Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
Hi, there. This is a different version of one of my other stories already. I may take down the other beginning of the story or not. In my other story I actually had Dumbledore against Harry and as being a manipulative and power hungry basterd.
However I got stuck on this story and was then busy and when I came to thinking about it again I realised this would make the rest of the story hard to continue and would continue to be a road block in my writing. So I have changed the story so that the headmaster's attitude towards Harry is different. He is not personally against harry and although meddlesome is not a power hungry manipulative basterd.
I have him as being weary and unsure about how to treat harry and what to do now that the boy is in Slytherin and not what he expected to be. He may warm to the boy latter or I am not sure at the moment. This should allow me to continue the story, though I don't know how long it will be until I post again as I am busy. The rest of the plot line so far is exactly the same.
What they wanted was a saviour.
What the public wanted to see was the indestructible Boy-Who-Lived, Gryffindor Golden boy and all round brave hero of the light. What the ministry wanted was a scapegoat. Dumbledore had his own expectation for the boy and the weapon he could become. The Weasley family wanted the money and fame coming from being the adopted loving family of the orphaned boy saviour. What everyone expected was an arrogant Gryffindor kid, with a cocky attitude, loud mouth and exaggerated hero complex. That's what they wanted.
But people don't always get what they want.
Instead what they got was a rather shy, quiet, watchful and reserved eleven year old Slytherin.
Safe to say, all their expectations went downhill from there.
"Harry Potter" Professor McGonagall called. She appeared to be a harsh woman, her greying hair was drawn back in a tight, high bun and her lips were normally pressed into a thin no nonsense line, she did, however, spare a smile for the student that was the owner of that name. She too was sure of her expectations.
Dumbledore too smiled as he heard the calling of his new pupil, he was sure the boy would open up to him and allow him to guide him in the right direction for what was needed. Another person sitting at the head table reacted in his own way to the name of Harry Potter.
Professor Snape scowled, he had been dreading the time that the brat would come to the school and he would be forced to attempt to teach the boy potions and to obey the rules. No doubt the boy was the same as his father, arrogant, loud mouth and bent on making his life agony. A sly smile spread across his face as he thought of all the things he could do to punish the boy and get back at his father for the years of torment he had made him suffer at school. Yes, even after all he had seen, done and learned he too had his expectation.
If anyone of the adults at the table would bother to look with unclouded eyes at the boy in question they would see something they weren't expecting. Harry Potter was not at all acting arrogant, and nor did he seem to be basking in the fame of his namesake.
Instead the small boy, for he was small, smaller than all his eleven year old peers and looked to be no more than around eight years old and not on the verge of adolescents, was standing away from the collection of remaining first years waiting to be sorted and gazing intently down at his feet as he subtly glanced around the hall and gorged everyone's reactions.
The student were all whispering about him so that the great hall sounded more like a wasps nest compared to a gathering place of students.
The boy, still with his head down, shuffled across the stone tiles to the stool placed at the centre front of the room. Again, if anyone were to look they would have realised that his trainers were far too big, practically falling of his feet and in a state of disrepair but people don't see what they don't want too, so again this sign went unnoticed by the hundreds of people watching the boy hop upon the old wooden stall, and have the battered Sorting Hat placed upon his head of untameable raven hair.
'Ah, I was wondering when I would see you here,' said the Hat.
'You're…you're talking to me, are you in my head…you're just a hat!'Harry shouted within his mind, to those watching he gave a small surprised jump but remained sitting on the stall.
'Ha Ha, but I'm a very special hat. You'll find that everything's not as it seems around here young Harry…now what have we got here, hmmm?'
Glancing up from the floor, Harry could see the expecting faces of all the people around him. The whole hall seemed to be in a state of holding its breath. 'They're staring at me.'
'Well, yes. You are the Boy-Who-Lived; they are waiting to see what house you'll be in. I have to say it is a difficult decision, you have quite the troublesome mind.'
That's stupid, thought Harry. Hagrid told him a bit about why he was famous after he got swamped by fans in the Leaky Caldron. As far as Harry could tell he was famous and supposedly all-powerful because of something he couldn't even remember doing.
'Sorry' he said to the Hat.
'Hmmm, oh don't worry young Harry. Now where to place you? I see you have no preferences.'
'No, I only knew about the wizarding world two days ago, so…'
What's taking so long? Thought Professor Snape irritably. A few murmurs had broken out among the more impatient students, talking about why the Sorting Hat hadn't decided yet. It never took this long with a student. What was potter doing, giving his life story?
'Now lets see' continued the Hat 'well you don't like the spotlight, that's going to surprise a few, and you're hard working so you could be Hufflepuff. I also detect a thirst for knowledge and understanding with a strong logical mind though, so maybe Ravenclaw. However there's plenty of loyalty and bravery there, so a Gryffindor you could be yet. Slytherin is also in you, with the ambition to prove your self and enough cunning to know people aren't always as they seem. Yes, a very difficult choice. Hmmm?'
Harry stayed quiet during the Hats ramblings but he wished it would hurry up. None of the other first year students had taken this long and people were beginning to whisper. 'Hurry up!'
'In a rush are you…in that case it better be…'"SLYTHERIN"
The young boy was so desperate to get off the centre stage that he simply hopped of the stall, as he was far to short for his feet to touch the ground, placed the Hat back upon it with a slight polite node and rushed over to his house table. He sat down right on the end of the table with the rest of the first years, but a little away from everyone else. Harry kept his gaze firmly upon the polished wood. It was only after a whole minuet when people were still staring, some in opened mouth shock, that he realised that unlike everyone else he had not received applause.
Harry Potter was certainly not what people were expecting, but then again, you don't always get what you expect
Severus Snape sat slack jawed in shock, not caring if for once people saw his emotions. He wasn't the only one to have their jaw open and lying on the floor. Many of the students as well as a few of the other teachers had similar expressions. Who could blame them though? Harry Potter, Gryffindor Golden boy, was in Slytherin. The staring continued and the boy in question just continued to look down at the table as if it held the secrets of the universe. A clearing of the headmaster's throat brought everyone out of his or her daze.
The students began to whisper franticly, speculating as to what this event could mean. Those near the boy continued to stare and many of the Slytherin table were giving him glances out of the corner of their eyes. Professor Snape regained his composer and put his normal disapproving scowl on his features. Professor McGonagall too, composed her self and continued to call the rest of the student's names for sorting. Everyone worked on automatic as they clapped for their new housemates and there was only one more Slytherin first year by the name of Blaise Zabini. He gave Potter a long look before sitting opposite him on the table. The raven-haired boy glanced around the room now and then but kept his head bowed.
Damn brat! Ashamed to be in Slytherin, thought Snape. Dumbledore said his normal speech, telling everyone to have a good year and to stay away from the forbidden forest and third floor corridor, before clapping his hands and making the food appear to start the welcoming feast. Severus looked at his fellow colleagues trying to see how they felt about Potter.
McGonagall was looking on with disappointment, her lips pursed. Probably wanted him to be in her house for the fame. Hagrid was looking at the boy with something close to pity and Snape scoffed at the idea. The last thing the arrogant boy needs is a sympathy vote. Professor Flitwick and Sprout were looking slightly surprised but on the whole seemed to except the idea, as there was nothing they could do about it and they weren't expecting the boy to be in their houses anyway. Dumbledore was frowning and the normal twinkle in his blue eyes wasn't there. He seemed to be disappointed but also suddenly weary when looking at the boy. Hmmm, guessing having Potter in Slytherin wasn't what he was expecting of the brat. Probably fearing that the boy will go Dark, or sum such rubbish. Snape himself was close to the headmaster, and the old man was proberbly the only one of his collegues he spoke to regurerly, but he knew that the man was meddlesome to the point of being manipulating. He also knew that the headmaster was only human and despite his claims held the same prejudices against slytherin that most people had, while favouring gryffindors. Having potter, someone he was proberbly hoping to be close to and guide towards the light suddenly in the slytherin had thrown his view of the boy off.
Overall everyone-the teachers and students-expectations of the Golden Boy just made a u-turn, for the worse. Harry Potter was not going to have it easy. No doubt many of the students were going to write home about this and then it would get into the papers and the rumour mill would start, resulting in chaos. Those that were related to Death Eaters would be told to watch or hurt the boy and then he would have to defend himself. Others would believe him to be dark and a Death Eater himself, resulting in even more bullying in all forms and more attacks against him. The teachers themselves would abide by their prejudices and too think him dark or beyond hope for being in the house of the Potter wasn't going to get it easy.
Harry Potter was in for Hell.
The feast finished as normal but the whispers had still not died down. The whole Hall was abuzz about Harry Potter.
Dumbledore rose and signalled the students to do the same, the children from the other three houses scrambled up from the tables to follow their prefects out in unorganized babble. The Slytherins rose with poise and filed out of the hall in groups of two. Normally the Potions Master would have felt as small surge of pride to see his snakes so much more mature than their peers, but that year his thoughts were to full of the last student to leave the hall, Harry Potter. Snape practically flew down to the dungeons, slamming the door to his private quarters closed before pacing the floor in a rage.
Harry Potter was in Slytherin.
Harry Potter was in Slytherin.
Harry Potter was in Slytherin.
Harry Potter was in his house.
Harry Potter was his to look after.
Harry Potter was his.
It was no good. No matter how he emphasized or phrased it the sentence just wouldn't stick. It was like something out an alternate universe. A rather sarcastic, ironic and sadistic universe.
A Potter was in Slytherin, that hadn't happened in…well, ever. For it to be James Potters son, the poster boy for Gryffindor just made it all the more unbelievable.
However, the fact still remained that Snape would have to look after the Brat. Snape would be forced to see the boy in more than just potions. Snape would have to stand up for Potter…
…not bloody likely.
The onyx eyed man stared longingly at the drinks cabinet across the room. The firewhiskey was calling to him but he knew he would be denied the pleasure of having any. It wouldn't be good to arrive at his Snakes common room with alcohol on his breath. It would give a bad impression.
There were people out there, some with children that came to Hogwarts and most of who were in his house, who would do anything to either damage him, Dumbledore or Hogwarts. No, he would just have to go without.
This meant he would have to put up with the Potter brat at close range without as well. Snape would just ignore him; Potter would probably be so arrogant anyway he would never bother with his Head of House. If Snape just avoided the brat they may be able to complete the kids' term at Hogwarts with minimum contact. He would only see him at meals, during Potions and detentions, which he would have done anyway.
The only other time would be when he went to his Snakes common room. Even then he didn't necessarily have to see the boy there.
Snape nodded with resolve, he would ignore Potter as best he could and maybe survive the year. Despite his resolution the Potion Master still spent the next five minutes pacing his living room, not wishing to see a reminder of his school boy nemesis.
Realising that all the dawdling wasn't going to stop the inevitable... and that his Snakes would be wondering where he was, the Potions Master spun on his heal, out the door and down the corridor to the common room like the great big bat he was so often referred to.
The door flung open as the head of Slytherin house stormed into the room, his robes billowing behind him, making an intimidating site. Some of the first years nearly screamed and one girl let out a startled squeak. Even some of the upper years jumped.
Onyx eyes scanned the group of first years, piercing them with a glare. Despite his promise to himself, Snape couldn't help staring at a black mop of untidy hair for longer than the other children. Potter was looking at his feet, not meeting his eye.
Arrogant brat! Probably thinks he's too good to listen to what I have to say.
"You are all…" Snape began, pacing to give the illusion of being everywhere at once and making his robes billow again. "…Slytherin."
Another glare, a few people quietly gulped. Snape saw the platinum blonde hair of Lucious Malfoy's son, Draco. The kid was smirking arrogantly.
I'll wipe that of his face soon enough. He'll find that being a Malfoy holds no sway with me.
"This means that you are different from the other children at this school. This means that you are the outsiders. Slytherin is a proud, cunning, noble house with ambition and intelligence. We are survivors. The others however, do not see this and you will be snubbed by everyone else.
"To combat this you must always stand together and help your fellow class mate no matter who they are. For this reason we have the first rule - Slytherins are one! Defying this rule is the worst thing you can do within the house of Slytherin, we protect our own."
Snape took in the first years staring at him in a mixture of fear and awe. Apart from one messy haired brat they were all looking at him with rapt attention. The brat however was still gazing at his feet, shuffling his trainers from side to side, like the worn footwear was more interesting than what the Potions Master had to say. Snape glared at the boy again, putting his utmost loathing into it, willing Potter to look up. He didn't.
Infuriated, Snape snapped at the first years, "Any questions?"
The Malfoy boy had the audacity to put his hand up. "When are Quiddich tryouts sir? My dad says I would make an excellent player and there are spaces in the team."
The Potion Master glared at the platinum blonde, taking his attention off Harry. "Tryouts are next Thursday, on the pitch at four. You may try but first years are not normally allowed on the team."
The blonde smirked, figuring such rules below him. He was a Malfoy after all.
The Potion Master glared again and addressed the rest of the first years. "Any more questions?" his tone made it obvious that there better not be.
"Good," Snape said with a sharp nod of his head. "Prefect Flint will tell you the rest of the rules of the school. Schedules will be handed out tomorrow at breakfast so don't even think of lying in, I expect you there by seven. On your schedules will also be appointed study times and study groups. It is advised you follow these appointed times though they are not compulsory." The onyx eyes scanned the small children once again. A brief flash of green eyes caught his attention.
Ha, finally decided to pay attention Potter!
"There will be no trouble making in my house. I expect you to behave with decorum and to not embarrass the Slytherin name by getting caught." His voice dropped to a dangerous whisper as he stared directly at the massy head of raven hair, "There will be consequences if you do."
