Title:The Rules of Life

Summary:There was no Harry Potter at the Dursley's when Dumbledore sent Hagrid to fetch him in first year. Where in the world is Harry Potter? This fic is SNARRY slash, Snape!Dom, Harry!sub.

Disclaimer:I don't own Harry Potter or any of the other familiar characters. Harry Potter and this magical world belong to JK Rowling and her publishers. No money made from this.

Warnings:This fic is Snarry slash, which means two men in a sexual relationship – specifically, Harry and Snape. This fic also contains BDSM elements with Snape as the Dominant partner and Harry as the submissive. If you don't know what this means then please don't read the fic – you won't understand most of what happens. The fic starts out before Hogwarts and contains elements of chan (just mentioning of it), dub-con and non-con (rape). Don't read if you don't like!


AN:I know, I know! Fourth WIP that I have going now (LAIEI included). The reason for this is that I have realized where my strengths and my weaknesses lie. LAIKI had a certain 'rhythm' to it – a chapter a year, a chapter a summer, etc. – that kind of 'rhythm', as I call it, is easier for me to write than the more 'longwinded' routes I tried with 'WAIR' and 'BBR'. I will put 'Broken Boy's Requiem' on HIATUS for now as I think I will find my rhythm with that one some day soon. 'WAIR' on the other hand is a different story. If anyone wishes to take over the fic, please let me know. I will be taking it down in about a months time (by the time I finish this fic) so if possible, let me know before then.

I hope you all understand and I am really sorry everyone that I could not continue with 'WAIR'.

This fic will have the same 'rhythm' as 'Life as I know it' in that from Chapter 3 onward, it will be a chapter to represent a year and a chapter to represent a summer, etc.

The more intimate relationship between Harry and Severus will not happen before the last few chapters of the fic – as in LAIKI. Until then however, they will (and do) have a very unique relationship.

Read to find out more! :)

Chapter 1

The hallway leading to the Grand Hall in Malfoy Mansion was almost as wide as it was long. It looked like just another room, not merely a hallway.

Severus Snape had been in the house so many times that he could most probably tell you exactly how many paintings lined each wall without having ever counted them. He was proud of the way his mind worked and how organized his thoughts and memories were. Unconsciously calculating any and every detail in such a closed off space with a mere glance.

He could remember the first time he entered this mansion, the sheer awe he felt that such a place was, indeed, a home; an abode for a family of three. He knew that some of the rooms had remained closed for decades and that some of the staircases would be gathering dust if not for the work of the house elves.

Severus forced himself to concentrate on the here and now. It was never a good idea to let your mind wander when you were on enemy territory. Even though the fact that he saw this specific place of residence, as the 'enemy' was part of his best kept secret, he could not take the chance to relax a little and walk blindly into a trap.

The evening's activities had been planned well in advance and it was not the first time Severus attended one such meeting.

The way that people would unashamedly exhibit themselves and their slaves was close to nauseating. It was not the concept of having a slave that caused him to turn his head, no, it was the fact that childrenwere involved.

He himself preferred the consensual Dominant and submissive partnership over that of a Master and a slave but he could still live with the idea of both as long as it did not involve children. That was where he drew the line.

Scanning the room's occupants, Severus repressed a shudder of revulsion as he saw a rotund woman pushing her slave-boy down on his knees non-too-gently before spreading her legs with not a care to the voyeurs around her.

The child looked no older than thirteen and had to be one of the youngest Severus had ever seen here in Malfoy mansion.

Severus stopped dead in his tracks when he took in the scene in front of him and had to rectify his last thought. No, thirteen was not even close to the age of the young boy in front of him.

The boy was knelt down next to one of the more vicious Masters Severus knew and rage boiled inside him as he thought of what the youngster had most likely endured at the hand of Damen Nott. Severus could not help but marvel at how the meaning of the man's name could be applied to him today – taming. For Severus was certain that Damen's goal was to first tamethe young boy and then break him. It was his way.

The last of Severus's precarious hold on his emotions snapped as the man ruthlessly shoved the boy out of the way when an older slave approached him. It was clear that Damen did not care one whit about the boy – either of them – but to treat his own slave in that way was beyond reproach.

