Snape would've continued dwelling if his thoughts hadn't been disturbed by a loud blood curdling scream from upstairs.
Severus jumped out of his chair, like he'd been burnt, wand in hand and rushed up the stairs two at a time, entering the spare bedroom in a matter of seconds. The Potter boy was writhing in the bed, legs tangled in the once white sheets. The sheets, particularly next to Potter's head were stained crimson red, even more so as the boy spat more blood onto it before doubling up in a coughing fit.
"Anapneo." He snapped, pointing his wand towards the brat. Almost instantly, Potter stopped choking on his own blood and was able to lay flat on the bed again. His breathing quickly returned to normal except for the...rattling. Snape recognised a punctured lung when he heard one and fixed it when a delicate flick of his wand and a small choking sound from Potter as the gaping hole in his lung was abruptly fixed. Severus had no idea how the boy survived this long without his lung collapsing. Probably the infamous Potter dumb luck and maybe a good portion of magic sustaining it.
Once Potter could breathe, Snape cleaned the bed sheets with another flick of his wand, turned on his heel and billowed out of the room, assuming Potter would know not to move from the bed. Stalking down the stairs, he headed straight for his potions lab. As it seemed, he needed to make some bruise healing paste for the boy. Allowing him to continue meandering around with bruises all over him wouldn't do. Given that he, Severus Snape, did not acquire bruises, nor did he spend his time making a pitiful fifth year paste that he could brew in his sleep, he was going to have to make some.
Snape muttered under his breath about meddling old fools and wretched Potters who couldn't keep out of his life for more than ten years at a time as he set out one of his cauldrons and start preparing the necessary ingredients for it. As soon as Snape started adding ingredients to the cauldron, his thoughts drifted away, back to the boy. What was he supposed to do with him? Potter couldn't stay here. Severus doubted the brat would want to. Why would he stay here when he could be off to his trouble making friends? All the better for Snape if he got rid of the boy.
Snape wasn't equipped for children. He could teach them, yes, scare them, make them cry, but taking care of one? No, that was better left to someone like Molly Weasley. She and her seven children would do just fine for Potter. At least the boy liked them, rather than the bat of the dungeons. He'd be glad when Potter was gone.
Severus added the flobberworm mucus, more of it than was required in other potions. Ridiculous amounts were required for pastes and personally, Snape detested the stuff. After doing a little more stirring and some adding of Phoenix tears, the paste was at last ready. He scooped it out of the cauldron and upon realising he lacked a container to put it in, summoned a tub from his stores. Once he'd finished, he placed a lid on it and cleared up with a flick of his wand.
Time to go talk to Potter.
Snape exited his lab and shut the door behind him. He paused before locking it. Wouldn't want Potter to run in there and blow himself up. He chuckled humourlessly. Imagine having to Floo Dumbledore and tell him that his precious Golden boy, son of James and Lily Potter, had blown himself up in Snape's potion laboratory after narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dursleys. No, Severus was keeping this door locked.
Snape strode up the stairs to the spare room and knocked once on the open door before inviting himself in. Surprisingly, Potter was actually asleep. For once, the boy had enough sense to do something. Snape placed the bruise healing paste on the nightstand and conjured a quill and parchment on which he wrote 'For you, Potter.' That should do for when the boy wakes. He banished the quill.
Severus left the room before he could see Harry's eyelids flicker. Harry slowly woke up and rubbed at his eyes blearily before realising he was in a bed. What's more, he was in a bed not at the Dursleys. Where was he? Harry tried to recall the last few hours and how he came to be h-Oh. Harry was in Snape's house. Snape probably hated him even more now. Harry felt for his glasses, but couldn't find them. He was essentially blind now, as he couldn't see very well in the first place.
Harry shuffled to the edge of the bed and tried to stand up. Snape had fixed his leg then. But it was cold and Harry started shivering as soon as he left the cosy bed. Harry pulled off a blanket and wrapped it around himself before feeling for the wall and making his way to the stairs with only the wall to guide him. He was just about to make his way down, when his foot got caught in his blanket and he fell down the rest of the stairs.
Severus had returned to the sitting room and tried to pick up his book where he left off, only to be interrupted by a series of bangs and crashes. Snape yet again rushed out of the room to the stairs only to see Potter lying at the bottom of the stairs in a tangled heap.
"Potter. I just fixed you. Try not to get injured again." Snape's eyes met Harry's as he yet again levitated Potter using magic, only this time into the sitting room. Harry was bristling as Severus said that. As if it was his fault he'd fallen down the stairs. Harry reckoned it he was lucky he didn't break anything. And now Snape was treating him like a child by levitating him into the sitting room and seating him on a chair like he couldn't do it himself. All he wanted was his glasses.
"Now, Mr Potter. Would you like to tell me why you were out of bed?" Snape's voice was dangerously low as he leaned forwards in his chair. Harry visibly swallowed and gathered his courage. Snape wouldn't hurt him, right?
"I was...looking for my glasses." Harry mumbled.