Another minute of glaring, making sure the first years were appropriately scared and Snape turned, stalking out of the common room.
It was visibly easier to breath. Many people sighed in relief and the first years relaxed.
"Right! You lot!" the eleven year olds jumped and stood straight as prefect Flint came forward. The fifth year had broad shoulders and a muscular frame. While his sharp eyes made sure you knew not to mess with him,
"Name's Flint. You will call me Prefect Flint. I'm captain of the Quiddich team and also in charge of looking after you lot. I will now tell you the rules as Professor Snape stated. Rule 1…" and so it continued for the next fifteen minutes.
Harry was getting nervous standing in the middle of the common room with the other first years. He could tell people were staring at him, even the upper years. Keeping his gaze fixed firmly on his much too big trainers he tried to ignore them.
The door slammed open and the boy almost had a heart attack as his Head of House swept through. Harry was happy that all eyes turned away from him to the professor but wished to have them back suddenly as he felt the burning glare of the Potions Master. Gulping quietly, he kept his head down and didn't look him in the eye. Adults never liked it when you looked them in the eye, especially if it was a freak like him. He knew that. Uncle Vernon had said so.
Harry practically shivered in fear as the professor opened his mouth and in a dangerous, silky voice began to speak. The boy listened with every fibre of his being to what the man was saying, even as his fear increased. Professor Snape kept glaring at him, burning a hole in his head and it scared him.
He heard the Professor ask if there were any questions, Harry thought it was an odd thing to say. You were never supposed to ask questions. Harry knew that. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had told him. Over and over and over again.
He listened as Malfoy…what was his name…Draco speak without being told to first by the professor. Harry stiffened; sure Draco would get a telling of and a slap round the face. When the Head of House began answering his question without harming the blonde Harry realised that Draco must be like his cousin, Dudley. Not a freak like him.
Of course he isn't, stupid! Why do you think any one would ever be like you? You know these people are above you, they must all be like Dudley. You're the only freak. Everyone's always said so. Again and again and again.
Harry listened as the professor went on about study time. He was saying something about going in groups but Harry knew that no one would want to go with him. He was stupid. Even the teachers at school said so.
He didn't want to be stupid; he just never had time to study or someone to explain things to him. That, and Dudley was always ruining his homework or stealing his books and distracting him in class. It didn't help that he was always so tired from either his chores or receiving a punishment the day before. The nightmares didn't help either.
Harry knew that no one would want a stupid person to study with them, they would get tired of having to explain everything to him. Maybe he could study by himself in the library... if the librarian let him. The school librarian hadn't after Uncle Vernon told her what a trouble maker and dirty boy Harry was. The public librarian had let him stay though, reading the books in the tucked away corner between two shelves until Uncle Vernon had stopped him going. Harry hoped that that the school librarian was like that. Maybe then he would be able to read his books without bothering anyone. Maybe he could even borrow some to read in the common room.
The professors eyes darted over to him again and Harry glanced up quickly to be sure about the Head of House expression.
He was right. Complete and utter loathing.
It was burning the in onyx eyes as Snape glared at him. The professor hated him already. Why? He hadn't done anything?
Don't be stupid! He probably knows you're a freak. He's probably ashamed and embarrassed about having someone so stupid in his house.
Everyone was ashamed to be seen with him, he knew he was a burden and that no one would want him. Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and Dudley had made sure to remind him of that. Had made sure that he knew to be grateful for all they had done for him, feeding and clothing him, despite not wanting to.
And now professor Snape has to put up with you without wanting to as well! Thought Harry. Just try and stay out of his way, out of sight and out of trouble and maybe he won't punish you too much.
Even as he thought of it Harry knew it was hopeless. With the hatred he had seen in his Head of House's eyes he knew Snape would punish him for everything, like the Dursleys had. Like he deserved.
Snape swept out of the room and Harry released a breath he had been holding. The green eyed boy noticed that quite a few people did the same. Harry stood rigidly again as Prefect Flint stepped in front of them and began reading the rules. He listened intensely, determined to not break any of them and get into trouble, even though he knew it was hopeless.
Harry always got in trouble. He deserved to be punished. Uncle Vernon said so.
They were staring at him again, and once again Harry was beginning to feel uncomfortable. They were in the first year's dorm room. Prefect Flint had finished giving them the rules with a final order to not embarrass the Slytherin name and obey the First Rule, before sending them off to bed to get a good night sleep and settle in.
So now Harry was walking to his bed, the furthest from the door, where his trunk sat at the end while all eyes followed him.
There were six beds altogether and each of the boys moved to their appointed space. Malfoy, Nott and Crabbe were on one side of the room, while Goyle, Zabini and Harry were opposite them. Harry noted that his bed was next to the boys named Blaise. He hoped that the other, bigger boy wasn't going to be too mean. At least he wasn't staring at him in hatred or suspicion like the other occupants of the room.
Darting glances at them every so often to make sure they weren't coming to harm him, Harry ignored the glares and settled on retrieving his school books and a shirt to sleep in from his trunk. He was glad that the dungeons were so dimly lit or the other boys would have surly seen how battered and worn his clothing was. Harry figured he could try to read a bit of his school books before bed, to make sure he wasn't completely behind in class. Uncle Vernon had locked them in his trunk as soon as he got back from Diagon Ally so he hadn't had a chance to yet.
"Oi, Potter" Nott called from across the room, "just what the hell are you doing here?" The black haired boy didn't answer him and closed his trunk.
"Yeah, what's with being sorted into Slytherin, Pot-head, think you could waltz in here and take over" Draco sneered. Still Harry did not respond and climbed into his bed. "Answer me! I'm a Malfoy" cried the blonde.
"Forget it Draco, Scarface's probably too scared to speak, sulking about being sorted into Slytherin. His parents would hate him, considering they were stupid Gryfindorks. Probably spinning in their graves they are Potter. You think Pot-head would learn that no one wants him if even his parents died to escape him." Nott said while laughing, Draco laughed too which caused Crabbe and Goyle to join in with their mindless devotion to the young Malfoy.
Harry didn't show it but their comments had hurt. It was one of the only things he could hang onto in the dark times. The worst of times, after being locked in his cupboard for days or after a particularly harsh beating, thinking that at least if his parents were alive they would want him. That they would say he was smart and hold him. Would they really be disappointed in him, would they really not want him now that he had been sorted into Slytherin.
The green eyed boy felt something akin to physical pain in his chest at the thought. He couldn't even remember his parents and now they hated him, because he had gone a disappointed them. Just like he disappointed everyone.
Closing the curtains around his bed, Harry let the laughing of the other boys fade into the back ground as he changed from his robe into his tattered t-shirt and crawled under the covers. He had only been here a day and already his head of house and dorm mates hated him. He also got the feeling that the other professors had been expecting something else from him and were also disappointed about where he had been sorted.
He had hoped that he would be able to make a new start, maybe even have a friend at Hogwarts. He should have known it wouldn't happen. No one ever wanted to be with him.
Harry woke early with a silent scream, the bed covers scrunched up in his mouth and an accidental silencing charm cast about his bed. Strangely it wasn't the normal nightmare, with the green flash and red eyes, that had woken him but one of Uncle Vernon coming to the school and punishing him, beating him with his hands while his class mates hexed him with their wands.
The young green eyed boy was shivering in fright and knew he wouldn't get back to sleep. Getting up silently he took his robes and toothbrush and headed for the showers. He did not wish for his dorm mates to see his scars. He knew he hid his pale skin and starved complexion well with accidentally applied glamour's -not that he knew that was what they were called- but he couldn't hide the marks on his back, legs and arms. His body was another thing that Harry felt ashamed about, like almost everything else.
Hoping that no one would tell him off, the young boy took the indulgence of using the hot water for five minutes. He was sure someone would punish him for it but the feel of the warm water on his scars and aching muscles was worth it. Finishing quickly by brushing his teeth, using the loo and failing to brush his hair, Harry excited the dorm without waking any of the other boys. Taking some of his school books with him he tip toed down to the common room.
He came up short when he saw that the large room was empty and that the fire was reduced to embers. Squinting while moving to the fire place Harry read the clock above the mantle place and saw that it was only five thirty. Almost two hours until breakfast.
Relaxing into the green arm chair, which seemed to swallow the small boy as it moulded around him, Harry settled down to read. He had failed to read any of his books last night, going to sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Now he had the perfect opportunity to make sure he wasn't too behind in class.
An hour later Prefect Flint appeared, took a whole ten minuets to see that there was someone else in the room and then scowled at the firsty.
"Hay, Potter!" Harry jumped with surprise and dropped his Hogwarts a history book in surprise.
"P-P-Prefect F-Flint," he stuttered at the disapproving look on the older boy's face. The small boy turned to pick up his book so he wouldn't have to look at the fifth years disapproving gaze.
"Since when have you been down here Potter and whey are you not you in your dorm? Breakfast isn't for another hour if you're thinking you can get there early and stuff yourself."
"N-No Prefect F-Flint. I-I've been here since f-five t-thirty. I h-had a n-n-nightmare."
"Well don't expect any sympathy. Home sickness is common but get over it. You are a Slytherin, you can not be seen as weak," Flint scolded sharply.
Harry didn't need the older boy to remind him of that. He had known since he was three that showing weakness just meant people hurt you more. He didn't bother to correct the Prefect about the home sickness though, and just nodded respectfully.
Flint scowled at him for a moment longer, making Harry feel uncomfortable even though he would never show it, before walking off to attend to the rest of his prefect duties. The small boy relaxed and went back to reading.
The common room steadily filled up and Harry left his seat to hide in a corner as more of the other kids arrived, holding his book in one hand and waiting to go to breakfast. He didn't care that his reading would get him a reputation as a book worm. He figured that he was stupid and probably wouldn't understand class, but he could remember things when reading and preferred it.
The others would think the worst of him anyway and if he was lucky they would forget he existed entirely and leave him alone. That didn't happen often though. Dudley had made sure of that.
Sitting at the end of the breakfast table, away from the others and nibbling on a bit of toast while eating one or two spoonfuls of his porridge Harry waited for professor Snape to hand out the schedules so that he could go and get his books before the other boys. To his dismay the professor seemed to really hate him and purposely left him till last, skipping him out to attend the other boys first and even doing the other side of the table before he gave a schedule to Harry.
The boy didn't show his disappointment and accepted the parchment with a polite "thank you, sir" before taking a quick glance at it and leaving to gather his books and leaving his breakfast barley touched.
Snape glared after the arrogant boy, who thought himself to good to sit with his Slytherin year mates and obviously didn't think the food at Hogwarts stood up to his five star standards. The Potion Master had got a little revenge by leaving the boy till last, only leaving him five minuets to get down to the dungeons, grab his books and run all the way back up to get to the transfiguration classroom. To his chagrin the boy had only said 'thank you' before running off in an undignified manner.
Bloody brat, thought the onyx eyed man, sweeping out of the hall himself to prepare for his first lesson of the term. Third year Slytherins' and Gryffindors'. Oh what joy!
The small boy panted as he ran through the halls, chasing the last of the first year Gryffindors that he was sharing Transfiguration with. He was sure that his other Slytherins would be a ashamed of him arriving after Gryffindors but the professor hadn't given him enough time to get down to the dungeons and get his stuff before coming back to the classroom on time not be late
Slowing down to walk through the door a minute after Harry saw the last Gryffindor, one with violent red hair, disappear through it, the green eyed boy had to suppress a scream and try not to jump as something large and fury came sailing towards him only to turn into a stern lipped professor in long maroon robes less than a foot away from him.
"Mr. Potter, I do not allow tardiness. I presume you have an excuse?" professor McGonagall quipped.
He could have told her about Snape but he knew she wouldn't listen. Adults rarely listened to what you had to say and then they normally only said you were wrong. Shaking his head, not daring to look the animagus in the eye the green eyed boy gave a polite "no, Ma'am."
McGonagall looked at Harry expectantly, obviously still expecting him to try and excuse himself for being late. When nothing was forth coming she huffed, and shook herself much like a cat would.
"I will let you off this time Mr. Potter, seeing as it your first day and easy to get lost. Please go and take your seat." She gestured to the last free seat in the class, near the board, in the corner and away from everyone else. Harry was happy for that, if he was close he might understand if she wrote down any instructions and the position of the desk would mean he wouldn't have to look at anyone.
Running to his seat, almost tripping on his robes, the messy haired boy ignored the snickering of the Gryffindors and the smirks of the Slytherins in favour of trying to make himself comfortable. I was hard to do that in the hard seat, the scars on his back stretched painfully and he was still hurting awfully from Uncle Vernon's 'going away' present. The small boy paid no attention to his aching body though and instead concentrated fully on the professor as she began to lecture, pacing up and down the room while she did so.
"Transfiguration is the magic of changing one object to another…"
Harry smiled secretly to himself as he made his way back down to the common room after the last lesson of the day. They had only had a half day as it was the first day of the new term and the green eyed boy was deliriously happy. He hadn't got in trouble the whole day after he was late for Transfiguration. He had even got some points for Slytherin in Herbology as he already knew a lot about plants from taking care of Aunt Petunia's garden. The black haired boy was absurdly proud about that even if his other year mates thought it was lame.
So far each lesson had been interesting even if they hadn't done much practical work and Harry had taken notes on all of the lectures. The teachers were another matter all together though.
Professor McGonagall, who had smiled at him before the sorting, had been in a sour mood all day. It could have been because of anything but Harry got the impression that she was disappointed in him and didn't want to acknowledge his existence. He wouldn't have minded this normally but it did mean that no one stopped the rest of the boys behind him from sending spit balls, and sometimes even hexes in his direction.
