A Rainbow in the Dark
Disclaimer: The plot is mine, but all the main characters belong to J.K. Rowling. I do not own or profit from any of them.
What if Severus decides he's going to bring Harry his Hogwarts letter? What if he decides he wants to adopt Harry?
Warning: Dumbledore bashing. Good Lucius and nice Draco.
Credit: Story title is courtesy of Dio, composer Ronnie James Dio from the album 'Holy Diver', Warner Brothers, 1983.
Professor Severus Snape returned to his quarters at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry exhausted. It was July 30, 1991 and it had been a very long day for him. Even though the start of the new school year was more than a month away, there was still much for him to do. Duties that included making sure Slytherin House was ready for the new school year, ordering new ingredients for the student stores, and restocking his private stores. He still needed to brew some potions for the hospital wing and he only had half his lesson plans finished. Severus was thirty-one, tall and lean with shoulder-length raven black hair. He had a thin face, high cheekbones and a nicely shaped mouth with full lips. His nose was long, but fit his features. His eyes were so dark brown that people assumed they were black. He had been teaching at Hogwarts since he had attained his Potion's Mastery at the age of twenty-one and held the honor of being the youngest Potion Master ever in Wizarding Britain. He was also Head of Slytherin House. He poured himself two finger of Ogden's Best Fire Whiskey, slumped down into his favorite armchair and took a sip. The living room of his quarters was painted a light blue and the furniture and rugs contained an aqua and blue motif. The most noticeable thing about the room was an entire wall of bookcases that were filled to overflowing with all kinds of books. A small kitchen was off the living room and a hallway led to his bedrooms and a guest bedroom and Severus' private potion lab. He was just starting to relax when his floo sounded and he saw Minerva's head sitting in his fireplace. "Severus, may I come through?"
Severus sighed and replied, "Yes, Professor, please do." Minerva stepped through into his living room. "Please sit down. Can I get you something to drink; tea or perhaps something stronger?
Minerva sat down on the couch. "I'll have whatever you're having."
Severus poured two fingers of whiskey and handed her the glass. "Rough week?"
"Yes," Minerva replied. "All the acceptance letters, you know?"
"Of course." Severus nodded.
"And then there's the matter of Harry Potter …"
"What about him?" Severus asked sitting down again.
"I haven't yet received his acceptance letter and I've owled numerous letters to the Dursley's, but there's been no reply. I finally asked Charity if she would visit Surrey and try to discover why Harry might not be getting his letter. She said their house looked abandoned and one of the neighbors told her the Dursley's had left very suddenly about a week ago and nobody had seen or heard from them since.
"That is strange," Severus admitted. "Petunia certainly knew to expect Harry's Hogwarts' letter when he turned eleven."
Minerva finished her drink and got up. "Well, perhaps I'll give it a couple more days before I start to worry."
"Does the Headmaster know about this?"
"No. He's been gone for the last few days. I did warn Albus when he insisted on leaving Harry at the Dursley's that they were the worst sort of Muggles."
After Minerva had left, Severus cleared up and got ready for bed. He planned on reading the new potion textbook he'd purchased for his NEWT's class, but fell asleep before he read more than a couple of pages. He began to dream and found himself in the familiar neighborhood park of his childhood. There was the tree he and Lily had spent so many hours talking under and planning their futures and there was the swing set that they used to play on. To his shock he saw a familiar figure he hadn't seen in ten years seated on one of the swings. He wandered over and sat down on the swing next to her.
"Hello, Sev," Lily said turning and smiling at him.
"Hello, Lily," he replied and then asked. "What are you doing in my dream?"
"I need your help, Sev," Lily answered urgently. "Petunia and Vernon are mistreating Harry and they're not going to allow him to attend Hogwarts."
"Mistreating him how?"
"They keep locked in a small cupboard and make him do all the housework and yard work. He's been cooking for them since he was five. They hate him because he's magical."
"Then he needs to be taken away from them."
"And you're the only one that can do it, Sev. You're only one strong enough to stand up to Dumbledore. He wants Harry to stay with the Dursley's, but I won't stand for his interference."
"Do you know where Harry is right now?"
"Yes," Lily spread her hands apart and a picture appeared.
Severus saw an old battered wooden house on a large rock with large waves crashing around it. Rain and wind was pounding it and lightning was flashing.
"It just off the coast by Norwich," Lily said. "It's a horrible place, Sev. Please hurry."
