A Way Out

This is one more Harry-Snape story, starting with the first Year. Harry is not sorted into Gryffindor! Warning: The story contains corporal punishment.

Harry managed to sneak out of his uncle's house to get to Hogwarts, but the boy was afraid of all the strange things happening there, so he tried to flee. Professor Snape is not pleased.

The scary professor

He wanted out of there. It wasn't real. This all wasn't real and when his uncle found out, he would be in so much trouble. He had to convince his uncle that it was all a huge mistake and his uncle had always been right, that magic did not exist, maybe then his uncle would let him return to his cupboard again.

Frantically the small, dark haired boy tugged at the handle of the door, trying to get out of the castle, but he started as a bolt of blue lightning suddenly rushed over his shoulder at the door and it banged shut again.

For a few seconds he just stared at the closed door. He could hear that there were steps approaching, but he ignored them, he had to get out. As he reached for the handle a second time, a sharp sting blossomed across his bottom, as if someone had smacked him.

Jerking his hand back, the boy turned around, only to find nobody near enough to administer smacks. But a very angry looking professor was striding in his direction. Students jumped out of his way.

Terrified, the boy watched the angry man approach, unconsciously rubbing his bottom to ease the sting.

The man finally caught up with the boy and grabbed the small upper arm in an iron grip.

"What do you think you are doing, Mr. Potter?" he asked dangerously.

But the small boy just shook his head. "Magic does not exist, it's all a dream," he whispered frantically and closed his eyes. "Just a dream, I need to wake up!"

The boy opened his eyes again as he felt a rough tug on his arm "What are you talking about?" the angry man asked.

But the boy kept whispering and was about to close his eyes again, when he felt two fingers under his chin forcing his head up. A moment later he was staring into the angry man's eyes.

Oh no, never good. No eye contact. Uncle Vernon always said no eye contact. So once again he tried to close his eyes.

"Don't you dare close your eyes again. Look at me and tell me exactly what you are doing," the angry man demanded.

"I have to go," the boy whispered nearly soundlessly, fearfully looking at the professor.

"And where exactly does the great Harry Potter need to go, when he was told to go with the other students to his dormitory?"

Harry tried to free himself without any success. "I'm not a student, I need-"

"You are sorted into my house; therefore you are a student in this school. And like it or not, Slytherin is going to be your home for the next seven years. Running away cannot change that."

At the word home, Harry's eyes widened and he stopped struggling. "Home?" he asked, confused.

"Yes. And as your head of house I am telling you one more time to go to your dormitory before you find yourself in detention!"

"Detention?" Harry asked, new panic rising in his chest, "You're going to punish me?"

"If I have to, yes! Now come along!" The angry teacher released his arm and started to walk away, but the small boy didn't follow. Distraught, Harry looked between the professor and the door.

It wasn't as if he was looking forward to meeting his uncle again, but this scary man wasn't any better, was he? He would also punish him for nothing. Why had he been so stupid to take the train to this school? With his uncle Harry knew exactly what to expect, but with these strange people he was in unknown territory, and he was afraid.

As Harry turned to look over his shoulder at the entrance door, he suddenly felt a second stinging sensation spread across his bottom. The scary professor had a stick in his hand and was pointing it at the small boy.

Harry realized there was no way out. All he could do was to follow his teacher and hope his punishment would not be too harsh.

Warily Harry took hesitant steps to the waiting professor. As he reached his side, the professor grabbed Harry's arm once more and dragged him along.

Oxo

Harry found himself in a big room full of students of different ages. The scary professor stood him next to the other new students and instructed him to stay put if he didn't want a really sore behind.

Harry couldn't help it, he glanced back at the door, only to realize that he had lost his way as he was dragged through the corridors. It would be hard to find his way back to the entrance hall and out of this castle. Sighing, he turned his head back at the professor who had introduced himself to the group as Professor Snape.

