NOTE; This is a sequel; for full understanding, it is best to read "Depths of Darkness" first!
The muggle neighborhood was quiet; it was hot, but not unbearably so. Still, black was the last color any of the inhabitants felt like wearing. One man prowled the streets, clad from head to toe in the heat-attracting color. His expression inscrutable, he crossed the street and entered the yard of a certain Muggle house. Severus' lips curled at the sight of identical houses and yards, sprawling as far as the eye could see. Without warning, he rapped smartly on the wooden front door, waiting as he heard movement inside. The door slid open, revealing a boy of immense size. His size could be overlooked however, when one looked into his face and saw the cruel and calculated gaze. Here was an individual used the world revolving around himself. Dudley Dursley was like a planet; he expected all who came into contact with him to orbit around him, just out of reach, until they were useful in some way.
"Are your parents home?" Severus asked, carefully blanking his emotion. It was difficult in this case; his disgust was hard to hide.
"Mum is. Dad's at work," the boy grunted. He stared at Severus for half a minute waiting for a response. Severus merely raised one eyebrow and sighed loudly.
"Well? Will you get her?" he asked finally.
Obviously the boy was an ignoramus; he needed continually directing to do anything.
"MUM!" hollered Dudley suddenly, almost deafening Severus in the process.
"What is it Duddikins?" the voice hit him like a kick to the gut.
It had been years since he had heard her voice, but he recognized it instantly. It was the voice he had always associated with Lily; Petunia had always been around when they were children, whether he had wanted her there or not.
Her eyes widened when she saw him, but otherwise she gave no sign to her son that she knew who the 'stranger' at the door was.
"I don't think I have time to spare today, if you're selling something-" she began, only to be cut off suddenly.
"You have time enough for this," his smile was pleasant, but Petunia had seen that look before.
As he was ushered inside and away from the prying neighbors' eyes, Petunia sent Dudley outside.
"But Mum, I wanna say inside, it's hot…" Dudley whined.
"Don't argue with me!" Petunia snapped dismissively. Dudley pouted, but finally left.
When he was gone, Petunia finally turned to Severus.
"Why are you here, Snape?" she asked.
"I'm here regarding Harry Potter," Severus said emotionlessly.
Petunia paled and nodded.
"I know the cruelties you and your family have inflicted on the boy. I know every act of neglect and mistreatment. However-" he raised a hand and silenced the gaping woman.
"I can not stand idly by and allow such treatment to occur again this summer. The Headmaster has chosen to send him here, despite my objections. If Harry so much as suffers a skinned knee this summer, I will have my revenge. Do you understand?" he ended silkily.
The woman surveyed him coldly.
"I understand," she replied stiffly.
"I will be watching, over the next two weeks. You keep that oaf of a husband away from Harry, and there's no problem," Severus stood, thinking he had gotten his point across.
"Severus, wait-!" Petunia's voice stopped him as he neared the door.
Perhaps it was the use of his first name, or the way it was said, but he conceded.
"You were there. When Lily got her letter, I mean. You know what I asked Dumbledore, and you knew how his answer changed me. That said, I have deliberately turned a blind eye to Harry for years, and hated him as a representation of what I had lost in Lily. When she died, I had already lost her. She had gone into a world of which I could never take part in. So I made my own life. It's a world of compromise, but it's mine. Then Dumbledore forced that boy on me, as if to spite me. Vernon has never had much objectivity, and it wasn't hard to encourage his dislike of Potter. In fact, Dumbledore said…said that we should use whatever means necessary to break the boy, and make him hate us,"
Severus remained impassive outwardly, but his insides swirled with torment. Petunia had implied that Dumbledore had known something of the upbringing of the boy, and had indeed encouraged it!
"There's still something of that girl I knew all those years ago left in you, Petunia," he said out loud.
"No, Snape. That girl has been gone for a long time now," her eyes clouded over, and her usual mask took its place.
"Remember my warning, or I will be paying another visit," Severus said stiffly. Through the window, he could see the young Dursley chasing a bedraggled cat with a hose.
"I know. Duddikins! Let's go down and buy some ice-cream!" as she bustled out into the backyard, Severus hoped that his warnings would be enough to keep Harry safe.
A short, bespectacled boy sat waiting on the platform looking distraught. The train had arrived at the station hours ago, and he was the only student still waiting to be picked up. Strangers were giving him odd looks; some had noticed the boy some hours previous and wondered what he was waiting for. One person was watching him with extreme scrutiny however, and yet Harry did not even realize he was there. Severus Snape was leaning idly on nearby brick wall, a muggle newspaper hiding most of his face. He was still wearing the black muggle clothes he had worn to Privet Drive earlier in the day, and he blended in perfectly with the milling crowd.
Harry sat wondering whether he really would be spending only two weeks with the Dursleys; it seemed almost too good to be true. His Uncle's bulky form was moving through the crowd, an ugly expression on his face. He scowled at Harry, and began moving back the way he had come. Harry took this as a sign to follow, and did so, dragging his trunk behind him. At Severus' insistence, everything magical he owned had been transported to Malfoy Manor, including Hedwig. The idea was to antagonize his Uncle as little as possible.
"Is that all you've got?" his Uncle asked suspiciously pointing at his trunk.
"Yes Sir," Harry said quietly but politely.
"Fine, hurry up and get into the car then,"
Harry hurried to obey, heart racing with fear. His Aunt and cousin had evidently stayed in the car, and scowled at the sight of him. Although the welcome was cold, Harry had experienced much worse at the hands of this family. If this was as bad as it got all summer, then Harry could handle it.
A/N- The sequel to "Depths of Darkness"! Sorry it was so long in coming out, I wrote one version and didn't like it, so I wrote this one. I'm wondering; what did you think about the whole Severus/Petunia scene? I wanted her to be different, away from Vernon, then what she is normally. Severus could be a lot rougher, but I wanted him to save his wrath for Vernon himself. Tell me your opinions, and I'll try to get the next installment out within the next few days.