6/12/10 – Chapters 1-43 revised and snazzy new scene breaks - Mara
Ok, so... Umm, I've never written one of these before, so be a little kind in reviewing. I know there are like a million stories that are Snape Mentoring Harry fics, because I've probably read them all, but I love them, can't get enough of them, and wanted to write my own. So, no slash, no Harry is magically Snape's biological kid, just a little abuse from the Dursley's and Snape and Harry eventually having a father son kind of relationship. I know it seems out of character for Snape to ever like Harry but I believe in second chances and think that Snape deserved to have a family, if only things had been a little different. So here they will be a little different.
Disclaimer: Ummm, yeah, so watch out for child abuse, if you don't want to read about it, stop now. And I don't own any of this. It all belongs to the fabulous J.K. Rowling.
Second Chances – Chapter 1
It was rare that the headmaster would request his presence so soon after Severus Snape had given an update on any Death Eater activity. This in itself was a little unnerving if it weren't for the fact that Severus did not get unnerved.
His spy position was again intact, amazingly, after arriving hours late to the Dark Lord's side after the fiasco at the end of the Tri-Wizard Tournament. However, a nice round of cruciatus and some skilled occlumency on Snape's part convinced the Dark Lord to turn his anger onto another "faithful follower", who apparently allowed Potter to escape.
Now he glided along the deserted corridors of Hogwarts. The students were gone for the summer and most of the professors retired to their private dwellings away from the castle. Severus thought the school was actually peaceful, void of all the little brats running around. Arriving at the gargoyle he wasted no time muttering "jelly-slugs" to reveal the spiraling staircase up to the headmaster's office.
Before he could even knock Dumbledore had called him in. "Severus, my dear Boy. Please, have a seat."
Briskly slipping into the straight-backed chair across from Dumbledore's desk Snape made no point to speak, but simply matched the headmaster's twinkling eyes with a cold, fixed look.
"How are you today, Severus?" Albus asked with a warm smile. "Can I interest you in a cup of tea or some gum drops?"
The man he had come to consider a mentor could be quite exasperating at times, clearly tip-toeing around the real topic of conversation. "I'm fine, however… I'm sure you did not call me up here for some sweets or tea, Albus," Snape responded pointedly.
"Ahhh, right down to business, Severus, something I've always respected about you." Dumbledore spoke in a sincere tone with his elbows on his desk and his fingertips pressed lightly together. Snape watched him methodically tap his fingers together as he continued.
"Indeed, I have something of extreme importance to discuss with you. I require your assistance with a special task I cannot attend to personally. It is essential that I leave immediately for a meeting at the Ministry. However, I've just received notification that an incident of under-aged magic has occurred at Harry's residence."
Snape nodded in acknowledgement while still focusing on Dumbledore's hands. He had a bad feeling he knew where this conversation was going and refused to make eye contact with the older wizard. Damn Potter.
Taking this as a sign to continue, Dumbledore pressed on. "Most likely there is nothing to be alarmed about. If any disruption occurred with the wards I would have been alerted. However, with Harry's history with under-aged magic outside of school, I find it hard to believe it was done without good motive."
Snape cleared his throat to speak but Dumbledore silenced him with a slight raise of one hand. "As I said Severus, it is most likely nothing, but we must still look into it. Minerva is away with her family and both Hagrid and Remus are attending to other business you are well aware of."
Snapes' eyes flashed upwards menacingly, daring Dumbledore to actually say what he was implying.
Dumbledores' eyes above his half-moon spectacles bored into Snapes. "I know what you are thinking, Severus, but you are the only person available whom I trust," Dumbledore stated simply.
"And how will it look, Albus, when the Dark Lord's best servant is seen visiting Harry Potter and not kidnapping him to give to the Dark Lord himself?" Snape spat. "And have you forgotten I despise the boy?"
Letting out a long sigh, Dumbledore returned Snape's piercing gaze. "Despise is such a harsh word, Severus. Furthermore, I have no doubt that your superb spying abilities will allow you to complete the task without detection."
Snape tried to protest again but Dumbledore pushed on. "I would not have requested this of you, Severus, if there was any other way. I need to quell any fears as soon as possible and smooth over everything with the Minister of Magic. We cannot afford for Harry to have even more trouble with the Ministry."
Snape growled but let his head fall in a small nod. "And I suppose you expect that I actually speak to the boy?"
