Disclaimer: Much to my dismay, I do not now, nor have I ever owned Harry Potter or any of the characters therein. -sniffles-
This is my first attempt at a Harry Potter fanfiction. Please be patient with my mistakes and inform me of them, so that I can fix them. I appreciate all the help I can get, really. Thank you for reading my story.
July 30, 1990; 4 Privet Drive, Surrey
Harry was beyond terrified. Lately, his uncle was looking at him in ways that made his tummy feel sick, like he was a toy he wanted badly to play with, but couldn't quite touch, at least not yet. Just that evening, Uncle Vernon had given him an evil smile and pushed him against the wall. The big man had chortled nastily, then ran his hand roughly over Harry's bottom, giving it a squeeze. He'd leaned down and whispered harshly into Harry's ear, "By this time tomorrow you will be 10 and your arse will finally be mine. Don't think that Petunia will stop me, because she really doesn't care. Besides, it's not like she doesn't know about my little...hobby, after all." Harry had nearly wet himself in fear, barely managing to stop himself, knowing that it would only anger his uncle. Vernon Dursley tossed Harry into his cupboard with a smirk and slammed the door shut. Harry waited with trepidation for the sound of the latch being thrown, sobbing silently when he did.
Harry knew he had to escape. His teacher, Miss Bethany, had warned him and the rest of his class about people like his Uncle Vernon. She told them that if someone touched you in ways that felt bad or made you scared that they might you needed to get away from that person and tell someone you trust what they did. There was a really big problem, though. Harry knew he couldn't trust anyone at the school, not even Miss Bethany. He had tried just last year to tell someone that Uncle Vernon hit him all the time and that his Aunt Petunia wouldn't let him eat most days, whether he had been bad or not, and no one had believed him. They hadn't outright called him a liar, but had certainly implied it. Then, to make matters worse, the school had contacted his uncle and told him what he had said. It had been the worst beating he had ever had. He had missed several days of school after his Uncle had been told and no one even checked to see if he was alright. No one had cared.
Harry began to tremble. He was trapped and felt as if there was no hope left for him. All he had ever wanted was a family that loved him, and that dream seemed to be more and more impossible with every passing day. He closed his eyes and wished as hard as he could that the door of his cupboard would miraculously open or better yet, disappear. Suddenly, he felt something inside him let loose and saw a flash of light through his eyelids. He opened opened his eyes and barely suppressed his gasp of shock.
The door was gone...just gone as if it had never existed! He rubbed his eyes, thinking he was imagining things and reached out his hand to touch the door. His hand went through the doorway and he felt a tear run down his cheek. This was his chance! He collected his meager belongings and as quietly as possible went to the kitchen. He quickly put together several sandwiches and put them in a brown paper bag. He took one long, last, furtive look around the first floor of the only home he could remember, then opened the front door and slipped out into the night.
Harry didn't know where he was going or how he would get there, but he now had hope. Now he could find somewhere safe, somewhere where he might be loved or at least wanted...in a good way, not like Uncle Vernon. With this in mind, Harry set off into the unknown, searching for a place to call home.
July 30, 1990; Hogwart's School
Severus Snape snarled in bitter rage as he stalked out of his current nemesis' office. Albus Dumbledore, meddling old fart that he was, had decided that he, and only he, would be the one to check on Harry Potter tonight. Apparently, there had been a disturbance in the wards that evening or some such poppycock. 'Why me? There are SO many others who would happily check on him! But no...it has to be me,' he thought angrily as he walked through the hallowed halls of his place of employment. 'That boy had best be dying or worse. I will see to it that the vexatious little brat pays quite handsomely, otherwise!'
Upon reaching his quarters, Severus grabbed a pinch of floo power and tossed it into the flames. When they turned green, signifying that the floo was ready for use, he called out, 'Arabella Figg's House, Surrey,' and stepped into the flames.
