A/N. For those of you reading this for the first time, you have my many thanks for you time. For those of you reading once again, you may notice that I have rewritten many parts, and have added to the story. Which of course made me redo where the chapters ended. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your patience. Vbollman.
Disclaimer- don't own them, don't want them (except for Snape) Just like playing with them.
Thanks to Kei and Sandra for their Betaing job. Much luv to both of you.
Harry Potter sat alone in the last compartment on the Hogwarts Express for the first time since he started at Hogwarts over five years ago. The reason for this was simple, and all very much his fault. If he had tried harder to learn what Professor Snape had been trying to teach him during his Occlumency lessons, and stayed out of the Pensieve, Voldemort would never had been able to plant a false vision of his Godfather being tortured. Being the foolish Gryffindor that he was, he believed the vision to be true, and together with a group of his friends who refused to be left behind, broke into the Ministry of Magic to try to save Sirius themselves.
The results had landed his best friends, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Luna Lovegood, and Ginny Weasley, in St. Mungo's with extensive injuries from the Death Eaters who where at the ministry waiting for them.
Far worse, his Godfather was made to pay the ultimate price for Harry's own stupidity, when he had showed up with the rest of the Order of the Phoenix in order to save the students, and was killed when he fell through the Veil while he was dueling his insane cousin, Bellatrix Lestrange.
Harry snorted to himself in contempt. ''The only good thing that came out of that whole mess was that Fudge can no longer deny that Voldemort has returned,' he thought to himself. 'Well, that and a few more Death Eaters are in Azkaban where they belong, but knowing Voldemort the way I do, they won't stay there for long.'
Thinking back to the conversation he had with the Headmaster that morning, before he had left the safety of the school, he felt the anger returning. Along with delivering the news that he inherited Sirius's estates and everything in them, it seemed that Dumbledore had taken it upon himself to inform his aunt and uncle of his Godfather's death, and the fact that he was extremely rich. In fact he informed them that Harry had been rich his entire life. When he had told Harry this, he also told him in no uncertain terms that he was not allowed to leave the safety of his aunt and uncle's-- at all. He would be stuck in that house until the day he was taken to Kings Cross Station to return to school. If, of course, he managed to survive the care of his 'loving' family.
'This is just great. I have absolutely no protection from Uncle Vernon now. I was using Sirius as a threat to keep the Dursleys in line and I can't do that anymore. And I have to worry about what they are going to do about the money I have. No doubt they will be doing their best to get me to agree to giving them the money. With physical force, no doubt,' He thought glumly.
Thinking quickly, he realized that he had to get Hedwig to a safe place. His owl was also in danger while staying with the Dursleys, more so then himself. Grabbing a piece of parchment and his self inking quill from his school bag, he thought for a moment and then wrote a note to the one person he could trust with his owl… and his wand… just like he had trusted this one person to protect his life on more than one occasion. Even though, if people found out about that trust they would want to lock him up, even he, himself did not quite understand why he trusted the man.
I know that I'm the last person you want to hear from during your well-deserved summer break, especially since I have just left. I just wanted to tell you how incredibly sorry I am that I intruded on your personal memories and to reassure you that I will never tell anyone what I saw that night. You have my Wizard's Oath on that.
I have a request to make. And just so you know, you are in no way expected to agree, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you end of destroying this letter, and ignoring my request all together. If that happens just know that I don't blame you, but you are the only one that I can ask to help me with this and the only person that I can trust. I do trust you, Sir; it just took me a while to figure it out. I know that coming from me, that will more then likely be unbelievable, I don't even know why I do trust you, call it instincts, or a gut feeling, but it's the truth. It also took the death of my Godfather to make me see how much I need your help-- in more ways then one.
I know you won't believe me, in fact I fully expect you to think this is just another bid for attention, but I am not going to the loving family you expect. My aunt and uncle hate me, Sir, and everything to do with the Wizarding world. To be perfectly honest with you, if they had their way, they would never again have anything to do with any of us 'freaks', and our freakish ways. With that in mind, I ask, no I beg that you take care of Hedwig for the summer. I fear that if she remains with me, she will not survive.