Eyes turned towards him as he made his way to Damen Nott and the two slaves. Lucius caught his eye and Severus was glad to see that the man was not going to stop him from doing this.

It had been a long time since Severus had used physical violence but he could not help but feel a thrill as he pulled his arm back and punched the despicable man in the nose.

Severus grabbed the young boy, who he estimated around 9 years old and with the small hand held tight in his, made his way through the crowd and out of the room. No one tried to stop him; no one even pointed a finger. They all knew him better than to try something like that.

He was not certain just where to go with the boy but knew he wanted him as far away from Damen Nott as possible.

The hand he held was turning clammy but Severus just held tighter. After reaching the boundaries of the mansion, Severus turned the boy towards him and with both hands on his shoulder, he apperated them both to his house at Spinner's end.

The boy looked a bit disconcerted after the journey, even a bit scared but he did not say anything. A fact that Severus marveled at, as he knew just how much youngsters liked to babble – scared ones even more so.

Severus pulled off his coat and turned to the kitchen – he could do with a cup of hot coffee right now.

The youngster followed him without prompt but Severus did not say anything. He was certain that such behavior was the result of months of beatings, if not years. Damen Nott was a man who would want anything and everything done for him at a moment's notice, maybe even without.

"Things will be different here than what you are used to. The door next to this one leads to your room, yes; you will have your own room, your own bed and your privacy." Severus did not look up as he said this for he knew that he would snap as soon as he saw the boy's expression.

"Next to your room is the bathroom, make use of the facilities whenever you need to. Do not come to me when you need to use the facilities, you are free to use them without asking permission first. Across the hall is another door, that is my private store and study, you will not enter there unless I tell you to. Down the hall, the very last door on the right is my room. You will not enter there under any circumstances."

Severus turned around with his cup held firmly in his hands to see how the boy had taken all this. The surprised expression on his face was expected and Severus sneered at the hope lurking in those bright green eyes. No, he was not going to be the boy's savior or whatever other notion the little brat had. He would just make sure the boy had a place to sleep where no new nightmares could come from – the old ones they would have to deal with at another time.

"I will contact the headmaster of Hogwarts tomorrow to see if he can arrange any permanent lodgings for you. Until then however, you are stuck here. Get used to it."

With that, Severus stepped passed the still silently staring boy and made his way to his room.

He had no idea what to do with the brat now that he had him away from Damen Nott, but he knew that whatever happened now, he would not regret his decision.

It was the right thing to do.

Harry looked around him in awe. He had never had his own room before! Before his uncle left him with his Master, Harry lived in a little cupboard under the stairs. When his Master took him, he lived in the same room as his Master, the same bed. On the other hand, when his Master was displeased, he lived in the attic where a few rats had made friends with him.

His world, turned upside down in the matter of minutes, and Harry wasn't sure what to think of it.

He didn't even know his new Master's name! Not that he would ever call him by the name…. he shuddered as he thought of the pain such and action would cause. No, no, best just to keep thinking of him as Master and worry about the other problem later.

The fact that his new Master had not asked him any direct questions was both a blessing and a curse. Master had taken him from Master Damen, for which Harry was really grateful, but he couldn't help but feel worried about what his new Master would do when he found out Harry's problem. He didn't know just how far he could push his Master before he snapped, and he knew that the man was close to snapping already.

The expression on his Master's face said everything.

Harry looked at the huge bed in the corner of the room and couldn't help but smile as he thought of having his very own bed. It was like a dream come true.

Chasing any thoughts of apprehension for what tomorrow would bring away, Harry climbed in bed and forced himself to have this one night of calm, restful sleep.

Harry surveyed his appearance in the bathroom mirror. He remembered how uncle Vernon would rant and rave at him and his freakish scar, how the man would insist that Harry get rid of the disfigurement before they went out to buy something for Dudley or the few times he was dragged with them to church. When his scar disappeared the first time, Harry freaked out a bit but the way his uncle had given him a disgusted but satisfied nod pushed any lingering fears of what it meant to the back of his mind.