After ensuring that not a speck of ash had touched his robes, he glanced around the shabby room he had arrived in. He sneered at the sight of Arabella's many cats and kneazles. Frankly, he was surprised that her house didn't reek of cat urine. While the furnishing was quite old and shabby, it was also immaculately clean and neat. He would need to ask her how she managed to keep cat fur from covering every surface. His cat seemed to shed on everything, so he wanted her secret.
"Good evening, Severus," came a timid, feminine voice from a nearby doorway, "What brings you to my home so late at night?"
Severus turned to face the woman, one Arabella Figg, not bothering to return her greeting. She knew him well enough not to expect one. "I have come to check on Mr. Potter's well-being. Didn't Albus inform you that I was to arrive?"
Arabella shook her head in the negative and her eyes filling with tears, she whispered, "Finally, he has sent someone to help poor, sweet, little Harry. I'm so glad."
Severus froze, shock infusing his being. "What mean you, Arabella?"
"Oh dear, I take it that Albus didn't tell you of my letters?" she murmured with a disturbed frown. "I've been trying to tell that stubborn old fool for years that the child is badly treated by those awful people. He is painfully thin and tiny for his age. I've seen him injured far too often. Everything from bruises to broken bones. While I know that boys can tend to be rough at play, that doesn't seem to be the case with Harry. He is a quiet boy, very unassuming and keeps to himself. He even appears to be terrified of most adults, particularly of men. His uncle, I believe his name is Vernon, is constantly shoving him and ordering him about. I know for a fact that he abuses that poor child, I even saw him strike the child on numerous occasions, but no one will listen to me. I've gone to the Muggle Police several times, but that man seems to have connections in high places. They also think I'm crazy, I think."
"You told Albus of this and he did nothing?" He was shocked to the core when she nodded, wiping tears from her face. He was beyond flummoxed by this news. While Severus was well aware of Albus' unfortunate predilection for ignoring the plight of certain children, he would have thought that he would protect his precious 'savior' from such abuse at the very least. His shock rapidly changing to rage, Severus decided that he must do something. He walked to the front door of the house and stalked out onto the porch, intent on formulating a plan with Arabella following close behind. If Arabella was correct and the child was wary of adult men, coaxing him to leave the wards would be nigh impossible. The wards protecting the house at Number 4 Privet Drive were impenetrable to anyone with the Dark Mark, which to his eternal shame included him. That made extracting the child directly from the residence problematic at the very least. He didn't dare try to grab him at his school; there would be far too many possible witnesses. Looking across the street, toward his quarry's residence, he was startled to see a small child sneaking out of the house with what appeared to be a small brown bag in his hand. The boy's clothing was little better than rags and Severus could practically see the outline of his bones through his skin. There were hand-shaped bruises on the boy's arms and neck. He could clearly see them from more than a hundred feet away under the glow of the night lamps.
"By Merlin," he whispered with horror, "is that Harry Potter?" The child he was looking at didn't look a day over 8 years old and yet, if he was young Harry, tomorrow would be his 10th birthday. How anyone could believe that this child wasn't abused was inconceivable to him.
"Yes, Severus. It is," came Arabella's sad reply. "Now you see why I can't understand how no one else notices the abuse. You are going to take him?"
"If he leaves the wards, I will take him without hesitation. Obviously, the boy cannot remain here with those...people. I assume that you will support me in this endeavor, Arabella. I've a notion that Albus is going to object quite strongly to this removal. Be advised, that it could be an ugly battle."
"Of course. I will even provide my memories and testimony to the courts if it becomes necessary. I will do whatever it takes to keep him safe!" She raised her chin high, her determination obvious. Normally, she was quite shy and timid, but to protect this precious child she would do whatever it took.
"Excellent. I thank you." They stood, silently watching, as the boy glanced around in clear trepidation, most likely looking for observers, before beginning to run swiftly away from his soon to be former home. Severus knew that it would be best to wait until Harry was further away from the house with it's dangerous wards and out of sight to take him. The last thing he needed was for someone to report the child had been kidnapped to the Muggle authorities. He wordlessly cast a notice-me-not spell on himself, and nodding at Arabella's soft, "Good luck," began to follow the child into the night.