A/N: This is not a new story, it is simply a beta-ed version of the original. Thanks to my lovely beta swimgirl07 and for allowing her to let me be obnoxious in asking for it to be done when neither of us have any time. Love you, Twin. Yes, it has been beta-ed, but that does not mean there are no mistakes. If there is a mistake, you may point it out if you wish, however, I doubt I will change it. Sometimes typos just happen, no matter how many times you read over it.
A/N: There is child abuse in this story. I am making it very clear right now that I do not in any way condone this. If you know anyone or are being abused please get help.
Disclaimer: From here on out, I do not own anything but the idea.
Severus Snape looked closely at the teenagers that filled his classroom. He had never particularly cared for children, only taking the job as Potion's Professor to appease the Headmaster, and his father figure, Albus Dumbledore.
His eyes traveled over the group, surveying them all once more. He did it frequently to make sure there was nothing going on that he was unaware of. He hated being kept in the dark. As usual, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle were botching their potion, despite the blatant attempts at helping, an action that wasn't allowed outside the partnership, by Draco Malfoy. The blond was grudgingly working with Ronald Weasley, a stubborn Gryffindor brat in his own right, even following his five older brothers. It was actually a shock that he had made it into his NEWT level potions class, though the same was to be said about Crabbe and Goyle. The pair was ignoring each other as extensively as possible, clearly having divvied up the directions so as not to have to speak with one another more than necessary. His eyes traveled over to the 3rd and final pairing in the Gryffindor and Slytherin 6th year potions class, Hermione Granger, quite competent, though he would never let her know that, and Harry Potter, the Golden Boy himself. Potter was another he didn't expect to have in his class, but it seemed the boy was quite adept at brewing when he didn't have someone, namely Snape himself, breathing down his neck just waiting for him to mess up. He must have gotten that trait from his mother. Today, however, it appeared that Granger was doing the majority of the work, while the boy struggled to keep his eyes open. While he did not necessarily like the boy, and the feeling was a mutual one, he never slept during class, especially HIS class.
The bell rang. "Bottle your potions and bring them up to my desk. Potter, remain behind for a moment." They did as he asked but Harry, Ron, and Hermione, the "Golden Trio", remained behind. "I only asked to speak with Mr. Potter," Snape hissed.
"Go on, guys," Harry said softly. "I'll meet you in the Common Room later."
"Aren't you going to come to dinner?" Ron asked shocked at the thought someone would voluntarily skip a meal.
"I'll grab something from the kitchens later if I get hungry," he muttered.
"I'll bring you up a plate," Hermione insisted as the pair left the classroom.
"You asked to see me, sir?" the boy asked politely, albeit a little standoffish.
"Is there any reason you felt the need to sleep during my class today instead of helping Miss Granger complete the assigned potion?"
"I apologize, sir, it won't happen again. I had a rough night," he admitted weakly, an embarrassed flush starting to creep up his neck.
"You will receive half credit for today." He could see the dark circles beneath the boy's eyes indicative of more than one rough night. "See that it doesn't happen again. Occlumency tonight at 7. Don't be late."
"I won't be, sir, thank you." Harry left the room, sensing a dismissal.
Two hours later, there was a soft knock on his office door. Severus looked up from the papers he was grading. "Enter, Mr. Potter." The boy was right on time. The dark haired boy entered quietly, his head down, giving the potion's master a chance to look at him closely, more so than in class when he was at the back of the room behind a cauldron and desk with the air filled with steam of all colors.
The boy was small for his age. Though 16, he was only the size of most of the 2nd years, at barely over 5 feet. Snape realized for the first time how unusual this was, as his father was 6'5" and his mother was 5'9" when they graduated. Along with his small stature, his robes appeared to look as if he had worn them for years, not bothering to get new ones as these fit properly still, on his gaunt frame. Though hidden by his black framed glasses, only recently updated as a Bludger had broken his old round wire frames beyond repair at the last Gryffindor vs. Hufflepuff Quidditch game, his emerald eyes, so resembling his mother's, looked faded and haunted, as if he was hiding something. Those eyes were accompanied by dark bags underneath his eyes indicating many sleepless nights. His raven hair seemed to have even lacked the energy to stand straight on end as it normally did, much like his father's untamable mop always had.
"Sir?" Harry asked in a whisper.
"Yes, Potter?" Snape returned, snapping out of his reverie.
"May we get started?"
"Certainly. Is there anything you would like to share before we begin or any memories you would like to remove?" he asked for the first time since their Occlumency lessons had started the previous year.
Harry's head shot up in shock, Snape was surprised he didn't give himself whiplash from the intensity of it. "N…no, sir. I'm…I'll…I'm fine," he stuttered, unsure of what to say.
"Very well then, prepare yourself, Potter." At the boy's nod, he waved his wand, "Legillmens."