Glasses. Severus recalled those, the tangled mess of wire that had resided upon Potter's face until...Severus couldn't recall seeing them after taking him into the house. He was willing to bet they were still sullying his doorstep outside.
"Accio Potter's glasses." Snape said. Sure enough, the glasses flew onto the sitting room table and Harry's face fell at the sight of them. Snape, however, pulled out his wand and continued talking. "They're fixable, Potter, Oculus Reparo."
The glasses repaired themselves and Harry picked them up off the coffee table and put them on. Now he could see and there would be more stumbling around blindly or falling down stairs. What was going to happen now though? Was Snape going to send him away to the Weasleys or back to the Dursleys? Harry fidgeted and Snape must have noticed.
Snape's lip curled in disdain. Potter was fidgeting. And not a word of thanks. Typical.
"I don't suppose you bothered to use the bruise healing paste I left for you." Snape sneered.
"No...Sir. I didn't know it was there." Potter had come up with that meagre excuse. Snape didn't even bother with the incantation to summon the bruise healing paste he made earlier. Severus caught it and gave it to the boy.
"Use it on your bruises." Snape instructed and then called for his house elf. "Conan!"
Conan, an old elf popped into existence at his call.
"What does Master Snape request?" He asked in a distinctly deeper voice than the squeaky voice that was characteristic of most house elves.
"We request tea." Snape ordered and Conan popped out of existence. Seconds later, a teapot of tea, teacups and a few cakes and biscuits showed up on the table. Severus poured himself and Harry a cup of tea before sipping at his and leaning back in his chair. He watched Harry look at the tea and the biscuits. Snape raised an eyebrow.
"Take the tea, Potter. I didn't poison it. Nor did I poison the biscuits." Dumbledore would have his head if he did. Potter –reluctantly – accepted the tea and a biscuit on which he nibbled. Snape refrained from rolling his eyes. Shouldn't he have managed to eat them all by now?
Harry, on the other hand, didn't know what to make of this bizarre situation. It was bad enough he'd shown up on Snape's doorstep like this and now he was having tea and biscuits with the Potions Master. Hermione would never believe this.
Snape set his teacup down on the table and looked expectantly at Harry. Harry looked down into his teacup.
"It has come to my attention that your...relatives...have been abusing you." Snape started. The effect was immediate; Harry stiffened and refused to meet Snape's eyes. Severus continued. "In light of this, Mr Potter, we can't continue to send you back to the Dursleys if their treatment of you was anything like the state you turned up in. I will be talking to the Headmaster about this."
"Please sir, my relatives don't...abuse me, sir." Harry protested quietly with a nervous laugh that indicated to Snape how bad at lying the boy really was.
"Potter, you turned up on my doorstep with broken ribs, the bone is your arm was sticking up through your skin, and the state of your leg is something that even I haven't achieved. Not to mention the rectal bleeding. I doubt any of those injuries came from falling down the stairs or getting into a fight, so tell me, Potter, how did you receive your injuries if it wasn't abuse at the hands of your relatives?" Snape continued, but the rest of it was lost on Harry. As soon as he heard 'rectal bleeding', the uneaten biscuit fell from his hand and Harry started reliving the moment when his uncle raped him, hearing every moan from his uncle and snap of his bones under Vernon's fat leg.
Snape, oblivious to this, finished talking and looked at Potter, waiting for another badly constructed lie about his injuries and how he came to have them. But, as usual, the boy wasn't paying attention. What did Snape expect from a Potter? His temper was rising. He detested lying teenagers and especially about a matter like this. Of course, he should know better, having been in their place once with his Muggle father.
"Potter. Pay attention." Snape commanded as the tension in the air grew. Snape could feel the magic radiating off Harry and looked around at the shaking items in the room and back at Harry's blank face. Suddenly Harry stood up, the biscuit and the teacup both falling to the floor, the latter smashing delicately against the rug covered stone floor. The magic had grown thicker and the shaking increased.
"YOU DON'T KNOW A DAMN THING." Harry shouted at Severus and ran out of the room as every fragile item smashed and the books fell to the floor out of their bookcases. Snape distinctly heard doors banging and more smashing.
"Conan!" Snape barked. The small elf appeared. "Clean this up!"
Conan nodded as Snape stormed off to where Potter had run, following the debris trail the boy had left behind him. Snape was going to have words with Potter about this and have him scrubbing cauldrons until he was thirty. Potter led him all the way up to the top of the house, to the attic. Severus cursed. The attic was a bad place for Potter to be going. Increasing his stride, he soon caught up to the underweight boy and pulled him backwards by his borrowed shirt.
"Do not. Run. Away. From. Me." Snape said through gritted teeth.
"I'm sorry, it was an accident!" Harry cried, throwing his arms up to protect his face.
Accident? Snape fumed and started dragging Harry down the stairs. Potter stumbled a few times, but stayed on his feet mostly until they got back to the newly cleaned sitting room. Severus threw Harry into the chair and stuck him there with a sticking hex. The boy wasn't going anywhere.
