Whelp II -- The Wrath of Snape
Disclaimer: None of this is mine. Honest. She's rich, blond and British. I'm not.
A/N: I've skipped only a few days between the last scene of Whelp and the first scene of Whelp II -- The Wrath of Snape. If you haven't read Whelp before looking at this story . . . well, why not? Really, you should, 'cause otherwise, you're gonna be plenty lost. To all those coming back for the sequel . . . Hope you enjoy the ride. Love and hugs!
The children started entering the Great Hall, and Harry could hardly keep from bouncing in his chair. But he knew he had to stay quiet and behave himself like a proper gentleman or he'd be sent to his room instead, and he really, really wanted to stay. For one thing, he was sitting next to his father, and he always liked to be near him; it made him feel safer than anywhere else. And secondly, he wanted to see Charlie again, and Father had promised he would be at dinner.
This was the first time Harry had been to dinner in the Great Hall. He 'd had lunch with Father and some of the staff -- and even Mrs. Weasley and Ron and Charlie -- before, but the room was so full now. And noisy. And lit with thousands of bright candles that floated overhead, in the midst of a deep dark sky filled with stars. The tables were set with glittering golden goblets in plates, and the faces of the students shone like lanterns in the candlelight. It was beautiful.
Father looked over at him when his knees started shaking, and put one of his narrow-fingered hands over Harry's where he had them laced together on the table top. "All right, Harry?" he asked. His voice was smooth and rich, and the way he said Harry's name made him want to smile. Father was the first person he remembered ever saying his name like that. Like he cared. Like he really wanted to know if Harry was all right.
"Yes, si -- er, yes, Father." He'd almost messed up again. He did that when he was upset sometimes, or scared, but Father never yelled at him when he made the mistake of calling him "sir" instead. Sometimes he looked terribly disappointed, though, and Harry hated that. It always made him feel small and stupid, like he still deserved to be locked in a cupboard and screamed at by Uncle Vernon.
"We can leave, if you want," Father said softly. "I can have Nelli stay with you downstairs. There are a lot more people here that you're used to."
Harry shook his head. He didn't want to go. He wanted to stay. But sometimes, everything was just overwhelming. "I'm all right, Father," he said. "Honest."
Father's brows dipped down into a small frown, but then he nodded and let it go. The tables were almost full up, now, and Harry saw a flash of bright red hair amongst the sea of new faces. He sat up straighter, and lifted his hand in a little wave. At the table on the far left of the room, Charlie grinned at him and waved back.
A warm feeling infused Harry. He leaned back in his chair and relaxed.
"Happy now?" Father asked, with a twitch to his lips that Harry knew was like his laugh. "You see he's not forgotten you."
Harry nodded, a contented smile on his face. His Charlie was back. Maybe they could play Quidditch tomorrow, or Esploden Snape, and he could show Charlie the new passageway he'd found with Fern on the third floor, behind the statue of a witch with a humpback. Fern hadn't let him go dow n the passageway, but he bet that he could, with Charlie there. Then they could have tea with Hagrid and talk about dragons again. Harry loved the idea of dragons, but until Charlie started asking Hagrid all he knew about them and how to train them, he'd never actually thought they might be real! Now he really wanted to see one for himself, but Father said that was Not Going to Happen.
Peering out at the tables again, Harry saw Charlie talking with a boy to his left, with dark hair and a tanned face. Both were laughing, and Harry frowned at them, wondering what they were saying. Were they talking about dragons?
"Ah. Look there," Father said, and gestured with his chin toward a door to the side of the table. "Here comes Professor McGonagall."
"What's that?" Harry asked, and pointed at her. Professor McGonagall set down a small stool and put a battered cone of cloth on top of it.
"That is the Sorting Hat," Father said.
"What's it do?"
Harry looked up at his father, the dark, fathomless eyes suppressing mirth. What kinds of things did the hat sort? he wanted to ask, but when Father got all mysterious like this, it was usually because he wanted Harry to see something without any "preconceived notions," whatever those were. But sometimes, he just liked to see Harry be surprised. Harry figured it wouldn't be anything scary, because Father knew not to surprise Harry with scary things.
Harry was going to change his mind, though, when the Professor left for a moment and then came back into the Great Hall, leading a line of terrified looking new students. Some of them were whiter in the face than Sir Nicholas, and at least one of them was actually crying.
"What's gonna happen to them, Daddy?" Harry whispered.