"I will, Lily. I promise." No sooner had he said the words then he was awake. He got up, got dressed in heavy warm clothing and grabbed his broom, a Nimbus 2000. He made his way to Minerva's quarters on the seventh floor and knocked on her door. In a few seconds Minerva opened her door dressed in a tartan robe and matching sleep cap. "Severus, where are you going? It nearly eleven o'clock."
"I know where Harry is and I am going to get him. Do you have his letter?"
"Yes, but …" She stopped and then smiled. "Seeing that you've obviously already made up your mind, I'll get Harry's letter." She left and returned in a few seconds with the letter and handed it to Severus.
Severus took it and put it securely in his pocket and sealed his pocket shut with a spell. "I am taking Harry directly to Witch's Moon. We will spend the night there and then we will floo to Diagon Alley for his school supplies so do not expect us back until mid-day or later."
"I will not be returning Harry to the Dursley so I will be bringing him here and he will stay in my quarters until school starts and he is sorted."
Minerva smiled as she closed her door. She knew Harry would be in good hands with Severus and Severus would be in good hands with Harry.
He went back to the Dungeon and, after asking his personal elf, Blinky to request the castle to create another bedroom in his quarters and the elves to furnish and decorate it for an eleven year-old boy, he left by a door that led to a yard. Severus had a vegetable garden and a garden where he grew herbs and magical plants for his potions. He cast an Impervious spell over himself and then kicked off on his broom. There was thankfully no moon tonight so he didn't have to worry about being accidently seen by Muggles. The first half-hour of the trip went smoothly as he made his waydown the coast towards Norwich. However once he hit Lincoln the weather got bad and he was nearly blown off course a couple of times by the wind. The cold rain lashed at him as the lightning flashed around him and the thunder boomed loudly. At last he spotted the wood house on the rock and landed his broom outside.
Page ~*~*~*~* Break
Harry remained awake long after his aunt, uncle and cousin had gone to sleep due to being cold, hungry, and the floor being too hard. He looked up at his cousin who was sleeping on the couch wrapped up in a warm blanket. He only had a thin blanket and it had holes in it. Cold air and rain leaked in through the cracks in the walls and through the windows. Dudley's arm that he wore his watch on hung off the couch and Harry watched the countdown to midnight. He had drawn a birthday cake with candles and 'Happy Birthday Harry' written on it in the dirt on the floor. Dudley's watch started beeping indicating it was midnight. "Happy birthday, Harry," he told himself softly. "Make a wish and blow out the candles." He thought for a moment. More than anything he wanted somebody to truly love and care for him. He blew out the make believe candles sadly knowing his wish would never come true.
Suddenly there was a sharp rap on the door, followed by another rap, louder this time, and a third rap even louder that the previous two. Dudley shot up from the couch, his blanket falling away from his overweight body. There were noises from upstairs and Uncle Vernon, carrying a rifle followed by Aunt Petunia came storming down the rickety wooden stairs. Uncle Vernon reached up and switched on the light that hung over the stairs, pointed his rifle at the door and demanded, "Who's there?"
"You should open the door and find out," a sarcastic voice answered.
Harry took the opportunity to hide in a niche next to the fireplace just in case Uncle Vernon decided to try and shoot the intruder.
The door burst open and a tall man dressed all in black walked in. He pulled out what looked to Harry like a stick, muttered something in a strange language he didn't understand and pointed the stick at Uncle Vernon. The tip of the rifle he was holding somehow suddenly turned upwards. Shocked, Vernon accidently pulled the trigger and blew a sizable hole in the roof. Rain poured in getting both him and Aunt Petunia wet.
Severus looked around in distaste. "Really, Tuney did you think you could hide from the Hogwarts letters forever?" He asked dryly.
"You!" Petunia screeched.
"Lovely to see you again too," he sneered.
Harry almost started giggling and had to clamp both hands over his mouth to stop himself. He suddenly heard the man call, "You can come out now, Mr. Potter." Harry stepped out of the niche and looked up at the tall man. "How did you know I was there?" He asked curiously.
"I have my ways," Severus replied with a smile. He stooped down so he was eye to eye with Harry and said, "I am Professor Severus Snape. I'm a Potion Master and I teach Potions at Hogwarts. Your mum was also my best friend."
"Wrong side of the street," he heard Petunia mutter, but he ignored her and reached into his pocket, pulled out Harry's Hogwarts letter and gave it to him. "I believe this is yours. We've had some problems getting it to you so I volunteered to bring it."
Harry carefully broke the wax seal and pulled out two letters. The first one informed him that he's been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and the second letter was a list of school supplies he would need. "Are you sure you have the right person, Mister?" Harry asked doubtfully. "I don't think this is for me; I don't have super powers or anything."