Even when some of the hexes had drasticly altered his appearance for a short time the professor had simply persed her lips and carried on teaching without telling off the perpotrators. Harry was rather disappointed in this, but he knew not to expect the teachers to be on his side.
Professor Flitwick, who taught Charms, had been nice enough. Harry had sat at the back that lesson to make sure he couldn't be an easy target and none of the other kids had tried anything. The lesson had been interesting and kind of funny. The only let down had been when the tiny professor had gotten excited over his name and fallen of his chair. Professor Flitwick had tried to get him into the lesson as much as possible and kept mentioning his name until he got the message that Harry would rather be invisible and left him alone. The green eyed boy was thankful for that.
Professor Sprout had been an odd woman but was much more interested in his plants than Harry so the lesson had been the best so far. In History the small boy wasn't even sure if the ghost of Professor Binns noticed that anyone was even in the room. Harry got a sneaking suspicion that he always talked about the goblin revolutions in that monotone voice whether or not there were people there to hear him.
It was so good to be at school where there was something intrusting to learn and no Dudley to ruin it. Harry's only regret is that he hadn't managed to ask anyone where the library was yet. He was sure with a bit of exploring he would find it though, and decided to skip lunch to do so.
Walking the hallways when everyone else was at lunch and there was no one around to follow was perhaps not the best idea when you've only been at school for a day and haven't a clue where anything is. This is, however, exactly what Harry had done. He was now, predictably, completely lost.
Taking another left turn the green eyed boy felt a small surge of panic when he found himself at another staircase. Deciding he couldn't get anymore lost the small boy began walking up the first few steps when the stairs decided to change position and he was thrown hard against the banister. Biting his lip to stop from crying out in pain as his bruised and possibly broken ribs were smashed against the dark wood Harry held on with a death grip and closed his eyes tightly, waiting for the stair case to stop moving. When it did stop the loss of movement was such a shock that the messy haired boy lost his grip and was sent tumbling quickly down the few stairs he had already climbed. Harry did cry out when his ankle was twisted painfully and several other parts of his body began to throb in even more agony than before. Landing on his back with one last resonating thump he lay there on the carpeted floor catching his breath and waiting for the pain to dull. No one came to help, of course, as there was no one to hear his shaking breaths and strangled sobs this far into the castle.
Eventually Harry did re-catch his breath and with several winces of pain but no more distressed cries slowly got to his feet. He was sure he could feel blood running down his back from where several if his newest wounds had reopened but he knew the red liquid would be hard to see on his black school robes.
Even if someone would have been observant enough to notice, his magic had long ago moulded to his desire to keep his injuries hidden and had placed almost unbreakable glamours around him. Many times in school he had been standing not two feet away from the teachers while bleeding steadily from wounds on his back and even face without anyone noticing. Harry was used to looking after himself.
Taking in his surroundings and seeing he was at another corridor with nothing to distinguish it from any of the others the small boy began walking, not wanting to test his luck on the staircase again. Harry had to limp down the carpet as his ankle was in too much pain to walk on and his footfalls echoed around him. The small boy was surprised to see that further down the corridor instead of portraits hanging on the walls there were several decoratively carved snakes in the stone work. The reptiles moved like the portraits and hissed excitedly in surprise as he passed. The young boy could here as the gossip of someone walking down the corridor quickly spread ahead of him where there appeared to be even more snakes.
Eyes darting to keep an eye on the reptiles as they slithered along the walls, up the ceiling, and through cracks in the bricks the green eyed boy came to stop when he reached a dead end. Gazing around almost desperately, quite sure that lunch in the great hall had finished by now and knowing he should be getting back to his dorm Harry suddenly remembered the snake he had talked to in the zoo, where he had made the glass disappear and his cousin Dudley to fall into the enclosure. Harry had been beaten severely for that when they got back to number 4 privet drive and not given meals for a week while being locked in his cupboard. Only being let out to do his chores, which seemed to increase significantly in number. Forcefully bringing himself out of his memories, the small boy wondered if he might be able to speak to the snakes again like he had last time.
"Excuse me" he hissed to a rather large snake that was curled up at the bottom of the wall and looking at him curiously with several other smaller snakes. The carved reptiles started and all suddenly turn towards him.
"He speaks!" several hissed. A ripple of surprise ran through the carvings and Harry noticed several seeming to slip of hurriedly through gaps in the stone.
"Err...p-please could you p-perhaps tell me, err...where I am and how to get back to great hall. I-I-I'm a bit lost?"
"There hasn't been a new speaker in a long time!" hissed the snake excitedly, appearing to not hear Harry's question.
"Err, umm. It is nice to talk to you, but please could you tell me how to get back to the great hall?"
"Master will be so pleased! He will want to meet the young speaker. Fetch the master!" the larger snake hissed as it moved to settle on the wall at eye level to the small boy. Some of the smaller snakes hissed that others had gone already and where moving over each other to get a better view of the messy haired boy. Backing away, and giving up on his question being answered, Harry was thinking of turning to go back down the corridor to escape the attention of the ecstatic snakes when a deeper, less reptilian voice called out, echoing across the stone walls.
"Alright, alright! What could possibly be so interesting that you insistently force me to follow you down here?" The voice was low and commanding, with a cultured tone and thick accent. A voice used to getting what it wanted and being given answers but also with the undertone of intelligence that seemed to originate from the old stones of the castle itself.
This observation appeared to be true, for the most part.
Harry stood with his eyes wide and jaw hanging open in both surprise and fascination as another carving appeared on the wall of a tall man walking towards him, growing as he neared the small boy. Blinking once at Harry the man turned to the large snake that he had previously been trying to talk to.
"Yes, you wanted something. Apparently there has been an interesting occurrence. I fail to see how a scruffy looking boy is interesting, despite the fact that it is unusual for a student to find their way to this part of the castle and this corridor."
"He speaks!" raising one elegant eyebrow to show his surprise, the carving of the man turned back to look at the first year. Taking him in and looking the green eyed boy up and down while Harry did the same.
"Really?" drawled the man.
The man was tall, and the fact he was raised a few more inches off the floor in the wall only made him more intimidating. He had an aristocratic face, with a strong, angular jaw, high cheek bones and a sharp nose. Long black hair fell loosely around his face and down to the middle of his back, framing his features all the more. Unlike the snake carvings the man was in colour. Harry didn't know how it worked but it showed that he was dressed in dark green and black robes with silver trimmings. The colour made it easier to see the twin short swords that were almost hidden in the folds of the fabric and the intricate wand holder attached to his wrist.
What was most startling about the figure though, were his eyes. Which were currently looking at him with unmasked curiosity and judgment. Suddenly Harry felt a rush of fear at being found unworthy and lacking by the imposing man but brushed it off quickly, deciding that he couldn't possibly be anything else. He had always been found lacking by everyone else, and they hadn't looked anywhere near as hard to impress as this man. They were a startling shade of green though; his eyes. An unnatural shade of green, too deep to be found in nature. It was with well masked surprised that Harry realised that the man's eyes were almost identical to his own, possibly a few shades darker.
"What is your name?" the carved figure hissed. Harry did jump in surprise at being addressed but quickly stammered out an answer, not realising he was still talking in parsletongue.
He wasn't sure if the 'sir' was needed for a carving in a wall, but it seemed polite. Besides, even if he was carving he was an adult carving, and adults always had to be treated politely and with respect. Harry always tried to do his best to obey this rule but despite his best attempts he often forgot it and was punished by his uncle.
Surprise shone on the man's face. "You are a speaker! I haven't seen a new speaker in the castle for many years. Harry, did you say? What is your last name boy?"
Harry cringed back; he hated being called 'boy'. He answered dutifully though. "Potter sir. Harry Potter."
The man made a thoughtful noise as he pondered the name. Trying to see if he could remember it from anywhere.
Harry worried his lip between his teeth. He knew he shouldn't ask questions, but his curiosity was nagging at him. Besides, he really wanted to get back. He didn't know what time it was but he was pretty sure he should be getting to his dorm by now.
"Err, excuse me sir, but could you tell me what your name is sir?"
The man pulled himself up with pride and answered Harry's question while looking at the boy down his nose. "My name, boy, is Salazar Slytherin."
"Err, Slytherin? Like my house name, sir?"
"Hmmmm?" the figure peered closer at the crest on Harry's school robe, "ah, I see you are indeed in my great and noble house of Slytherin young one. Yes, I am one of the four founders of Hogwarts; each house takes after one of us. Did you not know this?" Harry shook his head; there had been no one to tell him. "By Merlin! The education of the students is severely lacking. It must be that blasted head master's fault!" the small boy shrunk in on himself as the figure shouted sharply. He may only be a carving on the wall but Harry didn't know how far magic could stretch. If the man could speak he might be able to do magic as well, maybe even hit him. "Well now you know and can be proud to be a member of my most esteemed house," continued the man, pulling himself up in pride once again.
"Err, yes sir" replied Harry, not sure what to say but thinking that agreeing with Salazar was probably best.
"E-Excuse me again sir, but what d-did you mean by 'speaker' sir? If it's alright to ask?"
"I mean your ability to talk to snakes, have you not noticed that we have been speaking in parsletongue for the whole time."
"We have sir?" even as Harry said that he could hear the light difference in the way the words rolled of his tongue, now that he listened for it. "Oh!"
"Umm, sir. May I ask a question sir?"
"You seem to have asked plenty already. Go on then, out with it."
"Err, you couldn't tell me how to get back to the Slytherin common room in the dungeons could you sir. I should really be getting back, but you see I'm a bit lost sir."
Salazar rolled his eyes and muttered 'typical' but nodded his head all the same. "I'll get you back, follow me." With that he turned away and began to walk away from Harry, becoming smaller with the distance. The messy haired boy stared at the retreating figure in confusion and wondered if he should ask another question when the wall disappeared.
Well, not disappeared. More like melted.
One moment the stone was there, as solid looking as only a stone could be, and then the bricks began to fall away into the floor. Like melting ice they liquefied and fell in a smother colour till nothing was left of them to be seen. Beyond lay a passage. A very dark passage, which the small boy could see no more than a foot into.
Harry stood there gapping, mouth hanging open and eyes bulging for the second time that day. He may have done this for another five minutes if a voice hadn't called out.
"Well come on boy. I said I will take you back but I can hardly do that if you refuse to follow."
Jumping from the noise, Harry edged forward, not sure if it was a good idea. The man had answered his questions so far and he seemed honest, but it wouldn't be hard for him to leave Harry all alone in the dark tunnel. On the one hand, he could turn around and go back to the staircase, possibly get lost some more in the castle till he either found a familiar area or someone else to tell him the way. On the other hand, he could follow the carving of Slytherin in to a magic, very dark, tunnel that he didn't know and possibly be left there lost all alone.
He was about to turn back and ask one of the snakes which were still gathered around him when the voice called out again. "Come on!"
The voice was one of a person used to having there commands carried out and Harry felt his feet moving forward on their own. Once a few paces into the tunnel the wall closed up behind him and the panic returned. Harry suddenly realised that he was now well and truly trapped. He began looking around desperately; his breathing became quicker and more panicked. The green eyed student wondered if he was going to have his first panic attack when Salazar butted in for the third time.
"Well cast a light will you. I don't need you tripping every three feet, and not being able to see makes it devilishly hard to handle corners."
"How e-exactly would I, err, cast an l-l-light sir?"
There was an exasperated sigh, "haven't your teachers taught you anything?"
"Err, not really sir. You see it's the f-first day sir. We haven't b-been taught any s-s-spell work yet."
"Oh for the love of Merlin! I should have known. Raise you wand and say 'lumos'."
Harry did as instructed. "Err, 'lumos'." He gave a small jump as the tip of his wand flared into life and cast a light about the smooth walls of the tunnel. Beside him he could see the carving of Salazar looking even more intimidating in the flickering shadows.
"Right, follow me and I'll get you back to the common room young speaker." With that he began to move off into the tunnel. Harry ran to catch up, not wanting to lose sight of him, his wand still raised above his head.
The tunnels were strange. Most of Hogwarts had a distinguished stone work and you could pick out every slab of stone used to build the almightily castle. The sides of the tunnels though were entirely smooth and the ceiling curved into an arch. Harry wasn't sure what it was but the magic swirled around him, creating a constant hum as he moved through the very soul of the castle. He didn't know how long he spent down there or in there as it may have been, but eventually Salazar stopped at a dead end.
"Here we are" as if on command the wall melted away exactly as the other one had and revealed the damp corridor of the dungeons. Moving through Harry recognised where he was immediately and breathed a sigh of relief. Not knowing how to put out the light on his wand he was surprised when it disappeared at his thoughts. Turning around he saw Salazar looking at him with his similar green eyes.
"Err, thank you sir. I'm very grateful for you help sir." He hoped that would be enough; he didn't know how you could pay back a carving in the wall.
Salazar seemed to shake his thanks off though. "Anytime young speaker. You best get to your common room before your head of house checks in. It is almost time for curfew."
"Yes, thank you again sir." Though he was slightly confused as how he managed to get to the dungeons from several floors up without taking any stairs, Harry began heading dutifully back to the common room. He could always work it out latter, and if not he could just lay it down to magic.
The common room was crowded when he got in and Harry slipped up to the dorm unnoticed. Finding it empty he took the chance to have a shower so he wouldn't have to have one in the morning and changed his clothes. Pulling the curtain around his bed, Harry was just in time as he heard his dorm mates come in at that moment, grumbling about curfew and their head of house.
Blocking out their presence the messy haired boy succumbed to the excitement of the day and fell into a deep sleep. Nightmares for once not plaguing his mind as carvings of snakes and intelligent green eyes kept them at bay.
