"Mr. Snape, it is good to see you again."
"M'not a Snape...my name's Harry Potter." The words sounded so sad and defeated to Lucius, coming, as they were, from a six year old child, and he wondered why the boy would deny being Severus' stepson.
"Didn't Severus Snape marry your mother?" The boy nodded. "Well, then, wouldn't that make you Harry Potter-Snape?" The boy shook his head. "Why not? Don't you want to be Severus' son?" Lucius was startled by the tears that suddenly swam in the boy's green eyes.
"Mr. Snape doesn't want me." The small head bowed and the child stared at his feet.
Lucius blinked several times, trying to wrap his brain around what the child had just said. "Did Severus tell you that?"
Harry shook his head negatively, dislodging several tears. "I heard someone say that he said that I couldn't ever be his son, that I would only ever be James Potter's son. I gotta go now; it was nice to see you again, Mr. Malfoy...tell Draco to fire-call me, please." Harry seemed to realise that he had said too much to one of his stepfather's friends.
Lucius' heart clenched as the child ran off down Diagon Alley to meet up with his mother, stepfather and sister. He watched carefully as the boy greeted everyone and everyone returned his greeting...everyone except for Severus; apparently, the child hadn't been mistaken, as Lucius had originally thought. He saw Harry look back up the Alley at him, as if to say 'See, I told you so'; Lucius raised his hand in farewell and received a very adult-looking nod back from the child.
Lucius reviewed what he knew of the Snape family that evening in the comfort of his study; he was concerned about the situation between his friend and his stepson. He knew what had happened on 31st October, 1981...hell, everyone knew what had happened that day! The Dark Lord, responding to a prophecy, had gone to the Potter's house and attempted to kill them all as they sat in their living room; he hadn't known the entire prophecy...if he had, he might have left the Potters alone. His killing curse not only did not kill the Potters, but their son, Harry, had managed somehow to protect everyone and deflect the curse back at the Dark Lord; once the curse touched the man, his body had exploded, covering a large part of the interior of the living room, and it's occupants, with disgusting little bits of dead Dark Lord.
Lily and James Potter had immediately Scourgified themselves and their son and called in the Aurors, Albus Dumbledore and anyone else who might have mattered. Once it had been confirmed, the news had been released to the general public and Harry Potter had become an instant, pint-sized hero. James Potter had continued on as an Auror, but the stress of the job very quickly took its toll on the Potters' marriage; they divorced before Harry turned three. At least...that was the official version of what had happened. Not long after the divorce, literally two weeks later, Lily had begun dating Severus Snape, leading Lucius and a good portion of Wizarding Great Britain to wonder if Lily had been playing James false during their marriage; Lucius had known about the torch that Severus carried for Lily Potter and it wouldn't have surprised him if they had been having an affair the entire time. Considering that Lily had given birth to Severus' daughter only five months after they were married, eight and a half months after the divorce, it seemed fair to say that Lucius had been correct. Apparently, James Potter had thought so, as well, and had Harry tested to make sure that he was indeed James' son. Severus had refused to 'play father' to Harry, so he had stayed with his father until James' death during an Auror mission only one year after the divorce had been final; with nowhere else to go, Harry had gone to live with his mother and Severus.
Lucius thought some more about what he knew of Severus. The man had the ability to carry a grudge for years; he still hated James Potter for the abuse he had suffered during his years at Hogwarts. Not that Lucius held that against him, but Potter had been dead for three years now and couldn't hurt Severus any more. Severus was also quick to point out failings in others, but would become almost rabid if someone pointed out a failing of his own. He didn't think that Junior Minister (Dept. of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes) Cornelius Fudge had recovered yet from the malicious verbal flaying he had received several years ago from Severus when Fudge had unwisely decided to comment on Severus' age and called into question whether or not he would make an appropriate Potions teacher at Hogwarts.
Lucius could only imagine that Severus saw Harry Potter as a carbon copy of his father, with whom Severus had never gotten along; he prayed that Severus wouldn't turn out like his father.
Lucius need not have worried about Severus becoming physically abusive to his own children or to Harry Potter; he had made a decision long ago that he would never become his father and had worked to control his infamous temper. He never laid a hand on Harry Potter...he just verbally cut the child down at every opportunity; he refused to spank the child, even if he deserved it...that he left up to Lily. Severus wanted to touch the Potter spawn as little as possible; if it could be done, he avoided the little brat as much as he could.
Amanda, his daughter, was a different story, though; he actually played with her. He would read stories to her, bounce her on his knees and hug the child frequently; in Severus' opinion, there could be no better child than his Amanda. When the Spawn (Severus' favourite nickname for Harry) came to live with them, Severus had assigned a house elf to him, in the hopes that he wouldn't have to see the brat other than at meals. He never played with the boy, never made any effort to get to know him; if he had, he might have been surprised to find that Harry was much more like his mother than his father.
