Beyond the Heart

By Licca

Revisions begun 120202


Harry's POV

The hunger is tearing me up inside. I haven't been able to eat for quite a while now, as the Dursleys is keeping me at existence minimum. Nothing new there. The running point is that my body needs nutrition more now than ever. Not only am I a growing teenager, but I'm also recovering from my latest joust with Voldemort. Madame Pomfrey gave me serious orders to eat plentiful and healthily during the holidays. I don't think she counted on my relatives though. There's no doubt I will survive, but considering I'm well past being able to count my ribs…

I live in the cellar now. The Dursleys actually spent some money on installing a cot and a toilet down here during the term. Dudley finally convinced them that he needed the second bedroom I guess. It's not too bad down here, if you consider how people on the street have it. Cold as hell, slightly damp and full of nice little critters, but habitable. Not that it matters, as I'm too weak to appreciate it any more. I spend most of my time on my cot, buried beneath my quilt.

The Dursleys showed me here as soon as I arrived, telling me that I wouldn't have to do any shores this year, that I instead would stay here for the summer and be left alone. They even were so kind as to leave me my school things minus my wand in here. Hedwig they let loose at my suggestion, and I guess she is either at Ron's or at Hogwarts. Food is provided once a day, but with Dudley on a diet again, you can guess how much food I get. I quickly started to loose weight and then the hunger kicked in. Now I've gotten so far as to not being able to eat anything without throwing up. I think it's a rather bad sign.

Feeling tired, like I've been feeling for a long while now, I huddle myself into a ball, hugging the quilt tightly around me. It doesn't help against the hunger, but at least it keeps to cold out. I can feel my eyes falling together, and I know that the hell I live in will soon be replaced by the hell I dream of.

Sev's POV

Just for the record, I do hate Potter. The little brat could just stay away from Hogwarts for the rest of his life and hide for all I care. However, Dumbledore doesn't share my opinion of the annoyance of my life. He thinks I should be nice to spoiled, arrogant Potter with his famous name and family fortune. My only comment to that is: 'I would rather be hit by a dozen of Cruciatus curses'. And because of that all too accurate comment, I'm on my way to the Dursley house to pick up the little monster so he can meet his cold-hearted, bastard godfather, whom is even worse than he is.

Still blazing over the unfair mission I've been given, I jump off my broom behind a strategically conjured bush and dust off my impeccable black slacks and shirt after leaning the broom against a wall. The reason I chose not to Apparate here, is that I really don't like that way of travelling. It makes me sick, and reminds me of Voldemort. I always have to Apparate to his manor when I'm summoned before him. And that is one of the most unpleasant things you can experience.

I walk over to the plain door and promptly knock on it, wearing an expressionless face. I can hear feet walk over to the door, and then it opens, revealing the fattest boy I've ever seen. He could easily win a weight competition with a rhino, and isn't more than a few inches taller than Potter. Disgusting. Another proof of the spoilage going on in this house. I'm surprised Potter isn't as fat as he is.

"Dudleykins? Who is it?"

The voice belongs to a woman, and as she speaks, 'Dudleykins' glares at me.

"Some man with yellow skin" he yells back, his voice sounding like a tortured pig.

Yellow skin? I can see where Potter's insolence comes from. A fat man is coming from what I deduce to be the living room, an impatient look on his face as he stares at me. This family sure isn't one of the nicest muggle families I've met in my life. Potter fits right in with them.

"What do you want?" the man bellows at me.

I glare back at him, my best Death Eater expression on my face.

"I'm here to fetch Potter," I curtly answer, not wanting to spend more time than needed with Potter and his family.

To my surprise, 'Dudleykins' pales and shrieks, running away while holding his butt possessively. Strange boy. The man just glowers at me though, probably thinking he's intimidating. Personally, I have a rather easy time to not cower before him.

"So you're getting the boy early this year," the man snarls, a pompous look on his face, making me wonder for a second if thinking you're above everyone else goes in Potter's family. "Well, take him with you and do feel free to keep him."