"You will stay there until we have finished this discussion." Snape threatened before returning to his chair. "Now, Mr Potter. What did your relatives do to you?"
Harry hesitated. "N-nothing, sir." Perhaps Snape wanted to know so he could beat him to the appropriate standard or use him as a house elf replacement.
"Don't. Lie. To me." Snape watched Potter carefully for signs of another outburst. "Very well. We shall continue this discussion at a later date. Do not think you're off the hook, Potter."
Snape unstuck Harry and Harry ran up the stairs, leaving the blanket and the bruise healing paste behind. Severus sighed. He wasn't cut out for this. Especially as school started tomorrow. What was he going to do with the boy?
Upstairs, Harry had thrown himself on the bed. What right did Snape have to ask those questions, he fumed, swiping a hand across his eyes. What could he do? He couldn't go back to Hogwarts if Snape was there, watching his every move. Maybe he should run away. But he couldn't use magic, the ministry would find him. Harry sighed. Hermione might know what to do...but he had no way of contacting her. Harry punched his pillow. Why was everything so unfair?
Meanwhile, downstairs, Severus had decided to contact Minerva. Maybe she'd know what to do? Snape took a handful of Floo powder and stepped into the fireplace, threw it down and stated "McGonagall's Office, Hogwarts!"
Minerva McGonagall was not expecting Severus Snape to come through her fireplace the day before school started. As the deputy headmistress, she did have to be here before any of the other teachers.
"Severus. How nice. Is there a reason for your visit?" She asked. It wasn't that she didn't get on with the dour man; it was just that he was so cold to the other teachers. A shame really, as she had taught him when he was at Hogwarts.
"One of your students, Minerva, is being abused by their family." Severus told her, withholding the name.
For once, the normally strict woman was at a loss for words. It wasn't often they had cases of abuse in Gryffindor. They were more common in Slytherin with the pureblood families. "Who?"
"Don't play games with me, Severus, tell me who it is." Minerva gave him one of her best glares.
"Harry Potter." Snape revealed. "I haven't gotten the full story out of him yet, and I haven't told Albus either. That man would just send the boy straight back there, Merlin knows why."
"Excuse me, Severus. I have to discuss this with Albus." McGonagall stood up and swept out of the office. Snape followed at a distance behind her. If this was going to turn out anything like he thought it would, this was going to be good. They soon made it to the gargoyle guarding the door.
"Candy floss." McGonagall snapped at it and it jumped out of the way. They entered the room to see Dumbledore sitting at his desk, probably answering one of the letters the minister had sent to him about something or other. Useless man.
"Minerva! Severus!" He started only to falter as he took in the rage on her face.
"ALBUS DUMBLEDORE, HOW COULD YOU SEND THAT BOY BACK TO HIS RELATIVES SUMMER AFTER SUMMER? SURELY, YOU OF ALL PEOPLE SHOULD'VE NOTICED. YOU SHOULD'VE SENT SOMEONE TO CHECK ON HIM. BETTER YET, DONE IT YOURSELF..." Minerva started. Dumbledore's mouth had dropped open and Snape was immensely enjoying this. Taking a seat, he absorbed the look on Dumbledore's face and stored it away forever.
"Why I don't know what you're talking about." Albus said weakly and Severus snickered. Bad idea, he thought as McGonagall rounded on him.
"SEVERUS. Tell Albus exactly what you told me five minutes ago." She snapped.
"Potter is being abused by his relatives, as I found out when he turned up on my doorstep this morning." Snape supplied helpfully and McGonagall backed off him.
"But...I don't understand...It doesn't matter, Harry must go back. The blood wards are the only thing that can protect him from Voldemort." Albus said with his mind firmly made up.
At least school starts tomorrow. Severus found himself thinking as he watched Minerva's face go from shock, to disbelief to anger.
"Well if you won't do something about it, I will." She huffed and swept out. Snape raised an eyebrow at the old man and followed her out.
Minerva stormed down back to her office, fuming all the way there and sat down at her desk.
"We've got to do something, Severus. We can't just leave Harry with his relatives." McGonagall looked worried.
"I have the boy. We have until the end of the school year to come up with a solution. Now if you'll excuse me." Snape made his way to the Floo and stepped inside with a handful of Floo powder. "Spinner's End." The fireplace roared with green flames and Snape was gone.
Severus stepped out of the fireplace in Spinner's End and listened for any signs of activity. Either Potter had maimed himself, left the house or gone to sleep. Snape was willing to bet the last one, although the second was a possibility, given the boy was a foolish Gryffindor. Snape cast a quick Tempus. It was twenty past four. Too early for dinner. Severus left the sitting room in favour of his Potions laboratory.
Upstairs, Harry Potter was complementing where Hedwig was when an ordinary barn owl appeared at the window carrying a letter sealed with the mark of the Ministry.
Author's notes: Thanks everyone who favourited, reviewed, put it on story alert or even just read it. The response I got for the first chapter was amazing.