Disclaimer I own NOTHING but my own imagination.
AN good Snape, good Dumbledore, helping/hurt/comfort/angst/bonding/learning/action/powers, potentially disturbed/distressed Harry, neko/kitty Harry (very cute), idiotic fudge, suggestions of child abuse
Integration 1: retrieving Harry
'Ten years' thought Severus Snape as he and Dumbledore the head of Hogwarts made their way towards the ominous prison across the inky sea.
'Ten years, and only now have those imbeciles realized that a 5 year old, muggle-raised child, without a wand, in a heavily warded area, could not possibly have had the magical energy to kill two adults, and their child, without being in the same room as them, AND blow up half the house!... Honestly!' Severus sighed in exasperation as the enchanted craft carried the two wizards into the harbor of Azkaban prison.
Mercifully, for the half hour operation inspirationally named 'Get that child out of that god-awful place' the dementors had moved to the upper levels of the prison, leaving the path to Harry Potter's cell clear. As Dumbledore led Severus towards the wrought iron gates of the prison, Severus noted with distain that the entrance way was lined with ministry personnel, including the Minister for magic himself, Cornelius Fudge.
"What nerve! The bumbling idiot has no reason to be here! He's the one that convicted the poor child without a second thought! Let me get my hands on him-!"
"Severus!" the potions master instantly hushed his dark muttering and glared at the Headmaster.
"But its true!" Severus nearly cursed himself for giving such a child-like argument. "I mean, he's only here to give the impression that he cares! He has more reason to be in there then half of the prisoners I'll bet."
"Yes all this is most likely true, however, we must overlook his presence, it is not our primary concern after all." Severus took the time to glance at the headmaster, this time taking in his appearance. The calm face was underlined by a determined, serious expression, his eyes glinted steely with satisfaction, but also urgency. In fact, now that he was noticing, Severus detected the powerful magic of the man gently leaking into the depths of Azkaban, either to send comfort to an undoubtedly scared and lonely lost child, or to assess the health of said child, and determine how many of the immediate healing items would be necessary before they were far enough outside of the prison to apparate to the Hogwarts infirmary. Or a mixture of both, as Severus expected.
Severus also felt the need to reach in and feel the child, but his magic was connected to the boy in a different way, and could only be accessed in the trance-like state of meditation. As they neared the gates, Severus thought back to the long ten-year fight for Harry's freedom that started on the stormy night of the 7th of July.
Ten years ago, aurors had apparated to number four Privit Drive, Little Winging, Surry, to find a scene of total devastation, only to eerily similar to one seen in Godrics Hollow almost 4 years earlier. The house was a wreckage, some walls still partially intact, clinging to the support beams as if for dear life-in death, debris having been blown into the neighbor's gardens, shattering any resemblance of normalcy for one side of the street, whereas the other was left in a surreally unaffected and pristine state.
The aurors and rescue workers were soon joined at the scene by Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, and of course myself. We all scoured the wreckage, fearful of the worst...well actually, I cannot say that I myself was as concerned at the time, but that would soon change. Whilst the rescue workers, and other professors quickly found the lifeless bodies of the three Dursleys, I moved deeper into the house's depths. I was generally unaffected, my still relatively raw time as a death eater had shown me worse, and I my less-then-love for the potter family in general was no great secret, no matter what wrong I had done them, it could not now be undone.
I maneuvered myself to beneath the wreckage of a staircase, some of the upper floor still remaining as well as a small cupboard under the stairs, I was not surprised, smaller spaces generally did better in explosions, less weak points or something. I was about to think no further of it and move on, when I heard the smallest of breaths emitting from the cupboard. Leaning in closer, I could definitely hear shallow, labored breaths. Now, I was interested. Quickly I shouted some remark about a survivor to the far away team, and wrenched open the cupboard door.
I was met with the site of a blatantly 'Potter' child, and sneered even though the child's state was less then healthy, bruised and seemingly beaten. My animosity remained firm until the 5-year old Harry opened his eyes. Those almost glowing, electric green eyes focused directly onto mine, they separated this child from his father dramatically, and even his mother had no such eyes. Although maybe time had simply dimmed my memory of them.
He coughed weakly, no doubt from the thick dust, and spoke in an unfocused voice, "You don't live here..." "No, I don't...", I replied with the same amount of confusion. I was confident at least that it was my job to get the child out, as the rescue team seemed to be having some unforeseen difficulties in the form of a questioning minister. Reaching in my hand brushed against the child's forehead in an attempt to reach both his arms.
