If Only I Had Known Sooner

by DeCielo

Summary: After neglect at the hands of the Dursley's is reported, Harry is given permission to stay at the castle under the care of Snape. Harry must learn to trust the man he was suspicious of for so long, and Snape must learn to deal with knowing some things aren't his fault.

Warnings: AU, Will contain MxM romances, and slight mentions of mistreatment.

Rating: T

Author's Notes

Credit for Names, Characters, and Canon belong to J.K. Rowlings. Harry Potter is her creation.

I apologize to anyone who read my other stories.

The story begins right after Harry's First year.

*Ding, dong* the sound of the doorbell rang thru the silent house, and was followed by the sound of a huge thump upstairs. More thumps down the stairs while the doorbell rang again. The sound of the front door slamming open is what fully pulled Harry out of his sleep. He pulled as far from his door as he could, and curled up under the shelf. He waited for noises to pierce thru the darkness, which it did.

"WHO THE HELL ARE YOU AND WHAT THE BLOODY HELL DO YOU WANT?!" Harry relaxed muscles he didn't even realize he had tensed. The screams weren't aimed at him, but the poor soul who decided to knock on the door this early in the day, well before even Harry usually woke up. The boy found himself inching towards the cupboard door to hear the conversation. He only heard bits though, as the voice answering the angry man was deep and soft.

"…Services…..behalf of Mr. Potter…anonymous concerns…" Harry tensed hearing his name, as he was sure the second it came out of the visitor's mouth, Vernon turned bright red. What he didn't expect was the lack of screaming coming from outside his cupboard. That scared him even more. He listened to Vernon's quiet indistinct reply and the response from the visitor. "…. I do understand he's sleeping but…I'm afraid it must be done….simply procedure sir…" Then the screaming resumed, and Harry heard Vernon loud and clear.

"NO. I DON'T CARE WHAT SOME NOSY NEIGHBOR THINKS THEY SAW. HARRY IS FINE! NOW GET OUT OF MY HOUSE OR I WILL CALL THE POLICE." This scream was followed by a grunt, a thump, and a gentle hum. Harry perked up at the hum. He knew that hum! That was the hum a wand makes after a spell has been done. The small boy pressed against the vent, trying to see what was going on, but in vain. Petunias scream and a few more muffled sounds was all he heard, and then it was quiet. A few minutes passed in near silence, before the cupboard door was unlocked and thrown open. Harry blinked as light flooded in, but had his wand ready in his sleeve just in case it wasn't a friend. The face he saw made him pull it out anyways.

Snape.

The hair was different, and the smell of crushed beetles was missing, but it was Snape looking into his cupboard. Harry blushed. It was bad enough that Hagrid had seen him in such conditions, but Snape, Snape would most likely make fun of him for it. He hadn't be allowed to shower in a week, but Petunia had sprayed him with the hose to get the mud off of him, so he was relatively clean but his clothes smelled like wet dog. The man stepped back and waved for Harry to step out of the dinky cupboard.

"Potter?" The voice had the same deepness, but something else that Harry couldn't place his finger on. It lacked the usual bite to it though. Harry crawled out, stood up, and looked at the man who had just let him out. It was his professor alright, and he couldn't help but laugh at the man's person. "Is something funny, Mr. Potter?" The voice had a bit of the bite back now, but still had the extra something. Harry quickly shook his head, but still giggled.

"No sir." However the sight of Severus Snape, his scary teacher from the dungeons, dressed as a normal young muggle was so disturbingly funny, Harry just held his side and laughed some more. Gone were Snape's greasy black hair, and billowing black robes and cloak, and replaced by them were short spikey brown highlighted hair, jeans, converse, and a bright green hoodie. "It's just; you look like you belong in an American boy band sir…" Harry averted his eyes and tried to control the giggles.

Snape just shook his head and sighed, and Harry noticed his face had a red mark on it, and his eye was starting to swell. He stopped laughing and pointed at Snape's eye. "Sir, your eye, is it okay? What happened?"

"Your….uncle. He decided he was done with the conversation, and that I needed to leave. I however am here on official business and would not depart until it is complete. Now, pack your things, you're coming with me." Snape motioned to the things in the cupboard with a disgusted look on his face, but his eyes held sympathy when he turned back to Harry.

"So he punched you?" Harry asked incredulously, still shocked. "But where is he now?" Snape let out a sigh, pinched the bridge of his nose, and pointed to the living room around the corner. Harry peeked thru the doorway and saw his aunt and uncle hanging upside from the ceiling, their mouths moving furiously but no sound coming out. He giggled again, still delighted by any kind of magic, and turned back to Snape. "Are you sure I can leave?"

Snape nodded, and then grimaced. "Well you sure as hell aren't staying here."

…..

Harry took less than 3 minutes to pack. Basically, he put his ratty blanket in the trunk, put Hedwig in her cage, and pull both out of the cupboard. Snape levitated the things out the door and into a muggle car waiting at the end of the drive.

Harry sat silent for the first part of the drive, and Snape wasn't eager to talk as well, but eventually he did.

"Harry…I need to know something. Did they ever hit you? Or hurt you in any way?" Snape asked the question quietly, with an edge to his voice. Harry didn't answer right away, his head flooded with thoughts and memories. Could he really trust Snape? Sure, Harry thought he was evil from the moment he saw him last year, but apparently he wasn't. He was just protecting the stone. He sure wasn't inclined to share all his secrets with the man who just looked for opportunities to make fun of him. But, he had said he was here on official business, which means Dumbledore sent him and Dumbledore seems to trust Snape a lot.

"Yes." Harry finally responded, albeit quietly, "They never beat me, but they smack me around, shove me a lot, and even pull my hair from time to time. But…it's not a big deal." He finished with a normal voice, staring out the window. His professor glanced over at him, sighed, and shook his head for a few moments before opening his mouth. Harry finally figured out what that extra thing in his professor's voice was. It was sympathy.

"Harry, your neighbor reported seeing you locked outside for the night to the muggle Child Services. We intercepted their agent so you wouldn't be removed to another muggle family. Dumbledore decided you can stay in the castle till we professors finish up for the summer. We'll go from there." Snape shook his head. "Honestly Potter, if I had known your muggle relatives were that bad…" He trailed off, and Harry only caught a barely whispered, "…adopted you sooner."

A.N. Thanks for reading my first ever chapter of my first Harry Potter Story. I promise to update whenever possible and do my best. Any mistakes you see, I apologize for, and will gladly fix if needed.