"Five minutes, Severus. I don't feel as though I'm asking too much."
It was that solemn tone Albus would use to draw out his name that always snagged on his guilt, Snape thought to himself bitterly.
As he rose to leave, Dumbledore spoke again. "Severus, if you would only give the boy a chance, you would quickly discover you have much more in common with Harry than either of you would like to admit."
Snape didn't respond or even acknowledge the statement, but stormed from the headmaster's office, purposely letting the door slam shut behind him.
Harry had never received this many visitors at his relative's house in one day since… well, ever. And they couldn't possibly be arriving at the worst time. It began about an hour earlier.
To be quite honest, Harry Potter was having one of the worst summers of his life and that started with the death of Cedric Diggory and the return of Voldemort. Apparently Harry's behavior was even more horrendous this summer, as he received his Uncle's wrath worse than usual. After cooking breakfast for the Dursleys, his aunt, in what Harry could only assume was a moment of mercy, sent him to his room to nurse his wounds from the previous night. More probable though, was that she couldn't stand to look at his bruised body without getting sick.
It was from his bedroom that he heard the knock at the door and then the distinct voice of… Arthur Weasley? Oh god, I haven't written to anyone in over a week, Harry groaned inwardly. He had completely forgotten his agreement to keep in contact every three or four days. Time at the Dursley's home seemed to stretch by indefinitely and it was hard to keep track of anything.
Harry was broken from his train of thought as his Aunt Petunia came dashing into the room. "You listen to me you little brat, one of your freak friends is here demanding to see you. I know there are… things… you can do, to, you know, fix your appearance. And don't even think about lying. I know there are ways. I've heard my sister talk about them when she went to that ridiculous school."
Harry stared at his aunt in wonder, contemplating his options. A, run down those stairs screaming so he could go back to the Burrow with Mr. Weasley, or, B, risk possible expulsion by performing under-aged magic as his aunt was suggesting, and pretend to Mr. Weasley that nothing was wrong. Of course the obvious choice would be A, but Harry other things to consider.
He complained to Dumbledore year after year, practically begging to stay at Hogwarts for the summer, only to be sent back to this hell hole time and again. And finally Dumbledore had admitted more of the truth to Harry this past school year. Certain wards, created by his mother's protection were maintained here at the Dursley's through the blood of his aunt and were the best protection for Harry from Voldemort. Dumbledore couldn't stress enough how important this protection would be for Harry and with his luck running into old Voldy, well, Harry agreed he could use all the protection he could get.
He realized he would probably have to go with option B, against his better judgment. It's all about self-preservation, and while his uncle was a right bastard, Harry didn't think he would actually kill him. Voldemort, on the other hand, that was definitely his game plan. Besides, there was also a part of Harry that never wanted the Weasleys, or anyone in the wizarding world for that matter, to find out about how his relatives treated him. Not only could he not stand up to his stupid Uncle, but it was his own fault it happened in the first place.
"We both know that you need this house," Petunia spat. "The protection that crazy old man told me you would get until you turned 17. He said you couldn't get it anywhere else. Can you really afford to lose that?" Glaring down at Harry she finally thrust his wand at him. "Well? We don't have all day."
Harry was a bit dumbfounded that Petunia actually knew about the importance of the wards as well but quickly set to work casting the best glamour charm he could manage. There would be plenty of time in his adult life to attain revenge against the Dursleys. That is if Voldemort didn't get him first, of course.
It was only a matter of minutes before Harry had covered all the visible parts of his body, mainly his face and neck. His overly large hand-me-down clothes covered everything else.
As he sprinted down the stairs, Harry could hear Mr. Weasley getting extremely impatient and Vernon Dursley even more agitated that he was now going to be late for work. "Mr. Weasley! Hi. What are you doing here?" Harry gasped out of breath.
With a keen eye, Arthur took in Harry's disheveled appearance but noticed nothing too out of the ordinary before exclaiming, "Harry, what took you so long? Why haven't you written? Everyone's been a bit worried."
"I've been fine Mr. Weasley. Really," Harry stated emphatically, trying to sound as convincing as possible.
"Well, I had to come check on you… Before the boys got some crazy idea to drive out here again," Arthur muttered that last part so only Harry could hear.