The day that Damen bought Harry, his scar was not visible and Harry kept it hidden ever since. He sometimes felt tired if he stayed up later than eight or nine but it was getting easier to maintain his 'scarless' forehead while staying awake into the night.

With his new Master, Harry didn't know what to expect. The man would surely notice if he suddenly had a new scar on his forehead and then he would start asking questions about how a freak such as Harry could make it disappear or appear at will. No, no, better to leave things at it were, the fewer questions asked, the better. He had learned that the hard way – at both his uncle's hands as well as Master Damen's.

Finishing up in the bathroom, Harry made his way back to his bedroom to make sure everything there was clean and tidy. He could hear his new Master's bedroom door open and quickly scrambled out of his own room to assist the man in any way he can.

His new Master looked at him with a scowl but otherwise ignored him. Harry really didn't mind, the few times his uncle or other Master ignored him were the best times he remembered.

Still, he followed his Master as the man made his way to the kitchen and Harry quickly stepped up next to the man as he put the kettle on. It had been a while since Harry last used a stove to boil water but he didn't mind. His Master looked down at him and with what sounded like a long-suffering sigh he stepped out of the way and Harry happily took over from his Master.

"I would hazard a guess that you are a muggle, correct?"

Harry heard his Master's voice and words but he had no idea what the man was talking about. Muggle?

"That frown on your face gives me all the answer I need. I take it Damen found you somewhere on the streets or something?"

Harry looked up as if to answer – one way or another, but quickly ducked his head. He had almost broken the fundamental rule when dealing with his Master and his betters. Never look your Master in the eye unless given express permission.

The second most important rule was, for Harry, even more fundamental that the first. Forced into his brain from a young age, Harry even had it written down on a piece of paper that he always carried in his pocket. One day he forgot to take it from the pocket of the trousers he had worn the previous day and it just happened to be on such a day that his Master asked him what the rules were. Because of his problem, he couldn't answer his Master aloud and not having his paper with the rules on with him had earned him one of his worst punishments ever.

Harry took the paper out of his pocket now and read over it again – he knew it by heart but it still helped to go over it every now and again.

The second most important rule stood out to him and Harry read over it repeatedly.

Remember your five "P's"
Proper Preparation Prevents Pitiable Proceedings

Harry shuddered as he thought about the times he had not 'Prepared' himself or his Master properly and suffered the consequences.

A shadow fell over him and Harry looked up, then he gulped. His Master did not look pleased!

"Just what exactly is so important that you would rather give your attention to than listen to me?"

Shivering at the furious tone, Harry lowered his head to his chest while presenting the paper to his Master.

Cool fingers snatched the paper from his hand and Harry dared not move.

Severus read over the paper with a scowl on his face. A snarl worked its way from his throat but Severus didn't care, not even when the boy flinched violently back.

Most of the monsters who where at the Malfoy mansion the previous evening liked to pick up boys from the muggle streets. It was just another way for them to confirm their superiority over the muggles. Damen, Severus knew, did not care who he took as his personal toy and from the way the boy acted, Severus knew he had been with Nott for at least half a year.

The ruleswritten on the piece of paper in Severus's hands made his blood boil.

It was already despicable to take the innocence of such a young boy but to have him live by such strict rules was even worse.

The implications of the second rule was something Severus really did not want to think about – he knew Nott was vicious but to not even prepare someone, someone you penetrated on a regular basis was cruel beyond words.

If the boy was too ill or too tired to do the preparation himself, Severus knew in his gut that no preparation would take place.

Severus looked up at the boy and knew he would have to take things slow at the beginning. Starting with names…

"My name is Severus Snape. You may call me Sir. Master Snape would also be acceptable."

Waiting for the boy to reply in any way, by either stating his own name or at least acknowledging his statement, Severus was sorely disappointed when the boy said nothing.

"You are allowed to speak child."


Severus suppressed a growl but calmed himself and once again addressed the boy.

"I would appreciate it if you would answer me when I talk to you. It is rude to ignore other people when they are addressing you."

Severus stretched over the table to grab hold of the kettle – his tea was almost finished – but the boy quickly handed it over without Severus having to strain himself.

The boy shifted nervously and Severus realized he had yet to hear an answer from the boy.