But he never made the effort; in a very short time, Harry learned to avoid his mother's husband like the plague. Harry became seriously introverted and rarely left the safety and comfort of his room; Mr. Snape couldn't say anything bad about him if he didn't come into contact with Harry.
Lucius continued to watch his friend, stopping by to visit frequently, both when Lily was there and when she wasn't; he began to notice a pattern in Severus' behaviour. When Lily was there, he made a small, stilted effort to be polite to Harry, to include him in the family circle; when she wasn't there, Severus acted as if the boy didn't exist. He would say something nasty to the child, so that the boy would make himself scarce; once Harry had disappeared to wherever he went, Severus would become a loving father to his daughter. Lucius wondered if Lily knew about Severus' verbal treatment of her son; he couldn't imagine the feisty red-head putting up with that kind of abuse, so Lucius figured that she didn't know.
The only time Lucius had ever called Severus out on his behaviour, Severus had told Lucius that, if Lucius didn't like the way he treated his wife's son, he could leave and never come back. Lucius couldn't do that to Harry; Draco seemed to be the only friend that Harry was allowed to have.
Harry was sitting in his room, reading one of the children's books Mr. Malfoy had brought him, when Mr. Snape knocked on his door and told him that his mother wished to speak with him. Harry got up and tried to slide past Mr. Snape without touching him, but, like most other times, Mr. Snape didn't let him.
"Watch where you're going, Boy! You don't just run into other people like that!"
"I'm sorry, Sir...I won't do it again." Harry hated to argue with his mother's husband, so he just agreed with whatever the man said...it was easier that way. Mr. Snape huffed and stalked away; something had made him really angry tonight and Harry just wanted to get this over with and get back to his room. He hated having these talks with Mother; she never saw how Mr. Snape treated him and she never argued when Mr. Snape said that he'd done something that he hadn't. He vaguely wondered what he was supposed to have done this time; well, just like every other time, he'd take his punishment and not complain...it didn't do any good anyway. He walked into the living room of the house and, when his mother beckoned, he went to sit beside her.
"Harry, I have to go away for a little while; St. Mungo's is sending me to a conference in Paris. I'll be gone for about a week and a half...maybe a little less, if they can wrap things up quickly. Severus will be taking care of you and Amanda, so you need to be good for him, alright?" Lily was filling out some forms, so she didn't see the fear in her son's eyes or the stiffening of his body.
Gone? Mother's going to be gone? How long is a week and a half? Harry's thoughts went wild for a moment and he had to take a few deep breaths before he could feel his magic calm down. His mother had explained accidental magic to him just a short while before, and Mr. Snape had reluctantly shown him a few exercises so that he could learn to control it. Harry knew, just knew, that this time was going to be the time that Mr. Snape got so angry with him that he wouldn't be able to control himself. Mr. Malfoy had told Harry that Mr. Snape's father had been a bad man and had hit Mr. Snape, and he didn't know if Mr. Snape would ever get angry enough to hit him, but it always paid to be careful. Harry wasn't sure what being careful had to do with getting paid, but he was going to do whatever Mr. Malfoy said...he didn't want to make Mr. Snape mad enough to hit him.
Lily looked up at her son just as he was able to erase the fear from his eyes. "What would you like me to get you from Paris? A game or a few books, so that you can learn to speak French? Do you think you might like that?"
Harry nodded hesitantly; he didn't know if Mr. Snape would approve of his mother spending their money on James Potter's spawn. Mr. Snape didn't know it, but Harry had heard him talking to someone and had heard him call Harry 'The Potter Spawn'; he wasn't sure what it meant, but it really didn't sound nice. He'd like it if his mother would bring him something from her trip, but he wasn't going to count on it; Mr. Snape usually didn't allow him to have 'frivolous' things, as he put it. He knew that Mr. Snape didn't think he was worth anything, but he truly hoped, with all his heart, that his mother didn't think that way; once again, he wasn't counting on it...things had changed when Amanda had come. His mother hadn't had time to see him during the time after she was born and before his daddy went away to live in the clouds. When his daddy had gone away, he'd had to come here...and Mr. Snape hated him...and he wasn't allowed to touch anything...not even his baby sister; he still wasn't allowed to touch her...she was a Snape...and he wasn't.
Later that night, Harry heard raised voices from the living room and crept to the head of the stairs to see if he could hear what was going on. He knew he should be in bed, but he was almost scared to go to sleep; when he woke up, his mother, his only protection from Mr. Snape, would be gone.