Before Severus could answer Uncle Vernon interrupted, declaring angrily, "He'll not be going! We swore when he was left on our doorstep that we'd put an end to this nonsense!"
"You knew!" Harry yelled. "You knew about this and you never told me!"
"Of course we knew; your mother and father being the freaks they were!" Aunt Petunia snarled. "We knew you grow up to be a freak just like them unless we put a stop to it right now!"
"As if you could stop it, Tuney," Severus sneered. He looked down at Harry. The child was small for his age and too thin. He recalled with a frown that Lily had been at least 5'5 and Potter had been at least 5'10 so he would have expected Harry to have been taller than he was. He shook his head. No doubt it was because Petunia and her oaf of a husband weren't feeding him regularly. The other child in the room was plainly overweight so obviously they had more than enough food in the house; they just weren't sharing it with Harry. "Are you ready to go, Mr. Potter?"
Harry's eyes lit up reminding him strongly Lily. "Are we going to this Hogwarts first?"
"Eventually, but first we need to get your school supplies."
"How are we going? It's still pouring rain outside."
"We will be going by broom," Severus replied. "Get your coat and we'll be off."
Harry's eyes widened. He couldn't imagine that at all. He grabbed the heavy flannel shirt, a hand-me-down from Dudley as were all his clothing and followed Professor Snape outside. He followed Severus directions and got on the broom. Severus got on behind him. "Do not worry, Mr. Potter. I have placed a sticking charm on you so you cannot fall off the broom and cast a Impervious Charm and a warming spell on you to keep you dry and warm. When I kick off just lean back against me; I will need both my hands to control the broom."
Harry did as Severus instructed and felt the broom leave the ground. He glanced down once and saw the house on the rock suddenly become smaller and quickly looked up again, his stomach doing flip-flops.
Severus flew north to his manor home, Witch's Moon, in Yorkshire. They would spend the night and then he and Harry could floo directly to Diagon Alley after breakfast in the morning. When he landed outside the main gate, Harry looked around him. "Professor Snape, why did we land here?"
"I know you cannot see it, Harry, but there is a gate here that leads into the courtyard of my house. We will be spending the night here and then we can go to Diagon Alley after breakfast tomorrow." Severus replied taking out the moonstone pendant he always wore on a chain around his neck and placing it into the indentation on the gate. There was a click and the gates opened. He reached out to Harry. "Just walk straight ahead and you will see the house."
Harry walked in the direction the professor indicated and suddenly he saw the house. He wondered why he couldn't see it before. He walked across the courtyard to the double doors and waited for Professor Snape to come and open the door.
Severus was proud of Witch's Moon. It was made of what looked like grey, quarried stone. It had two wings that had been built in the same style as the main house and with the same material. It meshed nicely architecturally and aesthetically without being ostentatious like the Malfoy and Potters mansions. He inherited it when he was twenty-five, but had never really had time to explore the entire house or the grounds. He fitted the medallion into the indentation in the front door and it swung open. He and Harry went inside and Severus locked the door behind them.
Harry spun around in the foyer trying to take in everything at once. The house was huge! He bet the Dursley's house could fit in right here. The staircase in front of him had two sections going off to the right and left and he assumed they led to different part of the house.
"Please go into the living room by the fire and get warm," Severus suggested. "Are you hungry?"
"A little," Harry admitted. "All Uncle Vernon could find was a small bag of crisps for each of us since the grocery stores aren't open on Sunday."
"Tita?" Severus called.
An elf popped into the foyer. Unlike the elves at Hogwarts, she wasn't dressed in a tea towel, but was dressed in a long green flannel dress with the Prince crest on it and wore leather slippers on her feet. Over her dress she wore an apron. "Mr. Severus, you should have let Tita know you is coming so she could get things ready for you," she scolded.
"I'm sorry, Tita. I came here on the spur of the moment and did not have time to notify you. Would you please bring a pot of tea to the living room and a sandwich and a glass of milk for Harry?"
"Right away, Mr. Severus."
Severus led Harry into the living room where there was a fire roaring in the fireplace. The warmth washed over him, making him feel sleepy. The elf named Tita popped back into the living room carrying a tray that contained a teapot, cups, a plate with a sandwich, and a glass of milk.
Harry took a bite of the sandwich. It was thick with slices of chicken; slices of crispy bacon, a thick slice of tomato, and mayonnaise. It was quite the best thing he's ever tasted as was the cold milk. He finished eating and yawned.
Severus had finished his tea and got up. "I will show you where you will be staying tonight, Harry."