Looking up, Severus could see color rising in the boy's cheeks but he received his answer to his puzzlement over that when the boy opened his mouth as if to say something but nothing came out.

Severus looked closely at the boy and the child repeated his actions, this time pointing at his throat as well while pulling his shoulders up and holding his hands palms up by his shoulders, as if to say, "I don't know what to do."

"You can't speak".

It was not really a question but the boy nodded nonetheless.

"Have you ever been able to speak?"

This time the boy seemed uncertain but he nodded his head with a puzzled look on his face.

"You were very young when you lost your voice and are thus not certain if you were able to speak or not."

The boy nodded his head this time and Severus suppressed another snarl.

"I will see if there's anything I can do about that. In the meantime, there are things I will need to tell you, about myself and the world I live in."

Severus could see the puzzled frown on the boy's face and was for a moment thankful that the boy could not speak but then he scolded himself for the thought. No one deserved that.

"What I am about to tell you will sound strange, crazy and as far-fetched as any story you have ever heard. It is, however, the truth.

I am a Potions Master and a Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. My mother was a witch and my father a muggle. Muggle is the term used for people with no magical abilities, people like you. When I turned eleven, I received a letter from Hogwarts, which invited me to study at the school where I then learned how to be a wizard and qualified after seven years of studying.

The reason I am telling you is that I have no idea how long you will be staying here and people may sometimes just appear in the house either by apparating – appearing and disappearing in the blink of an eye – or by floo – a powder used to transport you from one fireplace to another.

Most of them will not harm you in any way, shape or form. However, people like Lucius Malfoy – I believe you know him, he also has access to the house and it will be best to stay clear of him.

Now, I am going to work on some potions that the Mediwitch at the school will need by September. You may wander around the house – not that there is much to see – and you may read any of the books on the bottom two shelves of that bookcase over there. The other shelves have wards on it that will prevent you from even touching them so you won't be able to read any of them."

With that, Severus swept out of the room. Such a blessing, he thought to himself, no interruptions or questions.

Harry stood stock still after his Master left the room. Confused by everything the man said, Harry shook his head a bit, but knew better than to try to convey his confusion.

Most of what the man had said did not make any sense to him but Harry did understand the basics. Stay in the house and read. Harry loved reading so he had no problem with that order and quickly made his way to the shelves at which his Master had pointed.

On the bottom shelves there were mostly novels of the muggle variety. Harry liked that word. Muggle, it had quite a nice ring to it. The second row however contained books that Harry was certain he would never find in normal bookshops; books about potions, charms, transfigurations – whatever that was – and many more.

Deciding to indulge in his curiosity, Harry took one of the charms books off the second shelve and made himself comfortable on the floor next to the bookcase.

Time passed by without him noticing and Harry was startled from his readings when a shadow fell over him. Gulping he looked up into the fathomless black eyes of his Master. He tried to decipher the man's expression but failed, the man's face was absolutely blank.

"It is time for lunch, follow me."

Harry cringed as he heard this – he would have to think of something to make that didn't take a lot of time. Harry knew what came next; displeased by not having his lunch ready in time - and even worse now that he had to come and collect Harry himself – his Master had the right to dole out any punishment he saw fit, and Harry knew it.

As he entered the kitchen, Harry quickly looked around for the fridge but could not see it anywhere.

Master Snape was looking at him with a bit of a frown but then the man's expression cleared again.

"You are not in any trouble for not making lunch. You should however keep a watch on the time and make sure you do not skip a meal. You are too thin to start with and I will not have you starving in my house."

Harry looked at the man with wide confused eyes but when the man pointed at one of the chairs, he took his seat.

A loud 'popping' sound startled Harry and he jumped in his seat when a strange looking creature appeared next to him. With the creature came some plates with various foods and two goblets that the little creature placed on the table.

Harry looked at the food on the table, then looked at the creature that had carried it in, looked at his Master and then down to his plate. He really had no idea what was going on but the smell of all the food made him realize how hungry he was.

With an arched brow, his Master started serving himself. After three minutes of uncomfortable silence his Master spoke.

"Well, what are you waiting for? The food will not jump into your plate no matter how much you might wish it. You have two perfectly fine hands, dish them up yourself."