"Lily, you'll spoil the boy! He doesn't need to learn how to speak French; what would he do with that?"
"So, you think it's silly for Draco Malfoy to know how to speak French, do you? I never heard you complain when Lucius told you that he had hired a tutor for his son...in fact, you thought it was a good idea. Why is Harry so different?"
"Draco Malfoy comes from a French family; Lucius has several cousins who live over there. Having Draco learn to speak French was a good idea, so that he could converse easily with his relatives. Harry has no relatives, other than you."
"He also has you and Amanda." His mother's voice got all soft and sad sounding and Harry thought that she sounded like she wanted to cry.
"He is not my son." Harry felt a tear slide down his cheek; this was the first time Mr. Snape had ever said that where he could hear. He knew that was how Mr. Snape felt, but to hear it was just horrible.
"He may not be your son, but that's only because you refused to adopt him when James died. He, however, is my son and I will buy him whatever I want to. I notice that you didn't object to me buying Amanda a doll or toy from Paris; why is my son so different?" There was silence for a moment and Harry heard his mother sigh. "You know what? I don't feel like arguing about this. I'm going to be gone for a week and a half; I want you to promise me that you'll try to get along with Harry while I'm gone. I don't want to spend the entire conference worried about you two not getting along. Harry is a six year old child, a child that you've made absolutely no effort to try to get to know; promise me that you'll try while I'm gone. Please, Sev? Please try."
"Alright...I'll try. I'm not promising any results, but I'll try."
"Thank you, Sev...you don't know how much that means to me. Now...by the time I get back, I should know whether or not I'm pregnant again. I don't want you to say anything to the children; when I get back will be time enough to let them know that they might be getting a new brother or sister."
Harry backed up against the wall and shook his head violently. Another baby? Another baby to take his mother even further away from him than she already was? Harry turned around and crept back into his room; he dove under the covers and cried his little heart out. When this new baby got here, there would be nothing left for him; he might as well run away if that happened. Harry gave one last sob before falling into a troubled sleep; his nightmares were punctuated by images of his mother, Mr. Snape, Amanda and the new baby going off somewhere and leaving him behind. He didn't want to lose his mother, but it looked like that was what was going to happen...and then he'd really be alone.
"Don't you have anything better to do than sit there?"
The harsh words startled Harry so much that he dropped the crayon he was colouring with and spun to face the door. Mr. Snape was standing in the doorway, hands on his hips and legs spread; his body language told Harry that he was angry for some reason. Harry ducked his head and cleared the crayons and colouring book off of the dining table; he kept his head down as he approached the door and waited for Mr. Snape to move so that he could pass.
Severus slowly moved out of the boy's way; he didn't know why he treated the child so abysmally, other than that he was James Potter's son...he just couldn't seem to help himself. Lily had gone to her conference two days ago and, so far, the brat had been well-behaved; Severus was fairly certain the the child hadn't said more than two words the entire time. He wasn't positive, but something seemed to have changed about the boy; he seemed far less willing to be alone with him than he had before, and always looked a little fearful whenever Severus came near him.
Severus sighed as he watched the small boy almost run up the stairs to get away from him; he truly hadn't wanted to hate the boy, had wanted to welcome him into their home, but when he'd gotten his first glimpse of the child, when Lily had been pregnant with Amanda, something had withered and died in his heart. The boy looked just like his father, even down to needing glasses to see properly; he wouldn't like James Potter's smaller clone. Granted, he'd never made much of an effort to welcome the boy, but Harry had never seemed to mind. Severus sighed again and went to wake Amanda from her nap for lunch; he promptly forgot all about Harry Potter when he saw his daughter's welcoming smile.
Harry looked at the small clock on his bedside table; the big hand was on the four and the small hand was halfway between the one and the two. It was well past lunch time and Mr. Snape hadn't called him down to eat; he wasn't supposed to come unless he was called...Mr. Snape had made that perfectly clear on the first day that his mother was gone. He was hungry and wondered if Bitsy, his house elf, would get him a snack; he thought better of it, though, when he remembered that all of the elves had to report to Mr. Snape. He didn't want to get into trouble with his mother's husband over food; Mr. Snape had forgotten to feed him before, this wasn't the first time Harry had gone without when Mr. Snape was supposed to be taking care of him.
Harry picked up a toy truck and a car; he was going to go out in the garden and play. He walked quietly down the stairs, not wanting Mr. Snape to hear him and tell him he couldn't go outside. He crept past the living room and saw that Mr. Snape and Amanda were asleep on the floor; he felt his heart crack a little more...he wanted to go in and lay down with them. He wanted to pretend, just once, that Mr. Snape loved him, at the very least liked him just a little. He couldn't, though; Mr. Snape would never allow that...Harry wasn't a Snape. He ducked his head and trudged out to the garden; he wondered if anyone would ever love him enough to want him to be around. He missed his father even though he really couldn't remember James Potter all that well...he had been gone for quite some time after all. Harry wondered what he would have to do to be able to be with his father again.