Harry followed Severus upstairs and into the wing on the right. He opened the door to a room. "This will be your room when we are staying here. There is an in-suite bathroom and a small balcony that overlooks the grounds. If you should need me during the night, my room is two doors down on the left side."
Harry nodded. "Thank you, Professor. Goodnight, sir."
Harry immediately shed his clothing and took a hot shower. Feeling immensely better he came out and found a pair of dark blue pajamas lying on the bed. He put them on to find they fit perfectly and then crawled into the bed that felt so wonderfully soft and warm. He quickly fell asleep.
Severus checked on Harry before retiring and saw he was burrowed under his blanket and sound asleep. He shut off the overhead light, but left a small lamp burning dimly in case Harry needed to get up, he wouldn't trip over or run into anything.
He went to sleep as soon as his head hit the pillow and once again he found himself once again sitting on the swing next to Lily in their neighborhood park. "Thanks, Sev, for rescuing Harry. I know he'll be much happier living with you than with Petunia."
"I am going to talk with Harry about becoming his guardian and if he is agreeable we will go to Wizarding Child Services today and get the paperwork started."
"Sev, you're already Harry's guardian and godfather. You and Alice were my first choices for guardians and godparents for him. James forbade me naming you of course, but I did it anyway because I knew you could protect Harry better than anybody else."
"Thanks for your vote of confidence, Lily."
When Severus woke up he decided he would talk to Harry at breakfast about becoming his guardian. He knew Sarah Mullings, the head of WCS, well as they had worked together many times over the last ten years due to the number of abused children sorted into Slytherin House.
He showered and got dressed. He wore black jeans, a green jumper and black trainers. He walked down the Hall and knocked on Harry's door. "Harry?"
Harry woke when he heard the knocking and he heard Professor Snape calling his name. He stretched, hopped out of bed and opened the door. "Good morning, Professor."
"Good morning, Harry. Did you sleep well?"
"Yes, sir, I slept real good," Harry replied with a big smile.
"Good. We will be going to Diagon Alley as soon as we eat breakfast."
Harry hurried to take his shower. When he came out of the shower he found the clothes he'd worn the night before were gone and in their place were clothing and trainers that were clean and actually fit him. He got dressed and hurried downstairs. Tita appeared with a pop. "Mr. Severus is in the dining room. If you will follow Tita she will take you there."
Harry followed Tita into the large dining room with a table that looked as if it could seat at least fourteen or sixteen people. Severus was seated at the head of the table reading a newspaper in which the people in the pictures appeared to be moving. "Sit here, Harry," Severus said indicating the chair beside him.
Harry sat down in the chair, but being short he wasn't level with the table so Severus used his wand to raise his chair until his chest was even the table. There were several covered dishes on the table and Severus filled Harry's plate with scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes and sausages. He set the plate in front of Harry. "Eat up and if you want seconds or even thirds all you need do is ask."
Harry stated to eat and then asked, "Professor? Why are the pictures moving in your newspaper?"
Severus put down the paper and poured himself another cup of coffee. "In the magical world all paintings and photographs move. I do not really know why though; it has just always been that way."
"Wicked!" Harry said smiling.
When they finished breakfast Severus said, "Harry, there is something else I would like to talk to you about."
"I did not know it until very recently, but when you were born your mother made me your guardian and godfather. Lily did not have a chance to tell me before …she died and if I had known I would have come immediately and taken you from your aunt and uncle. If you like, you may stay with me permanently and never go back to the Dursley's."
Harry's face broke into a huge smile and his eye lit up. "I'd like that very much, Professor!"
"However I will need to get legal guardianship of you from the Dursley's so if you are agreeable we will stop at the Ministry of Magic today to file the papers. I know Mrs. Mullings who is the head of Wizarding Child Services and we have worked together many times over the last ten years so there should not be a problem transferring your guardianship over to me. She may have to ask you some questions about your life with your aunt and uncle, but just answer them truthfully and to the best of your ability."
Harry nodded. "Okay, Professor." He smiled. Maybe his birthday wish was going to come true after all. Professor Snape did seem really concerned about him.
"Before we go to Diagon Alley, Harry I'm going to change your appearance somewhat. It's only temporary, but you will not have people bothering you."
"Why would they bother me, Professor?" Harry asked with a puzzled expression.
"It is because you are famous, Harry. You saved the wizarding world from a horrible monster when you were just over a year old. People will constantly be wanting to thank you and we have a lot to do today so if we stop for every person who wants to show their gratitude, we will have a difficult time accomplishing everything we need to do."
