School started for both Harry and Severus. Everything in the castle always amazed the small boy, even if he never questioned why everything had magic. Madame Pomfrey said it was because he was still so young.
Unfortunately, he seemed to have made friends with Peeves. This was something that shocked many of the staff members. No one had heard of that happening before, not even the Marauders got along as well. The poltergeist wouldn't prank Harry, and it wasn't because of Dumbledore's influence either. He just seemed to understand that Harry was too little.
They played together in the room that had been set up for Harry, just connected off of Severus' room. When he was marking work the students essay's at night, he'd hear Harry's loud laughter as he played, then a familiar cackling. Sometimes they would play the block game that the boy seemed to be so fond of.
Harry seemed happier, but there were times when he would stare at Severus with a very worried look on his face. When asked what was wrong, the boy just shrugged and then he would go back to what he was doing. Ever since the week he thought that he was going to be sent away, Harry had changed a little.
He went to the therapy every Wednesday afternoon. The therapist Mrs. Déprimer told him that Harry was worried that someday Severus might think he can't take care of him anymore. He was also scared that some day when his aunt and uncle left prison, he might have to live with them again. She told Severus that he was doing a good job, and as Harry grew up, he wouldn't have those fears anymore. At the moment, he had been through too much stress for someone his age.
She was just worried about the stuff that he was told while he lived with his aunt and uncle. He really did believe all of it. During their third session, he had asked a question that she never thought she'd hear from someone his age.
"Should I be dead?"
This was after she had explained to him exactly what death was. By then, he understood his parents were gone and why, but they had loved him a lot. He didn't know how they had died, but someday he would.
After she asked him why he asked the question he said: "Cause my aunt and uncle hurt me. I should run in front of a car and die, Aunt Marge said so."
Severus didn't have to do anything to get revenge on Marge. There were Ministry representatives sent to her house to ask her a few questions about her nephew. She gave them the answers that they wanted. She told them her exact feelings for Harry, she had no idea that she was talking to people with authority.
"I hate that child. Not only because is he the ugliest creature alive, I mean seriously, have you ever seen him? He is disgusting! He is also stupid. He can't even spell his name. He can't talk properly, when I asked him if he knew his alphabet, he could only name certain letters, but they weren't in order! He can't even handle a small spanking. I honestly don't have a problem with giving a child a couple slaps on the bottom if they've misbehaved! Well this child would scream as if he was being murdered and Vernon barely touched him. I can guarantee that he made up stories just to get my brother and his wife in jail, and if you can believe it, I'm not allowed to see Vernon and I'm his sister! I don't even know which prison he is in. I haven't seen my real nephew in months. Honestly, if I could I'd find that child I'd murder him. I love small children, but there are some that shouldn't have been born. Harry Potter is the worst child alive, he is evil, he is disgusting and he should be dead. That child deserved any slap he got, and it was very rare that Vernon ever hit him. He was too soft with the ugly evil creature."
When asked if she was serious about murdering Harry, she admitted that indeed she was. She did not feel bad about it because the world would be better off without him. There was going to be a hearing for her at the Ministry for admitting that she wanted to murder a child. She had also confessed that there were times when she'd beaten him as well.
There were a lot of people who were angry with Harry's mistreatment. Many people blamed Dumbledore because it had been he who left the child at the Dursley's. Severus agreed at times. However, how was he supposed to know that the baby he left at the Dursley would live nearly three years of abuse?
Harry seemed to enjoy school. The tutor sent a progress report home with Harry once a week, and he was doing very well. He knew how to spell his name, he could count to fifty now, he knew his alphabet up to the letter M. The tutor only remained in the morning, so the rest of the children went home, but Lucius had hired a vocabulary instructor for the afternoons, so every afternoon except Wednesday, Harry was increasing his vocabulary.
Harry told Severus he knew how to count, and knew some of the letters of the alphabet because of the educational shows he watched at the Dursley's with Dudley.
