I'd just like to take a moment to establish that I do not advocate self-harm/suicide. I also do not own the Harry Potter universe.

He was in trouble. More than he had ever been in before. He had broken Dudley's arm, and Uncle Vernon was going to kill him. Little Harry Potter of number four privet drive was in trouble and he knew it. He ran quickly to his cupboard, Dudley's anguished screams reverberate behind him. The stomp stomp of the feet of Dudley's friends as they quickly escaped the house echo through Harry's mind. They are lucky. They could run away, he couldn't.

"BOY!" Uncle Vernon's bellow shakes the house where it stands. Harry whimpers, hiding under his bed. The door to his cupboard slams open. Vernon stoops, looking under the bed. His eyes blaze as he pulls Harry out from under the bed by his hair. "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH DUDLEY?!" Harry starts to cry.

"A lot, I'm sorry Uncle, please don't hurt me!"


"No, Uncle, please!"

"You know what you are, boy?"

"A freak. I know, Uncle, please."

"That's right, damn brat. You're a freak. No one loves you, no one ever has, and no one ever will." Vernon slams the cupboard door shut behind him. "And you'll learn to behave." Harry's screams echo through the house, pinging off the walls. In the living room, despite the tears, Dudley smiles.

Harry sniffles. He is so sore. Everything hurts. His arms, his legs, his eyes, his ribs… He pokes at the dried blood from his split lip. A dart of pain shoots through his lip and he hisses, wincing after the sharp intake of breath. He pokes a tentative finger to his side and collapses in agony. Tears run down his face. Outside his cupboard, the clock strikes twelve. He reaches under his bed, grabbing the cold metallic object he stole from Uncle Vernon. Tears run down his cheeks.

"Happy birthday to me," He whispers.


Far away in a castle called Hogwarts, a man named Severus Snape straightens up from bending over his potion, looking frantically about the room with confusion.

"Lily?" He whisper-calls. Then he frowns. It cannot be. He could not have possibly heard his Lily, could he?

He looks around and shakes his head, bending back over his potion. He is at a critical stage, any loud noise will cause it to- the door opens with a slam. Snape straightens up, furious. He vanishes the liquid in his cauldron before it explodes, then turns to the intruder. "I hope you realize you will be getting the bill for the ingredients of this potion you ruined," He sneers. "Many of them were quite expensive. Could you not read the sign on the door saying no admittance?" He glares at Dumbledore. "I should have known. What is it Albus? I'm busy."

Dumbledore is white, his face pinched, the twinkle gone from his eyes. "Come quickly. Any restorative potions you have, any at all… bring them. Hospital room, quick as you can." The headmaster turns on his heel and strides out of the room. Snape sighs.

"Accio all restorative potions," He calls. The vials fly to his hand and he follows Dumbledore out of the room.

In the hospital room, he is surprised to see all the professors gathered around a tiny bed. Madam Pomfrey bustles about the bedside, swatting away anyone who gets in her way. Snape notices with distaste the presence of Lupin and Hagrid. Hagrid is bawling like a baby, while silent tears course down Lupin's face. Snape sneers at them both.

Pomfrey turns and glances at Snape. "And just why are you here?" She asks, hands on hips. Snape glares at her.

"I asked him to come."

Pomfrey glances at the headmaster, then at the vials in Snape's hands. "It won't work, Albus," She whispers. "It's too late."

Snape heaves a sigh. "Will someone please tell me what's going on? I was right in the middle of a very important potion…" Dumbledore ushers him to the bed. Snape glances upon the still little form, then blanches. "What?" He whispers. Lily's words echo in his mind. HARRY! NO! Snape whirls. "How… what...?" He whispers.

"Hagrid found him in a cupboard." Dumbledore sighs. "Diagnosis, Poppy?" He asks.

Poppy tuts. "Three broken ribs, four broken knuckles, a broken nose, a very severe concussion and bruised skull, a sprained arm, multiple contusions, split lip, chipped tooth. And the bullet hole, of course."

Hagrid wails.

Dumbledore's face tightens even more. He whispers a quiet word, placing a wand to Harry's temple, and a thin stream of white drifts from the boy. Dumbledore catches it in a bowl. "Minerva, Remus, Severus, Hagrid. Would you please join me?"

Snape draws back. "And what, pray, is that?" He asks.

"The last day of the boy's life," Dumbledore answers grimly. "It is time to discover why." With great reluctance, Snape joins Albus, Remus, Hagrid and Minerva in plunging his hand into the boy's memories.

The world swirls around them and they land on a playground next to a little boy. He sits quietly by himself on a stone bench. His scruffy hair and baggy clothes clearly make him different from the rest of the children. He digs a toe into the dirt, dragging lines in the sand. The lines quickly become pictures. A stick woman, holding the hand of a stick man and a stick child.