Harry looked confused for a moment and then asked, "Can you tell me more about it sometime? I don't know anything about anything since Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon refused to talk about my past at all."
"Certainly, Harry, but for now you will be my nephew, Harley if anyone asks. Your mum is my half-sister and non-magical and she has asked me to take you to Diagon Alley for your school supplies."
Severus changed Harry's hair to a light brown, temporarily hid the well-known scar and changed his eyes to brown. "There! I think you will do."
After explaining how the floo worked, Severus and Harry flooed to the Leaky Cauldron. Severus stepped gracefully out of the fireplace while Harry slid out on his bum. Severus help him up and removed the ash and dirt with his wand.
"His first time flooing?" Tom asked sympathetically.
"Yes," Severus replied. "This is my nephew, Harley. He will be starting at Hogwarts this year and his mum asked if I would take him to get his school supplies. Harley, this Tom who owns this fine establishment."
"Hello," Harry said waving at Tom. He looked around avidly.
"Muggleborn, eh?" Tom remarked to Severus. "I can always tell because they're always fascinated by this old place when they first come in here."
"Yes," Severus nodded. "He is finding the magical world to be quite fascinating altogether."
"Well, good luck with your first year at Hogwarts, young man. I'm sure it will be the adventure of a lifetime."
"Thank you, Sir," Harry said and waved goodbye as he followed Severus through a door that led out into a small cobbled courtyard. Severus took out his wand and tapped on specific bricks in a circular pattern. Suddenly the bricks began to move in and out of their own accord and then the solid brick wall parted revealing a crooked street with shops lining both sides of the street as well as all kinds of vendor carts adding to the already crowded conditions.
Harry was amazed. He tugged at Severus sleeve. "Professor?"
"How do they hide everything here so people like my aunt and uncle don't find it?" Severus had explained to Harry about the International Statute of Secrecy.
"Do you mean so Muggles cannot see it?"
"Muggles are what we call non-magical people," Severus answered. "Diagon Alley has centuries of spells on it. If you were to stand outside the Leaky Cauldron and watch the Muggles going past, you will notice that their eyes will skip right over it as if it were not there. Diagon Alley is the same way. However, Muggles who have magical children, like your mum's parents, are able to see and enter it."
They had arrived at Gringotts, an imposing snow-white mufti-storied marble building. From Diagon Alley, a set of white stairs led up to a set of burnished bronze doors. The doors were flanked by two goblins dressed in uniforms of scarlet and gold. As Severus and Harry approached the goblins opened the doors for them. Severus nodded his thanks. This led into a small entrance hall and a set of doors made of silver and also flanked by goblins. Harry once again tugged on Severus' sleeve and whispered, "What are those?"
"They are goblins and very clever. This bank was founded by a goblin and they have managed Gringotts for centuries. It is best to let me deal with them."
Harry nodded as a goblin came towards them. "Good day, Professor Snape. How may I assist you?"
"Hello, Zort," Severus replied. "May your riches and those of your family increase every day."
"And may your wealth and the wealth of your family increase sevenfold, Professor Snape," Zort replied with the ancient greeting.
"I will need to take some funds out of my vault."
"Very well. If you will please follow me."
Soon they were racing down a narrow track at breakneck speed. It was like riding a roller coaster Harry decided. Not that he's ever ridden one, but Dudley had and he'd overheard Dudley telling his friend, Piers all about it.
The cart slowed and then pulled up in front of a row of iron doors and stopped. "Vault numbers 725 thru 755," Zort announced. The Prince's, Severus' mum's family originally owned 25 vaults, but since he'd inherited them, Severus had increased his wealth by five more vaults due to shrewd investing by Lucius Malfoy. Harry looked around, wandering how deep underground they were. Zort, Severus and Harry got out and watched as Zort placed his hand on the door. The door silently swung open revealing piles of what looked like gold, silver and bronze. There were other things in the vault too such as furniture, paintings and tapestries. Zort handed him a moleskin bag that Severus began filling with Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts. When he was done, he stepped out of the vault and Zort closed it again, sealing it with his hand print.
As they got back into the cart Severus asked, "Zort, I know the Potter vaults are on the next level. Do you know who takes care of them?"
"Yes, that would be Nangnook. He has taken care of the Potter vaults for many years."
"May I speak with him when we return upstairs?"
"I will ask him for you."
"Thank you, Zort." Severus said. He exchanged some of his money for Muggle money.