The memory of the twins and Ron driving a flying car up to Harry's room in the middle of the night had actually gotten a smile out of Harry, something he hadn't done in a long time. Perhaps it was that small smile that convinced Mr. Weasley that everything really was alright. Whatever it was, Harry was grateful that he hadn't aroused any suspicions.
"And you know Sirius, barking up a storm," Mr. Weasley let out a little chuckle at his own pun. Harry grinned even more at the mention of his godfather before being interrupted.
"Well that's enough! Intruding into our home! I need to be off to work before I miss half the day!" Vernon barked. "You've bloody-well chatted long enough!"
"Yes, yes, I will be on my way. But Harry, do remember to write more," Arthur said sincerely.
And with that Vernon ushered Mr. Weasley out the door.
Apparating a safe distance from any houses, Snape began his walk towards Privet Drive. Instead of his usual attire he wore black slacks and a crisp, white shirt.
"All the stupid houses look the same," he muttered to himself, but quicker than he would have liked, he found himself in front of Number Four, Privet Drive. He had the slightest bit of apprehension before starting up the walk but he brushed it off as instantly as it had appeared. Severus Snape spent his life tempting fate with the Dark Lord. This would be a cake walk.
"Pampered, little Harry Potter, disrupting everyone's summer," he hissed as he rapped firmly on the door.
An hour after the whole Arthur Weasley incident and thirty minutes after receiving his official Ministry warning, Harry could be found washing the morning dishes in the kitchen. He was broken from his internal grumblings about the unfairness of it all when a knock came from the door. "Get that boy!" Petunia harped from down the hall.
Crumpling the letter into his pocket, Harry pulled open the front door only to be completely flabbergasted by his second visitor of the day. "Pr-Professor Snape!" Harry stuttered.
"Eloquent as always, Mr. Potter," Snape replied silkily, sizing up the teenager in front of him. The only hint he gave of noticing anything out of the ordinary was the slight raise of one eyebrow. "Am I to remain on your front walk indefinitely or do you have any manners Potter?"
"Of- Of course Sir. Um. Come in," Harry stepped to the side of the doorway and gestured with one awkward arm for Snape to enter the Dursley's sitting room.
Quickly taking in his surroundings, Snape noticed that the room was in pristine order and showed the exterior of a perfect, happy, family. Of course he knew it showed only the exterior because each and every picture showed a perfect, happy, family of three, all void of one Harry Potter. This posed a curious quandary for Severus Snape.
What in god's name is HE doing here? First Mr. Weasley and now SNAPE! Aunt Petunia is going to have a heart attack seeing another full-grown wizard in her home. Boy am I going to get it tonight when Uncle Vernon gets…
"What are YOU doing here?" Petunia ground out through her clenched teeth, abruptly yanking Harry from his personal worries.
Not missing a moment of Petunia's pure loathing, Snape replied with his smooth tone, "It's a pleasure to see you again as well, Petunia." Having been absolutely certain that the boy-who-lived was as prized at home as he was at school, Snape's attention to detail was now telling him otherwise. The glamour charm the boy was wearing was also an interesting addition to the puzzle. Severus Snape was not the type of man that enjoyed being surprised out of his current assumptions. He would definitely need to get to the bottom of all this. "I assure you, however, I would like nothing more than to be free from either of your presences and will only need to speak with Mr. Potter for a moment."
"Fine. Make it quick. I won't have my son seeing the likes of your kind when he gets home," Petunia stated firmly, giving Snape one of the fiercest glares Harry had ever seen. He had been watching the exchange between his loathed professor and his not too favorite aunt with actual excitement. Their choices of words seemed to imply they knew each other and although Petunia was not a fan of anything to do with the magical world, no one had ever gotten to her this much. Well… except Harry. And not only did Professor Snape CLEARLY get to Petunia, he matched her glare and seemed to actually instill some fear in her, something Harry didn't mind seeing, even if it was Snape doing the intimidating.
Petunia crossed her arms, obviously preparing to oversee the entire interaction between professor and student.
"I will need to speak to Mr. Potter in private. Of course you understand," Snape responded curtly. "Mr. Potter, why don't you show me to your room?" All the while he never took his penetrating, cold eyes from Petunia's.
Caught off guard by finally being included in the conversation, Harry sputtered, "My what? My Room?"
"Yes, your ROOM. You do have one, don't you Potter? I'm certain Petunia wouldn't deny you one of those," Snape replied smoothly while raising an implicating eye brow in Mrs. Dursley's direction.