Snape's throat tightens involuntarily and he curses himself for his weakness.

Suddenly, two boys and a medium sized whale appear in front of Harry, kicking the sand, destroying his picture. Harry jumps up from the bench, trying to run, but the two boys hold back his arms while Dudley punches him repeatedly.

Remus growls.

The bell rings, and the little monster gives Harry a last vicious kick before he and his friends run inside. Harry moans and gets up, trudging back to the classroom.

Now in the classroom, the professors and Lupin glance around. Pictures of happy suns and little flowers adorn the room. The teacher stands in the front, dressed in bright, tacky pastels that are the required teacher uniform. The classroom is a bright, irritating yellow, with spots of other colors on the green cement floor. Harry goes to sit next to someone, but the child quickly pulls the chair away.

"This seat is saved," They tell him.

Harry gulps. "Ok." He whispers. He goes and sits quietly in the back by himself, only to hop up again with a yowl.

His teacher glares at him. "Sit down please, Harry."

Harry's throat quivers and he sits down again, pulling the tack out of the seat of his pants.

Dudley and his friends shake with silent laughter. Harry ducks his head down and stares quietly at his blank paper.

Harry tries to understand what the teacher writes on the board, but appears to be unable to read it. Once class ends, the paper is as blank as it was at the beginning of the class. When he hears the bell ring, Harry jumps up and races out of the classroom.

Dumbledore and the rest of their little group follow him. Harry quickly runs down the street, and the memory watchers have to sprint to keep up. The whole while, Harry glances behind him, making sure no one follows him. He sighs and enters the house he lives in. He quickly and quietly runs into the cupboard.

Minerva watches approvingly as Harry pulls out his homework and begins to work. Not a minute later Petunia throws the door open. She thrusts cleaning rags into Harry's hands.

"Go dust the living room. We have company coming over tonight and I want the place to be spotless. Spotless, you understand?" Harry nods silently and walks off into the specified room. He begins quietly dusting the shelves and pictures, humming nearly inaudibly under his breath. The tune is slow and haunting, and chills run down Dumbledore's spine as he hears it. The house is silent until the front door slams. Harry freezes. Dudley and his gang tramp into the room.

"Harry hunting, Harry hunting, we are going Harry hunting," Dudley sings in an off-key voice. Harry looks frantically around, but there is nowhere to go. Dudley smacks Harry, but suddenly Harry lashes out, hitting Dudley with his fist. It connects with the fat boy's arm, and the crack of the snapping bone reverberates through the now silent room. Harry's eyes grow wide with fear as Dudley starts to shriek. Harry takes off running into his cupboard.

Hagrid watches sadly as he hides under the bed. Snape raises an eyebrow when Vernon storms in, ripping the boy out from under the bed by the roots of his hair. His eyebrows creep higher at the conversation that follows.

"HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH DUDLEY?!" Vernon roars. Harry starts to cry.

"A lot, I'm sorry Uncle, please don't hurt me!"


"No, Uncle, please!"

"You know what you are, boy?"

"A freak. I know, Uncle, please."

"That's right, damn brat. You're a freak. No one loves you, no one ever has, and no one ever will." Vernon slams the cupboard door shut behind him. "And you'll learn to behave."

The adults watch with dawning horror as Vernon's meaty fists slam into Harry again and again. Hagrid physically restrains Lupin from attempting to kill memory Vernon. Minerva's shoulders begin to shake, and Dumbledore pulls her into an awkward embrace, shielding her eyes from the sight, but no one can block Harry's tortured screams from her ears, the snapping of bones where Vernon's fist connects with the little beaten body. Snape stares in horror, no longer seeing Harry and Vernon, but himself and his father. After what seems like an eternity Vernon finishes administering the beating.

"Stay in your cupboard, brat." Vernon growls to Harry. "Our guests don't want to see a little freak like you."

Harry sniffles. "Yes uncle," He whispers. Harry waits long enough for Vernon to be out of hearing, then sinks onto the bed, shoving his face into the pillow to muffle his cries.

"HARRY!" Lupin screams. "HARRY!" He struggles out of the arms holding him back and runs over to the little body. "HARRY! HARRY!" He desperately tries to put his arms around the tortured little form, every time failing as his arms go right through. Tears course down everyone's cheeks, Snape being no exception. He knew this life. That his love's child should be forced to live this way… "Harry…" Remus whimpers. He falls to his knees by Harry's bedside. The adults sit in the cupboard with Harry. Outside, Vernon and Petunia's guests can be heard arriving, but Harry does not stir, having wept himself to sleep.

