A Prince By Blood
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, I never have nor will I ever and I am only saying this once so I will not repeat it in later chapters.
The Black Cobra
Snow fell from the white sky above and blanketed the sleeping city of London as the sun fell beyond the horizon. The chilly wind surged through the area and Harry Potter shivered as the wind slammed against his bare skin while he shoveled the snow out of the driveway at his Aunt and Uncle's house. His aunt always said that because he was a bad boy, he did not deserve the items that his cousin Dudley always received; that being warm clothes, food and a decent room to sleep in. He was often called a freak by his aunt, uncle and cousin and he was also subjected to the abuse at the hands of his relatives.
However, Harry always felt that he deserved the abuse because his aunt and uncle always said that he did. They always spoke of him with such venom in their voices that it always caused fear to rise within the skinny boy and they never really used his name; they always called him 'freak' or just 'boy'. Harry even remembered hearing, at a young age, of how his aunt and uncle wished he had died with his parents in that car crash that killed them.
Even to this day, Harry found himself wondering at his aunt and uncle's words. He was brought up to believe that his parents had died in a car crash but he was pretty sure that a car crash would not involve a bright flash of green light. Sighing to were his breath came out a frosty white, Harry went back to shoveling. His aunt and uncle currently weren't home; they had taken Dudley to the store to buy some new toys and so Harry was left alone.
Harry was relieved at that. Being alone meant he did not have to worry about 'Harry hunting' or the beatings that his uncle always gave him whenever he did something wrong, which seemed to be all the time. He may be lonely at times because he did not have any friends, Dudley always scared potential friends away, but he preferred being alone to having to deal with his relatives.
Resting the handle of his shovel on his leg and rubbing his hands together in an attempt to warm them, the skinny ten-year-old boy glanced up at the sky above. The white clouds were starting to drift away but snow continued to fall and Harry shivered as the cold snowflakes landed gently on his skin before he turned his gaze to the driveway. The driveway was almost done and then Harry knew he could go back inside and warm up by the fire before his aunt, uncle and cousin came back. After that, he was sure he would be tossed back into his cupboard but at least it was warmer than outside.
Moonlight shone through the gaps between the clouds as the snowfall fell at random intervals rather than in rapid thick clumps while the wind slowly died down. Harry smiled faintly as the snowfall slowly came to a stop and he could see stars glittering beyond the dark cloud cover. The starlight bathed Harry in a silvery glow and the boy sighed before gazing across the street as the door opened and his babysitter, Arabella Figg, walked out.
"Hi Miss. Figg," Harry called across the street.
Miss. Figg glanced at him. "Why hello Harry, what are you doing out here in this cold?" she asked looking worried.
Harry sighed. "Just finishing my chores," he replied as he finished shoveling the snow out of the driveway. "What are you doing out here?"
"I saw that it stopped snowing and I decided that I'd get some fresh air for myself and some of my cats," Figg replied gesturing to her cats who peered out of the door before shuffling back into the warmth of Figg's house.
Harry smiled faintly before he walked over to the door of his house. "Are you going to baby-sit me this weekend, Miss. Figg?" he called across the street.
"Yes. I will see you this weekend, Harry," Figg called back and Harry nodded before he walked into the house and closed the door behind him.
Arabella Figg sighed as she walked back into her house after watching the small boy walk into his house. The boy looked to be very skinny but he was also lacking a jacket when it was almost fourteen degrees below zero. There is something seriously wrong there but why won't Albus listen to me? Arabella wondered silently.
She had brought up her worries about the boy at the last Order of the Phoenix meeting but Albus had pushed them off as nothing to worry about. Arabella tried to convince Albus of the truth; the lack of a jacket, how thin the boy was and the bruises that she saw on the boy whenever she babysat him. Albus was stubborn and said that boys always get bruises whenever they play; it was as if he wasn't listening to a single word the Squib had said.
Sighing, Arabella returned her gaze to the window just in time to see the Dursleys car pull into the driveway. Vernon Dursley, a heavyset man with a mustache, Petunia Dursley, a thin horse faced woman, and Dudley Dursley, a heavyset boy about Harry's age climbed out of the car before making their way into the house.
Arabella hoped that the boy would be all right; Harry was such a sweet boy and it broke Arabella's heart to know that the Dursleys could not see beyond their hatred. Minerva always pointed out that the Dursleys were the worse sort of Muggles but Albus still insisted that Harry needed to be placed with Petunia Dursley because of the blood protection provided by Lily Potter when she died to save her son from the dark lord Voldemort nine years earlier.