"I never knew all the alphabet before," he told Snape. "Just some letters. I didn't know how to spell my name but now I do! I knew how to count to ten before, but now it's more."
Then he would spell out his full name or count and laugh.
Something was wrong though, and Harry wouldn't tell him what it was. The therapist couldn't get him to talk about it either. He seemed very depressed in the mornings. He would poke at his food but would only eat a few bites of it.
Every morning, they woke up early, Harry would get dressed, eat and then Lucius Malfoy would come through the fireplace in Severus' office to pick him up. He seemed to act the same way he had in the summer after their first trip to Hogwarts. Sometimes his lip would quiver as the time for Lucius to come grew closer, but he wouldn't cry.
"Harry, don't you like school?" Severus asked him one morning. "Do you want to stay at Hogwarts instead?"
"No," Harry answered. "I like learning."
"Then why are you so sad?"
"I don't know," Harry answered, and then sighed.
A few moments later, Lucius showed up.
"Lucius, Harry seems depressed some mornings; does he miss me at all when he is at your place?" Severus asked as Lucius picked Harry up.
"I think he likes it there. I usually stay away when they have their lessons, but I've checked in a few times. He is usually singing the songs or playing the games. He doesn't really play with the other children though."
School was fun. Harry liked to learn new stuff, he really wanted to learn to read someday, but at the moment, all he knew was some letters in the alphabet. He could sing the letters in the song until he got to letter M, but he got confused afterward. He knew the last three were X,Y, and Z. He also knew some of the letters in his name came after M. He seemed to be doing better than Vince and Gregory though. They had a hard time spelling their name still.
At the beginning of lessons, they would gather in the Malfoy's large sitting room. The children were allowed to play before the lessons; this was the time that Harry disliked the most. Pansy Parkinson liked to make fun of him because of his size. The others joined in, except for Draco.
The teasing had started the first week after lessons had started. Harry and Draco had started the block game when she walked over with her friends Daphne and Millicent, who had just started the lesson's a few days after the rest had.
"How old are you Harry?" she asked.
"I'm four-years-old," he said proudly.
"Uh uh you're not!" Pansy answered.
"Uh huh, I turned four in July!" he said and turned to Draco. "Right?"
"I went to his birthday," Draco confirmed. "We had cake and played with blocks and his broom!"
"But he is too little!" Pansy exclaimed. "I know someone who is two and that's how old Harry is."
"No, I'm four!" Harry answered, upset now. "I'm a big boy now."
"You're a big baby, two-year-old baby!" Pansy shouted. "Baby, baby, Harry is a baby!" she sang.
Daphne and Millicent joined in. This went on everyday before the tutor came in to teach them. Only Dobby the house elf kept an eye on the children, so none of the adults knew about it, and Harry wouldn't talk about it. He started to wonder after a while if he was really four, if he was, then why was he so small? He was the shortest there. Theodore Nott was the tallest, while the rest all seemed to be the same height.
He tried not to cry. Babies cried didn't they? He didn't want to give the others a reason to call him a baby. Draco told him that Pansy was just a silly girl, and just to ignore her. It was hard not to, maybe he really was a 'freak' after all. Why else wasn't he taller?
He liked to learn though, that was the only reason he didn't want to tell Severus (who he wished he could call his daddy) about the teasing. He was worried if he talked about it, he might not be able to come back, so he stayed quiet. He liked the games they played, the songs that they sang, story time and craft time.
The morning that Severus asked him if he wanted to stay home was just as bad as any other morning. When he got to the Malfoy's place, instead of playing with the other children, Harry took a book from the shelf to look through. He could identify some of the letters in the words, but he couldn't read at the moment, he liked the pretty pictures though. He was too busy looking through the book that he didn't notice Pansy and her friends. The book was snatched out of his hands.
"Give that back!" Harry shouted.
"Come and get it baby!" Pansy laughed.