Nangnook agreed to see Severus and once they were settled in his office, Severus temporarily took the glamour charm off Harry. "This is Mr. Harry Potter, son of James and Lily Potter. While Mr. Potter does not need to get into his vaults today, he will need to at some point in the future. Do you know who has the key?"
"Yes. Albus Dumbledore," Nangnook replied. "He authorized me to make a payment of a fifty Galleons every month to Mr. Potter's relatives. He said it was to help them care for him."
Severus was furious when he heard that for it was obvious that the Dursley's had not been using the money to care for Harry and Dumbledore had illegally taken at least 6000 Galleons from Harry's vaults. Since he was not Harry's legal guardian, he had no authority to take even one Galleon from the Potter vaults. He thanked Nangnook for the information and he and Harry went back out into Diagon Alley. He would deal with this situation later, but right now they needed to get Harry's school supplies. "Do you have your Hogwarts letter, Harry?"
"Yes, Sir," Harry replied taking the letter out of his pocket and handing it to Severus. They're first stop was at Ollivander's to get Harry's wand. He was very excited about getting his wand and skipped into Ollivander's.
There seemed to be nobody in the shop until Mr. Ollivander suddenly appeared from between two shelves. He was an older man with longish white hair and strange silvery eyes. He looked at Severus. "Ebony, thirteen and a quarter inches with a serpent core scale. Indicates that the owner will have an affinity for potions and defense."
Severus nodded and then once again took the glamor off of Harry.
"Ah! Mr. Potter, I thought I'd be seeing you in here soon," Ollivander pulled long boxes off his shelvess he talked. "It seems only yesterday that I sold wands to your parents. Your father's was mahogany, 11 inches and pliable. Excellent for Transfiguration. Your mother's was willow, ten and a fourth inches and swishy; an excellent wand for Charms." He came out again holding several boxes and laid them on the counter in front of Harry. After trying several different wands in which he sent wand boxes flying off the shelves, cracked Ollivander's front window, and made the door open and slam shut endlessly until a wave of Severus wand put it to rights again;Harry was in despair of ever finding his wand.
"Tricky customer, eh?" Mr. Ollivander remarked seeming happy that Harry was having such a hard time finding a wand. "Do not despair, Mr. Potter. The wand chooses the wizard."
"But that's ten wands I've tried and none of them like me. What if none of them do?"
"There is a wand for you, Harry. You just have not found it yet, but you will," Severus said soothingly.
"I wonder …" Mr. Ollivander muttered looking out at Harry and then back at the wand box on the shelf in front of him. He pulled it out of its slot and marched out. He took it carefully out of the box and presented it to Harry. "Holly, 11 inches, supple with a phoenix feather core."
The moment Harry grasped the wand it was obvious it was the wand for him. Green sparks shooting from the end confirmed it."
"Curious," Ollivander remarked. "Very curious."
"What's curious?" Harry asked.
"I've had that wand for over forty years, Mr. Potter and I never thought it would find a match, but I'm happy it has at last."
Severus was suspicious that there was more to the story then Ollivander was revealing, but decided he wouldn't pursue it today. He purchased a wand holster that Harry could wear on his forearm. "Come along, Harry. We must get your other things."
They went to Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions for Harry's robes, to Flourish & Blott's for his textbooks, to Scribbulus Everchanging Inks for parchment, quills, and ink, to Slug & Jiggers Apothecary for a first year potion kit. While he was there Severus ordered replacement ingredients for the school stores and some ingredients for his private stores. Harry looked around in fascination. While some of the ingredients smelled terrible and looked gross, there were still other things such as different kinds of plants he'd never seen before. Their next stop was at Potage's Cauldron Shop where Harry acquired a pewter cauldron and a set of stirrers. At the magical instrument shop Harry got a good set of brass scales and a collapsible telescope. There were a bunch of kids standing outside Quality Quidditch Supplies admiring the new Nimbus 2000 broom that was featured in the window. Harry looked over at them, but didn't seem interested otherwise.
The last stop was at Eeylops Owl Emporium. Harry looked up at Severus in confusions. "Why are we here, Professor?"
"Your list says you can have a cat, toad, or owl as a familiar. Eeylops sells all kind of owls and Magical Menagerie sells cats, rats, and toads.
"Which one is better, Professor?"
"It depends on what you're looking for, Harry. If you are looking for companionship then cats are very good. An owl will provide you with both companionship and the added bonus is that it can deliver your mail also. You remember the owls that tried to deliver your Hogwarts letter, I assume."
