

"A few pieces of bacon and part of a fruit a day."

"Why so little?" the professor asked, a little more forcibly than required.

"They didn't leave me a lot of food and I didn't know when they would be back." Severus nodded. At least the boy knows how to think ahead. I wouldn't normally think him capable of that.

"Come with me," Snape ordered. Harry just stood there.

"I'm not allowed to leave, Professor," Harry argued.

"Do you want to eat, Potter?" spat his professor. Harry nodded. "Then come." Harry did follow, really wanting more than bacon to eat. Perhaps if he got more to eat, he would be able to get the cleaning done faster.

"Where are we going?" Harry asked, when they continued to walk down Privet Drive.

"Full of questions, aren't you, Potter? You will see." Harry shrugged and followed. He didn't want to get the man upset in case he decided he wasn't going to bring him to eat. He really wanted food.

He was taken by surprise when they stopped in front of Mrs. Figg's house. How does Snape know Mrs. Figg? he asked himself, thinking about it. Maybe she's a witch! Then why did she never tell me? Maybe he knows her from somewhere else. Snape knocked and the door opened immediately. Harry stayed behind Snape, embarrassed. Then it hit him that Snape might decide to use this against him! He really could see Snape bringing it up in class just to embarrass him.

"Severus! Back, I see. How is he?" This confused Harry. Mrs. Figg knew Snape was coming to check up him? Snape said Dumbledore sent him . . . It was then that Snape stepped to the side, leaving Harry in clear view of the old lady. "Harry! Are you alright?"

"Yes, Mrs. Figg." Harry answered automatically.

"No, actually, he's not. The boy is starved. You were right," Snape sneered, although it was slightly. "The Dursleys have been gone for a week, and they left him extremely little food. And they forbid him to leave, so he had no way to get any." Harry looked down, blushing.

"Come on, child, we need to get you food!" Mrs. Figg proclaimed, nearly dragging Harry to the living room. She left for the kitchen and Harry sat down automatically. Of course, the second he did, two cats were on top of him. He sighed. He got annoyed by the cats quite easily. There was so many of them!

"Hello, Kit and Marc," Harry greeted them, scratching both behind the ear. The immediately cuddled up on his lap, ensuring that he wasn't going to move any time soon. Harry sighed again, this time loudly. Snape raised an eyebrow at the Harry and cats, then sat down on the sofa across from them, slightly amused that he knew the cats by name and because they decided to use him as a chair.

"After we finish eating," Snape started, then waited for Harry to look up from the cats. "We will go back to your house and get your things."

"Where are we going?" Harry asked. "I'll get in trouble if they find out I've left. Uncle Vernon will be very mad," he added, noticing afterward that he sounded scared. Great, another thing for Snape to use against me.

"Well, first, we will be going to Hogwarts, since the headmaster is still there finishing up things from last term. Then I don't know where you will be going. And don't worry about your uncle being mad," he said, sounding almost nice if his voice weren't so flat. "But they shouldn't have left you alone. You might think you are capable of taking care of yourself, Potter," he hissed, "but you are only twelve. You need somewhere to stay until your relatives come back."

Severus watched the boy. He seemed scared of his uncle, which was generally unusual for Gryffindors.

"Potter, what did you uncle do to you? I wouldn't expect you to be afraid of a muggle."

"Er. . . what do you mean, sir? I'm not afraid of him. I just don't want to make him angry," Harry lied.

"Mmhmm." Severus realized he wasn't going to get anything from the boy.

"Okay, you two. Food's ready. Come to the kitchen." Severus got up, but Harry just stared pleadingly with Anabella.

"Harry, they aren't going to kill you if move them gently."

"Still," he answered, looking down at the pile of fur on his lap. He sighed, then picked one of them up and set him aside. He didn't get scratched, so he did the same thing with the girl. They both glared at him, irritated, but he was free. He smiled, got up, and headed toward the kitchen, following the smell of food.

At the table, Harry sat at his usual spot, the chair facing the door, and Snape and Mrs. Figg followed his lead. He waited until the others took food, then dug in. He was careful not to eat too much, though, because he knew from experience he'd get sick. He wasn't aware that both adults were watching him the entire time.

After Harry ate his full, he stared at his plate waiting for the other two to finish. He had so many questions, but he didn't want Snape to yell at him for asking too many. The git would. When Mrs. Figg got up and collected the plates, Snape also stood up.

"Thank you, Arabella." We really must be going before it gets dark. We will be taking a train from King's Cross tonight."

"Of course, Severus. You know you are always welcome here. Feeling better, Harry?"

"Yes, thank you, Mrs. Figg."

"Good. Same goes for you. If they ever do anything like this again, don't hesitate to come here." Harry just smiled at that. He didn't want to go back to the Dursleys.

Back at the Dursley's house, Snape cleaned up the mess by the chimney magically, then turned to Harry.

"Where are your things?"

"I don't know," Harry said, thinking of where they could be. He cleaned the entire house, and he still couldn't find his trunk. Then he remembered that he couldn't get one of the doors open in the basement. "They took my trunk from me. I think it might be in the basement, though. There was a door I couldn't open when I was cleaning down there." Snape followed Harry as he led the way to the door in the basement. "This one," he said, trying once again to open it. Snape unlocked it easily with magic and found that Harry was right. His trunk was there.

"Go get your owl; I will take care of your trunk." Harry nodded and went upstairs to Dudley's second room where he found Hedwig sleeping on the bed post.