"Well go on boy, what are you waiting for, the sooner he sees it, the sooner he can leave!" Petunia hissed.
"Yes ma'am," Harry quickly answered and abruptly led Snape through the house to the second floor.
The locks on the outside of Harry's door did not go unnoticed by Severus Snape.
Once inside the privacy of Harry's room, he turned to face his professor, while not quite making eye contact. The man never ceases to be scary, Harry thought.
"Is there something you would like to tell me Mr. Potter?" He already knew the answer. Of course there is something you would like to tell me. Snape was merely interested in giving Harry the chance to explain himself, or perhaps to torture him a little. It was always fun to torture a Potter.
"Umm, uh, no Sir." Harry couldn't quite find his voice and it came out more like a whisper than an acceptable answer. His mind raced while he clutched the crumpled paper in his pocket… Why in the world is Snape here? Does the Ministry tell your school too? Am I going to get suspended?
The boy was fidgeting and clearly stalling. "Enough of this foolishness! You are wasting even more of MY time! Finite Incantum!" Snape bellowed with a slash of his wand watching Harry flinch severely.
Noticing immediately in the drop of the Glamour Charm, Harry instinctively brought his hands up to cover his face.
Snape's jaw dropped open with a sharp intake of breath. Rarely, possibly he could count on one hand the times, he was this caught off guard… "Pot… Potter?"
Best to recompose himself. "Move your hands Mr. Potter," he tried again attempting at a softer tone.
Harry's face, or at least the parts visible from beneath his hands, was not the color normal flesh should be. Rather, it was various shades of purple, blue, green and even a sickly yellow, which Snape could presume, came from layers upon layers of bruises. It was all too reminiscent of his very own appearance when he was the boy's age.
From what he could see above the boy's collar, there was bruising there as well and it most obviously continued out of sight. Red, hand-shaped marks were clearly visible around Harry's throat. Even the boys' wrists had purple markings.
Why had this caught him so off guard? He should have seen this coming. He should have known the moment he walked into the house. Harry Potter, the bloody Boy-Who-Lived, wearing a Glamour Charm in the middle of summer? Risking under-aged magic? Risking expulsion? Had he really let a ridiculous childhood grudge cloud his better judgment? Not even that, but cloud his natural deductive reasoning? Shit!
"I'm going to ask you again. Please lower your hands and have the respect to look at me." His tone was not harsh but left little room for debate.
Harry's mind was running a mile a minute. How had Snape known? Mr. Weasley didn't see it. Or did he? Did he see it and then tell Dumbledore, who sent Snape? No. Mr. Weasley would have said something… Damn it! Of course, the letter! Of course they would notify the school. Or Dumbledore would have his own ways of finding out. Either way I'm royally screwed! Snape is going to love this information. Something new to torture me with.
Slowly lowering his arms but not quite meeting Snape's gaze he decided the best thing would be to try and lie. "Pr-Professor. It's not what it looks like. I got into a fight with a kid down the street and I, uh, didn't want my aunt to know." Yeah that sounded good.
"Don't lie to me! I know it is EXACTLY what it looks like Potter!" Snape spat, regretting immediately his harsh words. It couldn't be helped now but he absolutely loathed the idea that the boy would place blame anywhere besides on those to whom it really belonged. Severus had accepted a long time ago that what happened to him was not his own fault. And furthermore, excuses should never be made for the guilty party. He could not, and would not, stand by and let the boy let them off the hook. No, they will pay, Snape seethed to himself.
Perhaps now is not the time to have this discussion, he realized. "Get your things Potter. You have five minutes to meet me downstairs, completely packed." With that Snape spun on his heel and exited Harry's room, leaving him dumbstruck and standing alone.
What in the bloody-hell just happened? It was obvious to Harry that Snape was furious, but it did not, somehow, actually seem aimed at him, which was definitely a first in history.
Whatever just happened, Harry knew it would be better not to test the professors' patience and quickly began throwing stuff into his trunk.
Snape silently made his way back downstairs. Just one little word with Petunia perhaps, he mused as he descended the stairs, an evil glint in his eye. He had not become a Death Eater for nothing. Revenge was a powerful drive when it came to Severus Snape.