He was playing with the truck when he heard the sound of a throat being cleared behind him; he turned around and there was a man standing just outside of the garden gate. "I'm sorry for startling you, young man, but I'm looking for Severus Snape...is this where 'e lives?"
Harry looked at the man; he didn't look mean or anything, but he could feel a wave of some emotion coming off of him. He had long brown hair that didn't look like it had been combed in a while; when the man turned his head slightly, Harry could see a bright red streak of hair on that side. Mr. Snape and Mother had told Harry never to talk to strange people, so he just stared at the man, saying nothing.
"I know, you're not supposed to talk to me, are you? Well, that's alright; you don't have to say anything...you can just nod your head...it'll be our secret. Is this where Severus Snape lives?" When Harry nodded an affirmative, the man smiled and Harry tensed his muscles; something about the smile seemed wrong. "Well then...you must be 'Arry Potter. This was almost too easy." The man reached out and grabbed Harry's arm, dragging him over the fence and dislodging his glasses, making them fall in the grass by the gate. "You're coming with me...dear old Severus will pay a fortune to get 'is beloved little stepson back."
As the man tightened his hold on Harry and turned in place, Harry's only thought was that Mr. Snape would be glad that he was gone.
"Now then...what we do now, young 'Arry, is wait for good old Severus to report you missing. I'm sure 'e'll do anything to get his precious stepson back, now wouldn't 'e?"
Harry didn't want to correct the man, but he didn't want him to think that he was going to get bags of Galleons from Mr. Snape; Harry knew that Mr. Snape would probably pay the man to keep him. Tentatively, Harry shook his head. "He won't pay for me...he doesn't like me."
The man turned slowly to stare at the boy. "Did I say you could talk? No, I don't think I did!" Harry fell off of the chair and hit his head on the floor as the man's hand swung around and caught him on the side of the face; he could feel the blood flowing from his nose and hoped that it wasn't broken. The man grabbed hold of the collar of Harry's shirt and pushed him back into the chair. "Where's all that magical strength now, eh 'Arry Potter? Where's all that magic that you used to kill my master?"
Harry shook his head and wished he hadn't...the room swam in front of his eyes and then went dark.
Scabior stared at the crumpled form of the boy; he hadn't thought he'd hit him hard enough to make him pass out. He looked from the boy to his wand, wishing now that he'd paid attention during some of those classes on healing that the Dark Lord had held.
Lucius Malfoy wasn't, by nature, an easy man to frighten; he had come by his steely calm from years of being forced to serve the world's worst megalomaniac. The situation with Severus and Harry was, however, beginning to frighten him; he was very concerned that, if something wasn't done about it, Harry was going to end up severely traumatised by Severus' behaviour. He spent several days thinking about it and came to the conclusion that he was going to have to speak with Severus about his stepson once more. He apparated to the back of the Snape house and pushed open the garden gate; he heard a crunching noise when he took his first step into the grass. Lucius knelt down to see what he'd stepped on and was horrified to see that it was Harry's glasses; he knew that the boy couldn't see without them and was worried that something had happened to the child. Gathering up all of the pieces he could find, he almost ran up to the house and threw open the back door.
"Lucius! What is the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost." Severus was sitting at the kitchen table, watching Amanda eat her lunch; Lucius looked around, but saw no sign of Harry.
"Where is Harry, Severus?"
"Up in his room, most likely; he hasn't been out for several days...I think he's conned the house elves into bringing him food, so that he doesn't have to be near me." Lucius could hear the sneer in Severus' voice and it angered him beyond anything.
"You mean to tell me that you haven't seen your six year old stepson for at least two to three days? And this, for some reason, doesn't bother you?" Lucius ran up the steps and pounded on the door to Harry's room. "Harry? Harry, are you in there? Answer me!"
Lucius flung open the door hard enough for it to hit the wall behind it and come flying back at him. He strode into the room and began to look everywhere that a six year old might hide; when he couldn't find him anywhere, Lucius ran out of the room and back down the stairs. Severus was still seated right where he had been...he hadn't even stood to start looking for his stepson.
"He's not in there Severus...where is he?" Lucius grabbed the front of Severus' shirt and literally lifted him out of his chair; Severus might be an inch or two taller than the blonde, but Lucius was physically more powerful than the Potions Master. He shook Severus a little before shoving him back into his chair. "Do you want to know why I'm asking this Severus? Do you?" Lucius threw the pieces of Harry's glasses at the other man's chest before going back into the garden to look for anything that might tell him where Harry had gone.
