Severus Snape was grading papers. That is to say, he had planned on grading papers, and was currently avoiding the task by brewing a simple potion. A general healing draught was simple enough that he could brew with minimum concentration, leaving him free to ponder other things. The first thought on his mind tonight was a letter he had received, seemingly from the past; it had been years since he had spared a thought for Petunia Dursley, née Evans.
She had written of her nephew, and Severus had sneered even to read his name, Harry James Potter. He picked up the letter once again as he stirred in the figwort, twice clockwise and thrice anti.
Severus Snape, (he was glad she had not bothered with a 'dear').
I know we never got on when we knew each other, but I'm writing to you concerning my sister's child, Harry. You were friends with Lily when you were younger and whenever we spoke about the past, she said she could always trust you. I'll admit that Lily and I were not close friends at the end, so I hope this is still the case.
Harry is not normal. As a child, Lily showed some signs of magic, but Harry is different. He can move things around just by thinking of it. Once he even managed to magic himself onto the rooves of his school. I'm worried about him. I don't want that Headmaster sticking his nose in, because he always causes trouble, but I need to know if Harry is normal, and you were the only person I could think of to ask. Please help us.
The letter had been sent to his childhood home of Spinner's End by Royal Post, the only address Petunia could find, so it was fortunate that Severus' letterbox was charmed to transport letters directly to his quarters in Hogwarts.
He placed the letter back down on the bench, a sizable distance from the potion he was working on, and turned back to stirring. What to do? Surely the Aunt was over-reacting; she was just being hyper sensitive about her beloved nephew. He sneered, hating the idea of paying the slightest bit of attention to the child. A new thought occurred to the Potions Master, perhaps it would be worth it to rub it into the brat and his muggle relatives that he would never be anything but ordinary.
And with that, he decided that he would pay a visit to number four Privet Drive.
Little more than two weeks later, Severus found himself with enough free time to visit the house in Surrey. Wearing his customary uniform except for the overcoat, he passed as only mildly eccentric to the muggles around him. With a sneer of contempt for the picture perfect, cardboard cut-out houses around him, he rang the bell of number four. Within moments, the door was opened by a youth, and Severus swallowed a gasp of surprise. He had expected Potter to be pampered, yes, but to this extent? This was practically child abuse.
"Yeah?" slurred the child, lacking all common manners.
Severus drew himself up, "Is Mrs Dursley home?"
The boy shrugged, "Dunno" he said before turning around, "Muuum," he yelled into the house, "Someone for you", and he walked off back into what was presumably the living room, leaving Severus standing on the doorstep, eyebrow raised, and thanking everything he knew that the boy was not in fact Potter, but his cousin. Surely Potter could not be worse than that abomination.
Within moments, Petunia Dursley appeared, frazzled and wiping her hands on the apron she'd tied around herself to make sure she stayed neat while cleaning. She paused, mouth half open when she recognised the man on her doorstep. "Severus Snape," she said, with what almost looked like relief, "Please come in, thank you for coming." She led the way through the hall into the kitchen where she gestured for him to sit at the table. "Tea or coffee?"
"Neither thank you." Severus drawled, "I would prefer to get to the point of this visit, I do not have a lot of time to waste."
Petunia looked nervous, "O...of course," she stuttered, finding her own seat. "It's about Harry, but you knew that. He's not normal." She burst out. "He does freaky things all the time, not just now and again. Lily only ever did it once or twice, and it's not because he knows about magic, we've not told him anything, yet he continues to do... it." She wasn't looking at Severus, which was just as well, because his face grew more forbidding as she kept on. "I can't complain, I know, because he saved me from falling just the other week, but it's unnerving to have that in the house. You have to understand, we only wanted a normal life."
When she turned her eyes back to the man opposite, she grew pale and closed her mouth sharply.
"You mean to say that you have told him nothing about his heritage?"
"Well, we, it's not that simple. If we told him, he'd think of nothing else, and he'd think he was better than our Dudders, and we don't want that sort of thing going on."
"So what do you tell him when he does these 'freaky' things?" The sarcasm was dripping from his voice.
Petunia frowned, "We don't tell him anything, just to stop it and go to his room."
"Would you mind if I spoke to the boy?" His curiosity was growing, and he wanted to see the child for himself, "Perhaps I will be able to solve this little problem of yours."
