Rescued by Rachlan

Chapter 1

Harry Potter's Uncle Vernon had gone over the top this time. His abuse in the past had been mainly verbal with a slap here and there. This time, however… It was summer after Harry's fifth year and Uncle Vernon had lost his job the week before Harry came home from school. It was, of course, all Harry's fault. The night Harry came home on the train, Vernon went out and got dead- drunk. He came home and started beating on Harry- using fists, boots, whatever was available. Harry knew that nothing could be done to protect himself so he curled up in a ball and waited for the attack to stop.

It went on for what seemed like hours. Finally Vernon got tired of it, went to the living room and promptly passed out. Not that Harry noticed… he could hardly breathe and couldn't move. He knew of only one person who could help him, one person who would have the potions to heal him. He wasn't really thinking clearly, but cried out in his mind: "Please help me Professor Snape!" Thus said, Harry Potter dropped off into unconsciousness.

Severus Snape was sitting in his favorite chair in the sitting room of his private quarters with a glass of brandy, enjoying the silence. He relished the fact that the students were finally gone. No more whining, sniveling brats to deal with. He had two whole months of freedom and he was going to enjoy every second of it.

He had just started to contemplate how he was going to spend his wonderful free time when he heard a familiar, pain- filled voice in his head: "Please help me Professor Snape!" Severus was so startled that he stood up quickly, sloshing the liquid out of the glass he held. "Dang," he muttered distractedly. 'What was that?' he thought irritably. 'Why am I hearing voices in my head? And was that Potter's voice?' he wondered incredulously. Severus debated for a moment about whether or not to ignored the voice. "It sounded so real…" he muttered to himself. He stood for a minute in indecision before setting his glass down and heading to the headmaster's office. "He will know what to do," Severus said with a growl.

Two hours later, Severus Snape stood scowling in front of #4 Privet Drive. He had talked to the headmaster, fully intending not to tell the old man about the voice. He had tried to make it sound like a…feeling… but the interfering wizard read between the lines and wheedled the truth out of him. As a result of his inability to refuse that man anything, he was now here to check on the blasted boy. 'Potter,' he mentally spat, 'You are ruining my first day of vacation! This had better be good…'

A simple unlocking spell and "Lumos" later, Severus Snape stood in the living room of the Dursley home, staring in disgust at his surroundings. "Muggles," he muttered hatefully. 'To the task at hand,' he told himself. "Right. Harry Potter, point me," he said to his wand. The magical object vibrated for a moment before spinning and pointed at a narrow, short door beneath the stairway. Severus stared at the wand, as if checking to see if it was functioning correctly. He did, however, step towards the small room, no cupboard. Another "Alohomora" and he was looking inside the tiniest room he had ever seen.

His perusal lasted only a second before he spotted… what was that, there on the floor? It looked like a pile of clothes with… messy black hair? "Oh, Merlin," Severus muttered, kneeling down beside the child. He reached to gently, oh so gently, roll the child over. What he saw shocked him and he couldn't suppress a gasp. The boy's face was covered in blood and bruises. His heart squeezed tightly. Those… beasts… had beat on a child! An innocent child!

Severus felt the anger build in him and was headed to do something to those… people when he heard a low, pain- filled moan. Those incredible emerald eyes, now dull with pain, looked up at him in disbelief and then unbelievable gratitude.

"P...fes…r?" Harry had obviously lost a few teeth as the word came out sloppily.

"I am here to rescue you, Potter," Severus said quietly, staring at the boy.

"'K," the child whispered before passing out once again.

The older wizard sighed and stood up. He glanced around the tiny "bedroom," found the boy's trunk and owl's cage and shrunk the two before pocketing them. Seeing nothing else of importance, Severus bent down and carefully lifted the child into his arms. He took one last look around the room before leaving the house and apparating to the front gates of Hogwarts.

Severus gently set the boy down on the ground, knowing he wouldn't wake, got his wand out, and sent a Patronus to Dumbledore, letting the old man know they had arrived.

Harry was hardly aware of his surroundings. He only knew he hurt everywhere and he was cold. Involuntarily, he shivered and tried to curl up tighter into himself. Had he dreamed the Professor coming to get him? If it was a dream, he hoped it continued. He had always wanted someone to come rescue him, especially when he had been a child. Somehow it didn't even matter that his rescuer hated the sight of him, just that someone had finally, finally, cared enough to come.

Severus noted the shiver and immediately felt guilty. Shrugging off his cloak, the Potion's master reached down and covered the boy with it before lifting the child into his arms once again. The headmaster had arrived to let them in. "Severus, what's…Oh!" The esteemed headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry gasped in a most undignified way.

Severus shook his head briefly, indicating they would talk later. The only thing consuming his thoughts right now was worry for the child nestled in his arms. "We need to get him to Poppy," the younger man said stiffly. "Of course, of course, dear boy. Come along now." With that, Albus Dumbledore rushed up the path to the castle, with Severus hurrying after him, exceedingly careful not to jostle the precious cargo he carried.

Within minutes the two men were rushing the boy- yes he was still only a child, despite the weight of the world on his shoulders- into the hospital wing. Severus carefully lay him on a bed, making sure he did not jostle the child further. He sat heavily in the chair next to the bed, weary beyond belief while the headmaster went to get the nurse.