The next day started out bad. Harry got up early even without the nightmares and managed to quickly wash his body with cold water before the bathroom door open and he had to get dressed to hide his scars. Luckily it had been Zabini, so there had been no questions asked. His only other good luck was that he didn't run into Flint in the common-room that day and had managed to finish reading his charms book.
Harry's year mates had been insulting him all day, and the newly opened wounds from his fall down the stairs were giving him more pain than normal. He decided to skip lunch to go to the toilet and try to stop the agony in his back whilst cleaning up the blood that was beginning to drip down on to the floor.
Harry was now sitting in Defence Against the Dark Arts, or DADA as the other students called it, with even more pain coursing through his body. He was sitting at the back of the class again to make sure his year mates didn't throw something or hex at him, and also because Professor Quirrel had the worst hygiene ever. His whole room stunk of garlic and incense and the smell got even worse around him. Harry briefly wondered how the people at the front weren't fainting from the over powering odour, but so far everyone had remained standing. Harry doubted he was going to last much longer though.
For reasons he didn't understand, his scar had begun hurting as soon as he entered the class. What had started as nothing more than an itch had soon escalated to a dull throb until it felt like his head was about to crack in two. The pain had spiked when the professor had come near him but that was probably just a coincidence. The messy haired boy wondered if he was really bleeding so much to get a headache from blood loss, but it hadn't looked that bad in the toilet just before class. Maybe one of his wounds had got infected, or he was coming down with something. Whatever was wrong Harry was pretty sure the awful smell wasn't helping.
The ringing of the school bell sounded wonderful, despite the shrill noise almost causing him to faint in pain. Strangely as soon as Harry fled the classroom the pain in his head entirely vanished, just melting away as if it was never there in the first place. Harry was relived but didn't have time to ponder this strange occurrence, deciding it must be all the incense in the room that was casing his headache; he had more important things to focus on now.
It was time for his first potions lesson with his Head of House.
Harry had taken the last work bench, unfortunately near the front, so that he could sit by himself. All the first years were chattering excitedly, the room vibrating with a constant buzz at the noise. However, it became silent when Professor Snape swept in, robes billowing dramatically. He immediately began stalking up and down the aisles and every student knew that he was not a teacher to mess with. Snape didn't wait to start his opening speech.
"You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potion-making. As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic." Snape sneered menacingly. "I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses..." There was a dramatic pause from the Professor before he continued. "I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death...if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
Harry was trying not to show it, but he was intimidated by the tall forbidding man. Just his presence felt threatening. Keeping his head down and staring determinedly down at the table (which he now saw had several fascinating stains and scorch marks on it), he prayed that the potions master would ignore him.
"Ah, Mr Potter our new…celebrity." The words carried the malice and hatred clearly despite the fact the Potions Master hadn't raised his voice. Underneath the work bench, Harry's hands began to shake.
"Tell me Mr. Potter, where would I find a bezoar?" At the back of the classroom a bushy haired girl raised her hand. Snape ignored her, concentrating entirely on Potter. He could see that the brat didn't know the answer; the frightened glances around the classroom betrayed him. Probably hoping someone would give him the answer because he's the Boy-Who-Lived. Not in my class! thought Snape.
"Now, Mr Potter!"
Harry was frightened. He didn't like how close the man was, and the Professor looming was making it hard to concentrate on anything but the rising panic within him. Were teachers allowed to hit students at Hogwarts? They never had at his old school, but Harry supposed that was because they knew he got the beatings he deserved when he got home. The messy haired boy jumped when the Potions Master snapped at him to answer for a second time. Deciding to get an apology as quickly as possible Harry stuttered out a reply, ashamed for his show of weakness.
"S-s-sorry s-sir. I-I d-don't kno-know."
His whole body was beginning to shake when he saw the professor sneer down at him. Tensing his body he tried to stop it from showing. You couldn't show them you were weak or the punishment would only be worse. Harry hadn't needed his uncle to tell him that one; he had figured it out himself.
Snape saw the boy hunch his shoulders in a protective stance and resolutely ignored it. People rarely see anything they don't want to.
"I didn't think so." Another sneer and a malicious glint came into the Potions Masters eyes. "What would I get if I powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?"
Another question! Couldn't the professor ask someone else? Harry was pretty sure that this wasn't even in the text book, or at least not the half that he had read. Behind him the bushy haired girl's hand shot up higher than before, only for Snape to ignore her again.
"I-I d-don't k-know s-sir. S-sorry, s-sir." Harry could hear the snickering of his year mates around him and closed his eyes briefly. This was just like at school back home, except at his old school he usually knew the answer but wasn't allowed to say because that would mean he was better than Dudley. Here though, he was just plain stupid. He was hoping that the teachers would just ignore him and he could get through school without attracting any attention. He should have known it wouldn't have happened. People could always tell that he was different. That he was stupid. A freak.
"No, I'm sure you don't. Just like your farther, always expecting someone to know the answer for you. What's wrong Potter, to magnificent to know a mundane questions about potions." Snape was on a role now, every taunting insult and prank by James Potter and his friends coming to mind. Somewhere, deep, deep within his mind Snape knew that he shouldn't be taking his anger out in a defenceless eleven year old with questions far above his understanding and insults at his deceased family, but it just felt so good to get it out of him once and for all. The boy made it too easy.
"What is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane. Answer NOW!"
Harry resisted the urge to jump out of his seat and flee the room. He knew it would do no good but he had never seen anyone near as threatening and scary as Professor Snape. The messy haired boy briefly wondered what he should do, weighing up his options. He didn't normally answer questions even if he knew the answer because of Dudley, but maybe it would be good to do so here, especially if it meant being left alone by Snape. Making up his mind, Harry quickly rushed out the answer, his eyes on the bench the whole time. He didn't want to see the hatred that would still be burning in his Head of House's eyes.
"T-t-th-there the s-same t-thing s-sir. Al-also called a-aconite."
Snape sneered, he hadn't expected the brat to know the answer and now that some of the wind had left his sails he was starting to think he shouldn't have shouted. Especially at the boy in front of the whole class, a boy that had his shoulders hunched, hands clasped, eyes averted and looked so pathetically fragile.
Ignoring that train of thought quickly, as he could not afford the time to analysis it now, he turned back to the rest of the class.
"For yours and Mr Potter's information a bezoar is found in the stomach of a goat and will save you from most poisons. Powdered root of asphodel and an infusion of wormwood will give you a sleeping potion so powerful it is called the Draught of Living Death…and as Mr. Potter said monkshood and wolfsbane are the same thing, also called aconite." It seemed to almost pain the man to admit the last part, but Harry released a shaky breath. Glad Snape had moved on from questioning him. "Well, why aren't you writing this down?" hissed Snape.
The class started scribbling hurriedly. Afterwards the Potions Master had them take out their caldrons and start following the instructions on the board to produce a simple potions base. Prowling the room, Snape took great pleasure in frightening the Gryffindors and taking points while praising his Slytherins highly, despite the fact that their attempts were just as bad. Sneering at Potter as he passed, he noticed that the boy was one of the few to actually prepare his ingredients properly. He glared at the bowed head of messy hair and cursed that there was nothing he could berate him for. Deciding that they had had enough time, the Slytherin Head of House swung back to the front of the classroom.
"Right!" he barked, several people jumped at the sound. "That's enough. Bottle what you have and bring it up to the front. You will find this to be the most lenient I will ever be about your pathetic attempt at making potions, so I suggest some of you magic yourself some talent before I have the unfortunate displeasure to see you next lesson."
The eleven year olds shot frightened glances about the room. If this was the man when he was being lenient, then what was he like when he was being strict? There were several gulps from the more clumsy people in room.
Harry carefully cleaned his work bench. Putting his left-over ingredients in the magical waste bin, he bottled his potion with care and replaced all the equipment in their rightful places. He waited until last before walking up to deliver his potions base, despite being near the front of the class room. Harry didn't want to get near his Head of House any time soon, and this time he wouldn't have a table to hide his shaking.
Watching as the bushy haired Gryffindor placed her potion on the bench, and ignoring the dark man's glare, he steeled himself and stepped out to do the same. Walking down the middle aisle with his head bowed and glasses slipping off his nose, Harry breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the Professor turn around to magic the writing off the board. Picking up his pace so that he could deliver the bottle before the man turned back around, he completely missed seeing the foot in his way.
Harry's feet tripped over the other appendage and he went sailing towards the floor. There was a pause as everyone looked to see what had happened and then the cannon fire sound of shattering glass filled the dungeon. Another pause and Harry could do nothing but stare at the shattered vile and spilled potion in disbelief before shutting his eyes tightly.
Great, he couldn't even do the simple task of handing something in right. He was such a freak.
Laughter filled the room. Both of the houses were laughing at the small Slytherin's misfortune. The red headed Gryffindor that tripped him laughed the loudest, pointing at him as he did so. Harry slowly picked himself up to his hands and knees, just realising what had happened and why he had tripped as he looked at the boy next to him. Returning his gaze to the shattered glass on the floor, he didn't notice that several of the sharp shards had ripped into his hands and were now buried in the skin. Harry instead concentrated fully on blocking out the mocking laughter and to stop himself from trembling. Then another voice joined the noise of the laughter and the insults being thrown across the classroom, and he couldn't ignore it.
"Mr. Potter," purred Professor Snape. Harry raised his eyes slightly to see the black shoes of his Head of House not ten centimetres from his face. "What just happened here?" There was so much malice in the voice that Harry felt the battle against his body fail as he began to shake. He hunched his shoulders to stop it from showing and kept his head down. He could have said that the other boy had tripped him but he knew it wouldn't work. The Professor seemed to hate him so much already that he would probably just give him a worse punishment and say he was lying. The Dursleys had told the teachers at his old school that he was trouble; he had no reason to believe that they hadn't told the teachers here too. They would know that everything was his fault, even if it wasn't. He deserved it anyway. He was a freak.
"I-I-I am s-sorry professor. I-I f-fell."
Severus almost growled at the pathetic apology, did the brat really believe he was going to fall for that. The boy obviously thought it fun to break his equipment as a form of getting back at him for singling him out earlier. I was with the satisfaction of James Potter sharing his son's humiliation that Snape continued to punish the boy. The normally sharp eyed Potions Master missed the small amount of blood staining the floor by his feet where the shards of glass had pierced Harry's hands and were now embedded in the skin.
"Yes, I am sure you are sorry Mr. Potter and you will be even sorrier for lying so disbelievingly at me. Your atrocious actions will be punished severely. Detention with me at seven 'o' clock sharp, don't be late! You will only garner yourself another detention if you are. Now clean up this mess and get out of my site. Class dismissed!"
The students scrambled to get out of the dark Professor's presence. Harry didn't move as those around him stomped passed. He could hear some of his Slytherin dorm mates not so quiet comments on his clumsiness and stupidity while the Gryffindors laughed along at the red heads comment to look where he was going. In the torrent of fleeing eleven year olds one bushy haired Gryffindor ran straight up to the professor.
"Professor Snape, sir." The potions master turned around to glare at her. The intimidating look made her falter for a second before the patented Gryffindor courage kicked in. "It wasn't Potters fault, he was tripped by another Gryffindor and..."
"Enough Ms. Granger! I do not need you making up excuses for the thick headedness and arrogance of some students. As for you..." the Potions Master turned back to the form of the still crouching Harry who was gingerly picking up the glass with his hands. Snape almost told him to get some gloves from the work station, but he was too angry and agitated to let his somewhat good natured conscience through.
Harry heard the Gryffindor girl begin to stand up for him and was amazed, the amazement quickly turned into depression as he realised she was getting berated by his Head of House too. She would definitely not want to be near him now and soon word would spread to the others that he meant trouble. Then he would never make any friends, not that he had much hope of doing so in the beginning. Resigned to his fate, he gently picked up the shattered glass. The bleeding cuts on his hands had disappeared under his glamour so the professor wouldn't see him and tell him off even more for being idiotic and getting himself hurt. It was painful, but he was used to pain.
Hearing the conversation, and feeling the Potions Masters gaze, he looked up startled at the venomous tone. "...don't send someone else to me with your miserable excuses. For getting someone else involved in your mess I will add another hour to your detention. You will now arrive here at six. Don't forget! You may now go Ms. Granger." With his last words spoken Snape turned around to his desk and started shuffling some of the papers, clearly dismissing the two still in the room. Granger, as Harry now knew she was called, sulked out dejectedly. The green eyed boy picked up the last piece of class, placed it in the magical disposal bin and gathered his books quickly before fleeing the room as well.
Harry Potters first Potions lesson with his Head of House had been his worst experience at Hogwarts yet.
Time seemed to crawl for the rest of the day. Harry locked himself in another toilet stall and carefully picked the pieces of glass that he could reach out of his hands. He wondered briefly about finding Salazar Slytherin again but dismissed it; he really didn't want to talk to anyone at the minute. Skipping dinner, Harry once again set off to find the library.
They had passed it on the way to one of their lessons but it still took him a great deal of time to find it again. Madam Pince looked at him suspiciously as he entered, and Harry scampered to the most secluded table. No one else was in the library at that time; all of the other students were down in the hall enjoying dinner. Harry had no appetite after remembering the incident in the Potions class room, peering at the books he found an encyclopedia of magical plants used in simple potions and began reading. His thinking was that if he knew the answers then Snape was less likely to pick on him. He didn't want to repeat the humiliating experience that happened earlier that day.