Harry looked askance at his Master but after another pointed look at his plate and then at his hands, Harry took the hint and dished some food up for himself. Not a lot, mind, he was not supposed to eat a lot or he would gain weight and Masters did not like fat boys.

A sigh came from across the table but Harry did not raise his eyes from his plate. If there were something his Master was not happy with, Harry was sure he would know soon enough. He wondered if his new Master also had a belt with teeth glued to it…

"I have to finish the potion I started this morning, you may once again either read or explore the house but remember the two rooms you are not allowed in."

Harry watched his Master leave the room and breathed a quiet sigh of relief.

He really liked it alone in the room, any room. When his Master wasn't in the room, it was less likely for him to receive punishment for something. It never stopped the punishments but at least he knew nothing would happen right then.

The air in the library felt a bit different from that morning, almost as if it was welcoming him back. Shaking the feeling off as his imagination – he was a bit nutty but not thatcrazy! – Harry made his way back to his charms book and continued reading.

Master Severus called him a muggle, Harry remembered, but still, the prospect of doing something as amazing as magicfueled his determination to try it himself.

Looking over the page in the book again, Harry read the charm once again before closing his eyes. He practiced the wand movement in the air – not that he knew what a wand was but it couldn't be anything bad, could it? – and then repeated the words of the charm in his mind as clearly as he could.

Wingardium Leviosa

Taking another deep breath, Harry slowly opened his eyes and didn't know whether to be disappointed or relieved to see that absolutely nothing happened.

The book said it was a levitation charm – once again, Harry did not know exactly what it meant – but other than that, the book didn't say much except the incantation and wand movements.

Harry thought wand movement might mean how fast or slow or how flowing or jerky the movement was but he couldn't be sure.

As for levitation, Harry had no idea what it meant but as it was in one of the books he could to read, he knew it couldn't be anything too bad. He also knew he had heard the word before so he was pretty sure it was a muggle word.

So, now he had his answer to whether or not he really was a muggle. Disappointed but not really surprised by the outcome, Harry returned to his reading.

He could always continue to wish and dream, couldn't he?

The thought of hiding his scar had given him a bit of hope that maybe, just maybe he was also a wizard and not merely a muggle. After this little exercise however, where he used the knowledge he got from a book, something that was fact, something that other wizards and witches used, something that should work, after this he had no doubts. His 'scar hiding' ability was most probably, he realized, something that really did make him a freak as his uncle always told him.

A week after Master Snape had taken him from the Malfoy mansion, Harry was still living with the man.

He could see that his presence did not please to the man, but was thankful that his Master did not turn him away.

He had worked through the charms book he read the first few days there and Harry was currently busy with the Potions text. The Charms book contained a lot of theoretical knowledge about the history of charms and the way spells were first developed. The potions book on the other hand contained mostly rules and regulations about Potions ingredients and 'The complex and intricate art of potions making'.

There were many facts about the consistency of cut ingredients, the level of succulence against dryness of the ingredients as well as the timing of stirs. Not that Harry understood even half of the contents in the book!

It made for an interesting read nonetheless.

There was nothing in the book about the level of 'magical power' necessary for the preparation of a potion, and that fact appealed to him. Was it possible for him to make a potion? A muggle? If he ever worked up the courage to ask his Master, he would know, but not before.

"I am pleased to see that you are at least doing something productive with your time – though you will not be able to benefit from your newly gained knowledge, I am certain your vocabulary has at least improved - though it is doubtful."

Harry had gotten used to his Master's way of speaking and the hurtful words did not affect him. Nodding his head in acknowledgement of the man's statement, Harry quickly closed the book and stood. His Master never sought him out without reason so Harry knew there was a cause for the man's presence.

"My godson will be joining us for dinner; I believe you have met him, Draco Malfoy."

It really should not have surprised him as much as it did but Harry could not stop the instinctive flinch the name caused. Not Draco, no, but Malfoy.

"Yes, Lucius Malfoy is his father. Draco however, is not his father and you will do good to remember that."

The chastising words made Harry lower his head while he nodded his understanding.

