Thank you to TrippingOverYou for the wonderful suggestions and for being my beta...KISSES!
The sound of someone frantically pounding on his bedroom door woke Harry out of a sound sleep. Figuring it was his Uncle Vernon, coming back to finish the beating he had been giving Harry earlier that day, he ignored it. Until he heard his Aunt Petunia's frightened voice, that is.
"Harry! Harry! You must get up! Please! Get up Harry!"
He painfully levered himself off of the bed and limped slowly to the door, sliding his glasses onto his nose. Waving his wand, the door creaked open to show his aunt and cousin standing in the hallway, bags in hand.
They both quickly moved into the room and shut the door behind them. Petunia looked imploringly at Harry and he waved his wand to lock the door once more.
"Mind explaining this to me?" Harry was still trying to get his body and mind to function together when he noticed the look of abject fear on his aunt's face. "What's wrong?"
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, Petunia looked at Dudley and then back at Harry. "Is the old man dead?"
Harry was shocked. "Old man? You knew Dumbledore?"
"Knew? He is dead then? That would explain why the spell is failing." His aunt's voice raised in pitch as she gave in to her fear. She began to sob quietly.
"Spell...what spell? What are you going on about?" Harry was now completely confused. "Aunt Petunia, calm down. What spell? What are you talking about?"
"There's not time for that right now. You must take us to Hogwarts." When Harry showed no sign of moving, Petunia became more frantic. "Now, Harry!"
Realizing that his aunt was serious, Harry gathered his things and shoved them into his trunk, along with his broom. He grabbed Hedwig's cage and let her out onto the window sill. "Girl, meet me at Hogwarts." She hooted and took off out of the window. Harry grabbed his trunk, handed Dudley the cage and grabbed a book of Egyptian Runes off of the rickety desk by the window. He heard heavy thudding, as if a large object was being thrown against the door.
"Alright. Everyone grab onto the book. It's called a portkey. I'm only supposed to use it in an emergency, but if you're asking me to take you to Hogwarts, it must qualify." His aunt and cousin each held a side of the book. Just before Harry could say the password, he heard the door to his room smash against the inside wall. He saw his uncle's puce coloured face in the doorway. "Emergency!"
All three people holding the portkey felt a strong tug behind their navel as they were propelled by the portkey to the Entrance Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Severus Snape felt the activation of the emergency portkey he had given Harry. It was linked to his magic, so that he would know if Harry needed him. He left his dungeon office, running the whole way. Harry was only supposed to use that portkey if it was a true emergency. He wondered how badly he had been beaten this time.
Severus had discovered the abuse Harry suffered quite by accident. He had come across Harry in the boys lavatory, in the dungeons, the first day back to class in Harry's third year. The amount of bruising, bleeding and broken bones had scared the man. He had honestly thought that Harry was not going to survive the wounds. Once he had carried Harry to the Infirmary, he had gone to Albus Dumbledore with the information.
"Severus, to what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Headmaster, I need to inform you of a situation that I have discovered. Harry Potter is being abused while at his relatives' house."
"Nonsense! The boy exaggerates, you know that. I warned you that he was spoiled and would, most likely, use that as an excuse for more attention." The old man shook his head.
"Headmaster, this is not an exaggeration. The boy is covered with bruises. He has cuts up and down his back and arms. This is not something to gain attention. I know what abuse looks like, or have you forgotten my situation?"
"Severus, he is placed with his relatives so that the blood wards keep him safe. This discussion is at an end."
Every year since that time, Severus had met Harry at Platform 9 3/4 and apparated him to Hogwarts himself, so that Poppy could heal him before the other students arrived. It always took several days before the boy was able to function without pain, but even that was infinitely better than trying to move with openly bleeding cuts and broken bones.
Dumbledore had never forgiven him for trying to bring Harry's abuse to light. Severus was certain that Dumbledore had known of it, but was never able to prove it. Merlin knew he had tried.
It was only three weeks into the summer holiday, and Harry was using the portkey. If Albus were still alive, Severus would be rubbing his face in this. Time and again he had tried to get Harry removed to the Weasley's care, but Albus would have none of it.
Fortunately, Harry, Weasley and Granger had defeated the Dark Lord at the end of their sixth year. That threat was out of the way, but there was still the threat of Harry's uncle. As Harry was still technically underage, Minerva had been forced by the Ministry to send the boy back to that house. Maybe now, now that Albus was dead, he could bring this to Minister Shacklebolt's attention.
He skidded to a halt in the Entrance Hall and was met by Poppy Pomfrey, who had also been alerted, and waited for the portkey to bring Harry to him. What he saw when the portkey arrived was not what he had expected. There was Harry, who collapsed on the floor immediately, but there were two other people with him. A tall, thin woman and a tall heavy-set boy. The boy was well muscled, but was still much larger than Harry.
Poppy ran to Harry's side and immediately began running scans on him. She spelled away his shirt, allowing her to see the bleeding cuts on his back and chest. She ran her wand over his arms before motioning Severus to her side.
"Hold him Severus. His arm's broken in three places and needs to be set. He's not going to like this." She tilted Harry's head back and poured a phial of Skele-Gro down his throat. She waved her wand over his arm, moving the bones back into place, so that the potion could heal the breaks. She began to heal the plethora of cuts on his upper body, taking her time, so that the scarring would be minimal. Harry screamed once as the Skele-Gro began to work, but was silent after that.
Severus laid Harry back on the stone floor and became aware of the stares of the two people who had arrived with Harry. He looked up and met the terrified blue gaze of Petunia Evans. He was shocked. What could have prompted this woman to come to Hogwarts? His gaze moved to take in the equally terrified gaze of the boy. This must be the cousin, Severus thought. What had Harry called him? Ah yes, Dudley.
