Hello, all! Here is the first reposted chapter of 'Sanctuary'. As most of you know, I have 18 chapters written in plot, and now 1/18 rewritten. This is almost 1000 words longer than the original chapter, and I think it's better. There is more detail. Please read and review!
When Harry was seven years old, he was rescued by his father.
The boy had never known anything besides pain and hard work, despite his tender young age. His name was 'freak', and his status was 'unworthy'. A slave, a slave treated without any trace of respect or any sense of righteousness.
His father didn't see until it was too late. He had been blinded, blinded by his own pain too much to see that someone needed him. Someone, the little boy he truly did love- that little one wasn't with his father. And he needed to be.
Too late, for both of them. The damage was already done.
The house was dark and the stars in the sky outside were just fading when the seven-year-old boy dragged himself out of bed after an insistent pounding on his cupboard door woke him. Uncle Vernon was awake, getting ready for work before anyone else was up, and consequently Harry was also required to be up, hard at work making breakfast. Harry rubbed the sleep from his bleary eyes as his small feet padded into the kitchen, barely making a sound on the perfectly polished floor. He was completely silent; that was how it had to be, according to the rules. He wasn't worthy to make sounds; and if he did, punishment would soon follow.
Harry had not grown up happily. All his life, he had been told he was unloved, unwanted- and he had come to believe that to be the utmost truth, and the only fact that truly mattered in his life. If he remembered those two simple facts, along with the rules that had been laid down for him, he would be fine and be able to function properly as a freak. At least that was what his aunt and uncle and cousin had told him.
All his life, Harry had had strange dreams. Sometimes, they were of a bright green light and a woman screaming; sometimes, they were of a pale-faced man with dark hair; and sometimes, they were of flying on a giant motorcycle. He had learned early on not to talk about his dreams, because they were only the dreams of a freak; but still, he marveled in his dreams, because they allowed him to escape the cruel reality that was his life. All he had ever wanted was to be loved, and that had slipped out of his grasp as easily and as quickly as possible; now, his dreams were the only way to run, if only for a moment.
He had been told early on that his no-good parents had died in a car crash, and it was for the best anyway, because they weren't worth anything and didn't deserve to live. That had made Harry cry when he first heard it, not only because his parents were dead and they would never love him, but also because they had been no-good, at least according to his aunt and uncle. Harry also believed with all his heart that it was shame that he had been left behind, because now he was just a burden. That's exactly what he was. A burden.
The lights dimly brightened the kitchen far over Harry's head, and he reached up high to grasp the handle of the frying pan he was using to prepare bacon. Harry was always careful; he had had experiences with being burned by a pot or having something spill all over him, and he personally didn't prefer the experience not only because of the uncomfortable aspect of it but also because he was always scolded very severely for messing up. But Harry was tired, because the mattress in his cupboard wasn't at all soft. He could hear Uncle Vernon's loud footsteps upstairs.
Fighting a yawn, Harry dropped the frying pan, and he stared at it with a mixture of surprise and horror. Already he could hear the footsteps thundering angrily on the steps.
Meanwhile, a pale-faced man with black hair and black robes had just arrived on the quiet, perfectly lined and arranged street of Privet Drive. It was too perfect for his tastes; Muggles always had to strive for perfection, even if it was just in little things like cutting grass or pruning shrubbery. It never made sense to the man, and he didn't like being on the street. But nonetheless, he had business there- business that had been pushed to the side for six years, six years too long.
The houses all matched and everything was silent as he approached his destination, his quiet footfalls barely making a sound on the carefully layered cement in the sidewalk. He was nearing the house where his son was; Number Four, Privet Drive.
As he approached, he couldn't help but feel an immense sense of guilt wash over him as he realized that the prospect of him getting his son back was real, and right in front of him. When Lily, his wife, had died six years back, he had been so blinded by pain that he had allowed his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, to sweep his son right out of his hands. He hadn't revolted against it; even he wouldn't have been able to admit that he was a mess, and in no condition to take care of a small boy. Grief and pain and loss had overwhelmed everything in his mind, and for so many years he had been lost, buried inside of himself, blind to anything and everything around him. To his extreme regret, Harry had been pushed to the side, and every thought that revolved around the fact that his son might need him had been misplaced in the immensely complicated maze that made up the man's mind. Those few facts were what caused the man's guilt, and he could only hope that his son could forgive him to replace the fact that he couldn't forgive himself.
He was a deeply complicated man, and he had been amazed all that time at the way that grief could affect him. He had always thought that he had one of the strongest minds- unbreakable, infallible, impenetrable- and many people had told him that same thing. But when faced with grief, and the loss of everything he held close to his ice-cold heart, that strength had been torn apart, piece by piece, until there was nothing left. It was in those moments that he had seriously considered turning to the Dark, and only the careful persuasion of Dumbledore had kept him from completely going over- as a spy, he became an essential part of the lives of many others. As a spy, he was crucial to the Light- and because of that, his life had meaning. He was living up to Lily's name- he was saving the people and the world she loved. His life had meaning again.