Finally, when the clock strikes eleven fifty five, something appears to be happening. Harry tosses and turns in his sleep, moaning. He sits up quickly and gasps with the pain. The little boy glances around the dark cupboard and listens to the sounds of the house. Then he sneaks out of his bed and over to the door. He tries to turn the knob, but it does not give way. A single tear slides down his face, then another, and another. He makes his way back to his bed, tears slipping down his dirty cheeks. His stomach moans at him. He pokes at the dried blood from his split lip. Minerva watches sadly as he tentatively examines his injuries. Outside the cupboard, the clock strikes twelve. He reaches under his bed, grabbing something. There is a collective intake of breath.

"Oh Harry no…" Remus moans. A shiny black gun lies on the child's lap. Minerva begins screaming.

"HARRY! Oh Albus, make it stop. We've seen enough." It is too late. Harry raises the gun to his head.

"Happy birthday to me," He whispers. He pulls the trigger and falls over, the gun clattering on the floor. The memory ends and Remus, Hagrid, Minerva, Snape and Dumbledore find themselves back in the hospital room.

Remus puts his hands on his knees and vomits, tears mingling with the sick. Albus waves it away with a flick of the wand. Poppy looks at them expectantly, but nobody moves. The room is still and eerily silent, permeated only by the hushed sounds of Remus' broken weeping.

"Did you find out…?" She trails off, not daring to finish. Everyone is silent. Snape is the first to break the silence.

"He did." He turns on his heel and races out of the room.

Heads are bowed in mourning. There is not a dry eye in the infirmary as they look at the sad little boy lying dead at the ripe age of eleven. Had he waited a little longer, things would have been different. Hagrid would have given him his letter, and Harry would have found a home at Hogwarts. But none of that mattered now. They would have to figure out a way to live on without Potter, without the boy who lived. Because the boy who lived had become… the boy who didn't.

Severus Snape stares moodily into the fire in his quarters, a bottle of firewhiskey in one hand, a picture in the other. A letter with a picture enclosed sits open on his lap. This is the first time he has opened it since it was sent to him 11 years ago. Memories flicker through his mind like tongues of fire.


"Lily?" It cannot be. His Lily, on his doorstep, after all this time.

"Sev. I need… please. Help me."

"Of course, Lils. What happened?"

"James… he was drunk…" A bruise mars her pretty face.

"I'll kill him, Lily, I swear to God." Her hands on his clenched fists.

"NO! Severus, please!" He looks deep into her eyes. She still loves the bastard. Of course.

"Why are you here?"

"I… he threw me out of the house." Her green eyes bewitch him, making it impossible for him to say no. He sighs.

"Yes, you can stay. Follow me." The spare bedroom.

"Thank you, Sev." Standing at the closed door for a long time, wanting to say something more.

Midnight. Her screams wake him; send him flying to her side.

"Lily!" Reaching for her, she flinches away. The fog of dreams surrounds her still.

"No, James, please! You're drunk again! I didn't… I swear." Her face, so full of fear.

Rage. This is not the first time James Potter has beaten her. "Lily…"

"Severus!" Her arms are around his neck. She sobs into his shoulder.

"Shh, Lils. I won't hurt you." She looks into his eyes. His fingers move to gently touch her bruise. She flinches away. His rage stoked again. Damn Potter, damn him to hell. His fingers move slower this time, and she doesn't move as he strokes her bruised cheekbone. His eyes bore into hers as he slowly and deliberately kisses the bruise. He draws back and looks at her. There are tears in her eyes.


"Hush." Kissing her, his lips caressing hers. She responds passionately. Her arms around his collar, pulling him to her on the bed. Cradling her in his arms, kissing her face, trailing his lips down her neck. She gasps, arching against him. Her hands move to stroke his chest. "Lily…" He whispers.

"I love you, Severus Snape." She whispers back. There is no hesitation anymore.

The morning has come. Sunlight streams through the window. Running his fingers through her hair, watching her face as she sleeps. Suddenly, a banging on the front door. She jerks awake. Kissing her, slipping his clothes on. Walking quietly to see who it is while she gets dressed. He has a good idea of who it will be.


"I know she's here."

"You beat her, you bastard. She deserves better."

"A deatheater like you? Where is she?" And she's there.

"Here I am, James."

"Come on Lily. Say goodbye to Snivellus. Time to go home."

"Lily, please…"

"I'm sorry, Severus. Thank you for letting me stay." And she's gone. Staring after her, his world crashing down around him. Slamming the door, the rage filling him again. Unable to pass the guest room without an ache. His Lily, stolen again. The face on his arm laughing at him, mocking him. The tears, hot and salty. Bringing him down to his knees.


Snape swears loudly, jerking himself out of his pain. He throws the bottle in the fire, causing it to flare up and then extinguish itself, creating a smoky haze. He falls out of the chair and onto his knees, the tears falling again. The words of the letter haunt him, mock him like the tattoo on his arm did so many years ago. The picture of Harry as a baby, enclosed with her words. His Lily, reaching out to him even through her death.

He is yours.