Harry started to giggle and it warmed Severus' heart. "I overheard Uncle Vernon complaining to Aunt Petunia once about the owls pooping all over his company auto. He said he had to stop and get it washed every morning before he went to work. If you don't mind, Professor, I think I would like an owl," Harry decided.
They went into Eeylops Owl Emporium and twenty minutes later Harry came out carrying a large cage with a beautiful snowy owl inside of it and a bag of owl treats for her.
"Before we go to the Ministry I'm going to call my personal elf, Blinky, and have him take all your school things and your owl back to Hogwarts." Severus said. "Blinky?"
Blinky popped into Diagon Alley. He was wearing a white tea towel with the Hogwarts crest on it. "How can Blinky be of service to Professor Snape?"
Severus pointed at Harry's school things and his owl. "I need you to take Harry's things back to Hogwarts and put them in his room."
"Blinky can do that." He levitated all the packages, Harry's robes, and his owl cage and then popped out again.
"Wow!" Harry said. "Elves must be real powerful."
"They have their own special kind of magic. They're able to do things even wizards cannot." They crossed the street and went back to the Leaky Cauldron and then flooed to the Ministry of Magic. Severus presented his wand to the man seated at the security desk. "Ebony, thirteen and a quarter inches, serpent scale core." He handed Severus a slip of paper. Harry gave his to the man next. "Holly, eleven inches, and a Phoenix feather core," the man droned and gave Harry his slip of paper.
"Professor, we will get our wands back, won't we?"
"Yes, Harry. When we're ready to leave we can reclaim our wands." They took the lift to Level 2 as Wizarding Child Services was part of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Severus stopped outside the door to WCS and once again took the glamour off of Harry. He opened the door and they walked in. He stopped at the receptionist's desk whose nameplate indicated her name was Isabella. She looked up and smiled. "Hello, Professor Snape."
"Hello, Isabella. I have an 11:30 appointment with Mrs. Mullings."
"She's expecting you, Professor. You may go right in."
Severus nodded his thanks and entered Sarah Mullings' office with Harry. She immediately got up from behind her desk to welcome Severus. They shook hands and Severus said, "Harry, this is Sarah Mullings, head of Wizarding Child Services. Sarah, this is Harry Potter."
"Hello," Harry said shyly shaking her hand.
She sat down behind her desk and motioned to the chairs in front of her desk. "Please sit." She took two rolls of parchment out of her desk drawer and set them on her desk. "I'm a bit confused, Severus. I have two copies of Lily Potter's will; one I retrieved from the Ministry and the other from Gringotts. The Gringotts one names you and Alice Longbottom as Harry's godparents and guardians, but the Ministry one names Albus Dumbledore as his guardian. I also checked Mr. Potter's wills and both copies name Sirius Black and Mary MacDonald as Harry's godparents and guardians. I found it strange that Mr. Potter's wills were identical, but Mrs. Potter's looks as if the Ministries' copy has been tampered with. Since I couldn't speak to Alice Longbottom; I spoke with her mother-in-law, Augusta Longbottom and she confirmed that Alice told her that Mrs. Potter planned to name Alice and you as Harry's godparents and guardians."
"Does that mean Professor Snape can be my guardian, Mrs. Mullings?" Harry asked.
"Yes it does, Harry, if you're willing, but first we'll need to revoke the guardianship of your Muggle relatives. I'll need to ask you some questions; is that all right with you, Harry?"
Harry nodded and she said, "Can you tell me about your aunt and uncle; did they treat you well?"
"They hate magic so they don't treat me very nice especially when I do something freaky like when I turned my teacher's hair blue. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia had to come to school and they were really mad at me. I had to stay in my cupboard for a week and I could only come out to clean the house, do the yard work, or cook their meals."
"Cupboard?" Sarah asked in a puzzled tone. "I don't understand."
"My room is a cupboard under the stairs," Harry explained. "My cousin, Dudley has a big bedroom and new clothes and another bedroom where he store his toys. I get to wear his old worn out clothes."
Severus felt himself growing very angry at the Dursley's. How dare they mistreat Lily's son!
"What about the cooking?"
"I cooked for them since I was five. They let me have the leftovers, but there usually isn't much left after Uncle Vernon and Dudley get done."
"What about your Hogwarts letter? Did they give it to you when it was delivered?"
"No ma'am. Uncle Vernon burnt them in the fireplace and then he nailed the mail slot shut so no more letters could come through. Finally hundreds of letters started flying out of the fireplace and that's when he made us pack up and leave the house. He drove all over the place, but when we got to this hotel there were a hundred letters addressed to me at the front desk. He rushed us all back into the car and we took off driving again until finally we ended up in this house in the middle of the ocean and that's where Professor Snape found me finally and gave me my letter. Uncle Vernon said he wasn't going to let me go to Hogwarts. They said they didn't want me to learn magic."
