Told you you wouldn't have to wait long! Here it is, lengthened to appease you. I had stopped it at 'Day 1' but now I have written the rest in hopes I am forgiven for my lateness in posting.
Harry put the trunk into the car, Hedwigs' cage was already in the back seat. The Dursleys had moved back into their house that day unpacking their car, as he packed his stuff back into the Josh's car. If they recognized him at all they did not show it. He was ok with that, in fact he was better then ok with it, his anger at them had ebbed away as his strength grew, he no longer resented his treatment under their care and instead looked forward to the many Christmas's, birthdays and just normal days being around his new family.
The Mastiff's house looked so longing inviting that it took all his willpower not to go back and stay there, his home at last. That's their last name, Mastiff he liked it and considered himself to now be part of their brood.
Natalie and Josh, her boyfriend, had rescued him, they had stuck a tracker into his cast, though he had no idea how they had managed it without his knowing. He still wore the cast, he would take it off once he got back to school, the nurse there was very good and would heal his arm in no time he knew.
The youngest walking Mastiff, Sarah age 2, ran outside and into his arms. He held her for a moment, breathing in her smell of a mixture of ice-cream and fun, before he set her down. He held her hand all the way to her sister, as she was prone to running out onto the road. Natalie had tears in her eyes as she took Sarah's hand. In her arms was the baby, peaceful and quiet.
He knew the peace of the babe would not last, there were moments of chaos that baby and the children could make that made him want to go insane but he wouldn't trade them all for anything, not even Hogwarts if he had to chose. Yet here he was, leaving them, he knew he had to go back, he had to learn so that he could defeat Voldemort and protect this family he had worked so hard to get only to have it placed right into his hands when he needed it most.
He was more grateful to them then they would ever know. He barely remembered Josh coming down the hole, then taking him up, he had been in bad shape and was useless for the first three weeks. They took him to the hospital, he stayed there a few days or a week, he wasn't sure, but even when he was brought home he was useless. Natalie cared for him as she did her mom with the broken leg. At first he had slept on the couch, it was easier because then they could all watch him. They had treated him as if he were about to break or snap every time he moved, which he didn't mind because, he felt like he was going to break or snap every time he moved, washroom breaks were the worst. He hadn't known it but he'd sprained his ankle when he fell, he guessed since he wasn't using his foot he hadn't known, but afterward, yes he knew about it.
Luckily for everyone Natalie's older brother Mark could help out with his needs at night. He slept on the floor beside Harry when he slept on the couch. Josh came by every day at about lunchtime to help Harry out. Natalie took her family, even her mother out everyday for a picnic lunch at the park, Harry was left behind to nap and that's when Josh would come in and help him out. They had been generously kind in every way to him. When he was able to move more freely he had started to help out around the house. Before long he was a part of the family.
He learned what happened to their father, he had been a soldier, but that's not what killed him, he had been in Honk Kong and gone out for a box of cookies, chocolate chip, his favorite. Someone had stabbed him right in the back just as he left the store. It was a safe neighborhood too. It puzzled him that death could happen on such a family and yet nothing ever happened to the Dusleys. He didn't wish them harm, not anymore but the Dursleys never went through random car accidents that broke a leg, or being stabbed in a safe neighborhood or nearly being run over by a motorcycle with no working breaks. He thought that perhaps good people were cursed but then another idea struck him, perhaps the Dursleys and people like them didn't deserve to have stories like those, they would live a contented little life that would go on probably longer then the average life and then they would be gone but people like Natalie and Josh and Natalie's parents, they would be remembered forever, beauty and the beast, the women who lived in a shoe (he smiled at this thought) and the soldier that died in no war. He imagined perhaps that someone would read his story one day, perhaps he would even earn a story with his own name as the title, anything could happen.
The younger children really had grown on him, he wanted to stay there at the house forever. He hugged them goodbye, Natalie, Baby Josh -Natalie had named him after an angel her mother told him, Sarah, Cloe aged 4, her identical twin Maddy and Serena who had turned six last week. Max was always working, helping to keep the house and family well fed, he had said goodbye that morning before dashing off to work one of his three jobs. Natalie had also had three jobs before her mother had gotten hurt, would be getting the cast off her leg next week and Natalie was already getting her jobs back. It made him sad that she was such a hard worker and there was nothing he could do to help them.
Somehow he got the feeling they had lived long enough without him, they would make it to his return. The car's trunk slammed closed.