On the same note, I ask for you to hold onto my wand. And yes I can hear you cursing me now for my stupidity in not having my wand with me. But, if I don't have it with me, my uncle cannot take it from me, and I won't be tempted to use it on him. I don't want to give Fudge another chance to try and expel me from Hogwarts for either cursing my uncle or for the use of underage magic.
I only wish that I would also be able to leave what I cannot replace with you.
I ask that you do not tell the Headmaster what I have requested, no matter what you decide. He has already destroyed my summer by letting my relatives know that Sirius is gone and that I have a lot of money to my name. All for my own good, I'm sure. It's more likely that this news will get me killed by them before Riddle has another chance.
Once again, I'm truly sorry and hope that you will be able to forgive my lack of judgment.
I hope to see you at the beginning of the new school year. If, of course, I live that long.
Harry J. Potter
Before Harry could change his mind about sending the letter, he charmed the parchment to only show Snape what was written, and then transfigured it into a self sealing envelope. Dropping his wand inside the envelope, he watched as it sealed itself, before tying it to Hedwig's out stretched leg.
"Hedwig, please bring this to Professor Snape and stay with him. It's safer for you that way," he murmured sadly to his owl, while stroking her wings softly.
With a soft hoot, Hedwig allowed herself to be lifted to the open window, and then launched herself out. She knew she had a Professor to find, for her own safety, and the safety of her Master.
Severus Snape had just finished unpacking the ingredients need to restock the infirmary's potions supplies in his home lab. He had returned to Snape Manor for the summer for some much-deserved relaxation from the dunderheads he taught during the school year, and with the hope that nothing would require his attention for a few weeks at least. Deciding a cup of tea would be a good idea, he retreated to his personal library and rang for a house elf. He was just settling down with the new potions book that he had been given by the graduating 7th years in his House when a familiar white owl soared through the open window and landed on the table beside him.
'Damn you Potter, I can't even get rid of you in my own home,' he snarled under his breath. Removing the envelope from Hedwig's leg, he was surprised when it glowed blue before unsealing itself. As it transformed into a letter, he was even more surprised to see a wand drop into his lap. 'What in Merlin's name is that boy thinking? Does he not realize that he is not even safe when at home?'
His eyebrows raised in shock as he read first the apology and then the request. Looking at the owl beside him, he asked her a simple question. "Is what he said true? Is he really in that much danger from his own family?" He unlike the rest of the staff at Hogwarts knew that Hedwig was smarter then normal for an owl. As far as he was concerned she was just as smart as most humans. He knew without a doubt that she would be able to answer the question, he just hoped that the answer was going to be 'no'.
Hedwig cocked her head to the side, and studied the man before her. She was surprised by the question, but knew that Darkmoon, (as the animals around Hogwarts knew him) would understand what she was trying to say and would believe her. Focusing her thoughts on her Master, and on some of her memories of the treatment he received over the past few summers, she hooted and bobbed her head in an affirmative manner.
"Damn," was all he would say as he focused on sorting through the memories she tried to give him. Picking up the wand, he studied it for a moment, and then summoned a simple oak box from his desk. Placing the wand inside, he sealed, and then warded the box, so that only himself or Potter would be able to open it again. Standing up, he walked over to a picture of his Grandmother, and, saying a complex spell, watched as the picture faded away to reveal an enchanted hollow behind it. Placing the box inside, he withdrew another box, similar to the first one, before replacing the spell so his Grandmother looked back at him once more. Striding to the desk, he wrote a short note, and brought both the second box and the note to Hedwig. "It seems we are both going to Surrey tonight. Take this box to Potter's room. I've given him instructions on how to use it," he told her, and tying both to her leg, sent her on her way.
Moments later, he followed.
Harry Potter sat in uneasy silence in the back of the Dursleys' car. He really did not like the looks he had been receiving. His aunt and uncle were definitely planning something, and whatever it was, he was not going to like it, of that he was sure.