Fortunately he did not have far to go before he found exactly the person he was looking for. Petunia Dursley was obviously trying to listen as best she could from the bottom of the stairs and could only retreat a little as she saw Snape coming down the stairs too late.
Glaring down on Petunia Dursley, he swiftly cornered her against the wall. Vernon Dursley should consider himself extremely lucky he is not home at the moment, Snape thought to himself. He was not sure if he could contain his wrath against the man as well as he would against the pathetic woman in front of him.
Although trying to stand tall, Petunia Dursley was clearly cowering, bringing a slight smile to Snapes' lips in the form of an evil smirk. "Is there something you would like to tell me Petunia?" Snape spoke in his dangerously quiet tone.
"Only that I think it's time you get out of my house. You're not welcome here!" Petunia bit back, but still visibly shaking.
Snape kept silent for what seemed like hours as his eyes seemed to actually drill through hers. "Perhaps… there are things you would like to tell your sister?" He again spoke smoothly and quietly, all the while seeming cool, calm, and collected.
"What?" she Sputtered. "I don't know what you-"
"ENOUGH!" Only Snape could yell without ever really raising his voice above a deathly whisper. "You will shut up and listen, Woman!"
Petunia seemed to be holding her breath.
"Clearly," he spoke very slowly, once again regaining his composure, "you did not inflict the majority of those injuries. But! Whether you participated – or – simply sat back and watched… I. Don't. Care. You are just as guilty either way. Do you understand me? You are a hideous disgrace to your sister," Snape spat.
He let the ominous silence sink in for a minute before continuing.
"There is one thing I want to know, however," and again Snape paused to put the woman more on edge.
"What - do you think - possessed the boy to use a glamour charm? Hmm?" Snapes' words were laced with sarcasm as he raised one eyebrow.
As his dark eyes bored into Petunia Dursley's, he took the opportunity to perform a little Legilimency. It would be much quicker and easier to retrieve the answer he was looking for.
*Snape could see Petunia glaring at Harry slaving away in the garden.* Then she was slapping him for burning Dudley's bacon.* Memories were flashing through Snape's mind.* Finally she was rushing into his rooming blurting out her request for him to magically "fix" himself and thrusting the boy's wand into his hand.* That was all he needed to know and Snape immediately withdrew from the woman's mind.
"Believe me when I tell you, Petunia, and please, by all means, pass this along to your husband. You will both be very, VERY sorry – for ever harming a hair on that boy's head. And if you ever hurt Harry again, so help me-"
Snapes' words were cut short, by the sound of Harry's trunk clunking down the stairs. He liked it better this way though, everything left hanging for Petunia's imagination.
Snape took a step back, smoothing his shirt as though nothing at all had transpired in the last five minutes.
Harry stepped into the entryway and wearily looked between his aunt and professor while keeping his head down as much as possible. Petunia was glaring at him with a mixture of pure hatred and quite possibly a small hint of regret, which Harry assumed came only from being caught. He did not know, of course, the details of the conversation that had just occurred between her and the professor. The look in Professor Snape's eye, Harry couldn't quite place. Coldness, as usual, and anger, but something else flashed there that Harry had never really seen before in his Professors' eyes. Meanwhile, he knew sheer, utter embarrassment was written all over his own face.
With a flick of Snape's wrist, Harry's trunk floated over to him and then shrunk so he could slip it into his pocket. He decided he should speak and move a little bit slower around the boy. "Potter, I assume you have your invisibility cloak on you."
He would rather not see Harry flinch the way he had before. Although Snape enjoyed striking fear into his students, Harry's reaction did not bring him any pleasure, knowing it was the result of his relatives.
"Yes Sir," Harry practically whispered.
"Please put it on now," Snape said, again his voice holding no hint of the usual disdain.
Harry fumbled quickly with his jacket to pull out the cloak he was hiding and proceeded to throw it over himself and Hedwig's cage.
Satisfied, Snape said, "Very well, if you are sure you have everything, we will be on our way." He gave a curt nod to Petunia Dursley while opening the front door and gestured for Harry to precede him outside.
Once they were alone on the front walk Snape began speaking, seemingly, to thin air. "If you would follow me then."
They walked a short distance down Privet Drive in silence to a small alleyway.
"You will need to take hold of my arm, Mr. Potter."
Harry hesitantly wrapped his fingers around Snape's left forearm, hoping dearly that it didn't matter which one.
With a small pop they apparated away from Little Whinging.