When five thirty came around, the small Slytherin reluctantly closed the book. A few other people were in the library now, but none had bothered him as his table was far from everyone else's. Harry saw the bushy haired girl sitting at a table of her own with a pile of books and thought for a moment that he should thank her for standing up for him. Shyness and fear of being late to detention stopped him, and instead he exited the room, once again under the suspicious eyes of Madam Pince.
The walk to the dungeons seemed to take an age as the fear once again crept into Harry's veins. What would the professor make him do? Maybe he would punish him like Uncle Vernon. He might even use the belt, or the cane, forwhat he had done was bad enough to warrant it. Breaking stuff was unthinkable, but he had gone and broken the professors vile in his first lesson. Maybe the Potions Master would make him test some potions or put something disgusting, like washing up liquid, in his mouth. Aunt Petunia did that often when he had said a bad word or been disrespectful. From the amount of times that it happened, he was disrespectful a lot. Harry's mind came up with a dozen different humiliating and painful punishments that the professor would give him during his detentions, and eventually the green eyed boy was standing outside the heavy wooden door to the Potions classroom for the second time that day.
Gathering his courage, Harry knocked gently twice.
There was no answer. The boy wondered if he had knocked hard enough for the professor to hear when a silken voice could be heard from within.
"Come in Potter." Harry swallowed hard, it didn't sound like his Professor was in a good mood. Even more punishments came to mind and Harry had to grip the worn and tarnished door knob tightly to keep from running away. The door opened silently which seemed to make everything even more ominous. It should have creaked, or squeaked or moaned. It shouldn't have been silent. Harry knew that much from peeping out of his cupboard and seeing the horror movies Dudley watched with his friends during sleepovers. He swallowed once more.
Snape had his head bent over a pile of paper and was scratching his quill across the top one with venom, the bright red ink staining the page of the poor students work. The onyx eyes didn't look up as Harry walked to the front of the class room, and they didn't move from the paper when the boy as standing at his desk before him. 'Let him squirm for a while.'
Harry didn't squirm, even though he felt like it. He didn't fidget or twitch either, but stood perfectly still. He had learned along time ago that adults didn't like moving or figiting while they were waiting to punish you. It just made them angrier.
Severus, however, was getting angrier though because he wasn't squirming. He had noted the boy's absence from dinner and lunch earlier that day. He was sure that the boy had sneaked off to cause mischief or to the kitchens, thinking himself too good to eat with everyone else. Stuck up Potter!
Standing abruptly, Harry looked up in fright but didn't jump. Severus felt a small amount of admiration seep through his rage for the boy's accomplishment, but quickly trampled it with even more rage when he reminded himself this was James Potter's son. Stalking to a door on the side of the room, robes billowing, he opened the door with his wand and pointed inside.
"You will clean all these cauldrons Potter, without magic! You are not to leave until you do. Wear the gloves by the sink and use the other cleaning tools under it. I don't want to hear whining, or snivelling or moaning from you. You understand me, not a squeak!"
Harry nodded his head franticly trying to convey that he understood, while he worked on making his throat work again. It had closed up in fear when the Professor had started shouting. Snape grabbed him by the shoulder and he winced. Harry didn't normally like to be touched and the Potions Master had a grip like a vice. The boy was sure that it would leave another bruise to add to the wide collection that he already had.
Snape practically threw the student into the room. Cleaning cauldrons was one of the worst detentions, especially when it had been the first day of classes for the first years. More cauldrons exploded or melted in the first week of class than any other time. Besides, it meant the boy wasn't in his sight and he didn't have to put up with his presence for the punishment. Snape was definitely happy about that.
The Potions Master was sure though that it wouldn't be long until he heard complaining from the boy. Some of the cauldrons were bigger than he was and with stains that hadn't been shifted for years. Doubtless the boy would get half way through the first one and start complaining that it was too hard. Saint Potter probably never had to lift a finger in his life. He had his fan club and family to do it for him.
When the brat had stumbled through the threshold Snape banged the door closed behind him. Harry stared at the pile of cauldrons in surprise, barley noticing the door slamming shut
Was this his punishment? But this wasn't bad. It was only cleaning and Harry did the cleaning at his home all the time. The Professor had even given him gloves. Deciding not to push his luck with asking the Potions Master if he was sure he had assigned the right punishment, Harry set to work.
In the back corner of the room was a large rectangular sink, big enough to fit the large medium sized cauldrons in but not the biggest. Harry filled the sink with warm water, ignoring the sting of it on his still tender hands as he tested the temperature. Putting on the gloves, finding the cleaning agents and grabbing the best scrubber he quickly found the least dirty looking cauldron of the lot and started to scrub.
The familiar and methodical work soon relaxed him and the small green eyed boy all but forgot about the angry potions master that had assigned him the punishment.
Snape, however, had not forgotten about the boy.
He had sat at his desk pretending to grade the third year essays while counting the time in his head and waiting for Potter to come out and complain. When not a peep was heard for over twenty minutes hen dipped his quill in his favourite red ink and actually started grading. He had decided that the brat was persistent and thick headed like his farther, and was probably trying to do the work and last as long as possible to prove him wrong. Severus lost himself in his marking, waiting for the boy to emerge from within the room and not realising the quick passing of time. When he had finished all the way up to the fifth years papers he decided it was time to check in on the brat. Maybe even scare him a little.
Stalking to the door Snape reflected that maybe he should have checked up on the boy earlier. Doubtless he was sitting in the room, waiting for him without a single cauldron cleaned. It was a surprise to the Potions Master then, when he opened the heavy wooden door in silence and was greeted with the sight of Potter leaning into one of the larger cauldrons, by the sink and scrubbing away merrily.
Shifting nearer without making a sound Severus cast his eyes around the poorly lit room suspiciously. First his gave lingered on the smaller of the immaculately cleaned cauldrons, some of them hadn't even looked that sparkling when they were new. Even some of the stains he thought of as unmovable were gone, though some did remain. It was with a start that the man discovered that it wasn't only the smallest of the cauldrons that were cleaned, but many of the others too. He had left a stupidly large number of dirty cauldrons in the classroom waiting for the students that he would assign to clean them. It was with some irritation that Snape realised that because of Potter he would have to find another punishment. Most of them were clean...actually, all but the one the small boy was slaving away at now were mostly clean.
The boy had to have used magic. Potter, perfect Potter, who didn't know how to lift a finger couldn't have cleaned all of this.
Stalking closer, fully prepared to snap at the boy for his disrespect of his instructions stopped when her heard a small sound. Was the brat...humming?
Yes, he was indeed humming, a made up and seemingly random tune that changed every few seconds. The boy was so lost in his cleaning and the satisfaction of being on the last cauldron that he was oblivious to his professor until a sharp clearing of a throat made him jump. Whirling around, the boy stared at the looming man with wide eyes.
"P-P-Professor, I-I'm almost done s-sir. J-just this one t-to finish, sir"
"I can see that Mr. Potter please tell me just what exactly you are doing."
"C-Cleaning sir. Like y-you told me to sir." Snape cast one more look around the room, noticing the absolutely filthy water still in the sink. You wouldn't get that with a cleaning charm. His eyes widened slightly, though Harry didn't notice. Had Potter really cleaned all of the cauldrons by hand?
"Well you may desist your activities now. I trust you have learned your lesson to never disrespect me and break school property again. It is time that you get back to your dorm." With a small amount of surprise, Snape realised it really was time for the boy to be getting back. In fact it was well after the time the brat should have been back. Almost midnight. "Clean up and get going. Don't mill about and go straight to bed, understand?"
"Yes, sir," replied Harry as he began to finish rinsing out the cauldron, draining the sink and packing away the rest of his cleaning tools. Despite not finding the punishment that bad, he was glad it was over. He was good at cleaning, had to be at his relatives house but he had never done quite so much cleaning. His thin arms were shaking with weariness and he could feel the exhausted muscles straining all over his body. The messy haired boy was having trouble stopping his eyes from dropping closed as he left the classroom under the smouldering gaze of his Head of House.
Walking into the common room, he found it empty, everyone else long since retired to bed. Slipping into his dorm room without waking the other sleeping boys, Harry closed the curtains around him and changed into his night clothes. Then gathering the large and warm bed sheet around him, he did what he had done every night since he got there. Slipping off and under his bed, the small Slytherin fell asleep almost instantly in his sanctuary of sheets and bed planks.
When Harry awoke he knew there was something wrong. The sound of his dorm mates breathing wasn't to be heard. Goyle and Crabb normally snored like a snorting bull and the others all breathed heavily in their sleep but this morning there weren't any sounds coming from the other beds in the room. Carefully getting up from under the bed and placing the comforter back on the mattress, Harry began to wonder where everyone was.
Walking down to the common room and peaking around the wall, he saw that the green and silver room was almost empty and none of his dorm mates were in site. Looking at the clock on the wall, Harry understood why. It was way past the time most Slytherins went down to breakfast. The green eyed boy was astonished, he had over slept! He never over slept! Over sleeping meant he would be punished. Harry began to wonder what his head of house would do when he found out and prayed, even though he knew it was hopeless, that they would go easy on him as it was his first time and just restrict his food instead of beating or thrashing him.
The black haired youth wondered about running to the great hall and hoping that no one would notice but his stomach was so worked up with worry over his punishment that it began to rebel at the thought of food.
It would be at least another fifteen minutes till breakfast was over and Harry decided to take a shower and read to calm his nerves. He hoped that it would look like he had meant to skip the meal to do some studying, though he knew it wouldn't work as the other boys in his dorm would just tell professor Snape that he over slept. Still, there was a chance that they hadn't yet and it was the only hope Harry had of lessening his punishment.
Running up the stairs, his footfalls quietened by the soft carpet, Harry took a shower, making sure not to use any of the hot water in case he got into even more trouble, dressed as smartly as possible and sat down on his bed with his transfiguration book, preparing to read. He never got a chance, as at that moment more than a hundred owls poured through the dormitory door and started heading at high speed straight towards him.
Severus was seething from his seat on the end of the teachers table. The brat wasn't there again. How dare Potter keep missing meals! The arrogant runt probably though he was to good to eat with everyone else, or that the food wasn't up to his celebrity status.
Severus had to admit he was surprised the other day when Potter had appeared to have really studied for his class and could answer his questions correctly. Once he was in his quarters however he had decided that Potter was probably just trying to show off on the first day and would soon show a decreased amount of concentration and care for his studies, especially potions once he had gathered enough admiring fans to follow him around and do his homework for him.
That still didn't mean he could miss meals and expect to get away with it. He would have words with the boy and show him exactly who was in charge, and who exactly had responsibility for his next seven years at Hogwarts. Though he dreaded that thought.
Severus was just getting into another good internal rant about all that was wrong with the world when the most owls he had ever seen poured into the Great Hall in a seemingly never ending stream. A few of the first years, especially the muggleborns, screamed and a few of the other students appeared nervous as many of the large birds circled the hall without landing. From his position, Severus could see that many of the searching owls had smoking red envelopes clutched in their talons. The birds started to swoop down onto the different tables, evidently still searching for the recipient of the letters, turning over food trays and scaring many of the students at the same time.
Some of the teachers had stood, including Severus, and were just about to try and deal with the problem of the owls when it got worse. Every single still in flight bird turned to the open door way of the great hall and flew through it, turning deliberately down one of corridors and heading deeper into the castle. The Hall cleared in seconds and left much confusion and chaos in its place.
Severus glanced at the other concerned members of the faculty before looking to Dumbledore for an explanation of what just happened.
"It appears that the student they are meant to deliver to isn't in the hall. I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. You may all check on your students after this has been cleared up and breakfast is properly over. I believe it would be best if we all stayed to calm the remaining students, don't you think?" the old man said lightly. Some of the professors looked like they would protest about not being able to check on their students' they too had seen the devastating amount of howlers that the birds held but one look from those twinkling blue eyes kept them seated.
Severus was on the edge of his seat for the rest of the meal and barely ate anything that was on his plate, not tasting the perfectly done eggs or French toast he had served himself. Instead he was trying to think if one of his students had warranted such a display and itching to see to them. Severus Snape was fiercely protective of his Slytherins. Someone had to be if they were to survive the school with all its prejudice.
Harry screamed and ducked his head, throwing his hands over his face in am effort to protect it from the talons of the large and growing number of owls. Many owls screeched as they dropped the smoking red envelopes all over him, batting others with plain white envelopes out of the way in their haste to exit.
The last owl dropped it's envelope on Harry's head and exited the dungeons as quickly as it came a few minuets later. Green eyes slowly opened, fear evident in their depths, to look at the empty room.
The messy haired boy was practically swimming in letters, spilling over the bed onto the floor. There wasn't an inch of the green comforter visible and his lap was piled high with all the letters. Harry's frightened, ragged breathing was the only sound in the silent room for a long moment. Ever so slowly Harry reached for one of the envelopes that were smoking on his lap. Feeling the odd heat being emitted from it he turned it over and hesitantly broke the seal.
Then the red envelope exploded.
This seemed to set of every other howler surrounding him as they all exploded in a cacophony of noise.
Harry screamed once again as the crimson parchments lifted of his lap and the floor to hover around him and the paper form into sharp toothed mouths. They were all screaming loud profanities and harsh words at him. Things that no eleven years old should ever have to hear, let alone be told to his face streamed out of the red mouths. Their dark maroon ribbon tongues spit at him as he cringed in fright.
Luckily Harry couldn't understand a word any of the envelopes were saying as they were all talking over one another and the noise was deafening.
Harry's hands came up to cover his ears as he curled himself into the smallest ball possible against the head board and prayed for the horrible screaming envelopes to stop. Eventually the envelopes did run out of angry words to recite and the last one tore itself apart into small pieces, its remains fluttering to the floor even as the last of its words echoed around the room. However, it was a long eventually.
