Title: The Last Three Weeks…
Summary: Snape is forced to visit Harry after the Dobby incident. After meeting the Dursley's he takes him and has to keep him…
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Summary Snape is forced to visit Harry after the Dobby incident. After meeting the Dursley's he takes him and has to keep him…
The owls of the Ministry of Magic were uniform and grey, much like the bureaucrats that sent them throughout the world. Kingsley Shakelbolt's Great Grey Owl, or Strix nubulosa, that had soared through the skies above Hogwarts, was a particularly fine example and it was with the owl's trademark efficiency that it delivered a letter to Dumbledore's office on that cool summer evening, July 31st. That was at 9 o'clock. It was now 9:45 and whereas Dumbledore had originally read the letter alone he had now been joined by Severus Snape.
"Last week, Severus, there was a breech of the Decree for the Restriction of Under-Age Sorcery at Number 4 Privet Drive. You are aware of this." It was not a question, though Snape nodded none the less. "The Improper Use of Magic Office monitors residences where such incidences have taken place with greater scrutiny and detail than where they have not. Kingsley Shakelbolt, currently the Order's ears at the Ministry, has sent me this Memo," He raised it in his hand. "Off the record, of course. It records the contents of an internal-memo from the office of Malfalda Hopkirk. The message it contains is one that troubles me greatly. It seems that Harry's status has changed within the Dursley household and not for the better."
At this Severus raised an eyebrow but remained silent. His dislike for Potter was no great secret. His opinion was that for Potter, the Golden boy-who-lived, to be taken down a peg or two (or more) would be no bad thing. It would do Potter good, it would do his friends good and no doubt it would do the wizarding world a service. Potter's arrogance was equal to his father's, inherited with his looks and hair. His attitude had led himself and others into danger, almost fatally last year. An attitude change, in his opinion, could only improve the boy.
This facial motion was noted by Dumbledore. A harder tone entered his voice. "Through this series of Ministry memoranda the information that bars have been attached to Harry's windows has come to me. Mrs Figg has reported that Harry has not been seen since the casting of the Hover Charm."
At his Snape gave a derisive snort and, interrupting, said, "If Potter's family has decided to punish him for his actions I do not see how it concerns me. Not only has he risked his own safety but also the exposure of our world. There is a pattern. Just suppose he had attempted a more dangerous spell than a Hovering Charm. If his grades are anything like what they are in Potions then I am sorely surprised that there is not a smoking crater between Numbers 2 and 6 Privet Drive. No. His absence is simply explained. He is grounded, or whatever it is that those Muggles do when he misbehaves, though if Potter's behaviour is any indication, I doubt that they do anything at all."
"Severus, he has not communicated with his friends either," Dumbledore replied emotively. "I have questioned Mr Weasley, Miss Granger and Hagrid. They have heard nothing."
Dumbledore fell silent. The final statement, its weight hanging in the air between the men, was ominous. Even Snape had to privately acknowledge that this was unexpected though he betrayed nothing in his face. Potter was inseparable in his classes and around the school grounds from Weasley and Granger and for them not to correspond in the holidays did appear unusual. Snape would imagine school friends communicated in the summer, he wouldn't know from experience. Snape echoed Dumbledore's silence in a pensive manner.
"I feel a visit is would be appropriate." This statement removed Snape from his reverie.
"And I suppose I am to conduct this visit?"
The finality of Dumbledore's answer allowed no argument. Snape seethed as the silence flooded back.
Snape appeared in Privet Drive with a pop. He was outside Number 43 on the opposite side on the road from the Dursley's house, which was obscured from view due to the curve of the road. He walked along the pavement towards Number 4. In the light from the orange streetlamps spaced at 100 feet intervals Snape's shadow stretch both in front and behind him at once: the depth of its darkness depending on his distance from the light.
This night was particularly dark and overcast. It matched his mood. He did not appreciate having to do Dumbledore's bidding. However, he was at hand, and with his membership of the Order of the Phoenix as it was, he was obliged to go. Snape quickened his pace. The soon he got there and checked on the brat the sooner he could leave. He would probable see the boy asleep in bed at this hour or if not sulking because he couldn't leave the house to lounge in the garden and sunbath. The house came into view. What he saw darkened his mood. He would not be quickly in and out this evening.
There was an old turquoise Ford Anglia suspended in mid-air beneath the second floor window. From the damage around the window both above and below the frame the recognisance surrounding the Dursley's recent refurbishment was accurate.
By this time Snape stood beneath the car and could hear voices within the room, above the hum of the engine. He could not make out the words. Snape moved to the front door of the building removing his wand from his sleeve. Silently he opened the door stepping over the threshold onto the doormat. Leaning the door closed and using the orange light through the panes of glass to illuminate his way, he orientated himself. The stairs were before him with a locked cupboard beneath it. Along the corridor lay the kitchen-come-dining room and a living room. There were what Snape knew to be televisions in both rooms.
The voices continued to murmur above. Snape mounted the stairs and began to ascend. The bottom one creaked loudly. The voices paused. Snape held his breath. The voices resumed. Snape continued upwards and stood on the landing glancing at the doors. The Potter door stood out.
