Victus per Reproba Monumentum by Firefly5151
Disclaimer: No characters were harmed in the making of this story and they were returned to their rightful owner, J.K.R., after I borrowed them for a little fun.
Summary: The last sixteen years of Severus' life have been a lie. After the truth is revealed, will he accept it? And what does it have to do with sixteen year-old Harry Potter? Response to a Severitus challenge. Better late than never, right:)
A/N: This is my first Harry Potter fic...please be gentle. LOL. I'm trying to stay in character as much as I can. But if I don't, I hope it's not too bad. I've also updated the story through Ch 10 since first posting...I've removed all Latin chapter titles.
Remus Lupin watched as sixteen year-old Harry Potter emerged from the side of number 4 Privet Drive, dragging an overloaded trash can in each hand. He was limping as he walked sluggishly down the driveway, and was coughing quite a bit. His head was down with his shoulders hunched over. He was a lot thinner than he was two months prior. His clothes, though normally big, hung on him limply. His jeans, at one time blue, were almost a light brown, caked with dirt, and had many tears and holes in them. His grey shirt looked as bad as his jeans. Harry himself looked extremely dirty too, like he hadn't had a shower in days. It was distressing and a bit of a shock for Remus to see Harry's appearance.
When Harry placed the cans at the curb and lifted his head before turning around to walk back to the house, Remus could see the emptiness in his green eyes and the depressed expression on his face. He also noticed something else. There was something a little different about Harry's face, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.
Harry turned around at the sound and saw his cousin Dudley strolling up the sidewalk, coming home from beating up the neighborhood kids. He knew what would be coming when Dudley got close to him. Normally he wouldn't have just stood there, but now he didn't care. He didn't care about anything anymore. What was the point?
As Dudley walked up the driveway, he paused and punched Harry in the stomach twice. "That's for not giving me my piece of cake fast enough after lunch today, you freak." Then he continued on up into the house.
The force of the punches, combined with his weakened state from being sick the past week, caused Harry to crumple to the ground. As he tried to catch his breath, a shadow loomed over him. It had to be Dudley. The two punches were not his normal 'punishment' from him. "I knew you weren't done having a go at me. I'm surprised it took you this long to come back," he said panting.
Harry yelped and squeezed his eyes closed as two firm hands gripped his bruised arms and pulled him up to a standing position. Noticing he wasn't being beaten up, he opened his eyes and looked into the concerned eyes of Remus. "Professor!" He coughed a few times with his arms wrapped around his stomach.
"Harry, are you okay?" He didn't know why he even asked. Clearly the boy was not okay, and that wasn't because he was just punched in the stomach.
"I'm fine," he wheezed with his head down, not being able to look at his ex-professor in the eye. If I look at him in the eyes, he'll know the truth. "Just having a problem catching my breath, that's all."
Remus looked at his best friend's son with sadness. "Harry, I know you are not fine. You're anything but fine." He watched as Harry finally lifted his head and met his eyes. "Can you get away for a while?" He pointed his head toward the house. "Without being missed?"
"Yeah. There's a playground down the street."
They walked to the playground in silence. When they arrived, Remus led them over to an empty bench under the shade of a giant oak tree. Harry sat down facing the playground…away from Remus. When Remus placed his hand on Harry's arm to make him face him, Harry gave out a small cry of pain.
Without a question, Remus immediately pulled up the sleeve of Harry's shirt. There were bruises and a few cuts all over his arm. He checked the other arm and found the same. "Harry, what happened? Why are there bruises and cuts all over your arms?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders as he looked at Remus. "Doesn't matter," he muttered.
"What do you mean it doesn't matter? It does matter." Remus was a little outraged that someone could do this to this boy.
"No it doesn't. This is nor—." Harry stopped himself before the truth came out. He didn't want anybody to know the truth, that it was normal. He looked down to the ground and watched as an ant made its way toward a piece of food next to his shoe. He then sneezed and started coughing uncontrollably. When the coughing stopped, he looked up at Remus' concerned face. "It's just a cold."
Remus nodded. "Harry, I really need to know what's going on. Why are you dressed like this and look like this?"
Harry shrugged again.
"You aren't handling Sirius' death well are you?"
At Sirius' name, Harry took in a deep breath and turned away from Remus. He didn't want to talk about Sirius. He thought he'd finally gotten over his death.
Taking that as a sign, Remus continued. "Now I know you aren't."
