"Hey, at least I didn't drop it like an idiot!" Ron exclaimed, pointing accusingly at Harry, who just laughed in reply.

"Oh, seriously," Hermione said exasperatedly. "Can't you two just-"

"Oof!" Harry ran right into her. "Hey Hermione, why'd you stop right in the doorway?" he whined, looking past her into the Charms classroom. At the teacher's desk stood Professor Snape, sneering at the trio's dumbfounded expressions.

"Five points from Gryffindor," he drawled. "Now stop standing in the doorway like the idiots you are."

Exchanging a quick look, they moved to their usual spot in the second row. The other Gryffindor students were uncommonly quiet as they readied their things for class, trying to detract attention from themselves, while the Slytherin half of the classroom went about business as normal.

"Excuse me, Professor, but where is Professor Flitwick?" Hermione asked as she set down her book bag.

"Professor Flitwick was called away on a family matter; I am his substitute for today's lesson, as you may have gathered," the teacher replied drily, flipping through a textbook. Looking up, he glared at the last two students to enter, flicking the door shut behind them with a wave of his wand.

"It seems that the charm you were to learn today is the 'canticum animam', a spell revealing the musical representation of your soul," he began tonelessly. "For people with uncommonly deep souls – of which I'm sure there are none among you," he sneered, "it is possible for more than one song to play. The highest number of songs recorded for one person was seven, and that person had Multiple Personality Disorder, playing one song for each personality." Hermione was hanging on the professor's every word, while Ron seemed impatient to find out what his soul sounded like.

"The charm is fairly simple," Snape continued. "As you intone 'canticum', you make a horizontal line from left to right," he demonstrated, "and during 'animam', you spiral in towards the center of the first line you made." With a twirl of his wrist, he inscribed a small spiral in the air.

"As doing it all at once would result in a terrible din, I will cast the first spell myself, then the student I choose will cast it on the student to his right, and so on." Raking the students with his eyes, his gaze fell on his favorite victim.

"Now then, Potter, shall we see what your soul is made of?" he smirked, and Harry stiffened. "Canticum animam!"

Four haunting notes rang out into the sudden silence of the classroom, and Harry paled. Then a haunting female voice joined the sound, singing out the sound of Harry's soul, and it was everything Harry had feared.

"Stoplight, lock the door.
Don't look back.
Undress in the dark,
And hide from you,
All of you.

You'll never know the way your words have haunted me.
I can't believe you'd ask these things of me.
You don't know me."

Keeping his eyes firmly locked on a point on the blackboard, he ignored the looks from his classmates.

"You belong to me,
My snow white queen.
There's nowhere to run, so let's just get it over.
Soon I know you'll see,
You're just like me.
Don't scream anymore my love, 'cause all I want is you."

At the front of the classroom, Severus Snape paled. This song was about sexual abuse! Staring at the hero of the Wizarding World, he took in the stony face and rigid posture, and realized that the young man before him knew exactly what the song was about.

"Wake up in a dream.
Frozen fear.
All your hands on me.
I can't scream.
I can't scream.

I can't escape the twisted way you think of me.
I feel you in my dreams and I don't sleep.
I don't sleep."

"Oh Merlin, the nightmares," Ron whispered, paling as he looked at his best friend. A shiver ran through Harry's frame at the words, and he clenched his hands visibly on the desk.

"I'm losing my mind and you just stand there and stare as my world divides.

You belong to me,
My snow white queen.
There's nowhere to run, so let's just get it over.
Soon I know you'll see,
You're just like me.
Don't scream anymore my love, 'cause all I want is you. "

Harry's eyes closed as the voice repeated "all I want is you" over and over again, and the incredulous Potions Master could see his jaw clench at the words. Silence reigned in the classroom as the last few notes rang out.

The green eyes flew back open again when the sound of wind sounded through the classroom. "No more," he breathed, his panicked eyes meeting the dark ones of the professor briefly before shutting against the shock there as several light tones rang out, soon being joined by an electric guitar.

"I tried to kill my pain
But only brought more
So much more
I lay dying
And I'm pouring crimson regret and betrayal
I'm dying, praying, bleeding and screaming
Am I too lost to be saved?
Am I too lost?"

Self-harm, too, Snape realized with a jolt. He had always believed the Golden Boy to be a spoiled, cocky brat, but with one simple charm his entire view of his student was being overturned, and he could see all his classmates reaching the same conclusion – even the boy's best friends looked completely lost, so they couldn't have known. Did anyone know? the teacher wondered. Somehow he doubted it.

"My God, my tourniquet
Return to me salvation…

My wounds cry for the grave
My soul cries for deliverance
Will I be denied, Christ
My suicide…"

Harry resolutely kept his eyes closed, refusing to see the shock and confusion in his classmates' faces as the woman's voice softly, sadly, caressed the last two words. My suicide… He had considered suicide, many times before. The temptation was there each and every time he cut, to just cut that little bit deeper… He bowed his head, moving his hands to cradle his forearms, unaware that sharp dark eyes caught that movement and recognized it for what it was.

