Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.
-Lilo and Stitch
Severus growled as he walked down one of the many hallway of Hogwarts, heading for the Headmaster's Office. He already had a pounding headache and was in no mood for Albus Dumbledore's mind games. The school year had just began last week and three Second Years had already managed to blow up their cauldrons. Three! How in the bloody hell did the idiotic children manage it? To make matters worse, one of the dunderheads was a Snake, to boot!
He turned the corner and almost bumped into a group of Fourth and Fifth Year Slytherins. They were huddled together, speaking quietly, but Severus was still able to hear a considerable amount of their conversation. He rolled his eyes; it's not like they hadn't learned the incantation for mufflatio by now. He cleared his throat, smirking when two of them flinched at his presence. They all faced him, uncertainty and trepidation in their gazes.
"Do remember," he drawled, "that in order to keep private information private, you are indeed wizards. I'd absolutely loathe for Filch to hear of your little... party... on the third floor and be waiting for your tomorrow night."
'Yes, sir. Thank you for your reminder, Professor. It's not really a party...more of a study group." One of the Fifth Years murmured this, swallowing nervously at his Head of House. He babbled on, "We've all decided that we would study for NEWTS early and we figured that it would be a good idea to start as early as possible and it would encourage bonding and-" Severus raised his hand, wordlessly cutting off the boy. It was a wonder some people made it into the Houses they did, this boy included, Severus thought in dismay.
The boy in question and his fellows exchanged glances as the professor regarded them silently, impassively. He watched the students just long enough to make them squirm in their places. "You are all Slytherins. The traits generally associated with this House include being ambitious and cunning. If you are to get caught in a foolish act because you did not embrace the qualities Salazar Slytherin preferred to have in his House, I will be severely disappointed. Dismissed." He growled the last word and the students hurried off, heads down.
Severus shook his head at their ineptitude before continuing down the now empty corridor. Minutes later, he reached the gargoyle guarding the Headmaster's office. He murmured the password (licorice wands) to the stone beast. It was foolish of Albus to rotate his favorite candies for the password. However, the old man would never change; it had been that way since at least when Severus began his own magical education at Hogwarts.
Severus was breathing only slightly heavily after traversing the spiral staircase, but he paused to even his breath and arrange his cloak before stepping out of the hidden entrance and into the main office area. Albus sat behind his desk with his hands folded and his eyes twinkling.
"Lemon drop?" he offered, knowing full well that Severus would decline.
"No, Albus. I know you didn't call me up here to offer me your favorite sweet," Severus said.
"No, you are quite right." Albus stated this plainly. "I know you do not believe me, but I truly feel that young Harry is in danger."
"Harry who?" Severus mused, still annoyed. Then realization hit him like the Hogwarts Express. How could he have forgotten the Potter scion, supposed hero of the Wizarding World and son of Lily Evans. His heard clenched, sorrow and shame for what had happened coursed through his blood like poison. He stiffened his posture. "Why would Harry Potter be in danger? He is in possibly the safest place in all of Great Britain, and being treated like a prince. Or so you say," Severus stopped suddenly, examining the Headmaster warily.
Albus sighed heavily. The twinkle disappeared. The old man suddenly looked every bit of the 107 years old that he was."I am afraid I misjudged the character of Petunia and Vernon Dursley. You are aware, of course, how close-minded Petunia was when you were children. I have reason to believe that she and her husband have only grown worse in the years since the Potters' deaths. Arabella Figg lives on the same street and has reported to me that Harry does not appear to have proper clothing, and the last time she watched him for the Dursleys he was much too thin and covered in bruises."
Before Albus Dumbledore had even finished his sentence, Severus Snape was out the door, fueled by fury and hatred.
Hermione Granger jumped off of the sofa and ran to where her Mum was standing in her parents' bedroom. Her mother was struggling to fasten the clasp on her gold necklace in the mirror. She was dressed in a soft peach gown that complimented her dark skin. Her curls framed her face in a way that brought attention to the place between her collar bones the necklace would rest. If she could get it on, anyway.
"Mum, Mum, guess what!" Hermione said loudly; she was flushed with irritation. Her brown eyes flashed with righteous anger and unshed tears. Lord of the Flies was clutched tightly to her pajama-clad chest.
"Inside voice, love. What is it?" Janet asked, distracted, and glanced at the clock on the wall. Half- past six. Their reservations were at seven thirty. If she didn't get the bloody necklace on before too long, they would be late.
Hermione held her book up and glared at the offending pages of the classic her father had purchased the day before. "The boys were almost saved but the hunters let the fire die and then after acting like wild things Jack hit Piggy in the face! It was so wrong! How could any decent person do that?"
Janet frowned at her daughter's question. Jack's actions were quite uncalled for, if she remembered correctly. She worried momentarily that her husband had given their nine year old reading material much above her level. Janet placed the necklace on her dresser and leant down and took Hermione's hands in her own. "Darling, I know it was quite awful of that boy to behave so hatefully, but it is an important part of the book. It is also something that happens frequently in the world. Maybe not necessarily physical violence between lost children, but altercations happen all of the time that aren't dealt with in an appropriate manner. Piggy stood up for what he believed was right, even though he was hurt for it. It is very important to do what is right, even if you might be scared or end up at odds with another over it."