He must stay with his relatives; the blood wards will protect him from the followers of the dark lord that are still at large, Albus had said but Arabella didn't believe those words any more than other members of the Order did. Minerva, in particular, wasn't too happy with the idea of placing the boy with the Dursleys and even Severus Snape, the Death Eater turned spy for the Order, admitted that he agreed with Minerva.
Arabella knew that Severus had no love for the boy but she also knew that he knew Lily Potter's sister better than anyone due to living in the same neighborhood for most of their childhood. Being a Squib, however, prevented Arabella from knowing more about the Order of the Phoenix even if she was a member of it.
She decided to try to express her fears to Albus again and she got to her feet before walking to the fireplace to place a floo call to the office of Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. She tossed the floo power in. "Albus Dumbledore's office, Hogwarts," she called before she stuck her head into the green flames.
Albus glanced up suddenly. "Arabella, what can I do for you?" he asked curiously.
"Do you mind stepping over, Albus?" Arabella asked. "This stooping really isn't good for my old bones."
"I will be right over, Arabella."
Arabella drew back before waiting as the floo flared to life and Albus walked into the house. A few of the Squib's cats, who had been dozing beside the fireplace, awoke before leaping back with a hiss of fright at the sudden appearance of the Headmaster.
"So what is this about?" Albus asked as Arabella gestured for him to sit down and went into the kitchen to get them both a cup of tea. She handed the cup to the Headmaster before sitting down across from him.
"It's about Harry," she said softly.
"Arabella, we have been over this," Albus began.
"I know but I am just worried about him. He is far too skinny for a normal ten year old boy and he was seen doing his chores outside without a jacket," Arabella said with a sigh.
Albus narrowed his eyes. "I am sure we have nothing to worry about. He needs to stay there because it is the only place he will be protected," he said.
"But he could be getting hypothermia."
"I am sure Petunia Dursley will not let that happen."
"You put too much faith in them, Albus. I am starting to agree with Minerva and Severus, these muggles are not kind."
"Be that as it may, it is still the safest place for him. Now if that is all, Arabella, I must be getting back to Hogwarts," Albus said standing up.
Arabella had the feeling that Albus still wasn't listening to her and it was also obvious that he didn't believe her either. "Headmaster, will you at least check on him?" she asked finally.
"Harry is going to be fine, Arabella," the Headmaster said with a sigh. "I do not wish to interfere in how Petunia raises her nephew." With that, he said his goodbyes before disappearing into the floo and Arabella was left glowering after him.
Albus never listens, she thought as she sighed. But someone might. With that in mind, Arabella Figg went back to the floo to place another floo call, hoping that the person she was about to contact would take what she says seriously.
"I want you to go outside and clean the yard, boy," Petunia said to Harry the following day as the sun reached its' zenith and began to fall. "I want it done by the time I get home."
"Yes Aunt Petunia," Harry said resisting the urge to sigh because that was a sign of disrespect and he would get hit for it. Then again, he was pretty sure his aunt and uncle didn't need a reason to hit him.
"Mum, I want some ice cream," Dudley called from where he was in the living room of the house.
Is he crazy? It's too cold for ice cream, Harry thought.
"Sweetie, it's too cold for ice cream," Petunia pointed out.
"I want ice cream!"
"All right, dear, get your jacket and I will meet you outside."
Dudley ran upstairs and Petunia glared at Harry. "Get to it, boy," she snapped and Harry nodded before quickly leaving the house and into the snow-covered backyard. He examined the yard and he noticed that the yard was littered with Dudley's toys as well as trash.
It didn't take Harry long to finish picking up Dudley's toys and putting the trash where it was supposed to go rather than where it was tossed across the yard. After he finished picking up the trash and toys, he started walking back to the house but paused when he spotted something odd in the bushes near the fence of the yard.
Harry was curious and so he walked over to the bush to see what it was and was surprised to find a black cobra coiled inside the bush. Upon seeing the boy, the cobra reared up before hissing and fanning out the skin behind its' head like a hood. 'What are you looking at, boy?' The snake hissed.
Harry frowned confused by what he had just heard. 'I'm sssorry for bothering you,' he hissed in reply not realizing it when he switched between languages.