"Hey Hedwig. We are going to Hogwarts now. Do you want to fly there, or take the train?" he asked her. She fluttered over to the window, indicating that she rather fly. He opened the window for her, and she flew out right after she nipped her owner gratefully.

Harry got Hedwigs cage, cleaned it quickly, then brought it downstairs.

"And where it the owl?" Snape asked, annoyed.

"She wanted to fly there. She hasn't been out in a while." Snape studied Harry, then indicated for him to come closer.

"Keep hold of the cage and hold onto this. It is a port key. Have you ever traveled by port key?" Harry shook his head. "It will transport us to the place it is spelled to. This one will bring us to a place I own in London. Hold on." Harry obeyed. Snape said something, then Harry felt a tug behind his navel. Next thing he realized, he was on the floor.

"Ugh, I think I prefer the floo," Harry mentioned to himself, then got up and looked around where he was standing. Snape took the cage and shrunk both the cage and trunk, putting them in his pocket.

"Come on, Mr. Potter. We must make the train." Harry followed his professor out of the room, down the hall, and down several flights of stairs. Snape owns a flat? Harry asked himself, surprised. He figured that Snape lived somewhere similar to the dungeons, not a flat in muggle London. Outside, it took about half an hour to walk to King's Cross. They both walked in silence. Harry tried several times to follow behind Snape, not wanting to walk with him, but Snape insisted on being able to see him.

By the time they reached the train station, it was almost dark. Harry automatically headed toward Platform 9 3/4, but Snape stopped him and they went the other way. They stopped between platform four and five. Harry looked at Snape, confused; he didn't know there were other magical platforms. Snape looked around, then indicated that Harry should go through. He did after checking around by habit.

"Platform 4 1/4" said the sign above harry's head. He sighed as a saw the train pull up to the platform, then Snape stepped up behind him.

"You really shouldn't stand in front of a magical entry, Potter," drawled Snape. "I could have very easily run into you." Harry didn't answer, but he followed Snape when the professor walked to the ticket booth and bought two tickets. The boarded, chose one of the many empty compartments, then sat in silence as they waited to reach Hogsmede.

By the time Harry and Snape reached the gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's office, Harry was about to fall asleep.

"Stay here. I must speak with the headmaster about some things first," Snape said when they reached the main waiting room. Harry sat down on one of the couches and fell asleep immediately.

"Severus. How did your errand go?" Dumbledore asked when he entered.

"Very well. I was able to get everything I needed, and a few extra ingredients. Some of them were quite hard to find, but I did find enough.

"Good, good. You checked up on Mr. Potter, I presume?"

"Yes, Albus, I did. I saw the situation he was living in, and I did not find it suitable." The headmaster's eyes twinkled much less at this.

"What happened?" he asked, worried.

"They seemed to have taken a trip and left Mr. Potter behind. They left him nothing but perhaps a few days food. Potter was smart enough to conserve it, but it wasn't enough. They also did not leave him any money, and they forbid him to leave, and oddly the boy obeyed. The boy seems used to being neglected," Severus reported.

"Neglected? I know they didn't treat him like their own son, but neglected?"

"Yes. Although Potter seems very embarrassed about it, but he also doesn't seem to think it is wrong for him to be treated like this. I fear it has been going on for quite awhile." Albus sighed. "I have judged the boy wrong. He has made me believe for the past two years that he is a spoiled brat. He sure acts like it." The headmaster smiled at Severus.

"Perhaps there is a reason the Sorting Hat wanted him in Slytherin." Severus raised an eyebrow. "Harry didn't want to be in Slytherin. He did not tell me why, but I have a feeling it had something to do with Voldemort." The younger wizard tensed at the use to the name. "This would explain his past actions, though, of not coming to me or another professor for help. If he truly was neglected his whole life, he probably doesn't know how go ask an adult for help." Severus shook his head.

"It would make sense. Would you like to speak to him?"

"Yes, of course. But first I would like to find a place for him to stay. The Weasley's would love to take him if they were home, but they are currently not. The Granger's are also not home, and I am afraid that the rest of the staff is away for the summer. Arabella would be a good choice, but we don't want the Dursleys to know she knows how they have been treating him," Albus sighed, then looked at Severus. "How about you? You will be going to the Prince Estate this summer, will you not?"

"I will not have a Potter in my home. He might have been obedient before, but now that he is back in the wizarding world, he will probably go back to his usual Potter ways!" Albus got up and opened the door, glancing out.

"He is sleeping," he said, shaking his head and closing the door. "Severus. I can't think of any other place for him to go. And no, I don't believe he will start to disobey you if you are giving him residence. I have met many children who misbehave in the school environment, but very well behaved at a home in which they are staying. I believe that Harry will be the same way, from what you have told me. And there are children in nearby estates, are there not? I'm sure Harry would love to make some new friends. He would not be in your way the entire time." Severus sighed.

"You know I don't like the boy," he argued weakly, knowing that Albus had his mind made up. "So you agree that Potter is disobedient . . ."

"I said nothing of the sort," the headmaster answered, then turned serious again. "Perhaps, when you begin to realize that he is very different from his father, you will begin to like him." He glared at the headmaster.

"I doubt that will ever happen," he sighed once again. "Fine. He may come to the Prince Estate. But it will be made very clear to him that he is not to break the rules I set down."

"Of course, Severus." The headmaster looked out the door once more, then smiled. "I think we can leave him there until morning. He seems quite comfortable. We shall tell him in the morning. Good night, my boy."

"Good night, Albus."