Harry sat, curled up paralysed on the bed and shaking slightly. His head was pressed to his knobbly knees and his hands were clamped so firmly on his ears that they hurt. Untameable black hair hung forward to cover unseeing green eyes as the boy fought against the fear that had flooded his being.
Harry could hear the rushing of his blood in his ears, the aching and rubbing of his teeth as they clenched against each other and the erratic beating of his heart as he resisted the instinct to just run. Run and not come back for anything. To flee as fast as possible from the horrid, echoing words of the crimson envelopes.
Instead unseeing eyes continued to stare at his knees and the remaining white envelopes around him. The boy reached out with his right hand, almost in a trance, and picked up the nearest creamy letter. Breaking the seal gently, as he had done before, he let out a little relieved sigh when the envelope didn't morph into another mouth and begin shouting.
Instead all that was within the parchment was words. Words written in black ink scribbled in rapid angry strokes. The boy continued to sit, still curled up with his knees pressed to his chest and his eyes deep with fear and pain as he read the cursive script.
You disgust me! I spit on the name of harry potter! You blood thirsty murder, you traitor, you Slytherin!
Leading along the country like that, letting us have hope when you yourself are working to become another dark lord. Were you planning to lead us on you black hearted monster! If Dumbledore has any sense he would hand you over the Azkaban and the dementors now, or kill you.
The world would be better with you dead you pathetic worm. You should leave the wizerding world to stop your dark taint from affecting decent people.
You should die!
Putting the carefully unfolded letter down by his feet Harry reached over and picked up the next one.
You evil fucking freak…
Harry placed the last creamy letter down on the pile by his feet. The boy sat curled up by his headboard, the letters in front of him, staring into space for a long moment. Slowly the bright green eyes filled with shimmering tears and the boy's lower lip began to tremble. In a fumble of activity Harry uncurled his thin frame and launched himself off the bed heading towards the dormitory doors. His arm came up to cover his eyes and wasn't removed despite the pain coming from his glasses which were being pressed harshly onto his nose. Trying desperately to stop the tears from flowing and the wails building up in his throat from escaping, Harry flew down the stairs and out to common room.
Harry kept running, away from the harsh, disappointed gazes of his teachers, away from the bellowing red envelopes and the hate filled white parchment on his bed. Harry kept running, for once wishing he was back with his relatives and in his cupboard. He knew what to expect with his relatives, he knew he would be safe in his cupboard. Harry wished he hadn't let himself hope, hadn't let himself believe that Hogwarts and the wizarding world would want him anymore than Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia did.
Harry kept running, his feet carrying him past all the classrooms and through all of the abandoned corridors until he found himself running instead through the stacks of books in the library and hiding between the numerous shelves and piles of books in one of the darkest corners, well away from anyone else who may have entered the large room. Sitting down and curling up on himself in a dusty, moth eaten armchair, the green eyed boy finally allowed himself to cry.
His tears fell fast down his cheeks and onto his knees beneath him and his thin frame shook with sobs that threatened to break the small boy. His cries were not loud as he had been trained for ten years to be quiet but they were no less heart breaking to anyone who heard them.
But no one was there to hear them.
So Harry cried alone.
Severus Snape would not admit that he was worried. He would not admit he was walking slightly faster than normal to the common room after breakfast, and he definitely wouldn't admit that the person he was concerned about was Harry Potter. Just because he wouldn't admit it didn't mean he was almost running through the corridors to check on the boy.
Entering the common room he found it empty, as it should be considering first class started ten minutes ago. Damn Dumbledore for making him wait for every last student to leave the great hall before he could leave the head table. Severus was just thankful that he had a free period first thing that morning. Looking at the common room, he could see many brown and tawny feathers littering the floor and stairs up to the boy's dormitory. So his suspicions were correct and the numerous amounts of howlers had been addressed to one of his Slytherins, or more specifically one small messy haired, green eyed Slytherin that should hopefully still be in his dormitory.
Taking the stairs two at a time with his long legs the dark eyed professor flew into the first year's boys dormitory. It only took one look to realise that Potter wasn't in the room and another to see the remains of the shredded howlers littering the floor around the last bed.
Taking more measured steps, he slowly moved towards the bed, a sneer firmly on his face as he kicked away the red confetti. On the bed was a pile of creamy white parchment, out of place in the litter that was covering the rest of the comforter. Picking up the top letter off the pile Severus read it carefully, his expression darkening with rage and making a frightening sight.
How dare they do this to one of his Slytherins? No one harmed what was his…even if it was Potter. In a second Severus's wand was out of his sleeve and in his hand, making intricate wand movements in the air while he recited an obscure spell.
"Exsisto ostendo sum memoria"
The spell was not well known and only worked in highly magical environments but it had been useful in his spying days to show him what had happened in some of the dark lords meetings without actually having to put his life endanger. As he watched the mist lift up from the walls and the ceiling and the floor he never imagined he would be using the hard to learn spell to find out what had happened to James Potters brat, but he was and right now he was watching the scan of the last half an hour play out.
The mist shifted into a window before becoming an image of the room in front of him. Onyx eyes watched as Potter entered the room and closed the doors to the showers, he deduced that this was just before the owls arrived in the great hall. A few minutes later, not nearly enough time to enjoy a private shower, Potter emerged, fully dressed in school uniform, his glasses askew and his hair still damp.
The professor was slightly surprised to see Potter sit on his bed and settle down contently to read a school book instead of some Quidditch magazine when the owls came bursting into the room. Severus watched without a word as Potter curled up in terror and got rained in letters. A scowl emerged on his face and he had to cover his ears as Potter opened one of the howlers and the rest exploded around the small boy. He would be lucky if Potter wasn't deaf after that. His anger returned full force as he finished watching the small boy read all of the hand written hate letters, a blank expression on his face before placing them all in a neat pile one by one. Severus's face was positively murderous as the scene of the green eyed boy running out of the room with tears in his eyes finished playing out.
Cancelling the spell, he took a good few minutes to make sure he wouldn't destroy anything and gather control of his magic that was now swirling around him dangerously in response to his rage.
Albus let those letters enter the school. He could have stopped them. He should have stopped them. He let one of my students suffer abuse because he was in Slytherin. Snape was sure that if the owls would have been heading to one of his precious Gryffindors he would have had all the letters burnt before they got there. Even if it was a student from another house he probably would have prevented the hurricane of letters that had swarmed the room, but because Potter was Slytherin he had to suffer the prejudices of most of the wizerding world with the blessing of one old man.
He had been a spy for Albus and his precious order from almost the day after he was marked. He had done the man countless favours for protecting him and to help take down the mad man he had been stupid enough to allow to mark him, trying to atone for his sins and stupidity. The headmaster had forced him into more and more dangerous situations and he had not issued one complaint. Now Albus had allowed pain to be inflicted to one of his students…that crossed the line.
The potions master decided to try and find the distressed boy as he was sure that seeing his hostile Head of House now would offer him no comfort, besides going after the headmaster appealed to his anger more. Storming out of the dormitory and common room, Severus stalked through the halls towards the headmaster's office, his dark expression sending any straying students running in the other direction and praying for a merciful death.
The golden gargoyle came into view and the onyx eyed man venomously bit out "ice mice" before using his long legs to ascend the stairs, not waiting for them to start revolving.
Sending a quick containment charm to the top stair and above the door frame to stop Albus using his spying spells and know he was coming, the potions master set on his best death glare and sneer and was about to fling open the ornate door when the screaming of a shrill voice from within stopped him. Casting a spell to make the voice louder, the head of Slytherin house began to listen in.
"I'm telling you Albus, I will not do it! He can't come to the house! I will not allow a dark wizard into my home. Think of what influence he would be to the children." The voice was most definitely female and Severus could have sworn he had heard it before, but with the door masking any accent he couldn't place it.
"I'm not asking you to let him into your home." That was the headmaster. He sounded calm and tired but Severus knew him to well and could pick up on the slight hint of exasperation and anger that he was trying to hide.
"Good, because I wont have it. He could murder us in the night, or infest our home with dark magic. You can't trust the Slytherin! I won't have him in my home and I wont have Ron near him!" the woman was getting louder and more hysterical by the minute.
"Please Molly, I am not forcing your family to take him. I only thought in the beginning it would be good to have a home in the wizerding world considering the pressure upon him and the trauma of finding t out the true reason for his parents death." Severus held his breath, they were talking about Harry. The potions master refused to look too closely into just when Potter became Harry, there were more important things to think about. "I must have made a mistake somewhere for him to have wondered of the path of light so much to be placed within Slytherin. With the influence they are sure to inflict on him I am not sure of there will be a chance to guide him back to the right path and fear he will be beyond redemption. I will not be forcing your family to take in someone you do not wish too. I would not put your children in danger like that. However, I can nt remove him from the school because of his house as you well know, so I am afraid he will have some contact with the children you already have here."
"I don't care about that Albus; I just want him away from my family. We will not pretend to befriend and house a Slytherin Potter no matter how much you pay us. Imagine being associated with a Slytherin, it would ruin the Weasly's good reputation!"
Ah, so it was the Weasley clan matriarch that Dumbledore was talking to. He should have guessed from her screaming voice, he had heard it in howlers to the twins often enough. How low could they get, accepting money to care for an orphaned child and lead an innocent boy's life astray? The Weasley's may have been a family of the light, but they were far from good, and how dare the woman assume being dark is just a Slytherin trait.
"You don't have to associate with the boy Molly; I am not going to pay you to do so. Now would you please leave, I have many duties to fulfill and you are wasting my time!" snapped the headmaster, obviously loosing patience with the woman, the recent events must be getting to his nerves.
"…b-b-but what about the money you promised us?" Deciding he had heard enough of the woman's shrill complaining and that his anger couldn't wait anymore, the potion master burst into the room without waiting for Albus to give an answer.
Two head immodestly whipped around to face the banging door, one with violently red, bushy hair and another with a long beard draping from it. Severus was glad to see the shocked look on both the Weasley woman and the headmaster.
"Severus, what do you think you are doing? I am bus…"
"No headmaster" Severus cut the old wizard off. "What do you think you are doing allowing all of those howlers and hate mail into the school to find Potter. I know you have wards to restrict howlers until they are looked over. Why did you let them in?"
"Well Severus, I am surprised. I didn't think you would care for the son of James Potter."
The anger in Severus deepened, how dare the headmaster bring that despicable name into the conversation. The headmaster was trying to steer him away from the topic of the conversation, but it wasn't going to work. The glare on the darks haired man faced intensified.
"He is also a Slytherin headmaster," Severus pronounced slowly, as if talking to a rather stupid child. And by Merlin if it the last thing I do I will protect Harry…any of my Slytherins from you and the dark lord. Severus vowed silently within the confines of his mind while trying to make the headmaster instantaneously combust with his glare.
Taking one last glance at the old wizard and the red haired matriarch, the later of which flinched under his harsh gaze, Severus swept out of the office, as dramatically as he came in. Stalking down the stairs, Severus took one deep breath at the bottom of the staircase.
"BIPPY!" Severus's personal house-elf appeared instantly with a small pop. The large eyes wider with fear at the rage he heard in his master's voice. The young master, as the old elf thought of Severus, had always been good and polite to him, unlike his father, but that didn't stop Bippy from wondering if he was going to receive his first punishment from the black haired man. Severus turned his gaze down onto the elf. The poor creature trembled.
"What can Bippy do for young-master-potions-master Snape, sir." The small elf squeaked, while ringing his hands in nervous fear.
"Bippy, a student in my house and under my care is getting bad letters. I want you to monitor the mail everyday and send any letters of his down to my office. If they are howlers then banish them straight away."
The small creature hopped from foot to foot, tears coming to his eyes at the harsh glare he was still receiving from his master. After a moment of silence, the elf spook up.
"B-but Master Dumbledore sees over the students." Bippy wailed.
Snape growled in frustration before reining in his anger. He didn't want to cause harm to the elf. "I don't care Bippy. The student is in my ouse and headmaster has allowed dangerous mail that could have harmed him to be delivered. He no longer has any say in the matter. As the students head of house, I am fully allowed to do this for the students safety and headmaster can't do anything about it. Will you collect the mail Bippy?"
The green head nodded eagerly, green ears flapping. "Bippy will get mail. What student name?"
"Bippy will not disappoint master. Bippy protect Harry Potter and get mail. Bippy will do." With that the elf popped away.
Swallowing the last of his anger and putting his raging emotions firmly behind his occlumancy shields, Severus stalked off to get ready for his first lesson of the day, hoping that Harry would be alright wherever he was in the castle. XXXXXX
Harry was curled up in the large chair in the corner of the library. His sobs had long since stopped but he hadn't raised his head from where it was cradled in his arms. Now that the hurt from the words had diminished, Harry had started thinking about what the words actually said. 'Blood thirsty', 'Murderer' and 'Dark Lord' were repeated often and now Harry was worried. Could he really be a dark lord? Were his relative right and he was evil? Did his evilness really corrupt others just by being near them? The Dursleys must have been right to try and beat it out of him, they were just trying to protect everyone else without fully killing him.
Then one thought struck Harry like a hammer blow.
Would he have to leave the school? Would he have to go back?
…but it would be good if he went back, his relatives could finish keeping the evil in him from hurting everyone else and he wouldn't damage anyone in the wizarding world and…
"What are you doing?" the cultured drawl shocked the messy haired boy so much that he sprang from the chair and on to the floor to get away from it. Turning wide frightened green eyes on the person, he was able to catch his breath again upon seeing who it was.