Please let this be the last song, Harry prayed as the violin played the ending. Please don't let there be more, no more…

His silent words went unheeded, as another song began to play, the same voice singing again. Is that the voice of my soul? Harry wondered numbly. It certainly fit.

"Stay low.
Soft, dark, and dreamless,
Far beneath my nightmares and loneliness.
I hate me,
For breathing without you.
I don't want to feel anymore for you.

I long to be like you,
Lie cold in the ground like you…"

And there is the confirmation for my death wish, if anyone needed it, Harry thought darkly. Often he had entertained the idea of being buried where his parents lay, of simply ending it and joining the people who loved him. That idea had become all the more tempting after Sirius' death, but Harry had never found it in him to pull it through. Now that everyone knew, though, the wish to escape it all became nearly overwhelming, and he hugged himself tightly to keep himself from dashing out and cutting until it all faded to black…

Lost in his dark thoughts, he barely registered when one song ended and the next began. It was the voice that jolted him out of his thoughts, his head snapping up and his eyes flying open. It was a pure, light voice, very different from the previous voice, though the song was sorrowful. But the strangest thing was that he couldn't connect to the first few verses at all; they didn't apply to him. And then a phrase was sung, and he realized what this song meant for him.

"And that was the day that I promised
I'd never sing of love if it does not exist."

Severus Snape watched along with the rest of the class as the stony face of Harry Potter cracked. While the other songs had him retreating far, far into himself, this one seemed to touch a place that was so vulnerable, so raw, that he couldn't keep up the mask, and Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, the Golden Boy and hero of the Wizarding World, broke down and cried.

"But darling,
You are the only exception…"

Those five words were repeated several times, so tenderly and lovingly that it had the broken and abused child sobbing into his hands, curling into himself so far that his head was nearly in his lap. What must his life have been like if a simple love song could reduce him to such a state? Severus wondered sadly, feeling a deep ache in his chest for the young man in front of him. He didn't know if the song represented the love Harry wished he had, the love of his dead parents, or even the love Harry felt for someone, but it was obvious that he desperately wanted to hear those words spoken to him. Suddenly all his hateful words over the years came back to him, and he looked away, trying to regain his composure, though the hollow feeling he felt at the realization of how gravely he had wronged this child wouldn't leave him.

"And up until now I have sworn to myself
That I'm content with loneliness.

Because none of it was ever worth the risk.

Well you are the only exception.
You are the only exception…."

Sobs wracking his slight frame, Harry moved his hands to cover his ears, clawing his fingers into his hair. "Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop," he chanted brokenly, though he could barely hear himself over the music resonating through his body. "Don't, no more, please, no more, make it stop, I can't, I can't-" he sobbed, rocking back and forth on his chair, trying to drown out the music. He could handle the hate, the pain, the darkness, but the tender voice was undoing him. He couldn't handle love.

Then the room was silent again, blissfully silent, the only sounds Harry's sobs and broken entreaties. There wasn't a single student with dry eyes, and two girls were crying silently into the other's shoulder. Had anyone been able to take their eyes off the broken Golden Boy to look at their teacher, they would have seen the single tear slowly making its way down his sallow cheek for the boy he had hated.

The silence of the classroom remained unbroken as Harry's sobs slowly subsided until he was lying completely motionless, his head pillowed on his lap, hands clasped at the back of his head, his face completely hidden from view.

After several minutes of inaction, Ron Weasley hesitantly reached out a hand and laid it on Harry's upper back, drawing it back quickly at Harry's violent flinch. Reaching out again cautiously, he said as softly as he could, "It's just me, mate, it's okay…" Encouraged by the fact that the flinch this time had been far smaller, he began rubbing gentle circles into Harry's back, murmuring reassuring words all the while. "We're here for you, you don't have to be alone, we love you," he murmured, feeling the small shivers that ran through Harry's frame every so often. "We understand- well, not really, but we want to, and you know that we'll always love you no matter what, right? You're our best mate, my best friend, and you know that my whole family considers you an honorary Weasley; heck, Mum would adopt you if she could! You're never truly alone, mate, we're all here for you, alright? And I can understand that you didn't want to talk about it, but if you ever need me, I'm right here, and I'm not letting you do this alone."

Snape had to admit, for all that he found the Weasley brat annoying, he was a good friend, and he could already see Potter relaxing into the touch. Hopefully he and the Granger girl would be able to get him to open up to them, helping him heal. Meanwhile, Severus would ensure that he never went back to those Dursleys. How Albus could have possibly thought leaving him with them was a good idea was beyond him! And how had they all missed the signs? His hate had blinded him, and he cursed himself for it.

Emotionally exhausted, Harry slowly relaxed into the comforting hand on his back soothing him in a way that nobody had before. A steady warmth slowly filled him at the words Ron was speaking softly to him, and he wondered how he had ever believed himself alone. It was true; Ron and Hermione had stood by him through everything, and he was always treated like family by all the Weasleys, even getting a Weasley sweater each Christmas. Letting himself be comforted by the voice and touch, Harry fell asleep, and began the slow process of healing.

Snow White Queen – Evanescence
Tourniquet – Evanescence
Like You – Evanescence
The Only Exception - Paramore