Harry stared the entire time at his professor while the man was speaking, but he found it difficult to keep track of all the rules and he also felt a little dizzy.

But then Harry's brain snapped into focus again as he heard the professor's next words.

"It's not usual in the other houses, but I take every new child to the infirmary over the following days. Your health is important to me, so look at the blackboard over there to see when you have your appointment."

Harry's head started to spin. Infirmary? Health? Oh no… he need to find a way out soon. Uncle Vernon will not like this one bit.

But before Harry could come up with a plan of escape, the scary professor suddenly loomed above him, took his shoulders and spun him around, pulling him out of the dormitory's common room.

"No!" Harry said with new panic and tried to tear himself free of the professor's grip.

"Stop this immediately!" the professor hissed.

Out in the corridor again, Harry was trembling in pure terror.

The professor stopped and looked down at the boy, "What's wrong with you?"

"I shouldn't be here. I don't belong here. My uncle-"

"I don't care how upset your precious uncle is that you are in Slytherin instead of Gryffindor - " the professor began.

"It's not that," Harry whispered.

"Then… what?" Professor Snape asked, at a loss.

Harry's knees finally buckled. The professor stared at the small boy on the floor. Why the hell was he shaking so badly, he wondered. He knelt down to pick the boy up, but Harry scrambled away.

"Nooo… I'm sorry. I will be good. Please let me try once more," Harry said, scared to death.

"Shut up, boy, and let me help you," Snape snapped. "And stop talking nonsense!"

"Please, don't," the boy begged, trying to escape the Professor's arms.

The stupid boy got under the professor's skin. Something was terribly wrong with this boy, and as he finally got hold of Harry and lifted him up, he was shocked at the feather weight in his arms.

"I promise I'll be good!" Harry wailed.

"Then stop struggling against me. I'm just helping you. What are you afraid of?"

"Punishment", Harry whispered. He didn't mean the professor to hear it, but Snape heard it nonetheless.

"You are not in trouble with me, so stop squirming," Snape suddenly found himself saying. He realized the boy was terrified, but he still had no idea what was frightening the boy so much.

"You smacked me; twice. I don't know how you did it, but you smacked me," Harry whispered again.

"That was just a light stinging hex, not my hand smacking you. But if you insist on fighting me, you may find yourself over my knee," the professor threatened.

"I don't want this."

"And what exactly is it that you don't want?"

"Fighting you… I just wanted out, and… you look scary," Harry didn't mean to say that aloud, but it just happened again.

"And you are skinny. You don't eat regularly, do you? You didn't even eat much at the feast."

"I have no money to pay for the food. So I ate just a slice of toast."

"Haven't I told you to stop talking nonsense?"

"But I-"

"Why do you think you have to pay for the food in the school? Besides, you have plenty of money in your accounts."

"What accounts?"

"At Gringrotts of course. How did you buy your schoolbooks?"

"I didn't."

"You… what?" Professor Snape stopped abruptly.

"I didn't buy anything on that list. You can't go through London asking for a wand. I just came here because I was curious about the school. I thought it sounded like fun."

"Nobody took you to Diagon Alley?"

"To where?"

"It's a wizard's shopping street."

"But I'm no wizard. Magic doesn't exist. My uncle was very clear about that."

"Well, your uncle was wrong," Severus growled, slowly realizing what may be wrong with this Potter-boy.

"I know, but I'm not allowed to say words like magic." Then the green eyes of the boy grew large. "Why am I telling you all this? I am going to be in so much trouble."

"I don't think so, because I will not let you return to your uncle."

"What?" Harry asked, panicking once again.

Severus tried hard not to show is rising anger as it wasn't directed at the boy, but the boy's uncle. He forced is emotions out of his voice as he said: "You were lied to, starved and - I suspect - abused. You will not go back to your uncle."

"Don't say that. I have no one else."

"If no proper guardian is found by end of term, I will take you in myself rather than send you back."

Harry stared at the strange professor. "Why?" the boy finally asked.

