Title: Another Chance at Childhood. 01?
Author: animealam
Rating: Teens
Pairing: None yet, but might… just might end having a tiny bit of Harry/Hermione. You'll never see Harry/Ginny with me even if the almighty Lady of the Potterfandom (J.K. Rowling) wrote it in book six (shudders, that was even more hellish than reading what my adored Sev had to do).
Warnings: Completely AU, Post Order of the Phoenix, No HBP (although there will be mentions of tidbits from the book), child abuse, violence, probably superpower Harry and Snape, independent Harry. OOC Harry and Snape, I don't think I can get them IC.
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn't belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: Response to the Potions and Fic Fest Challenge # 5 by Bil. Although I'm not sure it is completely compliant. I tried though.

Harry gets up one morning and begins to make breakfast (for the Dursleys, if that's where he is). Hearing a noise at the door he cautiously goes to investigate - to find a battered Snape collapsed on the front doorstep. What happened to Snape, why is he in Harry's neighborhood and what in Merlin's name is Harry going to do with him?
Notes: I will be posting this at both Potions and and as soon as I finish it, if I have it before the challenge's due date on march 30th. I really don't want to post anything on other sites unless I finished it. This one is not done yet, but is coming along nicely.

The Order's threats infuriated Vernon Dursley beyond anything Harry had seen before, and the young wizard knew that an enraged Vernon did not listen to reason. He ranted a lot and surprised everyone by making a stop at an inhabited and rather deserted area of the road on their way to Surrey. He ordered Dudley to keep the freak in the car by any means necessary, and took Hedwig away. Half an hour later he returned without the owl. He killed her and left her carcass there for any carrion eater to find. Harry fought knowing what his uncle planned, but Dudley was bigger and stronger, he had no trouble restraining the smaller boy, and land several painful punches while doing it.

The young wizard was in shock at the cruelty of his uncle, Hedwig was an innocent bird, and she had been his only companion in his exile from his friends and those that cared about him. He wanted to howl with the pain of loosing her so soon after Sirius, but he would not give them the satisfaction of seeing him cry, he had not since he was six. The rest of the way to Privet Drive, Vernon kept spouting abuse all the way there, with Petunia and Dudley adding to it whenever the older Dursley stopped to breathe.

At the house Harry's things, except from his wand –he had been smart enough to have one of the twins' fake wands with him, so that was the one that went into the trunk- ended in the cupboard, and the boy in Dudley's second bedroom where Vernon and his son gave him a thorough beating. The young wizard cried himself to sleep, for the losses he had sustained in such a short time.

Despite the beating, the young wizard was still expected to do his chores, so the next morning his aunt woke him up, and had him working all day with no food and barely enough water. Vernon punished him again that night –for no more reason than existing- and this became routine, although occasionally Petunia would feed the boy a piece of toast and cheese. Harry hoped that when he missed his report someone from the Order would show up to investigate, but no one did, and the poor boy began sinking into despair. The belief that he was just a weapon, and that they did not care about him took a firm hold of him, as did his distrust of Dumbledore and as a consequence, the members of the Order of the Phoenix.

Harry missed another two letters, and by the tenth day of his stay at the Dursleys he had become subdued and quieter than usual, resigned to his fate. He hurt all over, and his face was so bruised that Petunia did not let him outside anymore. The neighbors noticed his condition almost from the second day of his stay at the house. They also began noticing that he was never away from the house, and did not go for walks like he did the previous summer.

A few women had started to question Petunia's claims about the boy being in fights, and the fact that he was a criminal. None of them had ever seen him do anything to point that he was, unlike Dudley Dursley, which all the smaller children –and almost anyone was smaller than he was- feared. They had noticed how badly he dressed, and that Petunia's claims of taking the boy out of the goodness of their hearts were faked. The smallish boy was dressed worse than a beggar, and it was obvious to anyone looking that had seen the Dursley child, that the boy wore his discarded clothing. A couple of the neighbors had even hinted that it was Vernon who was beating the child. They were obviously right, but Petunia was not going to ever admit it.