She threw it to Daphne. Harry ran over to Daphne, but she tossed it over to Millicent. Theodore noticed the game; he hurried over to join in.
"Here, here Milly!" he cried.
"I wanna read it!" Harry yelled. "Give it back!"
"Baby, baby, Harry is a baby!" they sang.
Harry sat down on the floor and started to cry. This made them sing their song even louder. Why couldn't they just leave him alone? He was always nice to them; it wasn't his fault that he wasn't tall enough yet. While he sobbed, Draco ran over angrily.
"Give it back to him! You make Harry cry! All of you are bad!"
"Make us Draky!" Pansy laughed.
"It's my house, Pansy. You go home! I don't want you here anymore! You're not allowed over here. Go home, you go home now!" Draco shouted.
"You take the babies side!" Theodore accused. "We're your friends first."
"Don't care. You don't make Harry cry ever, now give it back to him. I'll tell father never to let you come again."
"Fine, have it," Millicent who had the book again said.
She tossed it at Harry who was still crying. It hit him in the back of the head. Draco was remembering the story he had been told, how his friend had been hurt a lot by the people he lived with before Severus. His father had later explained to him that sometimes people were very mean to small children, and that's why Harry had been hit a lot.
He got very angry. He turned to Millicent who was laughing because Harry started to cry even harder by that point. He clenched his fists into balls; he stalked over to her angrily.
"YOU DON'T HIT HARRY!"
Several things happened at once, the floors started to shake, as if there was an earthquake. The other children cried out in fright, but Draco didn't notice as his anger took his body over. The window's exploded, the couch cushions blew up, the toys on the floor broke, the chandelier above shook dangerously, and the fire in the fireplace grew bigger.
This wasn't only happening in the sitting-room, it happened in the kitchen as well, where Lucius and Narcissa were seated. Pots and pans fell off the wall, and plates began to explode. They both looked at each other; this had happened before, sometimes they had to replace a lot of their possessions after one of Draco's temper-tantrums.
Lucius hurried to the sitting-room, he was yelling at Millicent Bulstrode. Every child in the room was crying. Dobby was trying to control Draco, but he wasn't succeeding. Lucius walked over, he shoved the elf out of the way and kneeled in front of his son.
"Calm down son," he said and took Draco's hands into his.
He squeezed them gently until Draco's anger slowly went away. As this was happening, there was a knock on the front door.
"Go get the door, Dobby. It's probably the tutor," Lucius said. "Now Draco, can you tell me what happened?"
"Millicent threw a book at Harry. Not supposed to hurt him, not after what happened to him! They are always callin him a baby cause he is short!" Draco explained angrily. "Don't want no one hurtin my friend."
"Hmm," Lucius said.
He explained to Millicent that it was wrong to throw things. How could he explain to them that they couldn't bother Harry while he was still so sensitive? He hadn't wanted Draco to know the truth about the abuse as was it was. He was actually surprised that Harry hadn't told everyone about it, he'd talked about it so casually before.
"It's what he gets for being so small!" Pansy said.
"Pansy, you don't make fun of people," Lucius told her. "It's not his fault that he is short."
"He lies, he says he is four, but he is not."
"I AM SO FOUR!" Harry shouted.
"Yes, he is four-years-old," Lucius said. "And Harry, don't shout."
Harry was at least a head shorter than the children, so he could see why his age was debatable. The tutor entered the sitting-room while Lucius, Pansy, Harry and Draco talked.
"What happened in here?" he asked.
"Ah, Mr. Insegnante," Lucius said and stood up. "Just a bit of a temper-tantrum, I'll clean up, you may begin."
It took a bit for the children to calm down, and then Mr. Insegnante began the opening day song. Satisfied, Lucius left the room.
"Harry! How are you today?"