On Potter's door there was a flap, floor level. There was also a hefty lock newly fitted into the door with a shiny new key hanging on a nail in the frame. Snape's ears picked up a quiet scrapping. Snape crept closer to it and stood in front of it. Millimetres away.
Click. The voices ceased.
The door swung inwards.
What met Severus's eyes was almost unbelievable. Crouched on the floor, level with the lock were Fred and George Weasley, staring upwards, at the window in the car was Ron Weasley looking askance and kneeling next to a hole in a floorboards, a book, ironically a copy of Magical Drafts and Potions by Arsenius Jigger, held in his hands, Harry James Potter.
"What are you doing?!" Snape's voice was deadly quiet. It was addressed to the room at large though his eyes were fixed, unmoving, on Harry. "What are you doing?!" He said it slightly louder now.
"Please, Sir. Please don't wake my Uncle," said Harry. There was notable fear in his voice.
"That will be the least of your worries," however Snape's voice remained very quiet. He did not need a muggle to complicate his visit. "Someone start speaking." All four boys obliged. "One at a time"
"We came to rescue Harry" said Ron.
The Weasleys stared agog, mouths gaping. As if the room, the cat flap, the bars were answer enough to answer the question. Then speaking very slowly Fred began. "Well…" Fred gave the same points as Dumbledore. George chipped in. Ron contributed. Harry remained silent. "…and they were starving him."
Snape looked at Harry down his hooked nose very coldly. Harry did look very small there on the floor staring up at him. There was a grunt from Vernon in the other room. Harry's eye's flicked to the door, breaking contact.
Equally slowly, with and incredulous tone in his voice, Snape spoke, "And so you thought you would leave. With no-one knowing where you were" The Weasleys attempted to interrupt "Silence." Snape's eye's flashed dangerously. There was a louder grunt from the other room, which then fell completely still. Snape stepped into the bedroom, closing the door muffling the sound of their voices. His sallow skin gleamed slightly. "Do you have any comprehension of what danger you are in. What danger you have created for you friends." The anger in Snape's voice was audible and a white foam spittle was forming on his lips.
"You, Weasley's, back in that car now."
The Weasley's dared not disobey; there was madness in Snape's voice. But, if looks could have killed Snape would have been dead a hundred times by the Weasleys. They looked piteously at Harry. Ron mouthed a silent "sorry" as his brothers clambered through the window. There was a creek outside the door.
Ron revved the engine and pulled away just as the door to Harry's room opened, Uncle Vernon spilling into the room and knocking into the back of Snape as he toppled forward, not meeting the resistance he expected from the "locked" door, as he had put his weight against it in a silent test. Listening. Snape span around.
Vernon went berserk. Roaring like a hippopotamus he bellowed in rage and came towards Snape. Petunia had come to the door. Harry caught a fleeting glimpse of Dudley, who scampered back to his room. Snape drew his wand. Vernon drew still. His piggy little eyes focusing almost crossed on the very tip of Snape's wand. His raging stopped.
"Out. Get out. GET OUT!!" His voice was suppressed but clear. "I HAVE HAD IT"
"You," said Snape pointedly indicating with his wand, "cannot order me anywhere."
His eyes still fixed on the wand Vernon Dursley said, "Get out, Freak."
The harshness in the voice shocked Snape, as did Harry's reaction. He began to move. Very swiftly, with purpose. He resumed gathering his belongings as he had done before his Uncle had entered, before Snape had arrived. He was going he was getting out. He didn't have a plan. Ron had gone. He had no where to go. One look at Uncle Vernon's face said it wasn't worth trying to stay. Hedwig hooted.
Dursley backed away from the wand carefully. Clearing Harry's way to the door.
"What," Snape said a look of immeasurable rage on his face, but rather than it being directed at Harry, Snape's eyes were now focussing more closely on Vernon. "What did you call him" Vernon was silent. "SPEAK"
"Freak… What he is."
Snape had been called freak. Snape had been called a lot of things, but freak stood out particularly painfully. Snape had been called freak by his father.
"Harry. Are those all your things?"
"N-no. My school things are in the cupboard under the stairs," Harry said breathlessly. Was he leaving? Was he leaving the Dursley's? WAIT. Was he having to go with Snape. He diplomatically said, "sir," after a pause.
Snape's wand left Dursley's face. "ACCIO TRUNK, ACCIO CAULDRON." There was the sound of splintering wood as the trunk and heavy metal cauldron broke through the sub-stair door. Aunt Petunia screamed. There was a distant whimper from Dudley's room. "Anything else, Potter"
"Nimbus … Sir."
Snape's lips thinned but said quietly, "Accio Nimbus 2000." There was a wising noise as the bolt came forward. Harry was inwardly glad that the door had been broken by the cauldron and trunk and not with the Nimbus 2000. Snape was inwardly sour that he couldn't have left the broom here. For a second time Snape redirected his wand, this time to the luggage and bewitched it so it bobbed in the air, feather light.
And with that Harry, with his luggage bobbing in an invisibly linked chain behind him left with Snape…