"Because you are a walking catastrophe that needs to be kept in line."

Before Harry got the chance to retort, Professor Snape reached the hospital wing and walked inside to deposit Harry on one of the beds. The shaking, which had nearly stopped, started anew.

"Where are we?" the boy asked, feeling somehow trapped.

"Infirmary," the professor explained, "You are the first one I want checked."

"No!" Harry cried, trying to flee, but two strong hands closed around Harry's upper arms and sat the boy back onto the bed.

"No, please. Let me go back h… ho… home."

"And what will await you at home with your uncle?"

Harry gulped. "I… I can handle it… I know I will survive somehow. I always do."

Not at all convinced, Professor Snape asked again, "What will your uncle do with you?"

"Beat the hell out of me, because I sneaked out of the house and took the train that brought me here," Harry whispered.

"I cannot allow that!" the professor snapped.

"It will just get worse, the longer I'm away. Please let me go," Harry begged.

"Harry, listen: You. Will. Never. Go. Back. There." Professor Snape said slowly to let the words sink in, but he could see the boy didn't believe him.

"Severus? Normally you give your students time to settle in before you drag them to me," a woman appeared.

"It's an emergency," Professor Snape explained.

"Again? So who is it this t- ?" the woman's words stopped, as she noticed who her patient was. "Mr. Potter?" she asked unbelievingly.

Helplessly Harry looked up at his scary professor, still pleading with his eyes to let him go.

"I caught him trying to leave the school. Since then he has been talking absolute nonsense."

"I didn't!" Harry denied.

"You said magic does not exist, but you must be blind if you can't see all the magic around you."

With a hurt expression Harry lowered his head. Suddenly tears filled his eyes. No. No tears. Never show them, Harry told himself, but couldn't stop them. Of course he could see all the magic, he could even feel it, but his uncle did everything to make sure the boy would never admit it. Magic was bad.

And yet, as scary as this man next to him seemed to be, he had told Harry that he would never have to go back to his uncle. This man couldn't know it, but Harry had wished for exactly that for most of his life. But he had given up his dream of finding a way out of hell a long time ago. How could he now trust this stranger?

Harry was too deep in his thoughts to hear what else Professor Snape said. But he heard the woman say something about 'poor thing' and then she had her wand in her hand.

"No!" Harry cried once more. "Please, I'll be good!"

"You don't have to be afraid of me. I will just cast a diagnostic spell. It will not hurt you," the mediwitch tried to calm the frantic boy down.

"But he hurt me with it!" Harry argued, pointing at his professor.

Madam Pomfrey looked at Professor Snape accusingly. "What did you do?"

"I wasn't aware of his condition at the time," Snape said defensively. "He was about to flee and I had a hard time getting through all the students. I needed to do something to get his attention so I cast a light stinging hex at his bottom."

"Oh my. Dear, I swear this will not hurt you!" Madam Pomfrey said to Harry, "Please lay down."

But Harry shook frantically his head.

"Hmm, stubborn, aren't we?"

"Lay down Mr. Potter! You know what I told you down in the dormitory!"

"I… " Harry started but trailed off as the professor placed his hand on Harry's chest applying a gentle but firm pressure to force the boy to lay down.

"You didn't listen, I know. Your mind was far away."

Harry didn't like this position. But the professor kept his hand on Harry's chest to prevent the boy from rising. A new panic rose in the small boy, as he watched the woman with her stick.

"Look at me," Professor Snape demanded and Harry did. Somehow the scary and angry look on the professor's face had vanished. Harry studied the face above him, taking in every detail. The dark eyes were abnormally dark, nearly black. The eyebrows were as black as the hairs that framed the face. The skin was very pale, and the nose was a bit big, but it seemed to match the thin face. Without the scowl on his face the man looked even likeable.

"Here. We are ready!" the woman said but Harry didn't really hear her.

"Severus?" the mediwitch asked, as nobody seemed to react to her words.