"Well let's get going to the train station then." Josh said loudly. He kept his back to the family and they payed him no mind. It occurred to Harry that he had never seen Josh outside in daytime, just walking or standing by his car or even driving. He got into the drivers seat and adjusted the mirror so he was glaring at Harry. Suddenly obscenely grateful to Josh for not only driving him there but also being out in public, specifically children who may not yet appreciate the beast to the beauty reference, he jumped into the passenger seat. They drove onward and away. he turned and waved to them all out the window, ignoring Josh's frantic seat-belt warnings, getting louder and louder until the car slowed to a halt, he sat down and put the seat belt on, well chastised.
The car went onward. Josh drove as close to the station as he could, his fear of crowds, or perhaps an understanding that his face could scare people to death, prevented him from continuing. Harry pulled his stuff out himself and closed the trunk. The car drove off with a wave and Harry was left alone.
Once at platform 9 and three quarters he went through inconspicuously and tried to locate his friends. Not seeing anyone he knew, he went to closest abandoned room on the train, set his stuff up and pulled out a crisp new book. He had been half dazed when he was grabbed but he had told Josh to leave it behind, he now regretted his decision, he wanted to read about the day he met Natalie and the day he met Josh.
This book was fresher, cleaner. He opened the book to the first day, a flower was drawn in crayon and despite five younger siblings, he recognized Chloe's talent in the petals and leaves.
He didn't get to write more because he saw, of all people, Snape walk past his window. He looked down at the book and scratched the line out, he was done counting days, he put the book on his seat and ran out. Glad to see that Snape was ok, he felt guilty the moment he called out though, he had left this man unconscious in the Dursley's house, Natalie had gone in for his owl, climbing in through the upstairs window that had been left open and back out the same way. He hadn't once asked her to see if perhaps someone was still in the house, possibly dying or dead. In fact he had forgotten all about Snape and his cryptically random message the moment he had gotten out of the hospital.
Snape, for his part, didn't move once Harry had called him, he didn't continue nor did he turn around, Harry ran to him and faced him.
"Sir, Im sorry my aunt hurt you, you surprised her."
"Im glad to see you in such fine health." Snape said coldly, Harry blushed like a flirting teenaged girl. He had forgotten what state he was in when Snape had seen him.
"Well..." He began growing darker and darker, his voice shrinking, he mentioned falling, stairs, hospital, he even tried to lighten the mood with a joke that was horribly wrong and made no sense, even to his ears, he bought up a friend he even used the word 'beast' it came out in a weird jumble, something close to
"there's stairs, I fell and the hospital Natalie and the beast..." his voice got to low to hear.
"We were looking for you, all summer. Where were you?" Snape said when Harry was finally finished speaking, mostly because he was out of air.
"Close by I... why?" Harry asked.
"Why what Harry?" Snape said
"Why were you looking, -hey you called me Harry!" He cut himself off with another question.
"Harry!" Hermione and Ginny ran from behind and landed on him, literally landed on him, they must have jumped off something because they both brought him to the ground. "We all thought you were dead! We found that hole with your book and all that blood."
"Yeah my family found me, brought me to the hospital." Harry said straightening up.
"I knew you couldn't be abused, it couldn't be true." Said Ron as he punched Harry's shoulder. Harry froze, he still faced Snape and his first reaction was to look up at him, had he already told everyone? Of course he had, they had all been looking for him.
"A misunderstanding." He said, he knew Ron was not intentionally cruel or overly protected and so blind to the problems in the world, he was just optimistic to a fault and probably couldn't understand why he didn't know it was going on. They are best friends how could he miss something so huge? Harry understood this and so did not fault his best friend.
He did however blame Snape, of all the times he could have stated caring.
"Im in that cabin there, Snape and I are just discussing the matter, Ill catch up." They nodded and left, Hermione he could tell, was not convinced of the 'misunderstanding.' The moment they were inside he turned on Snape. But Snape was gone, he boarded the train with little alternative.
The ride was normal,except that instead of that giddy happy feeling where all his worries disappeared, he still felt happy to be going, but a seed of apprehension was slowly growing in his stomach. By the time they caught a glimpse of Hogwarts he felt like he should keep his mouth closed lest a tree of depression and twisted with fear should grow right out of his mouth.