The students loved Harry. When Severus took him down the halls, they greeted him excitedly. He enjoyed the attention and waved at them. As he grew older, Severus would have to make sure that the boy wouldn't grow arrogant from all the attention he was getting. At the moment he just craved affection, so he liked it when people called out to him.
Lucius had told Severus what had happened that morning. Why did all this bad stuff have to keep happening to Harry? All he wanted was for the child to be happy, but things kept happening to prevent that. He never did like Markus Parkinson. His daughter was probably just as spoiled as Draco.
Harry didn't seem unhappy though, he seemed to be past the mornings events. He was chatting about the new song they had learned that day as they entered the Great Hall. Severus just wondered why he never told him. If he'd known the boy was in distress, he'd have stopped Harry from going there.
"I can read the word, and now," Harry told Severus halfway through dinner. "I can spell it, A-N-D! Now I just need to learn other words."
"Can you tell me what sound P makes?" Professor McGonagall asked him.
He got along with all the teachers really well, sometimes they watched him as well. The staff all really liked him.
"Puh, puh," Harry said. "It's in my last name Puh-otter. I can't say it in the alphabet. Still don't know the whole song yet."
"Well, you will someday," Severus assured him.
Later, after dinner, Severus sat down with Harry to talk with him. He was ahead on marking the student's work, so he had time to sit down with his son. He asked him why he didn't come to him about the teasing.
"I would have stopped you from going there," Severus said. "You don't have to go anymore."
"But I want to," Harry protested. "Don't like teasing but I like school. Don't make me stop going, please!"
"I can hire a tutor to come here," Severus answered.
He really didn't want to. It was a lot cheaper to let Harry learn at the Malfoy's since he wasn't the only one paying for Mr. Insegnante. All the parents chipped in, but if he had to spend the extra money to keep Harry happy, he would.
"I won't see Draco," Harry said. "I wanna learn at the Manor. Please let me stay, please. They won't tease me no more… but Sev, why am I so short? How come I'm not tall enough?"
"I expect it's because you didn't eat enough at your aunt and uncles, Harry. They starved you a lot, so you didn't get what you needed to grow. While you live with me, you will get what you need. Don't worry," Severus explained.
Harry seemed to understand this. He nodded. "Dudley was very tall, and fat too. So he eat too much."
"That's right," Severus said surprised he understood that. "So we don't want you to eat too much. We don't want you fat."
"Not like Millicent, Vince or Greg," Harry said.
Those children were indeed all too big for their age. It wasn't a surprise; their parents were all also overweight.
Later, as Severus read to Harry, the boy said something in a sleepy voice that caught him by surprise but it also pleased him as well.
"I love you, daddy," he said.
A/N: I just wanted to explain Harry's reaction in the previous chapter. One person questioned it, but if one person did, then maybe more did as well. I don't think making Harry angry was over the top. He'd been through a lot already, and then he thought the one person who cared about him was sending him away. When Severus kept giving him candy and toys it upset him because he couldn't understand why he was getting all that new stuff when he was leaving soon. So he slowly got angry. Severus also kept asking him why he was sad which upset Harry even more because he should have understood that Harry would be upset when Severus sent him away. So that's why he wanted Severus to leave him alone, he was sick of him trying to be nice to him when he was just sending him away anyway, and then when Dumbledore showed up, he thought that was the day he was leaving and he really didn't want to leave, so he freaked out.
And I thought I've said several times in the chapters, Harry is four! He even had a fourth birthday party so I don't know why his age is still questioned, so I mentioned it again in this chapter and I am mentioning it again. And yes Harry calmed down after the fit he had, but he wasn't over it. He fell asleep from exhaustion when he could finally relax. But in this chapter I pointed out some of his insecurities, which he will have for years, even with the therapy.
I don't mind questions, but I do hope I won't get anymore questions about his age.
Anniewriter, you blocked me from responding to you, but if you don't like my story and think it's sick, then stop reading it.
One for chapter, which will be Christmas, then Harry is going to age.