Finally Professor Snape pulled his hand back and looked at her. As Harry noticed the hand leaving him, a strange feeling of losing something overtook him and he grabbed at the hand.

"Don't go," he whispered hardly audible.

"I'm not going," the professor said and looked back at the small boy. Harry seemed to be very tired all of the sudden. The boy tried to smile but his eyes lost focus and then they felt shut.

Concerned, Professor Snape looked at Madam Pomfrey.

"It's a wonder he managed to stay awake that long," the mediwitch admitted.

"I still can't believe this," Professor Snape said in a low voice, for once clearly showing his shock.

"I know what you mean. This is Harry Potter. He is a legend. And yet he was raised most likely as a slave."

"So he was mistreated by his uncle?" Professor Snape still couldn't believe his findings.

Instead of an answer Madam Pomfrey spelled Harry's clothing away. A shocked silence fell over the room.

"We need to inform the headmaster. And I will need some of your special balm to heal the worst of these," Madam Pomfrey said as she pointed at the angry bruises on the boys chest.

"Broken bones?" the professor wanted to know.

"Several, most of them not healed correctly. It will take some days to heal the boy's body. But I'm sure the boy will sleep most of the time. He had been awake for three days. I have no idea how he managed that without eating something."

"I can't believe it," Professor Snape said once more before he went to get the healing balm.

-sSHp-

Harry was on his way out of the cupboard, as he heard the mail slot clap and the post fall through. Harry went to pick it up. Then he noticed a strange envelope, and when he looked closer he found it was addressed at him.

Unbelievingly Harry stared at it, but then he stuffed it deep into the pocket of his trousers before he entered the kitchen.

In the afternoon, as he was locked in his cupboard, Harry found time to look at his letter. His heart raced like he had run a marathon and his fingers were shaking. He couldn't believe what this letter said, but as he found the train ticket, he thought it would be fun to go, even if this whole thing was just a joke.

Harry didn't know how, but somehow his uncle discovered the letter a few days later and Harry got a sound thrashing. Vernon told Harry that the school didn't exist and Harry would be punished even worse if he tried to go there.

But Harry was still curious and the train ticket had not been found by Vernon in its hiding place under Harry's thin mattress, so he sneaked out of the house in the middle of the night. He needed two days to make his way to London, but it was still in time for the date on the ticket.

At the platform between nine and ten Harry wondered where nine and three quarters would be. But then he heard someone talking about it and found a strange looking family of red heads.

Silently he watched as they vanished through a wall. Bewildered he neared the wall but as he tried to touch it his hand felt just thin air, so Harry stepped through. Then his eyes grew larger at the sight before him. The scarlet locomotive was impressive.

He found a place in a compartment with other nervous children. They seemed to know each other already and didn't give him much attention. Harry didn't mind, he looked out of the window, his heart hammering against his chest. He didn't know what he was doing there, but with so many children present, the train really must bring them to some kind of school.

Harry got very tired during the train ride, but he couldn't allow himself to fall asleep. After some hours the compartment door opened and an older student poked his head in, informing them that they would soon arrive and they should put on their school uniforms.

Harry panicked a little, as he didn't have a uniform. At the questioning looks of the others Harry told them, "My trunk got lost on the way to London."

Strangely the children believed him and borrowed him one of theirs. Harry didn't want to take the offer, but they insisted, so he pulled it on.

As the train stopped Harry followed the others out. Then suddenly a scary and unbelievingly big man clapped an oversized hand on his small shoulder and said excitedly. "Harry! How are you? I'm so glad to see you again. Last time you were just a tiny baby."

Harry was sure this big man had mistaken him for someone else.

At the sight of the castle, Harry was astonished again. It seemed all to be a big dream. Harry wondered if he was just dreaming all this and soon would wake up in his cupboard again. But the wonders didn't stop and finally Harry got a bit scared. It would be really amazing to go to this school, but he couldn't see himself in this dreamlike picture.