The theme of child abuse was in everyone's minds and mouths, due to a few cases that had been discovered in the neighborhood. One of those cases had tragic consequences for the poor little girl; she was beaten to death by her drunken father. Petunia had warned her husband about the gossip going around, but he was not willing to listen.

That tenth day, Harry painfully made his way downstairs to cook breakfast –after his aunt had woken him up loudly pounding on the door- and begin his other chores. He had everything out and ready to start, but could not help the feeling that something was going to happen. Harry shook himself and looked around, to make sure nothing happened. Everything looked fine, but still the feeling remained as he busied himself with preparing the Dursleys' breakfast. Vernon and Dudley came down just after his aunt had finished checking that all was satisfactory. She observed him closely, making him fidget, as he swayed a bit, weak with hunger and pain. Harry was beginning to feel ill, and wished he could get the healing potions he had in his trunk. He had come prepared for Vernon's and Dudley's beatings, but he had not thought that they would lock his trunk and him in his room after Dumbledore's warning last year.

"Eat this boy." Petunia handed him a plate that had a bit of eggs –probably half of one- a strip of bacon, and one lightly buttered toast, then served him half a glass of juice and a full glass of milk.

"Petunia, why are you feeding the freak?" Vernon growled disgruntled at what was a waste of good food in his opinion.

"The neighbors are talking Vernon, and they no longer believe our claims that he's a criminal." She told him eyeing the boy nervously. She would rather he did not hear this conversation, as she knew he was not really stupid, as her husband wanted to believe. He could very well use this to his advantage if he managed to escape. But she also knew that Vernon would not want to talk about it at any other time.

"So what? It's none of their business how we treat the abnormal brat." He shrugged, and bit his toast. "He's not like us."

"Do you think the authorities will care? They don't know about his KIND, and they wouldn't understand." She informed him more than a bit annoyed, Vernon could be so single minded at times.

"We'll tell them about it. They'll see, and agree with us." He could not believe anyone would accept the abnormality of the boy's kind. In his mind everyone would agree with his view of things, which was much like that of the Inquisitors of several centuries back.

"For the love of God Vernon, don't be stupid!" She snapped at him. "Remember what his KIND did when he inflated Marge. They did something so people forgot what happened. Do you think people will believe you if you tell them what HE is? The police will think you're crazy, and lock you up."

"Petunia, why are you worried? Your friends just gossip, they'll forget soon enough." He told her trying to be reasonable, that was the way those women behaved anyway. They were flighty, and as soon as they had something new to gossip about they would forget it.

"Don't you remember what happened two weeks ago down Dandelion Drive?" She did not want to say the words 'child abuse', but if her husband kept being so obtuse she might. Petunia did not want to think she was so abnormal as to be a child abuser, but the truth was she was one, as were all the members of her family, and she knew it was the truth. One she did not want to acknowledge, but the truth none the less.

"Ah… the little girl? That has nothing to do with us, the guy was a good for nothing drunkard." He dismissed her worries. He rarely drank; he was only trying to either beat away the boy's freakiness, or to show him his place in the world.

"Vernon…." She sighed; he did not want to see he was wrong, that they had been wrong in treating the boy so badly. "Catherine from number six is working at a centre for abused children." There, she said it, and she could see the boy was paying attention to what she was saying. She also knew he might not do anything against her as he needed her to keep him protected, but her husband and son were another matter. "She knows what we're doing to the freak Vernon. I heard her talking to Mary from number ten and Sheena from number seven yesterday. She was planning to report us, I don't know if she has already."

"Let them come." He told her with complete confidence that being the freak's guardian gave him the right to do what he wanted with IT. "He lives here, I'm his legal guardian, we can do anything we damn well please with IT."

"We can't Vernon. I… I didn't know before the little girl got killed. But I've investigated, and talked to Catherine a lot. There ARE laws against beating and starving children. We can go to prison, and they can take Dudley from us should they see how the brat is right now."