The snake reared backwards, shock flaring in its' obsidian eyes. 'You underssstand me?' it hissed sounding surprised.
'Yesss, why? Isss thisss odd?' Harry hissed questioningly. He had a feeling that the cobra was in shock so he felt it safe to kneel down beside the snake.
'Not many may ssspeak thisss way,' the snake hissed; it sounded as though the snake was sounding very reluctant in speaking to Harry.
'Oh great, I am a freak like my aunt sssaid,' Harry hissed sadly.
The snake hissed in shock. 'Your aunt called you a freak?' it asked.
'It'sss true,' Harry hissed in reply.
The snake shook its' head as its' tongue flickered out from between its closed jaws. 'It isss cold out here, boy, I sssuggessst that you go back inssside where it isss warm. Why are you not wearing a jacket anyway, boy?' it asked.
'Aunt Petunia sssays bad boysss and freaksss don't get jacketsss,' Harry hissed in reply.
The snake hissed angrily and Harry was stunned by the amount of curse words that were suddenly within his mind. As if realizing that Harry could understand him, the snake stopped its' cursing tirade. 'You will get sssick if you do not go inssside,' it hissed relaxing to where the skin behind its' head went flat.
'Will you be here?' Harry hissed.
The black cobra hissed at him. 'I am not leaving yet. Thisss isss where I will ssstay for the time being,' it replied.
'Okay, so what can I call you?'
'Why ssshould a sssnake bother with namesss?'
'I would really like to call you sssomething if you are going to be here for a while. You're the only one who ever talksss to me like I wasssn't a freak,' Harry admitted and it was true. Everyone else was either too afraid of Dudley, or friends with Dudley, to approach and talk with him while his family only ever called him 'boy' or 'freak' when they talked to him.
Miss. Figg and this black cobra were probably the only exceptions.
The cobra seemed to be considering it. 'Very well, you may call me Sssev,' he said reluctantly. The cobra then lowered itself into the bush before slithering away and Harry watched it go with a small smile on his face.
Sev was his first friend, even if he was a black cobra, and Harry rather liked the idea of having a friend. He decided he would take Sev's advice and get back inside; it was getting colder by the second out here and his aunt was due home any time now.
Getting to his feet, Harry watched as the black cobra slithered away before he turned around and jogged across the snowy clearing and slipped into the house. He was just in time, too, for his aunt was just walking in the door with Dudley just behind her eating some ice cream.
Who would be stupid enough to eat ice cream in the middle of winter? Harry wondered silently.
Petunia glowered at him. "Clean up that mess right away, boy," she hissed. Harry glanced down and noticed that a puddle of mud and snow had been created by the door when he had walked into the kitchen.
"Yes Aunt Petunia," Harry said before making his way toward the closet to obtain the cleaning supplies. Dudley stretched out a leg and Harry tripped over it before his chin hit the ground hard.
"Walk much, freak," Dudley sneered before he walked into the living room as Harry pushed himself to his feet, rubbed his chin, and went to gather the supplies.
When Arabella Figg informed him and Minerva of what was happening at the Dursley household with the bloody Boy-Who-Lied Harry Potter, Severus Snape didn't believe it. He didn't believe that it was possible for the little brat of James Potter to be anything but loved and spoiled by his relatives.
Arabella was insistent, however. "And Albus will not listen to a single thing I am saying," she had said earlier that day when she first came to Minerva and Severus "All I ask is that one of you go over to the Dursley Household and check on him, that's all. I came to you two because you're the only Order members who are animagi and it would not be obvious that we're interfering."
Minerva had scowled. "I knew they were the worse sort of muggles," she muttered. "I told Albus but he did not listen to me and I'm worried about him."
"Are you so sure we need to worry about the Potter brat? Perhaps you were mistaken," Severus had said silkily.
"I am sure of what I saw, Severus," Arabella had flared angrily, which was a surprise. Severus did not remember a time when he saw the Squib as angry as she was now.
"I think you will need to go, Severus," Minerva had said at that moment.
"I am too easily recognized by the Ministry but your animagus form, while registered with the ministry, is still not obvious because very few people know about it," Minerva had pointed out.
Severus had scowled even though he knew that the Gryffindor was correct. "Very well," he had said. "I will go check on the Potter brat."
And that is how he ended up on Privet Drive in the freezing cold in his animagus form, a black cobra, being one of the few animagi who's animagus form was not the same as his Patronus. When he approached the Dursley household, he had not expected to find Potter outside, in the cold, without a jacket on and cleaning the yard.