Salazar looked back with slight amusement and quite a bit of concern. "My, you are a jumpy one. What has frightened you so, and why are you hear when I am sure you are meant to be in class?" The founder's voice was softer than it had been the last time they had met, trying not to frighten the already terrified boy.
Slowly Harry walked back towards the chair and curled up in it like before. Only this time he was facing the wall to his right hand side where the carved man had appeared. Harry distractedly noticed that a few of the carved snakes were also slipping along the walls but his main attention was on the man in front of him.
"You have been crying." It was not a question.
Harry's eyes widened and he quickly tried to wipe away the evidence of his tears. Crying and snivelling weren't allowed, and was a sign of weakness. Uncle Vernon would have slapped him good if Harry had been caught crying. Hopefully Salazar wasn't capable of that.
"You won't tell any one will you?" he blurted out in his fear.
The founder was surprised b the fear and desperation of the question but nodded any way. "Of course not, why would I? You must have had a good reason for crying young Harry, would you tell me what it is that caused you such strife?"
The small boy puzzled for a second, not used to the large words. The man sighed. "Will you tell me what made you cry?" he clarified.
"Oh…um" Harry hesitated; wondering if Salazar would think him stupid for getting upset over some letters. "I-I got some letters from people…they weren't nice…and the red ones exploded and shouted and they were really loud…the others kept calling me a murder, and filthy, and horrible, and they said that I corrupted people, and I was bloodthirsty and…and…and that I'm a dark lord." The small boy whispered the last accusation against him, almost afraid to voice it.
Salazar had been getting steadily angrier and amused as the rant went on. Angry that people could possible put an eleven year old through that and say it so carelessly just because he was in his house, and amused that they could really believe Harry of being any of those things. When Harry said that they called him a dark lord the founder snorted out loud.
Harry jumped slightly, doubt shining from his green eyes. "B-bu-but what if I really am a dark lord, what if I really become one?" he cried, terrified of the prospect.
Salazar snorted again, "You couldn't possibly be a dark lord child. You're far too shy and far too emotional to be a dark lord. You shouldn't believe the nonsense sprouted by the public. If you did then you would be rather dizzy with the amount of times they change their minds. Listen to me young speaker, not the public and moronic imbeciles that don't have two brain cells between them. You'd be doing yourself a favour if you just ignored them."
The messy haired child wanted to believe the carved man, he sounded so sure…but he was an adult, and adults change their minds all the time, and those letters had been horrid and there had been so many of them!
"If I was a dark lord though, or if I should become one…shouldn't I, you know, die. That way I definitely wouldn't be able to harm anyone in the future. Some of the letters said I should have died ages ago, and my relatives say it all the time so wouldn't it be better if I did, die I mean."
There was no amusement filling the founder of Slytherin house now, only anger at the cruelty to the child in front of him.
"You listen here speaker!" he barked. Harry sat up straight to attention and turned wide eyes on him. "You should not die! You shouldn't even think about dieing, and anyone who says you should is wrong and should be hexed. Not even if you could become a dark lord," the founder said when he saw Harry opening his mouth to protest, "which you won't, because there is always a chance that you won't become a dark lord. Now, you are in a library. Find a book, read it, learn something and forget all about those letters."
The messy black hair bounced erratically as Harry nodded and the small boy unfolded himself from the chair to disappear among the dusty shelves of the library. Salazar was probably right, he didn't think he was a dark lord, or murderous and he never thought he had ever felt blood thirsty. Besides Salazar seemed so sure and he was the most intimidating adult-well, stone carving of an adult- that Harry knew…apart from maybe Professor Snape and Uncle Vernon.
Salazar stayed where he was, letting the last of his anger drain away. He had only known Harry a few days and already he was attached to him. Feeling protective of the boy already…he was getting soft in his old age. That didn't mean he couldn't help though. Maybe he would teach the young speaker a few spells, maybe even show him the spells that could only be performed in parcel tongue.
The messy haired boy turned the shelf and came scurrying back, a huge tome being hefted in his thin arms. Curling up once again, and glancing to make sure Salazar hadn't abandoned him, Harry started to read, a small smile upon his face.
Yes, maybe he would teach the boy some parcel magic, but not right now. When he was older and more secure, for now the only thing Salazar could do was watch over him and try to keep him out of harms way. So that's what he did.
A long time past in the library with the ancient founder watching over the small child, the sun had begun it's decent in the sky and the small corner was growing dark quickly. Worrying over the lack of reading light and the long time the Harry had gone between meals Salazar decided it was time to get Harry to leave the library.
"Young speaker" he asked in a low voice, not wishing to alert the librarian to his presence. Green eyes swivelled around to gaze up at him expectantly. "It is getting late and you still have not eaten. You should go down to the feast and get some food, Merlin knows you need it."
Harry seemed disappointed at the prospect of leaving his book but he wasn't going to disappoint the founder of Slytherin and he was getting quite hungry, though he knew from personal experience at his relatives house that he could go a lot longer before he really needed to eat. That didn't stop the feast from sounding very appealing to his empty stomach.
Putting the book back on his shelf with sadness Harry was going to leave it there before Salazar spoke up once again. "Take it with you Harry, it will give you something to do in the common room and it is always good to further your studies outside your normal text books."
"Umm…do you think they would let me? The librarian at my old school thought I would get the books dirty and tear them so she never let me borrow any and stopped me from coming to the library. I don't want to accidentally damage it and have to stop coming."
"Nonsense, I know you will take good care of the book and keep it safe" the man narrowed his eyes in scrutiny. "You will, wont you young speaker?"
Harry's eyes widened at the low tone of voice and nodded his head quickly in response. Slowly taking the book of the shelf, worried Salazar would tell him it was all a lie and of course a freak like him shouldn't be allowed near books. Harry walked around the bookshelf and hesitantly stepped towards the front desk.
"Err…e-excuse me" Harry said meekly.
Mrs. Prince whipped her head around in surprise at the small voice and glared like she did normally at the student who dared to talk in her library. Age had not be kind to her features and she had a rather waspish appearance about her, reminding Harry of the time there had been a nest of the insects on the school ground and his cousin had cruelly decided to push him into the home of the irritant creatures, his skin had been swollen and soar for weeks.
Cowering back slight Harry gathered up all the courage he could muster in the face of the painful memory and spoke out in the loudest and strongest voice he could. It wasn't much of an improvement.
"I-I would l-like to take t-this b-b-book out."
Mrs. Prince glared at him again before snatching the book from Harry's hands. His heart sank; he knew others would see him for the freak he was. Now he probably wouldn't be allowed in the library again. If he didn't read the books then he would get behind the other students even more and become even stupider than he was already. What if he was so bad that they chucked him out of the school? What if they told his family? They would kill him.
Before the smalls boys thoughts could spiral even further into despair the large tome, almost as big and defiantly as heavy as him was place once again in his arms. Surprised green eyes looked up at the stern librarian.
"Return or renew it in two weeks or you will be punished." Mrs. Prince didn't seem to be interested in Harry after that and turned around to go back to her cataloguing of the books. The small boy stood still in wonderment for a moment before fleeing the library, just in case the librarian changed her mind. Going to the great hall and sitting down in his customary place at the very end of the table Harry allowed himself a small smile of happiness.
Severus Snape watched the door expectantly. From talking to the other teachers he had found out that Harry hadn't turned up for any of his classes and he was getting worried that the boy had hurt himself in the large castle.
Severus worries were unfounded though as at that moment the messy haired child entered the hall and slipped onto the end of the Slytherin table. In his hands was a very large book that looked far too heavy for someone as small as Harry to be carrying. The boy was gripping the tome to his chest like a precious treasure, instead of a dusty old encyclopaedia. What caught Severus's attention the most was that the boy was smiling.
The head of Slytherin house let out an almost unnoticeable sigh. He may have vowed to protect Harry the best he could from the prejudices against Slytherin's but he had very little interest in comforting the boy, mainly because he would have no idea how to go about doing it. His talents laid in disciplining and terrorising students into behaving, not providing a shoulder to cry on for first years. It seemed that Harry had managed to get over the howlers and wouldn't be in need of help.
However, throughout the feast the onyx eyes narrowed in annoyance. Harry was barley eating anything. The boy had served himself a small amount of the cold vegetable soup that the other student weren't interested in, not even a cup full and the smallest end of the crusty bread that had been made to go with it. The boy had maybe eaten half of his serving, not enough to feed a small kitten let alone a growing eleven year old boy, before pushing his plate away. Dessert had been served in the time it took the messy haired child to eat his meagre dinner but although he caught Harry looking longingly at the sugar, sweets and cake heart attack pilled on every table he hadn't reached for a single morsel.
What was wrong with the boy?
Severus told himself he would find out latter but for now would enjoy his own dessert and keep an eye on the other student to gorge how many stomach settling potions would need to be made. In the first week back students tended to gorge on the sweets now that they were free of their parents constraints and it always boded bad for the hospital wing as it was flooded with pucking students that had suffered because of their gorging. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Harry once again slipping out of the Great Hall.
Severus was in his room later that evening grading his papers...or at least that's what he told himself he was doing despite the fact he had read a single one of the parchments in front of him. Instead his thoughts kept wondering back to one messy haired, green eyed child that was quickly becoming the bane of his existence for no other reason than he couldn't get him out of his mind. For a spy, who had to be calm at all times Severus found himself getting very frustrated and angry over one little boy.
Standing up and sneering to himself for being so week and wanting to check on Harry Severus Snape stormed out of his rooms with a flourish and down to the Slytherin common room. For once entering the snake house common room quietly he silently observed everything around him. The common room hadn't changed since he was a student and this late only a few of the older students were left in the common room, talking quietly, finishing summer homework or reacquainting themselves with each other in more intimate ways. Severus quickly looked away from those couples.
He was going to slip up into the first year boys dorm when he spotted the unmistakable head of black hair just rising above the back of one of the corner arm chairs near the fire. Walking the room so the back of the chair was not facing him Severus Snape looked upon the child of his boyhood enemy and almost felt his heart melt.
Almost, he still had a reputation to up hold.
Sitting in the armchair, half swallowed by the plush green cushion and sleeping peacefully was Harry. His small frame was curled upon himself and the large book he had come to dinner with lay open across his chest and bent knees. Walking closer, but still not moving out of the shadows Severus moved towards the small boy. The book title read 'Full and Complete Encyclopaedia of Magical Creatures, Being and Monsters' praying he didn't have another Hagrid on his hands Severus removed the book and placed it on the nearby dark oak table. Harry shifted in his sleep, a small moan coming from his lips as his eyes shifted restlessly under the closed lids.
Taking out his wand the Head of Slytherin House stood back and cast a warming charm on the boy that would last all night, telling himself that he did it because he didn't want to have to deal with brewing potions for hyperthermia. It could get cold in the dungeons at night, even with the fire roaring close by. Harry's eyes stilled and he relaxed in his sleep, completely comfortable in the large chair.
As quietly as he had entered, Severus Snape left the Slytherin common room.
Severus was deliberately not thinking about how he had tucked Harry in last night in the common room. He was trying desperately to not think of his actions as being nice. He was also desperately trying to avoid thinking of James Potters son as anything but an annoying brat and not how cute the small eleven year old had looked curled up like a cat in the armchair. It was because of these reasons that he was also deliberately trying to avoided said eleven year old.
The potions master efforts would be in vain though as first year slytherins had potions that afternoon.
"Today you will be in pairs to make your potions. I am going to ask you to work in pairs for many potions during the year and you will be with the same partner every time, so make sure it is someone you can work well with. I don't want any stupid squabbles or fights in my classroom." Severus glared at the Gryffindor side of the room before moving his eyes quickly to Draco. The Malfoy heir was as arrogant as his farther and was bound to be as troublesome. "it is my hope that with two of you working on a potions your small dunderheaded brains wont be strained with the effort of multi tasking and there will be less stupid explosions for me to fix" the potions master paused. No one dared moved.
Eyes flashing in annoyance Severus snapped, "well, what are you simpering idiots waiting for, chose your partners turn to page 168 in you text books and start working on the potions I have assigned on the board." With a wave of his hand the instructions for the days potions appeared.
The moment professor Snape had said the word partners Harry had begun to panic.
No one would want to partner up with him and he knew it. they could probable tell how stupid he was and wouldn't want him slowing him down, but he would probably have trouble completing the potions on his own. What was he going to do?
Harry jumped and the panic in him increased as his head of house snapped at them to move. Children stood up and moved quickly to a friend or someone within their house, not wanting to anger their dour teacher for not being quick enough. Gryffindors on one side of the room and Slytherins on another Harry felt the pain of his old companion rejection hit him as none of his fellow housemates looked at him and he couldn't find the courage to get up and ask someone. He knew no one would want to be with him.
At the end of the move Harry was still sitting at the back of the classroom, no one next to him and his head bowed. He once again jumped when he heard professor Snape's angry and impatient voice. "Longbottom, what are you standing in the middle of the room for like a lost puppy. I see you house mated must have some sense of self preservation after all if they chose not to pair with you and your clumsiness" a short pause followed and Harry felt those intense black eyes sweep over his head before moving to the rest of the room and then coming back to bore into him once again. "it appears there are an odd number of children in both houses this year. Longbottom take the seat at the back next to potter, you will be working with him for the year."
Harry looked up from the table in surprise, not sure if he should feel relieved that he would have someone to complete the potions with or scared about the prospect of someone working with him and seeing how stupid he was.
Snickering could be heard from the Slytherin side of the room as his year mates whispered teasingly about Harry's bad luck of having to work with a clumsy Gryffindor. The Gryffindor were giving Neville apologising looks but were saying nothing to object to Snape matching one of their own with a Slytherin that they all believed was dark.