The feeling of raw magic surged through my fingertips as I touched the fabled lightning shaped scar, the energy sending a keen into my own magic in a desperate reaction. There was no pain, only a feeling of acute confusion, and a need for help emitting from his subconscious. The feeling subsided and yet my hand remained in it's initial position, to my great surprise however, the child's head moved closer into my palm, one of his own small hands gently pressing onto mine as he muttered "your hand's cold..." Coming back to my senses, I gently removed the child from the enclosed space and held his frail and unconscious body close. I knew nothing else to do, and truthfully, the child's open acceptance, and need of my own hand had touched me like his magic could not, never before had I felt so accepted and needed...it was probably as comforting to me as it was to the child.
Even after I had left the Death Eaters, there was no one, bar Albus, who would willingly give me physical contact, others preferred words, not that I blame them.
Soon however, the child was all but ripped from me by an Auror, no doubt following the Minister's orders and apparated away. I emerged to see an enraged Albus and a flustering Fudge, sprouting off statements about 'all the evidence', 'same as his last residence' and 'patterns Dumbledore, patterns'.
I did not need to here anymore to know that the child was likely on his way to Azkaban, and that I along with Albus and most of Hogwarts would be fighting for his release, me especially. The chance of protecting something that had healed a fraction of my distorted soul was not one to be missed.
It was a long and tiresome battle of ten years until the Ministry captured the responsible rogue Death Eaters. It seems that they had wanted to gain revenge for their fallen leader, but on arrival, and breach of the wards they found that they could not locate the child, though they knew him to be in the house. Realizing that their time was nearly up, blew up the house in the hopes that Harry would be killed along with his relatives, and fled the scene. The blood protection had saved Harry, but now he was being endlessly tortured in Azkaban. Indeed the only thing that saved Harry from the torture was one of the Death Eater's confessing under torture for some other crime, up until then the Ministry at large had been unwilling to see the hard evidence of his innocence. And only after the confession did Fudge blame the interrogation squad and sack half of their staff.
Now finally, Harry was going to get his freedom. Snape had been feeling Harry's magic through his own during meditation for two years now. Largely as a result of the child's hugely increased magic, and the connection that had formed between the two magical signatures from their first encounter. During these moments of synchronization, the potions master was able to feel the edge of Harry's thoughts, scattered and delirious as they often were. In the few times that he had had a chance to meditate and the boy's prison level has been dementor-free, he had learnt more of Harry. This comprised of useless, vague information most of the time, the fact that he likes chocolate ice cream, that he feels tired. But occasionally important facts seeped through the muddled thoughts, that the child has been subject to some of the experiments that the dementors ecstatically perform on their charges, that he found an ancient book in the closet that allowed him to become an animagus when he opened it and was hit with a surge of magic. This was probably the only reason that he had survived the ten years of imprisonment at such a young age. Snape informed Albus whenever he discovered anything, no matter how irrelevant, even of the wisps of personality that made it through the connection.
Over the two years, Severus had noticed a drop in Harry's coherence, the thoughts becoming more vague and confused. Sometimes they were even entirely foreign, as if he was speaking in another language, like that of his animagus form, of which he was unaware of the specific creature that Harry assumes. Severus could not detect anything of his health, in fact he probably only received the thoughts because of his accomplished legilimens skills. Otherwise Snape would most likely only notice the ebb and flow of the child's magic, which was unusually strong.
These are the reasons that had caused Snape to disassociate 'Harry' from 'Potter'. Harry had literally touched his soul that day, and he felt certain that he knew at least part of the child's mind. Therefore after finally being proved innocent, Albus, and upon his insistence, the rest of Hogwarts long-standing professors were allowed custody of the child, and the role of integrating him back into society, so that he could attend Hogwarts as he was supposed to 4 years ago.
The fight over custody was fairly simple, though they were more guardians then parents, allowing the teachers to look after and watch over Harry's development, it meant that the child could be supervised on a near constant level if necessary. And after all, there was no one else who could perform the task so effectively. They were however, supposed to hand the child over if he appeared too unstable for society. Snape knew that he wasn't that far-gone yet, and would do anything in his power to ensure that he never was.
So there the two professors were, venturing deeper into Azkaban after indifferently and blatantly ignoring the greetings of Fudge-the-imbecile, past the cells of delirious inmates, and husks that have lost their soul.
Finally, in the very heart of Azkaban, they found his cell, it was so darkened that they could not see him, and both light their wands.
"Oh, my" Dumbledore exclaimed as the wand light illuminated the cold cell, and they rushed inside. There, curled into a corner of the cell was an unnaturally small, unnaturally thin soon-to-be fifteen year old, with matted thigh length jet black hair, complete with black cat ears, and a long black, barely twitching cat tail.
Snape had finally found him, and at the risk of sounding like Poppy, wouldn't have changed him for the world.
Please let me know ya thoughts, shadowtheo