The great hall was buzzing with noise, just a normal Tuesday evening at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, yes, everything was normal, except for one small detail: the topic. Right now, all of the young witches and wizards were gossiping, coming up with rumor after rumor about the mysterious Harry Potter. Now, if he was there, this would be nothing strange, but the problem was that the Savior never got on the Hogwarts express on the first of September. Now, a week and a day later, no one had seen or heard from the young wizard. During the summers, this was nothing strange, as it was a well-known fact that his relatives didn't approve of the use of owls in their home, so Harry had kindly left his snowy owl, Hedwig, here at Hogwarts over the summer.
Normally on the first of September, young Mr. Potter was the first one on the express, which led his friends to believe that something truly horrible had happened when he was not on the train for his sixth year. Some thought that the newly exposed dark lord had captured the young hero, but since no one had seen or heard news of his death or capture, this theory was quickly disproven.
No one, not the boys' elderly headmaster who thought of him as a grandson, nor his best friends, Hermione Granger or Ron Weasley, had heard from him.
Where was the boy? Well, at the moment, he was at his loving relatives home at number 4 Privet Drive, huddled in the cupboard under the stairs. He had not finished his chores, and was sent back to his cupboard, which was either much smaller than it was when he was ten, or he was much bigger. In some ways, he was glad to be back in the place that had been his safe haven for the first ten years of his young life. Although, he did wish that he had his school books down here with him, as he had yet to do any of his homework because it was locked in the rental shed down the street.
He had no idea what the date was, or the time, as he held his bleeding wrist to his also bleeding head, half way hoping that he would die of blood loss, not that he had in all his time alive, no matter how many times he was beaten. If he was normal, he would have been dead years ago. Then again, if he was normal, he wouldn't be in this position in the first place, he thought with a sigh. He had been locked in here for what felt like months, waiting for his punishment, but something about that very night had him more uptight than usual.
When his uncle opened the cupboard door after undoing the multiple locks, harry looked into his eyes and knew for a fact that he wouldn't survive this night. With a small, inward, sigh, he accepted his punishment, and kept quiet as blows rained down on his body. Punches flew, kicks hit their targets, and then, when he thought he would finally be left alone, he had been dragged into the basement, where a large, nine tails was waiting for him.
Before he passed out, he could have sworn that he saw a flash of the familiar great hall celling.
Little did he know that he did indeed see the celling, but he didn't see the horrified faces of the great hall as he appeared at the foot of the teachers table, right next to a stunned Severus Snape. He also wouldn't see the looks of panic that the potions mater sent him when he thought that he was seeing a dead Harry Potter.
He also would never know about the looks that Severus, the new Transfigurations Professor, Lucius Malfoy, and the new History professor, Remus Lupin had all exchanged upon a certain scent reaching their noses.
But as he laid in blissful darkness, he would know, for once, what a mothers hug felt like. Was he dead? No. After a few moments, during which the great hall crowded the small figure, bright, emerald green eyes would open, and he would have to reveal his most deeply guarded secrets.