Neville picked up his books and bag quickly, balancing his caldron and almost ran to sit by Harry, for one not tripping up and spilling everything. As far as he was concerned Snape was a lot worse than Harry potter and he didn't want to bring about his potions professors wrath by dallying.
Snape glared around the room once and Harry ad Neville ducked their heads at the same moment, feeling the mans gaze rake across them.
"Well, what are you waiting for. The instructions are on the board. Get to work!" professor Snape bellowed.
Neville looked shyly at Harry beside him to find wide green eyes looking just a shyly back. For a moment the eleven year old felt nervous, the unnaturally shaded eyes, wide and magnified by the large glasses Harry wore making him feel uneasy. Neville gathered up his courage though, proving why he was in Gryffindor and decided to be the first one to talk.
"I-I'll get t-the ingredients" he turned around quickly and walked to the storage cupboard, tripping on the way. Harry was glad the other boy had spoken first; he hadn't known what to say and didn't know if the other boy would even want to speak to him despite the fact they were going to be potions partners for the year.
Neville returned, his arms full of ingredients, walking with slow careful steps to make sure he didn't drop anything. Placing all the ingredients on the table Neville read the first instruction and began to chop the shrivelled root while Harry brought the caldron to the right heat and added the base.
The green eyed boy glanced nervously over at his partner and the root. A low murmuring had settled over the room as people talked quietly about the potions. Pockets of silence appeared when the professor walked by a table to inspect the preparation of the potion. Harry could see him getting nearer. He glanced once more over at his partner and the root he was chopping, and not slicing as the instructions called for. He worried his lip nervously. Would his partner shout at him for correcting his mistake? Maybe he was being stupid and the other boy new a better way of making the potion but his head of house was getting closer, and they really should follow the instructions on the board and…
Neville tried to add the ingredient to the simmering caldron, Harry's hand shot out and stopped him, clamping around his fist in an effort to stop him adding the wrongly prepared ingredient. Neville looked startled, and slightly scared I his direction before yanking his arm away wit his greater strength. Harry let go willingly. This seemed to surprise the other boy more.
"w-why d-did you do that?" the brown haired boy whispered franticly, trying not to talk to lowed.
Harry gulped and gathered his courage to answer him. Hoping he hadn't done something stupid. "Y-You p-p-prepared the r-root w-w-wrong."
Neville looked at the board and back at Harry. "no I didn't" wondering if the Slytherin really was trying to get him in trouble with his head of house and muck up his potion even more. "I s-sliced them j-just like it said."
Harry shook his head franticly, his courage deserting him fast. "Y-You c-chopped them, not s-sliced."
Harry watched as the other boy looked at him in surprise, some of his fear leaving. "T-There is a difference?" Harry nodded and decided it was easier just to show the other boy. Taking the knife and another root he began slicing them, just as he had be taught by aunt petunia when she wanted to make a meal look fancy like on her cooking shows. He held the sliced root up for the other boy to see and compared it to his attempt. Neville's mouth had formed an 'Ohh' of understanding.
Harry turned away from him, not knowing if he had done the right thing or made the other boy angry and added the root to the cauldron so they didn't get so behind. He stirred exactly six timed clockwise with even gapes of time between the stirs exactly as the instructions called for. He then let the cauldron sit for two minuets, dicing his fire pixy wings while he was waiting and added them at the end of the two minuets, watching the cauldron send out rose smelling steam and turn violet.
Neville watched the other boy work and confidently prepare the ingredients, the cauldron turning the exact colour as the text book said it would. Snapping out of his daze when he hear the swish of professor Snape's robes nearby the brown haired boy turned to see the potions professor snapping at Ron Weasly for preparing his ingredients wrong and letting Hermione granger do all the work.
Turning back he tried to find out what stage Harry was at and what ingredient needed preparing next so that his professor wouldn't accuse him of the same thing. Harry was at stage six, which called for three anti clockwise stirs every thirty seconds for six minuets to bring the potions to the final stage.
The instructions called for powdered juice beetles and cubed bat liver next. Taking the mortar and pestle Neville didn't think he could go to wrong grinding beetles and began doing that. He caught Harry looking over with his bright green eyes and seeming surprised that Neville was helping him make the potions but didn't say anything to stop him and went back to counting stirs. The brown boy felt happy for a moment that the messy haired boy thought him capable of helping him make the potion. He was sure all of the other Gryffindors would have either done all the work or not bothered to help him. The only Gryffindor that seemed any good at potions was Hermione.
Finishing grinding the beetles, Harry hit the three minuet mark in his stirring. Neville glanced over at him nervously aware that Snape was almost right behind him.
"How do you cube something?" he whispered to Harry nervously. Harry looked up at hi in surprise. The other boy was asking him for help. Him, Harry, the stupid little freak. The green eyed boy suddenly felt very nervous, what if he gave the wrong instructions, what of the other boy thought he was being stupid, but Neville had asked hadn't he so he must want him to say something.
Harry only just continued to stir in time and narrowly avoided ruining the potion. "You needed to cut it into squares as even as possible. Cut it down the middle first and then across every couple of millimetres or so. Try to keep the crosses the same length, and keep the two halves together so you cut both at the same time" Harry had to break off for another stir. He glanced nervously over at Neville and saw him struggling to follow the hasty instruction, his tongue sticking out between his lips in concentration.
That was when professor Snape decided it was time to come and see how their potion was doing. The brown haired boy heard the swish of the potions master robes and his head shot up immediately while his eyes went wide with fear at the imposing figure and he began to tremble. Harry could feel himself starting to shake as the penetrating stare burned into him and gripped the stirring stick harder to stop his hand from shaking.
Looking over at the other boy he decided to try and distract him. "Remember to cut the liver in two long ways first down the middle and hold the two halves together."
Neville looked towards the quiet voice and was met by worried green eyes. Feeling a shame to the Gryffindor name he reasoned that if a Slytherin that was smaller than him and seemed just as frightened could continue working with professor Snape breathing down their necks then so could he.
His courage almost faltered as the potions master came and literally stood behind them, breathing down both boys necks. Harry hunched in on himself and stirred once more. Neville bent his head and used all of his concentration to cut the liver into small even cubes as Harry had told him to.
Strangle the professor just stood there for a minuet before leaving with another swish of his robes to another table, without saying a single word. Neville reasoned that it could only be that Harry had got the potion perfect but he didn't want to say so. Next to him Harry unhunched his shoulders and relaxed his grip on the stirring rod slightly. He breathed a silent sigh of relief too.
Harry stirred once more and held out his hand. "I n-n-needed the l-liver"
Neville handed it over and watched as Harry added all the little cubes to the potion, sprinkling across the surface evenly, before glancing at the beetles. "They n-needed to be c-crushed more"
The brown haired boy grabbed the mortar and pestle and quickly ground into the disgusting mixture until it was as fine as sand. Harry added three pinches and stirred once in both directions.
The potion first turned purple, then orange and decreased in content as yellowish steam rose into the air. It smelled like rotten eggs. Neville preferred what it smelt like before.
Harry breathed a sigh. The potion had done what it was supposed to do; he turned off the heat and got out one of his vials. Neville did the same.
"how did you do that?" he whispered urgently, there was a tickling of vials in the classroom as other people finished their potions and too started to pull out and fill their vials.
Harry almost jumped out of his skin. "D-Do w-w-what?" had he done something wrong. Had he ruined the potions-but it looked perfect, was the other boy mad?
"No how big to make the pinches?" Neville asked nervously, the other boy probably thought he was stupid now but he had always wanted to know, none of the other boys in his dorm had a clue.
Harry blinked one in surprise before answering, filling his vial at the same time. "It's b-best if they are t-the same size, but the s-size of the pinches doesn't really matter, it's the number of them that are really important. I read it in the library." said Harry, gaining confidence through the explanation and stopping stuttering.
Both boys hurried up to the front desk to give in their potion. Before Neville had the chance to properly introduce himself, Harry scooped up his things and fled the classroom. Harry almost ran to the common room and into his bed. He hadn't known if the other boy would have wanted to talk to him and was still shaking slightly from his head of house being so close. Frankly he had got scared that the other boy would find out what a freak he was if he talked to him and had run away. Maybe if he only talked to him in potions he wouldn't find out and they could work together like they had today. Harry hoped so.
Remembering that potions had been his last lesson on the day Harry reached under his pillow to pull out the book he had borrowed from the library and began reading.
The moment Severus walked into the classroom his eyes immediately seeked out the messy head of lack hair that was the trade mark of all the potters. He found the head it belonged to bowed and staring intently at the table. Not knowing what the best way to protect the boy was and remembering how oddly gentle he had been the other day Severus felt confused about his feelings, Severus Snape did not like being confused so he found himself getting angry. This could be seen by the way he had snapped at the class to get to work. Hopefully his new lesson plan to have everyone in partners would result I less exploded cauldrons and less headaches for him, though Severus wasn't counting on it.
He found his anger coming to a point when that bubbling idiot Longbottom was left standing in the middle of the classroom, looking around helplessly at his housemates, who had already gotten partners and had left him stranded. So much for Gryffindor unity. At least the other first years were showing some survival instincts. Severus had only had class a few times with the first years and already he knew Longbotton being near any kind of fire or caldron spelt disaster.
Eyes darting about the room Severus realised with a kind of sympathy that Longbottom hadn't been the only one left by his housemates. Potter was sitting forlornly, bright green eyes flashing for a second as he glanced up before once more resting on the table. Severus felt slightly sorry for the potter brat as he ordered Longbottom to partner with him.
Class continued as normal. Walking around the caldrons Snape started with a couple of his Slytherins. Looking at Crabb and Goyle he could already see they hadn't bothered to read the instructions and had the wrong ingredients. Severus sneered but moved on without saying anything; as long as their caldron didn't blow up he didn't care.
Looking at the Malfoy brat Severus could admit that the child had some skill in potions, but it could just be the extra tutoring he received at the manor that meant he was ahead of his house mates. Strangely Severus didn't feel like complimenting the boy, even though he was seen as a favourite Slytherin prince and it would annoy Mininarva and the other Gryffindors. Instead he just moved on.
Looking at the Gryffindor potions he almost winced, the youngest Weasly boy and Finnegan had cut all of their ingredients wrong and as a result the caldron was belching dangerously and a violent florescent green colour. Looking at the red hair and arrogant freckled face Severus remembered that this was the child that was going to befriend Harry for money. This would take some particularly creative insults.
"Weasly, Finnegan, what are you doing. Did you even read the board or has your mother finally become so overloaded with children that she forgot to teach them to read. Finnegan, I doubt you could tell your arse from your face, though it's obvious where the confusion comes from but I expect you to be able to tell the different between bat liver and rat spleen. If maybe you two each had a brain cell and rubbed them together you might be able to make the simplest of potions, but since that would mean either of you having a brain, no matter how small it is, I'm obviously indulging in wishful thinking. 10 points form Gryffindor for your incompetence, if you are not going to learn to brew in my class you could learn to improve your reading and writing skills by copying out the entirety of your potions textbook." With a wave of his wand Severus vanished the potion just before the obnoxious concoction would have blown up. Both Gryffindor were red faced with humiliation and anger, the colour clashing horrible with the Weasly's hair.
Feeling slightly better now that he had managed to have a good rant at some of his most incompetent pupils Severus move on to checking the other potions. He had not missed out of the corner of his eyes potters hand shooting out to stop Neville from adding an ingredient. Good thing too as Longbottom appeared to have no clue on how to even prepare his ingredients properly, let alone brew anything not poisonous. He felt a flash of surprise when the potter boy decided to demonstrate perfect slicing technique to the brown haired boy but thought nothing off it and instead began to inspect Granger's cauldron. The girl was standing to attention but not missing the stairs and was gazing at him starry eyed waiting for approval. Severus felt slightly sick at the look she was giving him and quickly moved on with a nod. Slowly working his way to the back if the classroom and potters cauldron.
Severus knew that the students would be bottling soon and should get back to his desk at the front to collect their miserable attempts at brewing. Moving slowly with a swish of his robes he came to stand behind the last pair of students.
Both hunched up on each other though potter was less obvious about it. Snape would have got closer to inspect the potions but he thought of Longbottoms shaking got any worse he would end up cutting his fingers off and Severus didn't need to be dealing with a bleeding and crying first year. No doubt Mininarva would think it his fault one of her precious Gryffindor's was injured.
Blinking in surprise the onyx eyed man realised potter had began to whisper quickly and that the Longbottoms boy had resumed his chopping. Using his spying skills Severus listened to what the green eyed boy was saying.
"…remember to cut the liver in two long ways first down the middle and hold the two halves together."
The by was telling Longbottom how to cut the bat liver in an effort to distract him from Snape's presence. Maybe the boy did have some Slytherin in him. Watching as the boy carried out Harry's instructions; Severus moved away from the desk with another swish of his robes and went to the front of the classroom to stand behind his desk.
The children came up nervously to hand in their potions; Snape nodded to every one of his Slytherins and kept a blank mask for the Gryffindors. Granger looked disappointed. Weasly and Finnegan obviously didn't hand anything in. dismissing them once he had their potions Severus watched Harry and Longbottom whisper together before Harry almost ran to his desk to push the potion into his hand before fleeing the room.
Left alone once again Longbottom looked slightly lost. Severus cleared his throat to get the boys attention and the potion vial from him. The boy packed up quietly and left the classroom in bumbling steps.
Severus looked down at the two potions vials that he held within his hands. The potion in them was perfect. Maybe it hadn't been a mistake partnering two lost boys together.