At the moment, he was wondering if his Professor would actually do what he requested. It was Hedwig's only chance at surviving the summer, especially since his Uncle had not looked pleased to see that he didn't have his owl with him. There was no telling what would happen if she showed back up at the Dursleys' after he told them that he had lent her to a school mate that would be traveling overseas for the summer.
As they pulled into Privet Drive, Harry bit back a groan of dismay as he saw a white blur out of the corner of his eye. 'Damn, I really should have known that Snape wouldn't have believed a word I said,' he moaned to himself. He bit back a more heartfelt groan when he saw who was waited outside of his relatives' home.
The sight of a man dressed in what obviously was an expensive black suit surprised the Dursleys almost as much as it surprised Harry. Even though they did not know who it was didn't mean that Harry didn't. Sighing in resentment, Harry waited for his Uncle to unlock the boot of the car so that he could retrieve his school trunk. He was stopped from going directly to the house by a meaty hand grabbing him forcefully around the neck, and his uncle's voice hissing in his ear.
"It seems, Boy, that we have company. You will take your freakish things up to your room, and hurry back down to make tea. There will be no funny business from you while he is here. If one little thing happens, I will personally make you wish that you had died with your parents. Do you understand me, Freak?" Vernon said, shaking Harry's neck roughly.
"Yes, Uncle Vernon," Harry replied, resigned to his fate. He had felt the wash of magic when his Uncle had grabbed him that told him without a doubt that Snape had heard every word. Turning towards the house, one look at the Potions Master face confirmed his fears. It also told him that Snape was not happy with what he heard. 'At least he might believe me now,' he thought.
When he came within hearing distance of his Professor, and he knew from personal experience just how good Snape's hearing was, he started to whisper. "Hello Sir. I would welcome you to my home, but as this is not my home but my Aunt and Uncle's, that would be a down right lie. If they find out who you are I can honestly tell you that your welcome will be extremely cold, and they will make my life more of a living hell then it already is."
Snape's own whisper followed him into the house. "Your owl is waiting for you in your room. Pack whatever you want to keep safe, or that you can't replace and give it to her to take back to my Manor. Don't forget the key to your vault. As long as you don't have that on you, they will not be able to take any of your money."
Instead of answering, Harry just nodded his head slightly and hurried up the stairs to his room. Just before he entered it he heard his Professor introduce himself as Darian Star. Snorting in amusement, he threw open his door, he greeted his extremely happy owl. "'Lo Hedwig. Professor Snape said I was to give you my things to take back to his place. I am so happy he agreed to take you for the summer," he murmured while stroking her snowy feathers, feeling slightly guilty at the thoughts he had before.
Hedwig hooted softly and held out her leg to him. She wished that her Master would be joining them, she had a feeling that this summer was going to be worse for him then normal. Watching as Harry took the small box from her, she then sidestepped from his desk to his arm, then up to his shoulder, before gently nipping at his ear.
As Harry read the note attached to the box, he continued to stroke her feathers, drawing what comfort he could from her calm presence, gasping in surprise at what he read.
This box was charmed by my Grandmother many years ago to hold anything and everything without altering the magic around the object. As it is bottomless, it will hold everything you wish to keep safe. DO NOT tell anyone about this box, or you will find yourself being used as my next lab rat.
Against my better judgment, I will not inform the Headmaster of your request. And to make sure that you are well, I will send Hedwig back to you every once in awhile. I know, even if the rest of the school does not, that she is as smart as most humans. Just keep in mind that you will be unable to hide anything from her, and as she will report to me, I will know if you are in need of help.
As for your apology, I will accept it as long as you NEVER do something stupid like that again.
Do try not to make me regret this decision.
Smiling, Harry proceeded to place all of his treasures into the box, starting with the key to his Gringotts vaults. His photo album, Invisibility Cloak, Firebolt, and all of the presents he had received over the years from his friends quickly followed.
Closing the box he watched as it warded itself, before tying it once more to his owl.
"Be safe, girl. I'll see you soon-- hopefully nothing will happen this summer, and you will be able to return to me soon." Giving her a few more strokes on the feathers, he sent her on her way. Taking a few deep breaths in an effort not to let anything show on his face, he then went downstairs to make tea, knowing that one wrong move by either him or Snape could very well be his last.