Muggles! I glower at him and step into the house while pondering his last sentence. If my skills at interpreting the human language hasn't wilted and died, the man indicated that Potter wasn't much liked by his relatives. But they were his family, and aren't family supposed to love each other?

"Just hand over the boy and his things," I coldly say, somewhat absently I have to admit though. The situation I've stumbled into puzzles me, I haven't seen a glint of Potter so far – but then again, if Potter's family behaves like this to him I don't blame him from keeping his distance. Maybe he has a handful of brains in that Gryffindor head after all. "And I may refrain from hexing you."

The man glares at me but waddles over to a locked cupboard, reaching into it to take out Potter's wand. I can't imagine what it's doing in there either. If it is something that Hogwarts teaches, it's to always keep your wand near. You would think that Potter with his attraction to trouble would have learned that by now. But seemingly not.

Taking the wand the man offers me, I pocket it and follow the very ireful man to Potter's room. To my surprise, he doesn't lead me upstairs, where the bedrooms must be, but lead me to the kitchen and a door next to the larder. Taken by surprise, I stare at the barred door that obviously lead down to the cellar. Potter can't be kept and barred into the cellar, can he?

Confirming my suspicions, the man reaches out to heave away the heavy beam blocking the door. They are keeping Potter locked into the cellar. Quickly, I shove the man to the side, ignoring the fact that he falls to his butt and whisper 'alohomora' under my breath, directing the magic to the bar and door before me. Bar falling apart, the door turning into dust due the will behind the spell. And I am angry.

I stare down the dimly lit staircase leading down into the ground. A cellar. They put him in a cellar. Mentally, I try to repress the panicked flashbacks of darkness, of fear, of loneliness and pain from my childhood to concentrate on the now. This is not good, and I truly fear what I will find at the bottom of the stairs. For if they can lock a teenager into a cellar, what else can they do? Potter may not be my favourite person of all time, but no student of mine will ever have to go through something like this. Because I know all too well what it can do to you.

Rapidly descending down into the cellar, I concentrate as much as I can on the now instead of the past memories that keep resurfacing. Shuddering involuntarily, I murmur a 'lumos' to my wand to light up the staircase further and chase away the memories of being alone and scared in the darkness.

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, I look around, searching for the figure of the boy Harry Potter. His relatives apparently were nice enough to install a toilet down here, and I can see the outline of a small cot on the other side of the room. But even so, it's far below the living standards I consider acceptable. Especially considering the bar upstairs.

Stepping further into the room, I spot him, lying on the cot with a quilt wrapped tightly around him. Judging from his trembling form and the cool air down here, he is cold. If he has been living down here since he returned from Hogwarts, I wouldn't be surprised if I have to make a coughing cure. He needs to get out of here.

The light I carry seems to wake him up, causing him to sit up and squint at me through the meagre light, staring uncomprehendingly at me for a second before recognizing me.

"Professor Snape?" his voice is quiet as if he hasn't used it for some time and I can barely hear him. Something that is more than possible with those muggles upstairs.

"Yes," I curtly say, my voice somewhat softer than usually.

His face lightens up and he gets to his feet slowly, as if every move he makes is a pain, dropping the blanket in the process. And when I see how he looks, I have to withhold a strangled cry. Potter has never been a very big boy, despite the fact that neither of his parents were what you can call small. Now I understand why. Because if Potter was thin before, he's a skeleton now. I've never seen anyone so thin outside pictures before. There's no doubt about the reason either. The inhuman worms upstairs haven't been feeding him enough.

"Potter," I carefully say, walking over to the boy, "Listen to me carefully now. How long was it since you got any food?"

He gives me a weak grin as the Gryffindor he is.

"Today," he rasps, pushing a longish strand of black hair from his face. "Some fruit. I couldn't keep it though. I haven't been able to do that for a while now."

