Harry's Hearing the Truth
Some of my readers wished for another story, in which Minerva and Severus would take care of Harry together. Here you are, I hope you'll like it.
I am not a native speaker of English. So please excuse my mistakes!
All recognizable characters belong to Mrs. Rowling, and I am not earning anything by writing this story.
It was a bright summer day at the beginning of August 1990. Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Severus Snape were having breakfast together in the Great Hall at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, when an old barn owl landed in front of the headmaster and held out a letter for him.
"From Arabella Figg," Albus said surprised, before he read the letter aloud in front of his colleagues.
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I have to inform you that I believe that little Harry is having problems with his ears. He can hardly hear anything, and his relatives are obviously not willing to do anything about it. When I recently spoke to Mrs. Dursley about the problem after babysitting Harry, she told me he was just stupid. However, Harry didn't have these problems before.
As I told you several times before, even apart from this hearing problem, I don't think that Harry is treated well at his relatives' home. Even on his tenth birthday last week, he was working in the garden all day.
I hope someone will be able to do something for Harry; he is such a cute little boy.
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"Albus, please let us do something!" Minerva pleaded, terrified. "May I go and check on him, if necessary in my cat form?"
Albus looked thoughtfully at his two colleagues. "No Minerva, I'd like to ask Severus to go and check on him."
Minerva let out a snort. "Albus, you know as well as I do that Severus hates Harry because he is a Potter."
"Correct, Minerva. If he decides that the place isn't fortunate for Harry and he has to be brought to Hogwarts, I will accept his decision."
"I?" Severus asked unbelievingly. "I can tell you now, Albus, that I believe any place would be better for the brat than Hogwarts. Bad enough that I'll have to endure him for seven years from next year onwards..."
"Severus, that's enough!" Albus interrupted him sternly. "You will please go and look after Harry this morning. "Why don't you take Minerva with you? However, the decision is yours, Severus."
Both teachers agreed and took the Floo to Arabella's home directly after breakfast.
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"Thanks for your note, Arabella; we came to look after Harry," Minerva said apologetically, when she stepped out of the fireplace after Severus. "Severus, shall we go as humans or in our Animagus forms?"
"Harry will surely be working in the garden," Arabella informed them.
"A garden is the best place for a cat and a snake to hide," Severus mused, and Minerva agreed immediately.
They changed their clothing into Muggle attire and left the house, heading straight for the Dursley residence. After making sure that nobody was watching them, they quickly transformed into their Animagus forms. While Severus-snake slithered straight into the garden, Minerva-cat jumped onto a small wall just next to the garden. Both teachers watched Harry feverishly weeding the garden in spite of the heat that was threatening to burn his skin.
Suddenly, a garden snake addressed Severus. "Do you sssee the child?" it hissed. "He isss alwaysss working in the garden, but today at leassst he looksss healthy. Often he looks worssse for the wear, and the people here treat him like a garden rat. He isss my friend and sometimesss sspeaksss to me. He speaksss our mouth, but recently I wonder if he understandsss. Maybe he hasss a problem with his earsss."
"He ssspeaksss our language?" Severus hissed back in surprise. Not waiting for an answer, he slithered over to the part of the garden, where Harry was just working. "Hello little one," he hissed at the child.
Harry however didn't show any reaction at all. Severus carefully showed himself just next to Harry's hands that stopped moving immediately. "Hello thsssere. You're very pretty," Harry hissed, admiring the black snake that had a very unusual green pattern on its backside.
Feeling very uncomfortable at the compliment, Severus hissed back, "Thanksss. How are you?"
Harry gave the beautiful snake a sad look and hissed, "I'm sssorry, but I cannot hear. My earsss are too sssore."
Suddenly, a woman that Severus recognized as Petunia Dursley came out of the back door of the house, shouting for Harry. The boy however didn't react at all, and the woman had to come out to speak to him. Only when she stood in front of him, grabbing his arm, and shouted, "Come and make lunch, you lazybones!" Harry seemed to understand and apologized profoundly.
When Harry entered the kitchen, Minerva-cat left her spot on the wall and came over to Severus, moving her head so that Severus understood that she wanted him to follow her. Standing behind the garage, they made sure that nobody was watching and transformed back to their human forms. "Did you see the bruises and welts all over his arms and even at his throat?" Minerva asked flabbergasted.
"No Minerva, I couldn't see that from my point of view in the grass," Severus replied. "However, I talked to a garden snake and also to the boy, and he's obviously only able to hear if you shout, standing in front of him. I believe we should pay Potter and his aunt a visit right now."
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Minerva agreed, and they walked around the house to the entrance door. On their knock, Petunia opened the door and let out a small shriek when she recognized Severus. "You!" she shouted, a horrified look on her face.
"Good day to you too, Petunia. My colleague, Professor McGonagall, and I came to meet Mr. Potter," Severus replied curtly.
Quickly glancing around if nobody saw her letting the people in Petunia hesitantly motioned for them to enter the house and led them into the living room. "What do you want from the boy?" she hissed.
"We would like to speak with him. It's only a year until he's supposed to attend Hogwarts, and we just want to make sure that he's prepared for it and that everything is well with him," Minerva replied in the voice she normally used for the Weasley twins, who had just finished their first Hogwarts year and did nothing but nonsense.
"Ah well, you won't have much fun," Petunia replied. "The boy is absolutely stupid, he can't even understand properly."
"Ah, but you surely took him to a doctor in order to remedy the problem. May I please see the record?" Severus enquired, giving the woman a glare.
"Well, just talk to the freak and you'll know," Petunia replied impatiently and went to the kitchen to fetch Harry.
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"Hello," said Harry, hesitantly entering the room.
"Hello Harry, can you understand us?" Minerva asked relatively loud, noticing that Harry was obviously trying to read from her lips.
"I'm sorry, Madam, I cannot hear well," Harry explained in a small voice, shyly averting his eyes to the floor.
"Minerva, as much as I hate it, let us take him with us to Hogwarts," Severus suddenly spoke up after unobtrusively waving his wand at Harry. "He needs help."
Minerva pulled a piece of parchment out of her robe pocket. Not sure if Harry knew about magic, she turned away from the child for a moment, and quickly pointed her wand at the parchment that instantly filled with her hand writing. She handed the parchment to Harry.
We are teachers at a boarding school, which you are supposed to attend from next year onwards. Your parents were pupils at our school as well. Seeing that you're having problems with your ears, we would like to take you with us immediately in order to try to help you improve your hearing. Would you like to come, Harry?
Harry gave Minerva an unbelieving look. "You want to take me with you? Really? But I'm just a burden to everyone and a freak; I can't..."
"Harry, you're fine!" Minerva interrupted him, moving her lips in a very clear way. "Will you come?"
Harry looked at Minerva, and a small smile played on his lips. "Yes, Madam, I'd like that very much, but..." he slowly trailed off.
"How can we take him home if he doesn't know about magic?" Minerva whispered, turning to Severus.
Severus gave the child a piercing look. He already knew from his quick check-up that a large part of his body was covered with bruises, that he had a few old injuries that were not properly healed, and that he was suffering from some kind of a chronic ear infection. But for a more detailed check-up they would need the expertise of Madam Pomfrey. Somehow, seeing this boy he remembered how he had stood in front of his abusive father, glad when he was finally old enough to attend Hogwarts.
"I will try something," he finally decided. "If you could tell Petunia that we're going to take him with us?"
"Yes, of course," Minerva replied, heading for the kitchen.