A series of memories from school passed through his mind as they fleeted through the boy's mind: a Quidditch victory, waking up in the Hospital Wing, a fight with Ron during the Triwizard Tournament, watching his owl, Hedwig, fly from the ledge in the Astronomy Tower, picking at his food in the Great Hall as the other Gryffindor boys all devoured their food around him.
Snape pulled out of his mind. "Relax, Potter, put up your shields."
"I…I'm sorry, sir," he said softly picking himself up from the floor to which he had fallen at the barrage on his memories.
"Let's try this again, Potter." He nods and the spell is cast again. Once more a flood of memories from school assaulted both minds. Severus pulls out once more. "Concentrate!" He cast the spell once more. This time the memories are different. Ones he hasn't seen before. Ones he wished weren't there: he is being thrown into a cupboard under the stairs as his uncle screams at him, he is being advanced towards a knife glistening in his uncle's meaty hand, being beaten by his cousin and a gang of boys, being locked in a tiny bedroom with a cat flap on the door, the feeling of dread that he wasn't going to eat for the next week. He pulls out unable to look at any more. The boy was on the floor trembling. The potion's master couldn't believe all that he had seen. "Mr. Potter," he asks as softly as he could, a tone he had never used with any of his students. "Please take a seat."
"No," the stubborn boy refused, his voice cracking.
"Harry, I would like to speak with you," he tried again.
The boy shot up angrily. "About what? What you saw? Why do you care? Nobody has ever cared, not Dumbledore, not McGonagall, not Madame Pomfrey. What, you didn't think I hadn't tried talking to them before? Well, they just blew me off. I can take care of myself. I think we're done," he turned to leave the office.
Severus flicked his wand at the portal, silently casting silencing spells and locking charms so that they would not be disturbed. "Harry, please, let me help you."
"With what?" he asks nearly inaudibly, still not turning around
"That is up for you to decide."
He shivered. "There is nothing anyone can help with anymore. The damage has been done," he admitted softly, losing his resolve and turning around.
"Harry," Snape starts, trying to draw the boy into conversation.
He spun around though he didn't move any closer. "You want me to talk about what I've been through? Fine I will. You already know all the shit that has gone on at school. Contrary to popular belief, I did not choose any of that. All I wanted in coming here was to have a normal childhood for once, but no I had to be the damn savior of the wizarding world for something that I had no damn control over!
"Still, one would think that that would at least gain me a moment to speak with the Headmaster, but no, he is too busy, or he doesn't think that it is a concern, or I'm too young for whatever the hell it is he knows is going on. Did he think I was too young to become a murderer? Did he even stop to consider the fact that I just wanted to have a moment of normalcy? A moment where I could just be one of the students, getting detention, doing homework at the last minute hell, getting caught snogging in a broom closet? No he didn't give a rat's ass about any of that. He just wanted me to win the war. To fight for something that I truthfully don't even care about.
"Did he listen to my pleas to stay at school for the summer, to not return to the hell that was my life there? The Dursleys didn't give a shit about me. Voldemort has been dead for two years, yet I still get sent back as 'protection' in the least likely place. Is that what you want to hear? Or do you want to hear about how I don't even remember a time when I wasn't being beat for something I didn't do? I started making the meals for the Dursleys at the age of 5. I couldn't even see over the top of the stove. Do you want to hear about how if I got one meal a week, and a miniscule one at that I was happy. It meant that I finally did something right. Something to earn the right to eat? Did you want to hear about how I was whipped for every bad grade Dudley got and every good grade I got? How, if I did accidental magic, I was bled to get the 'unnaturalness' out of my system?"
He had worked himself up to a rage now and was unable to stop his rant. "Is that what you want to hear? Did you want to hear how I haven't slept in a week because every time I close my eyes all I see is Voldemort killing those people closest to me or myself being hurt again and again and again?"
He laughed darkly. "Oh, I know, you wanted to see the scars. You want to see the years of torture that I had to endure." The brunet boy stripped off his old robes and shucked his shirt, only bothering to loosen the tie before tossing them aside. "You wanna know the best part? I can't even tell anyone. Vernon said he'd kill me if I did. Even without that threat, who wants to hear that their hero is nothing more than…than a pathetic freak who can't even stand up to a Muggle? No one. That's who."
Snape looked at the boy. Amongst the clear marks from a belt and rings puncturing skin, there were also knife wounds. Slowly, so as not to startle the distraught teen, he crossed the room and pulled the boy into his arms. "Harry, I'm so sorry," he muttered. At those words, though an apology could never make up for the years of torture he had suffered, even at Snape's words, though they weren't physically damaging, the emotional pain inflicted was sure to have hurt, the true Gryffindor collapsed in sobs against his professor's chest.
"I…I…h-h-hate hav-ving t-to put on a m-m-mask," he cried.
Noticing that there were scars on his face, Severus realized that the intelligent boy had been wearing glamour charms, hiding the evidence from those around him. He had unknowingly taken them off during the rant. "Shh…it'll all be okay now, I'll make sure everything is okay," he muttered the comforting words into the boy's head, though he had absolutely no idea how he was going to do that.