Petunia sighed, "If you must." She walked to the backdoor and rapped on the window sharply. For the first time since he entered the room, Severus' attention was drawn to the garden where he saw a young boy kneeling before one of the flower beds. The rapping caught his attention, and he headed towards the kitchen with a bounce in his step.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia?" the boy asked, smiling politely at her and her guest.
"Boy, this man is Severus Snape, be on your best behaviour." She glared at him before turning around, "I have washing to do, so if you both will excuse me." And without waiting for a reply, she left the kitchen.
Harry turned smiled, "Hi, I'm Harry." He held out a hand to shake, but realised half-way that his hands were covered in soil, "Er, nice to meet you."
Snape raised an eyebrow; this boy was not what he had expected. "Your aunt asked me to come here today, saying that you have been performing feats of magic that no grown wizard could manage without a wand. I wish to know whether this is true."
Harry immediately went on his guard, "I don't know what you're talking about. Magic isn't real, it's just circumstance, you know." The young boy looked like a deer, eyes wide and stance defensive, his mouth in a smile as if to convince the audience that this was all a big joke.
"You have no need to pretend with me, Mister Potter. I am a wizard myself, as were your father and mother. It is completely normal for an underage wizard to show signs of accidental magic before they have studied the art of magic." He stood and walked to the window, turning from the boy, and so missed the look of relief that appeared on his face, "Perhaps you think you are" and he almost spat the word, "special, but I am here to tell you that you are not. Normality is all you can aspire to."
Harry grinned, "That's fantastic. You mean there're heaps of other people who can do this too? Great."
Severus turned back around in shock at the satisfaction he could hear in the boy's voice, but stopped himself from speaking for a moment to hide his surprise.
"I mean, Dudley always calls me a freak, and I know Aunt and Uncle don't like what I do. I always thought it was just me, and that I'd have to hide forever. This is awesome. When can I meet other magic people? Can everyone do what I can?" He went on rambling for a few more minutes.
Snape raised a hand to his eyes, which he'd closed for a brief moment. "Would you shut up? I will answer your questions if you ask them in a reasonable manner once I have ascertained everything I came here to know." He sat back down at the table. "Your aunt told me that you are able to do more than accidental magic. How far does this extend?"
Little Harry looked abashed at being scolded, but he was still eager to know more. "I um, I can move things around just by um, concentrating on them, then they do what I want. Sometimes everything slows down, although nobody notices except me. Once I made myself move places, although I only did it 'cause I was running away, and I can change colours of things, when I want to."
Severus' forehead wrinkled, this was sounding less like accidental magic, as loath as he was to admit it. "Would you be able to show me something you can do, or do you need to be in a stressful situation to be able to do it?"
Harry leaped at the opportunity, "Oh, I can do it now if you want me to, should I move the chairs around?" At the nod from Severus, he proceeded to concentrate on the chairs. Severus found his eyes watching the boy as he worked, and he saw the moment when his eyes turned gold. With a start, he saw the chairs move and dance over the floor, propelled by nothing more than this child's imagination.
"How are you doing that? Are you reciting the spell in your mind?" he demanded.
"No," Harry shrugged, "I've always been able to do it, since before I could speak. Doesn't everybody do it like that?" the skinny eight year old looked nervous again.
Severus didn't answer for a moment, and just watched the boy contemplatively, "Not until they're much older", he finally replied. "It is unusual for someone as young as you to have so much control." He stood suddenly, "I must leave, but I will be back when I have learnt more. Do not practice magic. It is vital that you remain undetected."
His black eyes were scary, Harry thought to himself. "Yes sir, would you like to speak to Aunt Petunia again?"
Severus looked down on the child. "I do not believe that is necessary, you can inform her that I will return."
And with that, the Potions Master let himself out of the house, leaving Harry alone in the kitchen, unsure whether to be happy or sad at all he had found out. Magic was real, but he wasn't normal compared to magic either.
I figure this is as good a time as any to remind people that this is a HP/Merlin crossover. I am using the recent BBC tv show rather than any other adaptation. Please excuse any OC-ness in Harry, he's not technically Harry anymore, which I will come to later on in the story.
Thankyou for all the people who added me to alerts or to favourites lists, I appreciate it. I appreciate the reviews as well, all two of them. I would love to hear more about what you think, and what you want to see, I have a few different plots in mind, and it helps when I come to writing if I have an idea of what the readers like. If you don't fancy reviewing, never mind, I'm writing this because I like the idea and I want to see it evolve, not because I am desperate for feedback. (I still love feedback).