But still, it had taken him time to regain his strength. He had been forced to be strong as a spy, and he had learned quickly how to do it; but now that his son was the focus of his life again, as it should have been for the past six years, he was just as scared as when he had first joined the Dark. This was new, and what was more, this couldn't be predicted. Harry could have been treated badly and be a haunted little boy, or Harry could have been treated like a prince and not want to leave his 'foster' family in the first place. It was all a matter of fate, and even luck if you wanted to see it that way. All Severus was hoping for was that destiny was on his side. He would do anything to have his son back.
Number Four looked similar to all the other houses lining the street, but in an unusual way there was a bit of noise resounding from the structure. The man's carefully trained instincts were alerting him that something was wrong, and aside from that he couldn't deny that his heart was telling him the same thing. His steps sped up and his eyes took on a glassy tint; but still the walls he had built around himself remained intact.
"BOY!" Uncle Vernon, already dressed for work, hissed in a very menacing whisper. "I told you not to make a sound! What's the matter with you, freak? Don't remember the rules?!"
It went on and on, the words getting louder and louder as the huge man moved closer to the small, shaking boy. Harry was babbling apologies, tears streaming down his face as he tried in vain to get away from his uncle. "Pwease- I'm sorry, I didn't mean to- pwease, Uncle Vernon, I'm sorry- I didn't mean to, really I didn't. Pwease, I promise to be good, pwease, I'm sorry-"
The man quickly made it to the front door of Number Four, and he listened intently with sharpened hearing to the angry words that were coming from the interior. He couldn't make out everything, but he heard the words 'boy', 'freak', 'noise', 'rules', and 'punishment'. He did not like that combination; he knew that the people at Number Four, the Dursleys, had their own son, and he hoped with all his heart in that moment that it wasn't his own son being so cruelly reprimanded. When the harsh words didn't cease, a whispered 'Alohomora' unlocked the door with a quiet click, and the man stepped into the house.
The floor was carpeted and the stairs rose above directly from the foyer, and he could see a small cupboard was under the stairs, which he assumed was used for coats and things. Bypassing that as unimportant, he continued on, his movements showing off the stealth and secrecy that he had perfected as a spy.
Stepping into the doorway of the dimly lit kitchen, he saw a very large, fat man with a very purple face holding a small child with black hair, glasses, and a scar on his forehead. His hand was back and he was yelling, and as he watched the fat man hit the child hard on his shoulder. The boy cried out, looking terrified, and the pale-faced man's heart ripped at the very sound. This was undoubtedly his son. And this was undoubtedly his fault.
"Stop." The word was spoken with an authority and an anger that was blazing inside of the pale-faced man. The fat one turned, still holding the child, and his anger was sparked yet again when he saw a stranger inside of his home. Ignoring the man's protests and bursts of words demanding that he leave, the pale-faced man spoke again. "Let go of my son."
Dursley spun around, surprisingly fast for his size, meanwhile dropping Harry, sobbing, onto the tiled floor. "What did you say? What do you want with this one?" He kicked at the small crying boy, and Harry cried out again. Severus fought with himself to stay still and not kill the man immediately with two simple words.
"He is my son," Severus spoke calmly, but his voice seethed anger and rage, and Dursley heard it too. He shrunk back in the tiniest bit, but he still held his ground.
"Want this one, do you?" He sneered, kicking at Harry again. Harry whimpered. "He's a freak, this one is- don't know why you want him."
"Regardless," the pale-faced man said, his eyes blazing now with even more fury, "he is mine, and I have come for him."
"FINE!" Dursley roared, picking up the child and throwing him across the room with a crash. "Take him! And don't bring him back!"
Ignoring the man's threats, he picked up his son gently. "Where does he sleep?" He asked coldly, and he was shown (accompanied by a lot of stomping) to the very cupboard under the stairs that he had originally assumed was for coats. Fuming with anger, he opened the door slowly, meanwhile whispering to Harry, "Shh, child. I won't hurt you." He gasped when he saw the spiders that were crawling all through the walls and the darkness that seemed to permanently reside in the small space.
He looked around, and then set Harry down, instructing him in a whisper to gather his things. Harry quickly scrambled around in the small space, amazingly able to maneuver into small nooks and crannies that the pale-faced man hadn't even noticed. A small blanket, a few broken crayons, a small plastic toy soldier, and an old, torn up, completely filled-out coloring book were all that he had, and Harry's father almost broke when he saw his son forlornly holding his few possessions. He gathered Harry up in his arms again, noticing with a grimace the boy's flinch at the touch, and with a final murderous look at the other man, he spun on his heel and he and his son were gone.
Please review. And please tell me: does why and how Harry came to be with the Dursleys make more sense now that it did in the original?