Two weeks later
Lucius Malfoy sat in his study contemplating what to do next with his life. Just before Draco had returned home from school for the summer, the Dark Lord had raided Azkaban and released all the Death Eaters that had been sent there after the Ministry fiasco the month before. He had already begun the paperwork that would have shown him unlawfully held, so that he could continue with his life. Unfortunately, that meant that he now owed the Dark Lord. And that price was too high to pay.
The Dark Lord had already taken the life of his wife in punishment for Lucius's failure to retrieve the prophesy, and now wanted Draco to serve him also.
When he first felt the burn that told him that the Dark Lord returned, he rejoiced with the rest of the Death Eaters. Now he didn't know what to do. The madman that he followed now was totally different from the man he followed before his downfall. As the days passed, the Dark Lord's insanity became increasingly apparent, and he became more and more obsessed with killing Harry Potter. Nothing was the way it should be. The main reason that Lucius had joined with the Dark Lord was to ensure the survival of the Wizarding World, but now if the madness continued the way it had since the Dark Lord's rebirth, both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds would be destroyed.
A loud crack that sounded from behind startled him from his thoughts, and without thinking he spun around with his wand out ready to defend himself. What he saw was enough to make him snarl. "How dare you return here!" he demanded of his former house elf.
The diminutive creature squeaked in fear, before pulling himself up. "Dobby is sorry, Master Lucius, but Dobby is be needing your help Sir."
"And why would I bother to help an ungrateful creature such as yourself?"
"Dobby is being truly sorry for disturbing Master Lucius Sir, but Dobby needs to be finding Harry Potter Sir's, protector, Sir."
"I would know where Potter's Protector is how? And why would I care?" He snarled once again, taking a step forward.
Dobby took two steps back before remembering why he was there. "Harry Potter Sir is a good wizard, Sir. But he be needing his Protector. If his Protector does not come soon, Harry Potter Sir will not live," he tried to explain.
"You still have not answered my question. Who is Potter's Protector?" He asked as a bit of unease worked its way down his spine at the house elf's words.
"Why do you want to know who Potter's protector is?" a dark silky voice answered as Severus Snape entered the room.
Lucius snarled silently, "I don't care who his Protector is. But apparently this...house elf... does."
Severus raised a questioning eyebrow, at the familiar looking house elf, even as he started to feel a little uneasy, though he kept it well hidden.
"Professor Snape Sir, Harry Potter Sir is needing you. Dobby be making Harry Potter Sir a promise to never help again, but Harry Potter sir be needing his Protector sir." Dobby told him in a rush.
Severus watched the agitated elf closely. He was obviously distraught and that unease slowly turned to fear. That fear grew when a familiar owl came soaring through the open study window. Hedwig flew around the room a few times before settling on his shoulder, and she hooted and nipped his ear in distress.
"First a house elf bound by loyalty, then an owl bound by love. That brat has a better warning system then Hogwarts." he murmured to himself. He was just about to start questioning the poor elf, while trying to sooth Hedwig, when the smell of the forest in summertime and a shimmering in the air alerted the men in the room of another presence.
"I must add another voice, and a plea for Harry Potter to this conversation." Came a voice as clear as a mountain stream. The shimmering solidified into a being that they all recognized as a High Elf.
"Grandmere. What are you doing here?" Severus asked startled.
"At the moment My Childe, I am saving the life of another child I blessed at birth. Harry needs your help, and I will take you to where he is." Turning to Dobby she gave him short bow. "Your intentions were pure, there was no harm done to your vow. I absolve you of all guilt. I also grant you leave of your vow. Harry Potter will need your protection along with my grandsons. At the moment, you can make ready a room next to my grandson's in this manor, for there is nowhere safer at this time."
Dobby pulled himself up proudly, and returned the bow. "Dobby is happy to be helping. I will prepare the Cream Room for Harry Potter Sir." and with a snap of his fingers he was gone.
