Daddy had told him to be careful, but he hadn't listened and that was his fault.
His fault his fault his fault.
The vial full of luminescent greyish potion had slipped from his grasp and shattered on the cold stone underneath his feet.
Shattered, broken, splintered.
Only, it wasn't, as Harry realised with eyes brimming with tears. It had shattered at his feet, just as his Daddy had taken a step closer to him, dark eyes staring at him. It had shattered and then, just—just like magic, it had begun pulling itself back together, gooey potion and all.
And now it was floating in the air, and his Daddy opened his mouth to say something just as Harry's breath caught in his throat.
"I'm sorry!" He whispered, wiping a hand under his glasses once before turning tail and bolting out the door.
He ran as hard as he could on legs that used to be so much less, so much worse, so much thinner. His daddy had fixed him up, made him strong; given his body new levels of strength that he had never even imagined could exist.
Stupid worthless freak! His inner monologue shouted at him in a voice remarkably similar to his Aunt Petunia's.
He cried as he ran. There was no way his daddy would keep him now.
Clumsy, stupid little ingrate, his inner voice continued to berate him.
If only he had tried harder, worked more, done better. It didn't seem to matter what he did—it was never enough. His relatives had said so many times, and now his daddy would realise that too.
Harry's heart caught in his throat as he thought about his daddy hating him and suddenly he couldn't breathe anymore. Eyes darting wildly, he darted toward a shadowed door and pulled it open, gratified that it had responded to him.
It was a storage closet; one of Filch's spare ones, judging by the all too familiar smell of cleaning supplies.
He huddled down on the floor in near darkness, his heart thudding wildly in his chest as his sides alternately ached and throbbed. He couldn't stop crying, even if he was a 'big baby,' even if he was a 'waste of space,' or 'something more fit for the rubbish bin than a real family.'
Nobody wanted him and he understood why. Nobody wanted someone so hopelessly useless. He couldn't even help his daddy with one little thing; couldn't stop from being a freak; couldn't stand there and take it like a man.
"Coward," he whispered to himself between sobs. "Stupid stupid stupid!" His sobs, instead of tapering off, were becoming more violent, and he valiantly tried to fight back against the out of control, overwhelming terror and self-loathing that he could feel bubbling up in his centre.
Where could he go? Where would his daddy—no, he had to think of him as Sev'rus again, because his daddy surely wouldn't want to keep him after that little display of idiocy. Where would Sev'rus send him? Not back to the Dursleys, surely.
"Please not back to the Dursleys," he sobbed brokenly. "Please please please," he begged the space around him. "Not them, please."
"Can't do anything right, ever!" He spat, reaching out and slamming a fist down on his other arm. In his state, the shock of hitting himself didn't even register.
"Nobody wants you no more!" He added, punching himself again. "Can't talk, can't walk, can't think, can't use your stupid head for anything, can you!" He punched himself with each 'can't,' only pausing occasionally to sob louder. His arm was tingling now, and even though he couldn't see it, he could tell it was turning red.
"Cry baby!" He whispered hoarsely, reaching his hand up and biting down on the soft flesh in between his thumb and forefinger. It hurt, but it helped him focus, helped him calm down, helped him quiet.
He let go and traced the teeth marks with a shaking finger, his chest still hitching violently in spite of his now absent tears.
Then suddenly, the door opened and he scrambled backward from the doorway.
It was his daddy—his Sev'rus—whose dark silhouette stood outlined in front of him.
"I'm sorry," he whispered miserably.
"I do not want you to speak, Harry," Sev'rus said, reaching a hand toward him. "You will take my hand and then we will return to our quarters and discuss this."
Harry reached out his hand, not even thinking about the teeth marks that now stood out in stark relief against his skin. His dadd—Sev'rus—took his hand with a frown, but instead of pulling him up by it, he crouched down and pulled Harry up against his chest.
"You scared me when you ran. I thought I would lose you," his daddy's voice was rough in his ear, and he turned his head to rest it on the man's shoulder.
In one swift motion, his Sev'rus—his daddy picked him up, propped him against one hip and started striding back down the hallway.
Harry's heart thudded wildly in his chest as his daddy's echoed in much the same tempo.
"I love you, silly boy," his daddy whispered as they got closer to their quarters. "Do you understand that? I love you and I would never hurt you."
Harry sniffled and turned his face down into his daddy's shoulder. His stupid tears had started again when his daddy had spoken.
Once safe again in the privacy of their home—it hurt too much for Harry to try and think of it as only Sev'rus' home—his daddy set them both down on the sofa and pulled out a calming potion for him to drink. Harry wasn't given a choice in the matter.
As he relaxed against his daddy's warm shoulder, the tension bled from his shoulders and the pain in his hand and arm blossomed angrily at him. He felt very warm and achy, wrapped tightly in his daddy's strong arms.
"Why did you hurt yourself again?" His daddy rumbled deeply against him.
"I was bad," he whispered.
"I dropped your potion, daddy. I made a mess and then did something freaky and couldn't stop it and I tried so hard, please," Harry said, letting out a dry sob. It seemed that he was finally all cried out.
"Magic is not 'freaky,'" his daddy growled. "It's a part of you and me. Am I a freak?"
"No!" He pulled back to look at his daddy finally. The man was looking at him steadily—carefully. "You're the bestest, most wond'rful, most greatest daddy in the whol' wide world. I'm sorry I can't be good enough for you," he added mournfully, his lower lip poking out from his mouth before he could stop it.
"Little boy," his daddy sighed, looking almost sad himself. "You are good enough," he said with a sigh. "Accio healing salve," Severus suddenly said, causing the container to fly from the other room and into his hand with a light slap.
Harry was silent as his daddy skilfully rubbed the ointment into his skin and hand, making the aches and pain go away with every delicate long fingered brush against him.
Now comfortable in his daddy's arms, Harry was warm and sleepy. The lessening pain in his arm and hand couldn't even detract from the safe feeling that was beginning to bubble through him.
"Daddy?" Harry managed in a weak voice.
"Am I still your boy?" A spike of fear went through him with his question, but he knew he had to ask. He couldn't sleep without knowing. He had to know, absolutely and completely and there was only one answer that he could stand to hear.
His daddy's hand reached out and stroked the top of his head.
"You're still my boy, little one. And there is nothing you can do to change that, understand?" His daddy's voice was suddenly steely, and Harry repressed a shiver at the sound of it.
"I love you," his daddy whispered just as he dropped into blissful oblivion.