Disclaimer: I don't own H.P. You can take that as fact for all subsequent chapters.

I've done some minor editing of every chapter, it should all read better.


Severus Snape stalked through the corridors, his robes billowing out behind him. He hated patrolling the corridors at night; it was a hideous waste of his time and not something the Potions Master of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry should be bothered with. Though he wouldn't deny that he relished the idea of catching Potter roaming the corridors at night. The boy was no better than his father before him, constantly and arrogantly disregarding the rules put in place for his and others' safety.

Tonight he was in a slightly better mood than usual; it was the last night of term and in a few short hours he would be blissfully free from students for the summer. This was the last patrol he would be required to perform for the year, and it was with that thought in mind that he regarded this evening's patrol through the dark corridors only just tolerable. He didn't dare hope to catch any wandering students tonight of all nights as they were all eagerly awaiting the summer, even the Weasley twins wouldn't cause mischief tonight, there's just no use if there isn't an audience.

However, Severus Snape was in luck tonight; there was a Potter out of Gryffindor tower.

H.P.

Harry had patiently waited for the snores of his roommates to fill the dormitory before slipping on his father's invisibility cloak, creeping out of his four-poster and slipping down the stairs. He'd wanted just one night of freedom before he was sent back to the Dursleys, so at 01:30 in the morning he was to be found in a disused classroom on the fourth floor huddled on the ground, his invisibility cloak discarded beside him. He had checked the map when he chose the room and the coast had been clear- Filch had long since gone to bed and Mrs Norris was in the dungeons, most likely looking for a spider to eat. Snape was on the fifth floor but Harry figured he was heading for Gryffindor tower, probably hoping to lose the house some points before the next year had even begun.

Putting that thought aside he settled himself down for a moment alone. He just had to get out by himself, he had spent all day pretending to be excited for the summer with his housemates and though Ron and Hermione knew how he really felt, they just didn't understand about this summer. They didn't understand why it was so much worse.

S.S.

It was outside this particular abandoned room a short while later that Severus found himself pausing. The door was ever so slightly ajar, the dust disturbed. He noticed the little things- he had been a spy after all. There was also the small fact that he had walked past this particular classroom on his way to the fifth floor and the door had been firmly shut, and now on his way back down to the dungeons this was no longer the case. It didn't take a genius.

He crept closer as a quiet voice met his ears. 'Potter!' he thought triumphantly, immediately recognising the student in question. He could barely catch what he was saying and edged closer to the door. It couldn't hurt to hear what he was plotting after all and he'd most likely brought his side-kicks, it was too good an opportunity to miss. After Black's escape, which he knew was down to that insufferable child, he would take any opportunity to give Potter what he deserved.

"Hey, Mum," Potter breathed. "I don't know if you're listening or anything… but if you're around up there you might be, especially considering what happened this year."

Snape frowned outside the door, apparently the child was alone and he was talking to Lily. The reminder that the brat was not only the child of Potter but of Lily, his Lily, hit him full force. He had promised to protect Potter for her and he was- he had to stop the child from breaking the rules and parading about the castle as if he owned the place, and so what if he got a little pleasure from his small revenge? After tonight he'd be back with his relatives who no doubt coddled him and spoilt him rotten and good riddance! Curiosity held him in place; he wanted to hear what the child would say to Lily. He brought his attention back to Potter as he continued to speak.

"I almost had it," he whispered sadly. "I wished for this for thirteen years, that someone would rescue me from the Dursleys - and yeah, Hagrid did in a way and now I'm here at Hogwarts and I'm grateful, I really, really am, Mum."

Rescue from the Dursleys? What drivel was the child spouting now?

"It's just that I thought this would be it. I have Hogwarts and Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the Weasleys. It's really good and compared to how it was, well, a summer with the Dursleys isn't too horrific- I've not even been in the cupboard for three years!" He gave a sad little chuckle.

"Anyway I… I just wanted… I met Sirius." He paused before continuing as if thinking about how he wanted to go on. "It was going to be perfect, you know. I should have known it was too good to be true the minute he offered, but it was all I've ever wanted."

Severus scowled, disliking that he was confused. What's this about a cupboard? And what had that mutt offered the boy? What did precious Potter not have?

"It would have been so good. He'd have let me ask about you and Dad and I bet he'd just tell me things too. There's so much I didn't know, so much I still don't. Three years ago I thought you died in a car crash, for Merlin's sake! Aaah Hagrid's face when I said that, it was funny- well, not at the time..."

Why would the child think that Lily was killed in a car crash of all things? He didn't have time to ponder it as the boy feverishly continued.

"And I know I don't know Sirius but he can't be worse than the Dursleys, can he? He was Dad's best friend and he actually wants me. That must count for something." Potter's voice picked up volume. "I mean lets compare things, I could live with someone I don't know but who was my Dad's best friend and actually offered to take me in or I could live with my relatives who don't want me, who actually despise me as much as Snape does! It's not fair!" He punctuated the final word with a kick to a nearby chair.

So the boy was unhappy with his relatives and the dog had offered him somewhere else to live. Stupid thing for him to do really, nothing was set in stone, why get the child's hopes up? He was particularly struck by Potter's comment that his relatives' hatred of him matched his own. Severus was under no illusion that his treatment of Potter was fair or even kind, he hated the child who was the very image of his father and he knew that he showed it, he was cruel, harsh and spiteful. He had no regrets, the arrogant child needed to be taken down a peg or two and he was too coddled by others to suffer too much from it. But all of a sudden there was a flaw to his logic. What if he wasn't? It was odd; he'd heard children complain that they hated their parents or siblings in anger, but to suggest that they hated him and that they didn't want him… He had to admit that he was perplexed.

"It's not fair." Another kick. "It's." Kick. "Not." Kick. "Fair." He sat down wearily staring moodily at the wall. "It was just so close," he whispered sadly. "I know you can't fix this even if you can hear me, I mean the whole cupboard thing wouldn't have happened, or the whole bars on the window fiasco, but maybe you could pull a few strings up there. Ron said something about the Quidditch World Cup…I should really go to bed, shouldn't I?"

Severus Snape stood outside the classroom with a very confused look upon his face. The Potter he knew, the arrogant, rule breaking, cheeky brat wasn't the same boy who was in that classroom. It didn't fit, nothing he said made sense and it was all wrong. What was worse was that he knew that Lily would be crushed if she could hear what her son had said, she would move mountains to make sure he was safe and happy. Could her relatives really hate the boy? He couldn't blame them if they did… but he owed her, and he swore to protect the child… If she knew he had heard… He owed it to her… He'd made a promise…

He heard Harry stand up and walk towards the door. Severus Snape turned on his heel and left.