There was no doubt in his mind, something bad was coming, something that was going to have to be dealt with and despite his last few happy weeks he was too tired to deal with it. He tried to consider his options, but without knowing what was coming he couldn't prepare, he couldn't even brace himself. He met up with Hagrid leading the first years, the half giant gave him a great big hug that knocked the breath out of him but otherwise did not seem to be changed at all.
"We didn't tell him." Whispered Hermione. He nodded numbly, they got on the carriage and were off. Hogwarts was eerily the same, nothing had changed, other then McGonagle looking a tad older then when they had left her, she looked at Harry with a glance before turning towards the boats carrying the first years.
He went to his seat, he was greeted but no one seemed overly joyous to see him as though they had thought never to see him again so he tried to relax, maybe it wasn't as widespread as he had thought. In the train Hermione tried to tell him not many knew but he hadn't believed her.
"After the feast we'll go to madam Pomfrey, get that bulky cast off your arm." Fred or George said.
He agreed and the feast went on as planned. In fact everything was just as it usually was for a good four months, nearing Christmas holidays.
At the end of transfiguration class McGonagle told him the headmaster would like to speak with him, and that's when at last the incident was brought up. He had tried before this but he was avoided by both the headmaster and Snape.
He went into the headmasters office and knocked on the door.
"Come in." Dumbledore sat at his desk, but he was not alone Snape stood against the wall like a shadow that was not meant to be there.
"We've been expecting you." Said Snape.
"All you need now is a cat." Said Harry, he sat in the chair directly in front of the headmaster.
"Harry, you wouldn't mind telling me what happened this summer?" Dumbledore asked politely.
"Let's hear Snape's version first." Harry said.
"I think we both know what Severus's version will be." Dumbledore said quietly.
"So what now then?" Harry asked, dread filled his gut he had just just gotten a family and now what? He was going to lose it all because one man thought he'd do his once in a lifetime good deed? He waited for Dumbledores reply, he thought he knew the answer, he was wrong.
Dumbledore sat forward looking Harry dead in the eye. "Now you return to your aunt and uncle with-"
"Your just going to send him back!" Demanded Snape cutting Dumbledore off his voice was loud enough that Harry worried it would carry to wandering ears. It was not a question, it was worded like a question but one look at the man's eyes and you knew, it was not a question.
"He has to go back." Dumbledore said, his fingers templed.
"It's fine." Harry said, he didn't know why but he did not want to tell them about the Mastiff's.
Dumbledore's attention went to Harry and he spoke as if Severus weren't in the room. "Harry, this isn't to be cruel, you need to go back-"
"It's fine." Harry said quickly, cutting the older man off, something about the whole situation was making him feel as if he were about to break down in tears, if he didn't have the Mastiff's faces to think about he would have buckled. Despite now having a safe place to call home he was floored. It was just as he had always secretly thought, they knew he deserved to be there. They didn't know about the Mastiff's and they were still sending him back. He detached himself, he felt it in his heart, and they saw it in his face.
"I am going back, it is where I belong. This Christmas I will be going back and for ever holiday afterword." He felt himself giving up on the people he had forced into family roles in his life, the grandfather he had always wanted, Dumbledore, the grandmother, McGonagle. These people he had wanted so badly to accept him and like him just so he could pretend a few minutes a week that he had family. He had a real family now, he didn't need to pretend.
"You've changed over this summer." Severus said.
"I-" He wanted to say something witty like he had grown wiser or the world had changed, it all seemed tacky to say, corny even so he settled with, "thank you."
Snape's eyebrows rose but he made no reply.
"Harry-" Dumbledore began.
Harry stood up, cutting the old man off. "Sir, are we done here?" Dumbledore searched his eyes but must not have seen what he was looking for. He nodded, Harry left.
Once outside the door he waited, he heard Snape say something and then Dumbledore's voice rang clear, in a falsely friendly way, at least to his ears though at the moment Dumbledore could have been the kindest old man to ever have lived and Harry would have seen it as false.
"He will not be going home alone, at least in the summer, all he needs is two weeks at his aunts house, we will send a bodyguard with him, you can even go." There was more discussion uninterpretable through the thick maple door and then at last Snape came out. Standing behind the door, he Harry was not at first visible, Snape was going to opposite way.
He followed Snape until he was sure he was far enough away from the headmasters' office not to be heard.
"Eh!" He shouted, too loudly for how close he was, Snape spun around. "You sure picked a hell of a time to start caring you know that?" Snapes' eyes were somehow darker then he remembered them to be which was odd because he remembered them being pitch bottomless-pit black. "What was I the good deed of your life?" It seemed all the phrases he had come up with in his head came out his mouth.