"Good. If possible, do not let Draco know about your background, that your Master was Damen Nott or that you are a muggle. He will not be pleased with this knowledge."

Harry could hear in his Master's voice that the man himself did not welcome those facts, and he ducked his head in shame. He had really hoped that he was also magical and could therefore benefit his Master in one way if no other. It puzzled Harry that his Master had yet to 'invite' him to his bed but he would not let his guard down. One never knew with a Master.

"I have devised a temporary solution to your little problem." Spoken as if something vile had lodged itself in his throat, Master Snape looked down at Harry with a sneer.

This time the words actually hurt. Not that Harry would show it of course, but it was unmistakable what the pang he felt was.

Most people he knew blamed him for his own condition. He himself felt that way most of the time but sometimes, sometimes he could convince himself that he was not the one to blame. That Master Snape felt the same so did not come as a real surprise but it still hurt!

"Hold this to your temples. I will perform a charm that will connect the quill to your thoughts and when you direct your thoughts to the quill, it will write it down. It is a lot quicker than having you writing everything out, and will at least be legible."

Harry knew better than to react in any way other than thankful and nodded his head in appreciation.

Severus watched the boy as he tested the quill's reliability. It was an insult to Severus's spell casting abilities but as the boy was a muggle and could not hope to comprehend their way of life, Severus let the incident slide.

It had been a week of blessed silence and he could sometimes forget that the boy was even there. Silence such as he had never experience before when working with children fell between them every time they were in the same room. Not that it was very surprising, considering the boy was mute, but Severus had to admit, if only to himself, that it was unnerving to see a child that quiet.

A very unfamiliar feeling crept up in him and Severus savagely squashed it down before it could overwhelm him. So what if he did not know the boy's name, the boy had only been there for a week and they rarely occupied the same room. When they found themselves in the same room, Severus called him boy or he just started talking – no one else was in the house after all.

The more he squashed the feeling down the more his thoughts focused on that issue.

He would have to ask the boy his name – if only to calm that inner voice that refused to shut up!

Draco would arrive in less than an hour so Severus quickly made his way to the brat's room. Thinking about what a disaster could transpire if his godson arrived and Severus was not able to introduce the two boys by name... Severus shuddered at the thought.

Knocking three times, Severus waited five seconds before opening the door. They would have to work something else out for a situation like this. If the boy dressed while someone knocked on the door… Severus could just imagine the awkward scene.

The boy sat cross-legged on his bed with a potions book open on his lap. After the third time he found the boy falling asleep over the book in the library, he had granted the boy permission to take the book to his room.

"Draco will be arriving in less than an hour and I will introduce the two of you. It would certainly be beneficial if I knew your name."

There was no chance that Severus was going to apologize for not asking this question before. The boy would just have to live with it.

Out of the corner of his eye, Severus could see the charmed quill jump to life and write something down on a piece of parchment. The boy made a move to get off the bed but Severus waved him aside and strode over to the desk where the quill had dropped about three seconds after the boy directed his thoughts at it.

The parchment had only four words on it:

My name is Harry

Severus scowled at the piece of parchment as if blaming it for the lack of information.

"That did not help much boy. What is your surname?"

The mere idea of calling the boy 'Harry' set his teeth on edge. 'Harry' was the Potter brat's name. One 'Harry' in his life would already be one too many and he resolved himself to call both by their surnames.

The quill started scratching again but Severus did not even finish reading the sentence.

I don't know what my sur…was enough for Severus to know that he would not receive the answer he wanted.

"Then I suggest you come up with a surname for yourself within the next ten minutes for I will not introduce you to my godson as 'Harry Nobody'."

The quill wrote out Yes Master Snapeand Severus snarled at it in disgust.

He should have left the option of calling him 'Master Snape' out of their discussion earlier that week but it did no good to cry over spilt milk.

Even though he had given the boy permission to call him 'Master Snape', the reason for that was not what the boy would think. Severus vowed to himself never to take on a child as a submissive and he was grateful for the fact that he had never heardthat phrase directed at him by one so young.

Harry forced his hands to keep still as Draco Malfoy entered the room. He would not fidget! The boy was the split image of his father, long slender neck, an aristocratic look about him, and white-blonde hair and grey eyes with specks of silver.