Bright green eyes rose to meet pale blue. "My condolences on the loss of your wife. She was a good and kind woman, and she will be missed. We will discuss an Elf Blessing on her grave at a later date. Please, your help is also needed. I need you to contact Poppy Pomfrey. She is the only human healer that can be trusted with young Harry's whereabouts. Have her come here with all that she can think of to help heal the boy." Receiving a nod in response, she turned to Severus.
"Come, Darkmoon. Young Harry will not last much longer without our help." Placing her hand on his shoulder, they both shimmered out of focus, and then disappeared.
Lucius stared in shock for a moment and then got to work muttering to himself about the world coming to an end. "First I find out that Severus is presumably The Boy Who Bloody Won't Die, protector, and then I find myself also helping him." Taking a pinch of Floo powder, he tossed it into the fire and waited for the flames to turn green before putting his head in the flames, then called out, "Madam Pomfrey's office, Hogwarts." He waited impatiently for the Matron to show up, knowing that every second counted at the moment.
When she finally came into view, the shock on her face was clear. Lucius Malfoy did not call her when he needed help, he went to a high priced private healer. "Mr. Malfoy, to what do I owe the pleasure of your call?" she asked politely.
"There is a young man coming to my mansion that will be in desperate need of your help. You are the only one that can be trusted with this information,." Lucius told her carefully.
Poppy thought about his carefully worded reply, she had a feeling that whoever this person was, the Dark Lord would be most displeased if Lucius was found to be helping him. She decided to ask him some questions whose answers would not give away to much information. "Do I know this person? What happened to him? What are his injuries? Who is bringing him to you and why are they not coming here?"
Knowing the Dark Lord did not know about Severus's Elven heritage, but Poppy would, he tried to give her the information she requested. "You do know him, and from what I've heard, you know him well. I don't know what his exact condition well be, only that he was harmed by Muggles he was in contact with. I don't know why Lady Silverstar, and her grandson Darkmoon are bringing him here, but I can assume it's so that no one else will find out, without us being given proper warning to hide him." he told her.
Poppy's eyes went wide. Her first thought was that Severus needed her, but hearing that Severus was the one bringing in her patient her other fear became known. 'Those damn Muggles,' she thought to herself. 'I've told the Headmaster often enough the abuse Harry suffers at their hands.'. Looking at Lucius she gave a sharp nod of her head. "I'll be coming through in about 10 minutes. Do you have a room ready?" she asked.
"We've given him the Cream Room, next to Darkmoon's. Lady Silverstar figures that will be the easiest place to put him."
"I know which room you're talking about. I'll be there as soon as I gather what I'll need. Knowing these Muggles the way I do, I can guarantee that he'll need everything I can carry," she snarled. Turning her back on the fire she started to pack away the few things in her office she would need to bring with her, before walking out, leaving Lucius watching an empty room with a stunned look on his face.
Poppy was still snarling. She knew it would happen someday, and was as prepared as she was able to be. Two years ago, she had started packing an emergency kit for the boy. Everything Harry could possibly need was sitting waiting for the day it would be put into use. To make sure that all the potions where still fresh, she always emptied the bag every three months, and replaced everything, in fact she had just done so the day before, extremely glad at the moment that she had. Retrieving the kit from its spot in the supply cupboard, she opened it up, and started adding doubles of everything. If Severus was the one bring in Harry, you knew that something was wrong.
After making sure she had everything repacked so that nothing would be broken or spill out, she topped the kit off with four pairs of custom made pajamas. She had found over the years that Harry's nightmares were twice as bad as usual when he wore normal hospital issue pajamas. Even though she had been accused of spoiling Harry rotten, she ignored it. After all, she was the one that healed Harry every year, on his first night back to the castle.
Triple checking to makes sure she had everything she could possibly need, she walked back into her office, and to the fire place. Checking to make sure no one was nearby she grabbed a handful of Floo powder, and called out her destination.
Minutes later a very upset Nurse stalked through the halls of Malfoy Manor, her thought centered once more on bringing Harry Potter back to the land of the living.