Knowing he wasn't going to get out of this conversation, Harry placed his elbows on his knees, coughed and covered his face with his hands. He sat there for about a minute then turned to Remus. "Fine, like you care anyway," he challenged.
"Harry." Remus' tone conveyed his dismay that Harry believed he didn't care.
If Remus really cared anything about me, he would have stopped by sooner than this. "No! I'm dressed like this and look like this because it's one of my many punishments. I'm not getting my outside chores done fast enough. My relatives, if you want to call them that, won't let me take a shower or wear clean clothes until I finish all the gardening and other chores I've been assigned to do outside. What you saw on my arms is what happened when I tried to clean myself up a few days ago. I've been wearing this stuff for four days. Normally I could get it done in a day, but now…"
"Now you just don't feel like doing anything right?" Remus asked, knowing exactly how Harry felt.
"Yeah. I don't even try to stop Dudley from beating me up every day either." He felt ashamed for confessing this to his ex-professor so he stood up and walked over to one of the swings nearby.
Remus sat on the bench and watched Harry walk away. He sighed. I wish Harry knew that he doesn't need to go through this alone. He let Harry be by himself for a few minutes then joined him on the next swing. "Harry, I promise I won't talk about Sirius anymore." At Harry's glance he added, "For now. But we will need to talk." He started swinging a little on the swing, with his feet still on the ground, before he spoke again. "I noticed you didn't ask why I was here."
"It was on my mind. Why are you here?" He looked over at Remus.
A smile spread across Remus' face. "Professor Dumbledore asked me to come back to Hogwarts to teach Defense this year."
Harry stopped swinging immediately and turned to Remus. "That's great professor." He smiled a genuine smile for the first time that summer.
"I also have news concerning you. I've gotten Professor Dumbledore's permission to come get you. I don't want you to stay here the rest of the summer…though that only is three more days."
"You mean I can leave? Today?"
"Yes." Remus was glad for Harry's mood change. "I'm sorry I couldn't get you earlier, but—"
"I don't care if the rest of the summer is two minutes. Where will I be staying until I go back to Hogwarts?"
"We'll talk about that later." Remus got off the swing and grabbed Harry's hands to help him up. "Now why don't you go to the Dursley's and tell them you're leaving for school early, but need to take a shower first."
"Erm…where should I meet you with my trunk? I don't think it'd be a good idea for you to come to the house."
"I've got something to do so how about here in an hour and a half? Oh and Harry, we will be having that talk about Sirius tonight."
"Okay." Harry's mood changed immediately.
The two left the playground and parted. Remus went straight to Dumbledore to tell him about Harry while Harry broke the news to his relatives, packed, and took a shower.
Almost an hour and a half later, Harry was dragging his trunk back to the park. He was happy that he'd be leaving the Dursley's but was really dreading the talk he was to have with Remus about Sirius. He thought that over the last few months he'd gotten over the grief he felt for Sirius. But the sadness over the loss of his godfather came back the minute Remus mentioned Sirius' name earlier that day. It had been the first time anyone talked about him since he left Hogwarts for the summer holiday. As Harry entered the park, he saw Remus by the bench they were sitting at earlier, and it increased his sadness so much that it felt like it was only days after Sirius' death.
"Hi Harry," Remus greeted, as Harry came up to the bench.
"How are we getting there professor?" Harry asked abruptly as he came to a stop in front of Remus.
Remus reached into his pocket and pulled out a purple headband. "Portkey." As Harry reached out and took hold of the headband, Remus realized that he probably should have prepared Harry for where they were headed…especially after their talk earlier in the day. Plus, Harry seemed depressed again. But it was too late now. The Portkey would activate any second. "Ready Harry?" Remus questioned.
Before Harry could answer, he felt the familiar tug at his navel. In a matter of seconds, he was banging into Remus and his trunk as they sped forward through a swirl of colors. No sooner did it start, did it stop. With Harry's weakened state, upon his feet slamming into the ground, his knees buckled and he immediately fell to the ground.
Slowly getting to his feet, Harry looked around. He was standing in the middle of a small grassy square. Beyond the square was a row of tall, grimy, dilapidated houses. Dragging his trunk, he followed Remus up to the houses. In a daze, he watched a battered black door with a twisted serpent door knocker appear between the two houses in front of him.
With a few concerned glances at Harry, Remus guided him up the stone steps and into Number Twelve Grimmauld Place.