When I originally wrote this story, I had never written anything besides term papers and excuse notes for my kids. During the process of writing it, I learned an awful lot about the process of writing, and was never really satisfied with how the first few chapters compared with the last few. Over the years I have been approached several times for permission to post it on various Snape/Harry sites, and I've always felt a bit hesitant because I don't like how it begins. So I've decided to take the plunge and try to make the beginning match the end. Very little has changed with regard to content, but the style is a bit different. I hope you enjoy it!
As always, the characters in this story are the property of JK Rowling. I have borrowed them to play with, and none were harmed in the writing of this fiction.
The Headmaster of Hogwarts sat in his office, a stack of paper in front of him, a cup of tea close to hand, a full dish of his favorite lemon sherbets within arm's reach, fighting to stay awake. He gave a muffled yawn, leaned back slightly to stretch his aching back muscles, and glanced out the window at the sun drenched highland meadow outside the castle keep. Another summer nearly gone, he mused, watching the butterflies and bees play among the wildflowers that dotted the grassy expanse. Soon the students would return, bringing the bustle and chatter that inevitably followed young people in the process of growing up. While he couldn't regret the time spent in this office, and the opportunities the job of headmaster afforded to impact the future, he did sometimes wish for time to savor days like this. Unfortunately, the paperwork associated with his lofty title necessitated extended days of work, leaving little time for frolicking in the flowers, as tempting as it might be. A snort of mirth escaped him as he considered the probable reaction of his staff if he took the time to wander through the fields and make daisy chains. It might almost be worth being chained to his desk extra hours to see their faces.
Albus heaved a sigh of resignation and turned back to the official documents piled high on his desk. A door slammed in the distance, followed by the sound running footsteps getting closer. He looked up with a slight frown on his face, and murmured "enter".
The footsteps accelerated as they neared his office door, and moments later a grey haired, raggedly dressed man burst through the doorway, panting with exertion.
"Headmaster…..you've got to get him out of there." Remus Lupin, former and soon to be professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts, leaned on a high back wing chair and gasped, trying to catch his breath.
"Remus, sit down, catch your breath. Tea?" Dumbledore moved quickly to the fire and called for a house elf. "Tea and biscuits for two please," he told the odd looking little elf that appeared in response to his call.
"No, there's no time for that." Remus lurched around the chair and staggered toward the headmaster's desk. "You've got to come with me, sir, they're mistreating him," he said, leaning against the desk for support.
"Who, Remus? Set it right here, please," he said, clearing a spot on his desk and indicating that the elf should set it there.
Dumbledore looked up quickly from the tea he was pouring. "Voldemort?"
"No sir, it's his relatives."
Dumbledore stared into the distance for a moment, then returned to the matter at hand. "Remus, sit down. I'm sure the situation is nothing we can't remedy, but you'll need to tell me exactly what has occurred. Drink this, have a biscuit, and start at the beginning."
Lupin sat gingerly on one of the more comfortable chairs in front of the headmaster's desk and accepted the cup of tea being held out to him. "Sir, is Harry still with the Dursely's?"
Albus took a sip of his tea. "No, Remus, he was moved to the Weasley's two days ago."
"Thank Merlin. I had hoped to be here last week, but was delayed in Wales by.."
"Yes, I got your report on that situation. Well done by the way."
"Thank you, sir. Now about Harry….."