Severus stared at the twisted metal frames and the glass shards barely clinging to them; his heart sank when he realised that, while he hadn't seen Harry in several days, he also hadn't heard him. Normally, he would know when the boy went to relieve himself; no matter how small the child was, you could hear every step he took when you were seated in the kitchen. Calling one of the house elves to stay with Amanda, he went into the garden.
"He's gone, Severus...he's not here. I cast a Point Me spell to see if he was up in one of the trees, but my wand didn't move; he's gone." Lucius balled up one of his hands into a fist and swung it at his friend's jaw; he heard a satisfying crack when his fist met Severus' face. "You need to call in the Aurors and get in contact with Lily. You need to tell your wife that her son is missing." Lucius swiftly walked out of the garden and disapparated with a loud crack.
Scabior had been scanning the newspapers and listening to the WWN for any sign that Snape had reported his stepson missing; so far, after four days, there hadn't been any kind of report on the missing boy. He was beginning to wonder if the boy hadn't been correct to begin with; he had said that Snape didn't like him and wouldn't pay for his return.
Scabior knew that he had to find somewhere else to go with the brat; they couldn't stay here any longer, the neighbours were starting to get suspicious. He began to think about where he could take the boy; there weren't many options. It was widely known that he had been a loyal Death Eater, but, since nothing could ever be pinned on him, he had gotten off with a slap to the wrist when the original trials had been held. The little shit had been a pain in his arse ever since he had decided to kidnap him; first, the bloody nose that he'd had to clean up, then the the sick that came up whenever he tried to move. Scabior had gotten so angry, after one particularly foul sick up that he had cast a bone breaking curse at the nuisance; he was really regretting not learning any useful healing spells after that...he'd had to sacrifice one of the two chairs he had to make a splint for the brat's arm.
As he tried to come up with a place to go, one finally occurred to him; an evil smile lifted the corners of his mouth. He knew that Lucius Malfoy would hide him.
Severus had known that Lily was going to be angry at him for allowing Harry to go missing, but he hadn't expected her to throw her wedding ring at him. She had only arrived back six hours ago, but, in that time, his marriage had blown up and his wife had left him, taking their daughter with her. To make matters worse, when he had shown up to help the Aurors look for Harry, he had been forcibly escorted out of their offices and told to leave the Ministry building.
So, here he was in his empty house, listening for sounds of life from anywhere; he was finishing off the dregs of a bottle of firewhiskey, wondering why he had ever hated the boy. He knew that Harry couldn't help being James Potter's son; just as he couldn't help being Tobias Snape's son. He wondered if, in his case, this apple had fallen directly below the tree; maybe he was just as bad as his father...scratch that...he was just as bad as his father. For the first time since he was a child, Severus Snape cried; he cried for the mess he had made of his marriage; he cried for the pain he had caused Lily; but most of all, he cried for what he had done to an innocent six year old boy.
He passed out not long after that; he never heard Lily come through the front door. After putting Amanda to bed, she went in search of her husband; she was hoping he hadn't done anything stupid after she left. She found him lying sprawled on the floor in the living room; she quickly flipped him over, searching for any signs that he had tried to hurt himself. Lily knew that Severus had had episodes of self-harming while he had been at Hogwarts and she didn't want him to start that up again. The smell of firewhiskey hit her in the face and she figured that he had drunk so much that he had passed out; this wasn't any better than the self-harming. Tobias Snape had been an alcoholic...alcoholism could very easily pass from parent to child; Lily waved her wand and all of the alcohol in the house vanished.
She laid Severus out, so that he wouldn't be in too much pain when he woke...they were a family and...damn it!...they would get through this as a family.
Narcissa Malfoy was looking somewhat less than perfect when she was called to the front door of Malfoy Manor by a shaking house elf; trying to teach Draco to paint would do that to a person. Regretting leaving her wand in the studio, Narcissa walked into the entryway and stopped dead in her tracks; Scabior, former Death Eater, stood just inside her front door, holding a very frightened looking Harry Potter in front of him.
"Ah, Narcissa, my beautiful lady...just the person I wanted to see. I need you to put me and...my nephew...up for a few days. I'm sure you 'ave the room and we won't be a bother."
"S-Scabior...that boy is not your nephew; he's Harry Potter!" Narcissa broke off as the man in front of her snarled and pointed his wand directly at her chest.
"So what if 'e is? Nothing you can do about it...now, show us to a room and leave us be."
Terrified for her own life and Harry's life, she nodded shortly and turned to lead them up the main stairs; she would show them into the room that Lucius had prepared for just such an occasion. Due to the protective spells and wards in place on the room, neither one of them would be able to leave without direct permission from Lucius...nor would Scabior be able to use magic.