"Draco, this is my house guest for the foreseeable future, Harry Patterson. Mr Patterson, meet my godson, Draco Malfoy."

The blonde stuck his hand out and Harry hesitated a moment. A sharp look from his Master made him grasp the hand in a strong grip.

"It is a pleasure to meet you. I expect we will be seeing a lot of each other." The Malfoy heir sent a questioning glance at his godfather who nodded his head once.

After a minute of uncomfortable silence, Master Snape led the two of them to the dining room.

"Do not take offence Draco, that Mr Patterson did not return your greetings. The fault lies with the fact that he is mute."

Harry ducked his head in shame as both his dinner companions looked at him. He hated being the center of attention and even more so now. Having his Master's undivided attention in such a setting was unnerving to say the least.

Dinner went by in strained silence, only broken by the clink of silverware on plates. As the three made their way to the living-room area, Harry could hear Malfoy speaking in low tones to his Master.

"Mother and Father will not be home until the early morning hours. I am to return by midnight."

Relief flooded through Harry as he realized the boy would not be spending the night. Just the thought of sleeping under the same roof as a Malfoy (again), sent shivers down his spine.

"I will endeavor to have you home no later than 23:30. We would not want your parents to reconsider their decision of allowing you to come visit when you wish so."

Godfather and godson continued their conversation as they took their seats and there was soon a feeling of calm ease settling over the room.

Two of the occupants conversing easily with an air of familiarity hanging over them while the third sat on the floor next to the bookcase. Harry had never felt the pang of regret as strong as he did then. 'Would it even have made a difference?' he thought to himself. If I had a voice and could contribute to the conversation, would it have made a difference to how I feel and to this setting?

The answer was quite easy to see when he looked over at his Master and Malfoy. No, it would have made absolutely no difference at all. After all, what difference could a freak like him make?

The low murmur of conversation grated on Harry's nerves and he just wished that he could have his blessed silence back. When it was just his Master and himself, silence was almost a given; now though, now the hum of voices was distracting to say the least.

Harry imagined himself alone in the library, as it had been for a week. He imagined the silence that was only broken by the pattering of dishes far off in the distance. Silence wrapped around him in a comfortable blanket, Harry didn't even realize when his thoughts turned into reality, and all sounds of conversation were cut off from around him.

Severus leaned back in his chair as the latest topic of conversation depleted itself. As competent a conversationalist his godson might be, he still had the mind of a child and his interests could not hold Severus's attention for more than an hour.

A look at the bookcase confirmed that his charge was still deeply engrossed in some reading or another. A sharp pang went through Severus but he ignored it. There was nothing upsetting about the setting so why should he feel anything about it?

After another attempt at conversation, Draco finally gave up on him and Severus could see that the boy was contemplating going over to the other young boy in the room.

Standing up, Severus strode over to Patterson and was just about to snap the boy's name out – if only to see him jump – when he felt the distinct hum of magic in the air. A closer step to the boy and silence enveloped Severus. The shuffling of Draco's feet – something that would have earned a harsh look from his father – cut off as Severus stepped closer to the boy on the floor.

Bright green eyes blinked up at him and Severus stepped back just in time to avoid collision with the boy's head. The brat had the tendency to jump to attention whenever Severus approached him – something that was most probably dilled into his head.

Giving the brat a hard look, Severus skimmed the boy's surface thoughts. He vowed not to delve deeper into his mind unless absolutely necessary, but thankfully it was not. The boy did not even realize he was doing magic subconsciously. The silencing charm was the result of a deep wish for silence.

"We will have a long talk tomorrow Mr Patterson. For now, go wash up and get ready for bed. You look dead on your feet." And it was the truth. The boy had a glassy eyed look about him and even as he walked from the room, a huge yawn stretched over his face. Severus wondered for how long the boy had maintained the silencing charm as it could be very taxing, especially on one so young and wandless as well.

Draco gave him a questioning look but Severus ignored it and resigned himself to another hour of his godson's inane babbling.

End Chapter 1

For those of you who don't know me yet, English is NOT my first language. Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes!

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