"And how did you even know where to look in the first place? What are my magic stalker?" Ok the last one was -obviously- made up on the spot. "You've spent your entire career ensuring everyone knows you dont give a damn about their problems and then you make my private business public knowledge? Why do you hate me so much, what could I have possibly done to you in the five minutes of my life that I've known about magic?" He demanded angrily. the anger was like a fire in his gut, he hadn't even known he was so angry until just then, when the flames quickly ate away at the dread that was still there and replaced everything with near blinding fury. Hatred fueled the flame but it wasn't so much hatred toward Snape as hatred toward... he couldn't think of it.
"As a professor it is my obligation to inform your head of house and the headmaster of any abuse going on at home."
"Oh don't give me that, you may not use your fists but your as abusive as they are. You've never once treated me as anything but filth that shouldn't be there." Harry screamed. Abruptly Snape turned around and left but Harry wasn't through yet, he thought Snape was trying to get away from him, walking as fast as he was but when he rounded a corner he was grabbed by the wrist and dragged into a closet, Snape slammed the door behind him, there they stood, Snape looming over him like a wolf to a trapped rabbit.
"When." Snape demanded. His face was serious Harry realized. "Name one time."
"I can name everyday, every time you look at me. You want an example, first day."
"Who doesn't at least skim the first chapter of their textbooks? Who goes to class their first day without even knowing what the class is about!" He said.
"Those questions weren't in the first chapter and you know that, you singled me out for no reason." Harry said.
"You weren't even paying attention! Drawing in your scrolls like a child." Snape countered
"I was taking notes!" Harry said, their voices were slowly rising higher and higher, "and I was a child, we are all children in our first year or did you forget that?" His voice was normal now, even-toned but highly constrained they could both hear it.
"Or how about all those times you gave me twice the punishments of any other student."
"Do you understand, Lilly died to save you and you squander the gift like it was nothing."
It was in the way he had said his mothers name that it occurred to Harry. "You knew my mom?"
"Yes Harry, I knew your mother. We were childhood friends, I knew Petunia too but we were never friends." His face actually got softer. "We were best friends when we both got invited to Hogwarts it was a dream come true for us both."
"And then she died protecting snotty-old me." Harry said, the dreamy-softness evaporated leaving nothing but cold stone and twisted pain.
"And then she married your bully of a father, had you and sacrificed herself to save you."
"My bully of a father? My father was great he was kind to everyone!" He threw it in Snapes face.
"Your father was cruel and mean, you think Im coldhearted? Your father played a prank that nearly killed me just to get a good laugh!" Snape's eyes were impossible to read now, Harry had a nagging voice at the back on his head telling him he had pushed the older man too far, brought up too many buttons that hadn't been touched in so long they might have had cobwebs. Buttons that hadn't been pushed in so long the older man no longer had the ability to keep his head when they were pushed.
He ignored the voice countering that he was just as upset with the man.
"My father was a hero, you should take notes because that's why my mother chose him and not you. You went evil and cruel and heartless and he stayed good. You say you were her friend, I bet you hadn't thought of her in years until she died."
"I thought of her everyday, everyday nonstop. Not an hour went by without he crossing my mind."
"Then why did she have to sacrifice herself to save me? Maybe you treat me so terribly out of some warped vendetta against yourself for not being there." Harry starred the older man right in the eyes, unblinking, unshaken until the man turned away.
"We are done here." Snape opened the door and left.
Harry walked out ofter him. "Sure, ruin my life and walk away, your just like him don't be fooled!" He called out, 'him' was Vernen and although it had been even before entering the closet that he had brought him up, a glare in his direction made Harry sure Snape had known what he meant.
Next Harry went to the owellery, he wrote a letter each to the only people that would be honest about it, Moody, Lupin and Serious.
The letter was brief and to the point, past all the 'hello's' and 'how are you's' was a simple question:
Was my father a bully in school?
He sent them off, watching the owls fly in their different directions and then went back to the great hall to eat. He noticed Snape wasn't there and he quickly realized his appetite was nixed as well. He played with the spaghetti on his plate but in the end he just couldn't stomach the food.
Ok so I lengthened the chapter, it would have ended at the part with 'day one' symbolically showing that he now can't wait to be home again but that didn't show anything regarding that they all think he'd dead and how they were react to his suddenly being alive.