"Not there, my sweet; I know about the room. Take me to the cellars."
Narcissa paused, and then changed direction, her feet automatically leading her to the door to the Malfoy cellars; she became even more frightened when a house elf popped up in front of her, causing Scabior to move closer to her back.
"Mistress...Master Draco be wanting a snack. May Dobby bring him cookies?" The elf's huge eyes stared at her face, but she knew that he had taken in the whole situation; she made a gesture that all of the house elves knew intimately...Go Get Your Master!
"Yes, Dobby, you may give Draco a few cookies; tell him that I will rejoin him shortly." The elf nodded and disappeared; Narcissa hoped that Dobby had caught the gesture...she prayed that he had.
Lucius was sitting at the Snape's dining table, going over maps showing where they had already looked over the last two days; they had found nothing, not a clue, not a sighting of Harry...nothing. Severus was busily researching a potion that would tell them where the child was; the only problem with that potion was that it could take up to a week to brew...depending upon how accurate you wanted the results to be. Severus had already stated that he wouldn't sleep until Harry was found; so he wanted the results to be as accurate as possible.
Lily had taken Amanda to stay with the Weasley family for a few days; Lucius didn't really care for them, but they did have their uses...they had seven children, all of whom could be guaranteed to keep Amanda busy for a few days. Lily was in the corner of the room, quietly conversing with her former mentor, Filius Flitwick; the Charms professor was one of the best at locating lost children, and had been called in to help by the Aurors.
Lucius almost fell out of his seat when one of his house elves, Dobby he thought the name was, popped up next to him. "Master, Mistress be needing you at once. Strange man came to the manor...he is being having Master Harry Potter with him." The dead silence in the room weighed heavily on the elf's large ears; he hoped he had correctly read the signal Mistress had given. If not, he was going to have to iron his hands again.
Lucius looked at Severus and Lily, who had moved to stand beside her husband. "I'll go to the Manor; I need to see if Dobby is correct. He would only come find me if Narcissa had told him to do so; I'll contact you as soon as I know." Lucius disapparated from the dining room with barely a sound, leaving Lily and Severus to hold each other tightly, hoping that the elf hadn't been wrong.
Narcissa jumped to her feet when Lucius apparated into the arrival room; the room was set aside for apparating and flooing into the house, so that their guests could compose themselves before being presented. She nearly leapt into Lucius' arms, crying the entire time.
"'Cissa, Love, you need to stop; I can't understand a thing you're saying." Lucius rubbed his hand in comforting circles on his wife's back; he hadn't seen her this upset since Draco had taken a tumble down the main stairs and broken his leg.
"He's here! Scabior is here...and he's got Harry with him! Oh, Lucius, I didn't know what to do...I tried to get him into the blue room, but he knew about it. He took Harry into the cellars; I don't know what he's doing to him! Lucius you have to get Harry away from him before he really hurts him! I..."
"Narcissa Malfoy! Stop, take a breath and calm down!" Having his wife in a state of hysterics was not going to be conducive for him to think properly. "Alright...here's what we're going to do. I'm going to go down there; you give me five minutes and then summon the Aurors. I want you to then take Draco and lock yourselves in his room; the wards are the strongest on his room. You are not to come out until I come to get you...is that understood?" Lucius waited for his wife to nod before giving her a quick kiss. "Remember, five minutes."
Lucius headed for the door to the cellar; pausing for a moment, he took a deep breath and opened the door.
Narcissa ran into the studio and grabbed her son around the waist; not paying any attention to his questions, she apparated them directly into Draco's room and cast every locking spell she could think of on the door and windows. She hugged him tightly to her chest, rocking him back and forth; she knew she was doing this for her comfort, not his, but she couldn't seem to let him go. After five minutes had passed, she knelt in front of the floo; she threw a pinch of the powder into the empty grate and clearly stated "Sirius Black, Auror Offices, Ministry of Magic." It took less than one minute for her cousin's head to appear in the flickering green flames.
"'Cissa! Haven't heard from you in a while...hey...are you alright?"
"No Sirius...I don't know if you have heard about what's going on with the search for Harry Potter..." She broke off when her cousin's face darkened in anger.
"What's going on with Harry? Why would anyone need to search for him? I just got back from a mission...WHY HASN'T ANYONE TOLD ME THAT MY GODSON IS MISSING?" The last was yelled through clenched teeth back into the Aurors' office. Narcissa heard all movement stop on the other end of the floo connection and knew that Sirius was going to make those in the office pay for not immediately telling him that Harry was missing.