He stood and slowly crossed to greet the two. "Mrs. Dursley? I am Severus Snape, Deputy Headmaster of this school. I am not sure if you remember..."
"Yes, yes I remember you. Please, tell me, when did the old man die?"
Severus felt his eyes widen. "How did you know Albus Dumbledore was dead?"
"I could feel the spells weaken."
She hesitated. "The spells masking mine and Dudley's magic."
"You-you're a witch? But Lily said that she was the only one." Severus couldn't understand exactly what she was saying, he was completely floored. "Why did Dumbledore mask your magic?"
"I only want to explain this once. Can we please wait for Harry to wake up? He deserves to hear this more than anyone else. My son already knows. I told him when I felt the spells start to weaken."
Severus nodded. "Poppy? Is it safe to take Harry to the Infirmary?"
"Yes, Severus, if you would? We'll get Minerva once we get there."
He flicked his wand and Harry levitated in the air, moving toward the Infirmary. Severus, Poppy, Petunia and Dudley all followed. The Dursleys kept their eyes trained on the floating figure.
Harry woke slowly, confused because he instinctively knew he was in the Infirmary at Hogwarts. Memories of what had happened flooded into his brain. His aunt asking, no...begging him to take her and Dudley to Hogwarts, his uncle breaking in the door to his room just before he activated the portkey and, finally, the excruciating landing on the stone floor of the Entrance Hall.
He slowly opened his eyes and looked around. His glasses lay on the side table next to him, but he couldn't seem to make his arm move to get them. He saw a slender hand pick them up and place them on the bridge of his nose. The world came into focus and the first face he saw was the worried face of his Aunt Petunia.
"How are you feeling, Harry?" The deep voice came from his right and he slowly looked in that direction. Severus sat on his other side, opposite of Aunt Petunia, holding his hand. Minerva McGonagall stood next to him.
"This time hurts worse, Severus." They had agreed that, in private, Harry would call Professors McGonagall and Snape by their first names. It still felt a little odd, calling Severus by his first name, but he was the closest Harry had come to having a father.
"You had more broken bones than Poppy originally thought. She found cracked and broken ribs and a hairline fracture in your jaw once we got you back here."
Harry nodded and looked back at his aunt. "You and Dudley weren't hurt when the portkey dropped us, were you?"
She shook her head. "No. Harry, there's something I need to tell you. I've been wanting to tell you for a while now, but Vernon wouldn't let me be alone with you, for fear that I would actually come to love you, and would stop him from hurting you."
He reached out and took her hand. "What is it?" He looked past her to see Dudley sitting on the bed next to him. Dudley tentatively smiled at him and Harry smiled back.
"The reason I asked you if Albus Dumbledore had died was because I felt the spells on myself and Dudley weakening."
"Why do you have spells placed on you?"
"To mask our magic."
Harry felt his eyes grow wide. "B-but...you're a muggle!"
"No Harry, we're not. I have just as much magic as your mother had, as does Dudley."
"Why, then? Why have Dumbledore mask it?"
"I was jealous of your mother, when we were younger. She was two years younger than me, and always so much better at everything. She received her letter from Hogwarts and I was jealous. I didn't have magic, or so I thought."
"After Lily left for Hogwarts, Mother and Father began to notice that strange things were still happening around the house and wrote to Albus Dumbledore. He came and tested me. He found that I did, indeed, have magic. Mine just showed up later. He asked if I wanted to attend Hogwarts, in the same year as Lily, but I turned him down. I was still jealous of her. I demanded that he do something to remove the magic. He said that he was unable to do that, but would cast a spell on me to dampen or mask the magic. The spell had to be renewed every year, so he would meet us at the wizard's bank and re-cast the spell."
"What did you do after Mum graduated?"
"I arranged to meet him in The Leaky Cauldron."
"But, if your magic was dampened, how could you see it?" Severus was enthralled with the story. He had always wondered about Lily's sister, but had never taken the time to find out.
"I could always see it. Just as I can see this castle. I visited here, once, with my parents. They could see it also. I was told that we were something called squibs. I had to do a family tree for secondary school once, and my parents told me that we were from a long line of pure-blood squibs. I've always wondered, what is a squib?"
Minerva answered. "A squib is someone born into a magical family who does not have the ability to use magic. Even though your magic was masked, you are not a squib. You are a witch, and your son is a wizard."
"So, instead of being a Half-Blood, as I've always been told, I'm a Pure-Blood?" Severus nodded in response. Harry was stunned. This was something he had never expected. But, then again, he had never expected to be told that his aunt and cousin were a witch and wizard, either. "When did he start masking Dudley's magic?"
"Like me, he came into it late. It started before you left for your second year here. I met the old man at the Leaky Cauldron with Dudley, had him cast the spell and then had him remove the memory of it. He told me that he could continue to do that every year."
"It's not healthy for the mind to have memories Obliviated that way. Eventually, it would have rebounded, causing all of the Obliviated memories to be remembered." Severus looked at Dudley. "Do you remember meeting an old man with long white hair?"
Dudley nodded. "I started to remember about a month ago. Mum told me it was because the spells were ending."
"She's correct. As the spells wear off completely, you will begin to remember more, quite possibly everything that has been Obliviated. Do you want to remember?"
"I think so. I mean, I never really hated you, Harry. I just did what I was told to do. I was always afraid that Dad would hurt me, if I didn't. I'm sorry." Dudley looked at his shoes. He saw a hand come into his line of vision and looked up.
"Hi, my name's Harry Potter."
Dudley took his hand. "Hi, my name's Dudley Dursley." He smiled at his cousin and received a smile in return. Maybe, just maybe, this could work.