"Go to prison? For putting the freak in his place? That is completely insane, he is not a child." He had never considered the freak human, much less a child. But hearing his wife was making Vernon start to worry. He had not been aware of that. He did know he could not tell anyone about the boy's freakiness, because people would think him insane.

"He's one to both our authorities and theirs Vernon."

"Do you…"

A loud groan and the sound of something heavy falling interrupted Vernon. The sound came from the garden. Harry immediately had his wand out, and signaled for his uncle to stay put –not that Vernon obeyed- and went cautiously outside to investigate. He might not like them, hate them actually, but he did not want them dead. He worried that a Death Eater might have been able to get through the wards. Harry noticed that his uncle was turning one of his interesting shades of purple at the sight of his wand, and he trembled knowing that a painful punishment awaited him. As he came out, he noticed there was a dark robed figure lying on the ground trashing weakly trying to sit up. With a mighty effort it did, and Harry gasped recognizing his potions Professor. The wizard was bleeding from several wound and one side of his face was bruised. The boy approached him still cautious.

"Professor Snape?"

"Potter?" Severus asked shocked. His emergency portkey brought him to the Gryffindor's house?

"Why did you stop our remedial potions last term Sir?" He asked something that he suspected no one else would know to confirm the wizard's identity. The man sent him one of his patented glares.

"They were not remedial potions, they were occlumency and you, arrogant boy, looked into my pensieve Potter." He growled with barely controlled anger that the memory of the boy invading his privacy brought.

"I'm sorry Sir, for looking, and for having to ask. But I needed to be sure of your identity Sir." This got him a raised eyebrow.

"It seems as if you do use whatever passes for your brain at times idiot boy."

"I…" He did not get to say anything else because his uncle had recovered his speech abilities after realizing the freak knew the older one. It sent him into a rage.

"Who the hell is he freak?" At these words the vampire looking freak, seemed shocked, but he did not care at the moment. "And what's one of your KIND doing in my backyard? I thought I made it clear that I don't want any of your abnormal friends to set foot inside my property." Vernon bellowed as he grabbed the boy, shook him hard, and punched him on the face; ignoring the dangerous look that crossed the older freak's face. He sent him sprawling to the ground besides the older freak. He made to grab the brat to hit IT again, only to find himself facing the older freak's stick. "Put that away, I know you can't use it." He told him confidently.

"You seem to be under a misconception… muggle." His voice hid barely controlled loathing. He had issues with anyone hitting children, and it seemed this… man was used to beating the smallish Gryffindor around. He might not have liked Potter, but he was not about to let the man hurt him more than he already had. "Some children cannot do magic during the break, but I can assure you that Potter will be before I leave. Know that I am a grown and fully trained wizard. I am under NO such restriction. Nor am I one of those goody simpletons that claim to be the child's friends. Provoke me and there won't be anything left of you to find." The huge muggle paled and began trembling at hearing that. The huge killer whale that was behind him and that must have been Potter's cousin if he was not wrong, grabbed his behind and went running into the house.

'Cowards, too brave against a defenseless child, but put them against someone their size or bigger and they run worse than rats.' Severus thought disgusted.

Severus had been completely shocked to see the muggle hit Potter, and to see how much magic was reviled in that house hold. It was not something that would have ever occurred to him, Gryffindor's Golden Boy was supposed to be worshipped by the muggles, but he should have known better. His own experience with his magic hating father should have made him realized that not all muggles wanted wizards or witches at home. He then turned to look at the Gryffindor, his eyes taking in his condition. He looked no better than a beggar with those huge and ratty clothes he wore. He was too skinny, slightly ill, and it was clear that beatings were the norm for him. There were many bruises showing on the skin that was not covered by the tent like t-shirt. The Slytherin sighed, sweet Merlin! He had been so wrong about the-boy-who-lived. Potter was abused by his family, not pampered. Why had no one noticed before?