"Sirius, please, you need to get together every Auror you can and get over to the Manor right away. Harry is here, but he's being held captive by a former Death Eater. Do you remember Scabior? ...Well, he's the one holding Harry. Lucius has gone down into the cellars to try to get Harry away from him, but we need you here once he's done that." Sirius didn't bother to say goodbye; he just severed the connection, leaving Narcissa on the floor, hoping she had done the right thing in telling her hot-headed cousin what was going on.
Draco crept into his mother's lap and laced his fingers with hers. "Mummy? Why does someone have Harry in the cellar? Daddy told me never to go in there; why would someone take Harry there?"
"Draco, my darling, the man who has Harry is a very bad man. Do you remember your father telling you about the Dark Lord and his followers?" Draco nodded slowly. "This man, Scabior, was one of those who followed the Dark Lord."
"Like Daddy did?" Out of the mouths of babes.
"No, Sweetheart, your father was only pretending; but this man really followed the Dark Lord."
"Is he gonna hurt Harry?" Narcissa could see the tears in her son's eyes and the trembling of his lower lip.
"Going to, Draco...is he going to hurt Harry...and I do believe that he does want to hurt Harry. That's why I called in Mummy's cousin, Sirius. He's Harry's godfather, just like Severus is yours; he'll do whatever he has to, to make sure that Harry is safe." Narcissa only hoped that the Aurors got there in time to keep both Harry and Lucius from being hurt too badly.
"Scabior...Narcissa informed me that you wished to see me. Why are you hiding in the cellars?" Lucius had a plan; as plans go, it probably wasn't the best, but he hoped it would work. He also hoped that Harry was smart enough to play along.
"Lucius, my friend! Excellent! You're just in time to 'elp me." Scabior moved away from the cot in the corner of the small room and walked toward Lucius. "Got me a little play toy over 'ere...come see."
Lucius walked over to the cot and looked down on Harry's prone body; the child was awake and staring at him with a mix of hope and fear. Since Scabior was behind him, he took the chance to wink at Harry; Lucius saw the awareness flare in Harry's eyes before he turned his head and whimpered in the direction of the wall. Lucius was filled with pride for the boy...he had understood and was going to follow his lead; he prayed that Harry would forgive him for what he might have to say.
"You brought me a child? Scabior, you know that I never took part in that particular game. Why did you bring him here?" Lucius allowed a sneer to carry over into the tone of his voice; if he could just keep the man talking, it would give Narcissa time to summon the Aurors.
"Look at 'is fore'ead, Lucius...that's not just any boy."
Lucius moved Harry's hair away, noticing the very real flinch that the child gave at his touch; Harry was going to need some intensive therapy after this was all over. "Well, well, well...Harry Potter. How did you get him away from Lily?"
"'E was out in the garden, playing with 'is toys...nobody around...so I grabbed 'im." Lucius felt the jab of a wand in the side of his neck and tensed. "Now, Lucius, my friend...give me your wand."
"Why do you need my wand? Yours appears to be in working condition." Lucius kept his eyes where they had been, locked with Harry's.
"'Cause I'm not too sure that you're not gonna go and give me up to the Aurors. The way that dear Narcissa acted got me to thinkin'...what if you weren't the loyal follower that you always looked like? What if you didn't really follow our Lord? That would make you one of them, now wouldn't it? Give me your wand." Lucius felt the point of Scabior's wand dig into the soft spot just beneath his jaw; he knew that he was going to have to give the man one of his wands...but which one?
He pulled his father's wand out of its holster on his arm and carefully handed it over to the other man; that wand had never really worked well for him, so he didn't mind giving it up. Scabior grabbed the wand and pulled Harry up off of the cot; that was a big mistake, as the boy turned a sickly shade of green before vomiting on Scabior's feet.
Scabior threw the boy back on the cot, making him hit his head on the wall and jarring his broken arm, both of which made him moan in pain and then pass out; Lucius saw his chance when the other man's attention was on his shoes. As Scabior began to utter a cleansing charm, Lucius slid his own wand out of the same holster and levelled it at the man's chest. "Stupefy!"
Scabior flew back a few feet and stayed crumpled on the floor; Lucius cast the full-body bind on the other man before approaching him and taking both his father's wand and the wand that Scabior had been carrying. He quickly walked back to Harry's side and picked him up; the poor child had passed out from either being sick or hitting his head on the wall. As he lifted Harry into his arms, he noticed the poorly made splint on his arm and realised that Scabior had caused more damage to the young boy than he had originally thought.
He cast another spell on Scabior, wrapping him tightly in magical ropes in addition to the body bind and stunning spell. Tightening his hold on Harry, Lucius concentrated and apparated them both directly into Draco's room.