Damn. That's it. He's going to Poppy now. And he's not going back here. Ever. Not while I'm still standing. Pointing at him with my wand, I mutter a short spell intending to put him into a healing rest. Then I lift him into my arms and Apparate. I can come back for the broom later. Right now, I have more important things to do.

Harry's POV

End of 5th year

I watch Hedwig as she flies down to me, carrying the last mail I will get in my 5th year – the results of the OWLs. Glancing at Hermione, I can see how she almost jumps up and down of anxiousness. As if she has anything to worry about. Ron however, is glumly looking at his plate, obviously expecting a not too good result, even though Hermione has tried to prepare us since our first year. I though, just hope for the best. It has been really hard to pass the tests this year.

Much has happened this year. With Voldemort revived, even if not 'officially' due to Fudge's slight denseness, it has been all action and adventure. And please notice the sarcasm. Professors have been coming and going all over the place, out on unofficial missions for the Order of Phoenix. Especially Snape. I think he didn't even teach half of our lessons this year. And even though it feels strange to say it, our replacement, professor Sicklewing, isn't nearly as good as he.

The Order of Phoenix. I still remember when I heard of it last summer, eavesdropping on Dumbledore. Then, I didn't know much about them, now I know much more. I can't say I like them too much though. But that may have something to do with them using me as beat at the end of the year to catch a bunch of death eaters. Of course, they managed to botch it up, and I ended up having a little talk with His Silliness Voldemort. Over a fireplace thank lord, after managing to dispose of the death eaters with Ron and Hermione.

Speaking of Hermione, she has gotten her result now and is reading it intently, her eyes wide.

"I made it!" she shrieks. "I have the best grades in our year!"

I smile at her and receive my own letter from Hedwig, waiting with opening it though, seeing as Ron just received his and is opening it with shaking hands. And as his eyes widen, I know he has succeeded.

"I got more OWLs than Fred and George," he excitedly says. "Three more even. Guess if mom's going to be happy!"

Both Hermione and I laugh with him, clapping him on his shoulders.

"Well done!" I smile, happy for him. "Did you get any in potions, or did Snape drag down your result again?"

Ron shakes his head no, and Hermione looks wonderingly at Snape.

"Is it my imagination, or has Snape been easier on us this year?" she asks. "I can't think of even one occasion he's failed someone without reasons or been unusually hard on us."

Ron Iooks at her as if she's gone mad.

"Are we talking about the same person here?" Ron sceptically asks. "Snape, the slimy git whose only goal in life is to make everyone's life miserable?"

Hermione glares at him, but doesn't mention it again. Instead, she turns to me, looking expectantly at me.

"Well?" she questions. "How did you manage?"

I shake my head and take my letter. Then I break the seal and draw out the paper, scanning the paper and smiling. I managed quite well. I even have three OWLs in Transfiguration, as well as in flying, but I guess that is to be expected. What I didn't expect though, were the two OWLs I got in Potions.

Frowning, I ponder everything that has happened since Snape picked me up from the Dursleys last year. Maybe Snape has changed…

Snape's POV

Watching obtrusively as the three musketeers of Gryffindor open their letters, I smirk slightly at their expressions, only to frown as I think about the things I have learned this year. After fetching Harry for Dumbledore, I engaged in a little spy activity in the muggle district Surrey, set on finding the truth about Harry Potter. The result wasn't too nice. Apparently the Dursleys are well known for caring for a 'hopelessly criminal boy' who's not 'quite in possession of his mind'. In short, they consider him a freak of nature.

I shudder at the thought of it. It is hard enough growing up without anyone to love and care about you, but to grow up with constant reminding that you are a freak? Something makes me doubt Harry knows much about the love of a family at all. But that is something I'll do my best to correct.  I may not be the ideal person to do it, but I certainly have the motivation. Hopefully, that will be enough to begin with…

Dumbledore's POV

Severus is clearly fretting over the decision he has made, no matter how many times I've told him that he will be just fine. He and Harry will no doubt be good for each other. Harry needs a family, and Severus needs to live again. Even if I can see that having someone to care about is warming him up already…