Hermione searched her mother's eyes before appearing satisfied with her answer.
Just then, David Granger walked through the doorway, looking absolutely dapper in his suit. The only thing out of place was the bushy blond hair that stuck out, despite his best efforts to control it. "Janet dear, are you ready? We need to be leaving soon. It's going on seven."
Janet gave her daughter one last searching look before answering her husband. "I just couldn't get the necklace you gave me for our anniversary last year on. The clasp is stuck, I believe."
David sighed before making his way across the room. "Let me try it. You do have a tendency to struggle with these things." He took the necklace from the dresser and proceded to make no further progress than his wife did. "Hmm, maybe there's a problem with the latch?"
Janet took one look at the clock and then looked back at her husband. "Whatever it is, we can resolve this situation when we return; our reservation is in less than half an hour."
David frowned before looking at his daughter sprawled across the bed, book no more than six inches from her nose. "Hermione, darling. Pull that book back a bit. You'll give yourself bad eyesight if it's that close."
Wordlessly, Hermione did as she was told, completely engrossed. David smiled fondly at her before moving to kiss her forehead. "Your mother and I are leaving now. Do be good for your sitter; she's just downstairs if you need anything."
Janet reached down and gathered her daughter in her arms. For some reason, she just wasn't as eager to go to dinner. A ball of nervous energy sat in the pit of her stomach. "I love you, Hermione. Bedtime is at nine thirty."
"I love you, too, Mum," Hermione mumbled into her mother's curls. When she was released, she looked to her father. "Love you, Daddy."
"I love you, Hermione."
Janet and David made their way out of their room and down the stairs, where their sitter was sat in the living room. She had brought her school work; the girl was in college, and the Grangers wanted her to be able to study in her free time.
"Amy, we're leaving. Remember to have Hermione brush her teeth and wash her face. Bedtime is at 9:30," David said, helping Janet into her coat.
"Yes, sir. I saw that she has Lord of the Flies. Would you like me to take it from her before bedtime? Last time she snuck a torch under the bedcovers," the girl said, smiling as she remembered how Hermione could be when it came to new reading material.
Janet forced a smile. What Amy didn't know was that Hermione had frequent night terrors when she read or watched something gruesome on the tele late at night. "That would probably be best." She felt nauseous.
"Love, don't worry about it," Dan said. He glanced at his watch. 7:09. "Besides, if we don't get going now, we'll be late."
"I'm sorry, Amy I just feel a bit off tonight. But I suppose I'm being a bit silly, is all. Her choice in literature is a bit mature, but I'm sure she'll be fine." With that, the dentists were out the door.
Amy shook her head. The Grangers were always in a hurry.
"I'm sorry, Uncle Vernon! Please don't!" Harry yelled. "I won't do it again, I promise!"
A sharp smack across the face ended his pleas. Harry's glasses flew off, the broken glass cutting his nose in the process.
"You little freak!" Vernon Dursley spit out, his face becoming redder as he struggled with pulling his belt off and around his wide girth. "You don't belong here, stealing from a normal family! You were just dropped on our doorstep without even a proper note and we took you in out of the goodness of our hearts! We feed you, we clothe you! This is how you repay us, by stealing our Dudley's food?!" He succeeded in pulling his belt off. "This, Freak, is what you deserve!" With that, Vernon grabbed the boy and began the beating.
Harry yelped, but tried to keep it in, knowing that if he made a sound, it would only be worse. His eyes filled with unshed tears as he tried to remain still. Moving would only increase the number of licks he received. He began to count to twenty in his head, eyes clenched shut. And then twenty again. And again.
Vernon, unsatisfied with the lack of response, threw the belt onto the ground. He grabbed Harry by the hair and held him up. The hand not tangled in black locks landed blows around the child's midsection and chest. Growing tired, he dropped Harry onto the ground and kicked him in the side, just under his already bruised ribs. This time, Harry screamed. It was a piercing wail, similar to that of a dying cat.
This time Vernon aimed for his face. Harry quietened immediately after the blow landed.
"Vernon," Petunia hissed, coming into the room. "Don't make the boy scream again. You'll make the neighbors wonder."
"Fine," Vernon dragged a luckily unconscious Harry by one ankle and shoved him in the cupboard under the stairs. Harry rolled against a shelf, scattering dust and spiders. His uncle slammed and locked the door. "But the freak doesn't eat tomorrow."
"Tomorrow? The freak's not going to eat for three days if I can help it. It'll show him to not steal my poor Dudder's food again," Petunia stated, throwing a hateful look at the locked door of the cupboard.
The woman grabbed a broom to sweep up the forgotten chips the brat had took from her son's third plate. "Ungrateful, dirty thing," she muttered. "I should leave the mess and have the thing clean it up once it wakes up." Upon depositing the few pieces into the rubbish, she went to join her perfectly normal husband and their perfectly normal son watching the telly.
Harry, of course, remained in the cupboard, mercifully forgotten.
After a veeeery long hiatus, I decided to revamp and finish this story. It's been around three years since I began, and I'm eternally grateful for all of the support I've received. I'm also extremely sorry that it's took me so long to pick it back up. I won't be taking another long break if I can help it.
Updates will be every Wednesday/Thursday and every Sunday.