Severus was not certain really what he was doing. Albus had come up with the preposterous idea he needed to take a vacation. He honestly did not know the meaning. He had never taken one. Summers from school as a student had meant going home to an abusive father before his Aunt took him in. And then there had been the war. But it had ended. And Albus insisted that Severus take some time off. He would have retreated to his home but Albus had been quite insistent upon it. He had even booked a holiday for him. He assumed he could have hid away at Malfoy Manor. He often spent time there. But it seemed quite the conspiracy. Lucius had even wanted him to go away. So here he was. He was in some small unheard of town in Cornwall. Staying for a few weeks at a little cottage in a muggle town.
A week after he arrived he was walking. He was trying to collect some herbs. He might as well do something useful with this waist of time. He should be in his lab. There was not even a space that could remotely work for a lab for him. The house had bright windows in every room. Albus could not have picked a worse spot. He thought it was the old man's strange humour at work. Or his way of ensuring Severus took this ridiculous holiday. Either way he was not able to work here.
He heard some children along the beach. He was in a family district he realized. Little families from the southern part of the country had summer home here. All muggles of course. They brought their kids to swim and play. They ate the sea food and took boat rides. He grimaced at the mundane pace of the muggle world.
He saw a couple along the water with their son. The woman looked oddly familiar to him. She was a tall gangly hors of a woman with blond hair. Her husband would make a whale look small. And the boy though no more then surely seven, was not much better.
The boy looked at his parents. "Mummy can we go to the store in town and buy some more of the sugar toffee? You know HE ate most of mine."
The woman smiled and ruffled the boy's curls. "Of course Dudley. You know the filthy brat will pay for eating you sweets Dudleykins."
He watched the couple. He was not that surprised by their language. The only muggle he had much contact with had been his drunk of a father. The man gave muggles a bad name. But this couple seemed no better. He could see why some would join Voldemort willingly. He and Lucius were forced and became spies. But there was good in muggles. He smiled for a moment in memory of her. She had been his best friend. A sister to him. Even after using mudblood she helped him become a spy. There was not a day he did not mourn he death nearly five years later.
He realized why the woman looked so familiar. He remembered meting Lily's sister years ago. But it could not be. The couple lived in London. But he had said it himself. Families came here for holidays. But what kind of coincidence would it have been. Surely he did not accidentally wind up in the same resort town. Albus he thought of. But what would the man have gained from sending him here.
His mind wandered to what Petunia had said. She had mentioned another child. Harry. Lily's son had been sent to live with the couple. But if it was Petunia, where was the boy. He would not even be six for a few more weeks. They would not leave a little boy home alone like that.
He without thinking cast a disillusionment charm and followed the family. It was confirmed by the man. "Petunia do you think we can trust HIM in the cottage?"
Petunia turned to look at her husband. "You know Arabella is in the hospital. Besides he is locked up in that pantry. There is not much damage that he could do there."
Severus' heart sunk. Lily's son was in a pantry. Maybe he heard wrong. It had been a long time since he listened to such muggle talk. The boy was likely in his bedroom. The boy was likely the image of his dad. Some spoiled little brat. The whale of a boy had claimed Harry had eaten his candy. Maybe he had a belly ache. Albus would not have left the child with abusive relatives. He had assured their group h had checked on the child. Surely he was misunderstanding something. He headed back for his cabin but he could not get their words out of his mind. Lily's face kept flashing through his mind.
He had seen which they had come from. Putting the spell back on he headed for the cottage. He was not sure what he would do. He could not simply take the child. And he was not sure he would have. He had no mind to raise a child. But he owed it to Lily to find out how her son was. He found the couple had not returned and checked the house for signs of life. He thought it empty until he spotted the cupboard in the kitchen. He found it locked.
He unlocked it and came face to face with a tiny boy. If it was not for his resemblance to James and the blazing green eyes he would not have recognized him. He was too small to be nearly six years old. And from the clothes h wore he looked like he had been shrunk.
The little boy backed away from him with tears running down his cheeks. "Please don't hurt me. Please. I didn't eat the candy. I swear I didn't."
Severus knelt down and noticed bruises and welts all over the little body. "I am not going to hurt you little one. I am not going to hurt you."
Looking at the boy he knew h had to do something. But he had no idea what to do. If he just took Harry he would be arrested. Or at the very least he would be sent back. But he needed to do something. Lily had done so much for him. There had to be some way to help this little boy.