The sorting was also terrifying to him. As the awkward hat was placed on his head it slipped over his small head and everything went black. Then suddenly a voice spoke to him.

"It doesn't matter where you put me. I will leave as soon as possible," Harry said and hoped the hat would just choose something.

"Hmm… why do you want this?" the hat wondered.

"I don't belong here. This place is strange, you are strange, I don't like this," Harry whispered to the hat.

For a moment the hat got quiet but then suddenly he said, "I see just one way for you… SLYTHERIN!"

The hat was pulled off again and everyone stared at Harry in disbelief. The boy wished the floor would open and swallow him. Instead he hurried to the Slytherin table and sat down. He stared into space and didn't really notice anything around him. As the food appeared, he took a piece of dry toast and nibbled at it. As soon as people started to get up Harry took his chance. He vanished between the other kids and fled to the Entrance Hall, his mind screaming to get out.

With a start Harry awoke, panting as if he had been running a marathon. Everything was black and Harry started to panic. He tried to sit himself up in bed but at the movement, pain shot through his entire body. Panting even harder Harry lay still, not daring to move a single muscle. But he couldn't help the pain his harsh breathing cost him.

Suddenly a small orange light started to flicker on. Harry stared at the torch above his bed, and then he could hear footsteps.

"Harry, dear, what's wrong?" a voice of a woman appeared and came closer.

But Harry couldn't stop his rising panic, his breathing got harsher and harsher as the pain just didn't stop.

"Shhhh, Harry. Please calm down. You are safe here. Are you in pain?" The voice asked.

Tears leaked out of Harry's eyes. The pain was horrible. If he hadn't been taught otherwise he would have cried out with all his voice.

"Harry, please. Slow down your breathing; the pain will only intensify if you don't," Madam Pomfrey tried once more without any effect. Feeling helpless, she cast a Patronus to summon Severus.

Just a few minutes later Severus hurried over to the bed. He didn't need to be told what had happened. Without a word he took Harry's small hand and pressed it.

"Harry, can you hear me?"

Slowly Harry turned his head a bit and his eyes wandered from the torch above his bed to the blurry figure in black.

"Hurt" he whispered. "It all hurts." More tears streamed out of his eyes.

"That's because you were given a potion that corrects your improperly healed bones. The pain will go away as soon as your bones are mended correctly. If I could I would give you a pain reliever, but it would interact with the Skelegrow. All you can do is waiting and try not to move too much. You should take smaller breaths, too."

"Can't!" Harry said, still panic in his eyes.

Severus took a seat next to Harry's bed, placed one of his hands on Harry's chest and with the other he took Harry's hand and placed it over his own chest.

Harry could feel Severus' heartbeat and the small rise and fall of his professor's chest and after some time Harry matched his breathing with the rhythm of his professor's. The pain lessened a bit and the tears stopped.

"Here you go. That's good. You did very well!" Severus whispered to the boy.

Harry closed his eyes, a warm feeling suddenly enveloping him. Nobody had ever said something like that to him. A faint smile appeared on his lips before it vanished again, as all of Harry's muscles relaxed, because the boy had fallen asleep again.

The professor gently placed Harry's hand back on the blanket but remained a moment longer with his other hand on the boy's chest.

"Go back to sleep, Poppy. I will stay with the boy."

"But that's ridic-" Madam Pomfrey started but was interrupted.

"I will stay with the boy!" Severus repeated, leaving no room for argument.

"As you wish!" With these words the mediwitch vanished.

Severus looked down at the now sleeping boy and whispered; "Now I know why you were placed into my house. And I promise I will do all what is needed to heal both your body and your mind. You are much more than you can imagine."

Harry took in a shaking breath and then his breathing slowed and evened out into a normal pattern for a sleeping boy. Slowly Severus removed his hand from the boy's chest. He transfigured his chair into a more comfortable one and tried to get some sleep himself.