Well, it's a good thing then that Professor Snape decided to deliver your Hogwarts letter. Every magical child has the right to a magical education. Even if parents think they can't afford it; there are all kind of scholarships to help out." Sarah quickly filled out the papers. "I need your signature right there, Professor."
Severus signed his name and slid the paper back to Sarah. "And Mr. Potter, please sign on this line right here. Harry seemed confused as how to use a quill and ink. Severus helped him and he managed a credible version of his name.
Sarah smiled. "Are you two thinking about making this a permanent arrangement?"
"We can certainly discuss it when we return home," Severus replied with a smile. "But you may want to draw up the papers."
They left the WCS and returned to the security desk to pick up their wands. Before they left the Ministry, Severus cast the glamor over Harry again and then they flooed back to the Leaky Cauldron and went out the door to Charing Cross Road. "I thought we will have lunch first and then shop for your clothes." Severus said. "Where would you like to eat?"
"Could we eat at McDonald's, Professor? I never have, but Dudley has and it sounded good."
"I never have either so it will be a new experience for both of us," Severus said as he flagged down a taxi. They arrived at the McDonalds' on Whitehall. Westminster. Severus paid the fare and he and Harry got out and went inside. They ordered their food. Harry had a Big Mac, fries, a chocolate milkshake, and an apple pie while Severus had a Quarter Pounder with cheese, fries and black coffee. After eating they took a taxi to Boden's. When Severus and Harry came out of the store they were loaded down with bags and packages of all sizes. Severus found a nearby alley, shrunk the bags and packages, and put them in his pockets. He flagged down another taxi and it dropped them off in in front of the the bookstore next to the Leaky Cauldron.
Severus cast the glamour back over Harry before they walked inside. They both waved at Tom and then flooed back to Hogwarts, stepping out into Severus' living room. Severus removed the glamour charm and said, "Your bedroom is down this hallway, Harry. I asked the elves to set it up last night before I left, but if you do not like it you can ask them to redo it."
Harry gasped as he stepped into his new bedroom. It was twice the size of Dudley's room, with a canopied bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, bookshelves, desk and a chair. It was painted a pale blue and the bed linens and comforter were a darker blue. There was also an in-suite bathroom tiled in white. His owl was sitting in her cage on a small table with her head tucked under her wing. Blinky had put away all his school things and left his textbooks piled on his desk. "This is fantastic!"
Severus helped him hang up and put away the clothes they'd bought that afternoon.
"I need to go and see the Deputy Headmistress and let her know you will be attending school this year. I should not be gone more than twenty minutes or so."
"Okay, Professor. Is it okay if I start reading my textbooks?"
"I think that is an excellent idea, Harry. If you need anything while I am gone you may summon Blinky."
Severus made his way up to Minerva's office and knocked on the door. She admitted him. "Everything go smoothly, Severus?"
"Yes, we bought all of Harry's school supplies and an owl," Severus replied accepting a cup of tea and a biscuit from Minerva. "And then we went to the Ministry where I became his guardian."
"What!" McGonagall almost dropped her cup of tea.
"I probably should rephrase that. Lily had made Alice Longbottom and me Harry's guardians and godparents. I just made it official today."
"Well, it seems congratulations are in order, Severus," Minerva said setting down her tea cup. "So what is Harry like?"
"He seems to be more like his mother. He was absolutely in awe about everything in Diagon Alley. I remembered Lily's first visit and he reminded me of her so much. Do you know what he asked me before I left to come up here?"
"If it was all right to start reading his textbooks. His mum started reading hers as soon as we got back from Diagon Alley."
"Did he show any interest at all in Quidditch?"
Severus shook his head. "There were several kids admiring the new Nimbus that was in the window of the Quidditch shop. Harry looked over at them, but did not ask if we could go in …and yes, Minerva I would have allowed him if he had asked."
"Well, perhaps he takes after Lily more than he does James. Maybe, we'll just have to wait until flying lessons start to see how he does on a broom."
"When Poppy comes back from her vacation, I'm going to have her check Harry over. I think he might need to take a nutrition potion for a few months. He's too thin and a lot smaller than he should be for his age given his parents' heights."
"I warned Albus and he's going to hear from me about those Dursley's!"
Severus snorted as he made his way back to the Dungeon. He wouldn't want to be Albus when he returned to Hogwarts. Minerva will be on him with both feet!