He also did not expect Potter to find him and he definitely did not expect to learn that Potter was a Parselmouth. He had also seen that one thing that Arabella said was true; the boy was much too thin to be ten-years-old. When the boy spoke to him, Severus knew he had no choice but to reply and so he did, more because he was curious as to how the Potter brat could understand him.
When Potter asked him if he would still be there, Severus had been a tad surprised. He would stay there for a while, he knew that because he had to confirm if what Arabella Figg said was true, but he was sure it was because of his promise to Lily that he told Potter that he would still be there. He was also surprised by the boy's automatic trust in him and how he even admitted that Severus, in his snake form, and Arabella were the only ones who ever spoke to him and did not call him a 'freak'. At that, he decided that he would give the boy the nickname the boy's mother used to call him, even though it hurt to bring up old memories.
That had been the day before and now Severus was slithering back and forth across the snowy yard watching the house. As he slithered onward, he found himself wondering what the bloody hell had gotten into him to actually speak to the boy he supposedly hated and actually allow the brat to call him by the nickname that was reserved only for Lily.
Was it possible that I was temporarily insane? Severus wondered silently.
"Aieee! Snake!" Petunia Dursley shrieked upon seeing Severus and Severus reared up before hissing at the sister of his childhood friend. He never liked Petunia from the first moment he met her and he knew that she never liked him.
"What?" Tuney's fat walrus of a husband waddled out of the house before growling at the cobra before he slipped back into the house and returned with a gun. By that time, however, Severus managed to slip into a nearby bush and coil himself so that he was hidden in the bush.
"Where did that bloody snake go?" Vernon Dursley growled.
"No, you can't shoot him," Potter cried rushing forward as the walrus lumbered into the yard.
Severus hissed at the fat walrus as it neared the bush before he prepared himself to strike; he barely knew Vernon and he already hated the walrus. "You stupid snake," Vernon growled pointing the gun at Severus who struck and sank his fangs into Vernon's leg before quickly retracting before the venom could get into the fat walrus's bloodstream.
"That bloody snake bit me," Vernon exclaimed.
"We'd better get you to the hospital, that's a cobra and cobra venom acts quickly," Petunia gasped.
Idiot, there is no venom in him, Severus thought hissing. Besides, who would be stupid enough to try attacking a cobra? I was lucky I was able to keep the venom from entering his body or else he would be dead and then I would probably be on my way to Azkaban…again.
"You deal with the snake," Vernon growled thrusting the gun into Potter's hands before stumbling away as Petunia rushed forward to help him into the house.
Potter knelt down beside the bush. 'Is he really going to die?' he hissed quietly.
'No, sssome cobrasss can prevent their venom from entering the bloodssstream asss I did with your uncle,' Severus hissed in reply slowly relaxing.
'But he thinksss that he isss infected, Sssev?'
'Yesss but he will learn that thisss isss not true when he doesss not die before reaching the hossspital,' Severus hissed in reply.
'Why did you attack him?'
'He tried to kill me. I wasss only protecting myssself.'
'Oh okay. Uncle Vernon will not be happy if he returnsss to find that you are ssstill here. Do you sssuppossse you can hide? I don't want you to get killed,' Potter hissed back.
'I can take care of myssself, boy, but very well, I ssshall keep my presssence hidden from your relativesss,' Severus hissed in reply.
Potter nodded. 'I'd better get going on my choresss before Uncle Vernon comesss back or he'll be extremely mad,' he hissed, sounding afraid, before he stood up and Severus, still coiled within the bush, watched as the boy turned around. He jogged across the snowy clearing before disappearing into the house and the door closed slowly behind him.
Severus stayed that way for a long moment. Well one thing is for sure, the boy is too thin and he is obviously afraid of his uncle so could this mean that Arabella Figg's other suspicions are correct? He wondered silently. He found himself curious and so he decided that he would stay to determine whether or not the boy really wasn't treated well by his relatives.
Author's Note: This is sort of in response to the Severitus Challenge but it is more Sevitus due to the fact that I will not be using all of the requirements of the challenge. This starts off in the winter before Harry's first year at Hogwarts, is extremely AU and many of the events of SS/PS will not occur as they do in canon, however some may be used. I do hope that you enjoy my second attempt at a SS/PS AU story and reviews are much appreciated.