Father gave him a sharp look, and then squeezed his hands with his one strong one. "Don't worry, Harry," he said just as softly. "Nothing will hurt them at all. It's just a little test."
Harry swallowed and nodded. He trusted his father. Had to. Father had rescued him bunches of times, from Mr. Filch, from the squid and from the Dursleys, and he was the only person in the world who had promised over and over to keep Harry safe.
Right after the line of new students halted in front of the head table, to Harry's amazement, a slit opened in the side of the Hat and it started to sing! Harry didn't understand all the words of its song, but he heard the names of the Houses, like Father had taught him: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw. Father was in charge of Slytherin, and he said snakes were the best of the lot. Harry, who very much liked snakes, especially the ones he had talked with, had to agree.
When the Hat was done singing, there was a lot of clapping from the tables of students, and even from the head table. Then Professor McGonagall stepped forward with a scroll in her hands, which she unrolled. She looked over the line of new students and nodded. "When I read your name, you will come up here, put on the Hat and sit on the stool to be sorted. Abbott, Sarah."
A girl with long blond hair done in one wide pigtail down her back jerked forward as if pulled by an invisible string and stood next to the stool. The Professor lifted the Hat briefly, so the girl could sit down, and when she had, the Hat went on her head. The girl sat rigidly on the stool, her hands clasped together in front of her, for a few seconds, which seemed like an eternity to Harry. What was the Hat doing?
Suddenly, the Hat yelled out, "HUFFLEPUFF!" and there was cheering from one of the tables, and some good natured clapping from some of the other students. Sarah Abbott jumped off the stool, with a big grin on her face, and hurried over to the table that was cheering for her.
"See, Harry," Father said. "They're just being sorted into their Houses. No one's being hurt."
Harry grinned back at him, almost wishing he was going to be sorted, 'cause he could then be in his father's house, and be one of his precious snakes.
The rest of the students were sorted, but the only ones Harry paid attention to were the ones who ended up in Slytherin -- like Marcus Flint, Terrence Higgs, and Persephone Urquhart -- as well as Percival Weasley, Charlie's little brother, who ended up in Gryffindor. Percy -- as Charlie called him -- didn't smile like his brother, all teeth and dimples, but rather forcefully, Harry thought, almost as though smiling hurt his face.
The Headmaster, Professor Dumbledore, got up and stood at a podium in front of the head table, as Professor McGonagall put the Hat and stool away. He had the widest smile of anyone in the room as he held open his arms. "Welcome back, to our returning students, and a hearty welcome to our first years! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words, and here they are: Shoe! Megaphone! Grindylow! Tweak!
"Thank you!" He sat down and everyone clapped and cheered.
Harry looked up at his father, who had sighed and shaken his head. "Father?"
"Don't worry, Harry," Father said. "I'm sure his madness is not catching."
Harry smiled a little, sure his father was joking, and then he jumped half out of his chair when the table was suddenly awash with bowls and platters, piled high with food. Roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops, Yorkshire pudding, sausages, bacon and steak, roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, fries and peas, carrots, gravy and . . . Harry stared at it all. He had never seen so much food in one place before. He could almost taste it already, the crisp edges of the potatoes, the salt of the gravy and the sweet green peas . . .
"What would you like?" Father asked, breaking Harry out of his almost-trance. Harry looked at him again and shook his head, not knowing what to say. Father gave him a small smile and put a little of everything on his plate, then, before Harry could even ask, cut up the meat for him into bites he could spear with his fork.
"You'll want to close your mouth," Father said quietly, "and maybe pick up a fork."
Embarrassed, Harry quickly did as Father said, and dug into his food. Everything was delicious. He lost himself in the sensation of food, mountains of it, tender meat and crisp vegetables and the slick, creamy gravy. Eyes closed at one point, he startled when Father dabbed at his face with a cloth serviette to remove some potatoes from his cheek. But Father didn't call him out on his lack of manners, for which he was grateful.
Hagrid sat on Harry's other side, and he went through four plates of food before Harry got halfway through his one. Harry watched the huge man eat, and saw crumbs of bread and potatoes and even drips of gravy get caught in the scraggly beard. He wondered if that was how Hagrid saved food for later. Harry always just sneaked them out in a serviette.