He carefully laid his burden on the bed as Narcissa stepped over to his side. "What happened Lucius? Is Harry okay?"
"He has what appears to be a broken arm and quite possibly a fairly bad concussion. Do not heal him; we need for the Aurors to see his injuries and catalogue them for that piece of scum's trial. I'm going to go downstairs to wait for the Aurors."
"Darling...just so that you know...Sirius was the Auror I called, so he's going to be rather upset."
"I'll send him straight up here; I don't want him killing Scabior before the man has had his trial."
After disabling the locking spells, Lucius went downstairs to wait for his wife's cousin; Draco carefully climbed onto the bed, on Harry's other side, and began to gently stroke the side of his friend's face.
Lucius directed Sirius to go directly to Draco's room to catalogue Harry's injuries; Sirius, however, knew that Lucius was trying to get him out of the way so that they had a live criminal for trial. He took the stairs, two at a time, and ran down the hallway to where he knew his small cousin's room to be; he pounded on the door.
"'Cissa! Open the door, it's me, Sirius!"
The door cracked open and a steely grey eye looked out at him over the wand pointed directly at his face. "Tell me my middle name." No one, save for her family knew Narcissa's middle name; she hated it that much.
"Your middle name is Aurelia...you've always hated it because it sounds so horribly old fashioned. Now...LET ME IN!" The door opened and Sirius rushed in to kneel by his godson's side. "Oh, Harry! What did he do to you?" He pulled out his wand and began to run diagnostic charms on the small boy; tears came to his eyes when he noted the severe concussion and the broken arm. There didn't appear to be much else wrong with him, except for that there was absolutely nothing in the boy's stomach; he wondered if this Scabior person had fed Harry at all.
Narcissa watched as her cousin created a painstakingly detailed listing of all of Harry's injuries; she knew that he was intending for this list to be used against Scabior during the trial, but she couldn't help but wonder if he was looking for something else. She noticed that, next to each entry, Sirius was listing the date that the injury occurred; it struck her then...he was looking for something to use against Severus, to have the child taken away from Lily and Severus.
"Sirius, he's never done anything physically damaging to Harry."
Sirius paused his scans and slowly looked up at Narcissa. "He has to have done something...Harry can't stand to be in the same room as him. What has he done?"
"He's done nothing physically harmful to the child."
"You keep saying that...that doesn't tell me..." Sirius stopped talking and looked directly at his cousin. "Snape's done nothing to physically harm my godson...has he mentally harmed him?"
"I can't answer yes and I can't answer no...you're going to have to decide whether or not you want to risk pursuing anything down that road."
Sirius Black, Auror, protector of children, especially his godson, took a deep breath and released it. He understood exactly what Narcissa was telling him by not telling him anything; if he chose to pursue removing Harry from his mother and her husband, Harry might never forgive him for taking him away from the only family he had left. In that moment, he made up his mind. "I have more than enough to convict this man on child endangerment charges and charges of abuse. I can't find anything else, so I can assume there is nothing else." With a small wave of his wand, all of the older injuries disappeared from the list; they weren't anything a small boy wouldn't have normally accrued anyway. He rolled up the parchment and tucked it away in his robes; sitting on the bed next to his godson, he waited for the other Aurors to notify Lily that her son was safe.
He would accompany them to St. Mungo's, so that Harry could be seen by a healer; he wouldn't leave his godson's side, even when Lily arrived...he may not have anything concrete on what Snape had done, but that didn't mean that he trusted the man any more than he already did.
He would just have to wait and watch...eventually Snape would do something to drive Harry away from him for good.
It had been one month since Harry's return to his mother and her husband. The situation between Harry and Mr. Snape was much the same as it always had been; Harry avoided Mr. Snape and Mr. Snape avoided him.
Lily was very reluctant to allow Harry to attend the small school in Hogsmeade; she didn't want to allow him out of her sight for very long...for good reason. She decided to home-school the children; she would be able to do as good a job at educating them at Hogwarts as the teachers could do in the school. She finally informed the children that, yes, they would be getting either a little brother or sister in a few months; she watched Harry closely as she told him about this...some of his recent reactions were troubling her. Harry, she noticed, never touched his sister when Severus was around; it was almost like he was afraid he would be chastised for behaving like a brother to her.
Had she paid closer attention, she would have realised that Harry was pulling away from all of them. Harry was beginning to protect himself for the inevitability of losing his mother; he knew that when the baby was born, his mother would have even less time for him than she already did. He began to spend more and more time with Draco, at his house, of course; he already had a plan in mind for when it came time to attend a school for magic. He had listened very carefully when Uncle Lucius had talked about the school hidden away in Northern Europe somewhere...Harry thought it was called Durmstrang.