When everyone had eaten their fill, the remains of the dinner faded from the plates, leaving them sparkling clean again. An instant later, they were replaced by pudding of every kind Harry could imagine. Blocks of ice cream in dozens of flavors, apple pie and cherry pie and strawberries with chocolate for dipping, eclairs and jam donuts and trifle and treacle tarts, spotted dick with custard and rice pudding and bread pudding and fig cake.
Harry's eyes were wide as he took it all in.
"You may choose two," Father said. "I have no desire to be up all night soothing your sick stomach."
Harry nodded. "Can I--"
Wrinkling his nose at the reminder, Harry started again, "May I have treacle tart?"
"Yes," Father said and put a slice of it on Harry's plate. "And one other. If you want."
"Is that how you ask?"
Harry winced. "No, Father. May I have that ice cream, too?" and he pointed at the block of white with black flecks in it.
"Of course." He scooped up a serving of that, as well, and settled it on top of the tart. "Excitement over a big dinner is no reason to let propriety slide," he murmured, and Harry nodded.
"Yes, Father. I'm sorry."
Father gave him one of his pleased smiles, a curving of the left side of his mouth. "Better start in, before the two melt together."
Harry giggled at the very idea, and took up a spoon. The ice cream was cold and smooth, the tart still warm, with a flaky pastry that melted in his mouth.
"Good?" Father asked.
Harry nodded, his mouth still full, and Father winked at him.
Beside Harry, Hagrid was drinking down his third cup of wine with a slurp. The smell of the drink bothered him, but he didn't say anything, just ate his pudding and drank some more pumpkin juice. Father said pumpkin juice was very important for growing boys to drink, though he made Harry have milk at breakfast. Even though he very much wanted to finish, he could only eat about half his tart before his belly was full to the point of aching. He stopped before eating any more, not wanting his father to have to "soothe a sick stomach" tonight.
the puddings, too, disappeared, and the Headmaster rose again. The
whole room quieted, with nary a clink of silver or a cough or a
giggle. "Just another few words now that we are all fed and
watered," he said. "I have a few start of term notices to
give you. First years should note that the forest on the grounds is
forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do
well to remember
that as well." Dumbledore's twinkling eyes flashed in the direction of the Gryffindor table, and there was some soft laughter from those students.
"I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors."
With a twitch, Harry's gaze was drawn to a sudden movement near the back entrance to the Great Hall, where a lank haired man with a ferocious scowl stood, holding a large cat in his arms. Mr. Filch. Oh, no. He could feel the trembles start in his arms and legs, even before his gaze connected with that of the man who had grabbed him and hurt him and threatened to put him back in chains. All he saw in the man's face was hate so raw it made him scoot back as far as he could into his chair.
Father's arm was around him a second later, and his head was bent low over Harry's head. "It's all right," he whispered, but there was a thread of suppressed rage in Father's voice that made Harry more fearful than comforted. "Harry, it's all right; he won't hurt you. I'll make sure of it."
Harry shook his head, even as Dumbledore continued, unaware of the drama playing out behind him, "Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of the term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch. And finally, I must tell you that for the next two months, the lakeshore is off limits to students, while our Squid recovers from a nasty bout of appendage fragmentation."
"Wanna go, Daddy," Harry pleaded, burrowing his face in his father's robes. Mr. Filch was going to kill him, or string him up in chains and beat him, he just knew it. "Wanna go home."
"I know, I know. Just a minute more, Harry, I'm sorry."
Dumbledore had turned around at last, and was saying, "--introduce to you our new Potions Master, Professor Severus Snape. I hope you make him and his son, Harry, very welcome here. Professor Snape will also be the Head of Slytherin House."
There was a scatter of applause, mainly from the Slytherin table, but Harry barely heard it. His face was held close against Father's chest, and the arms around him were strong, as he let Father hold him, in front of everyone. Father half rose from his seat and gave a short bow, before pulling Harry fully into his lap as he sat back down.
"Hush, now, Harry. I'm here," he kept murmuring. "I will always protect you."
His hands tightened their grip in Father's robes, though, and after only a few moments more, like he promised, Father lifted him up and carried him through the door nearest the head table.
Father was the only in the world who had ever saved him.
Harry had to trust him to keep him safe.
A/N: Whelp II -- The Wrath of Snape is finally here! This tale will follow Harry and Snape as they both start life at Hogwarts, with lots of exciting explorations, achievements, and tons of things that can go wrong when you throw a magically gifted 7 year old into a super magic playhouse.
Thanks to everyone who's read and reviewed through out Whelp's development! I hope you enjoy this book, too.