"Wake up!" The rasping came from the door from the girl's aunt.
The eleven-year-old girl opened her black flaked green eyes tiredly and looked at the door. She stretched as best as she could and grabbed her broken glasses and made her way out of the broom closet that was her room. She tied her black and red hair back with a piece of green ribbon that she took from the attic, and revealed her lightning bolt scar on her forehead. Her life was a very tired some life, from cooking to cleaning and then rarely getting anything in returned.
"Claudia, get in here and start making breakfast!" Her aunt screeched.
"Yes, Aunt Petunia." She called back to her.
She made her way into the kitchen where her aunt was sitting at the table reading the paper with her coffee. Claudia walked over the pantry to receive what she would need to cook breakfast. Soon after she started to cook breakfast, her uncle and cousin walked into the room as well. They both sat down at the table just as she put down their plates in front of them. She walked back to the stove and counters and started to clean up.
"Daddy, my bacon isn't crispy enough." Dudley wined.
Claudia rolled her eyes while she was faced away from them and then started on a new batch of bacon for him. She then took the bacon and was about to throw it away when her uncle spoke up.
"Oh no, don't go wasting money like that. You eat it and be grateful, for that's all you are getting for today."
"Yes, Uncle." Claudia said to him.
She sat down at the table and ate the only meal that she was to get that day gladly. It was not only going to be the only meal that she was going to get that day, it was also the last meal that she would get in that house. The day before, when her aunt sent her up to the attic to clean, she found a photo album with an address of where her mother and aunt were from. She snuck the album down to her room and hid it under her bed.
She had everything ready to leave for that day. While her family went out today and leave her alone, she would take the money in the money jar and her bag that she fixed that was Dudley's with some food and the album inside, she would leave and go to King's Cross Station and head to Cokeworth to see where her mother was from. She has been dreaming of this day for a long time to finally find out who she is.
"Have you been listening?" Her aunt broke through her thoughts.
"What?" She said a little dazed.
"I said, if this house is not clean by the time one of us comes home you will be sleeping outside. Do I make myself clear?" She said leaning into her face.
"Yes, ma'am." Claudia said acting like she was scared. She didn't want them finding out about her plans now did she.
"Good." Her aunt leaned away and finished her breakfast.
After everyone was done, Aunt Petunia kissed her husband good-bye as he got in his car and drove away to work. She then took Dudley with her in down the street to the bus stop to go to town. After about twenty minutes, she climbed up to the top of the refrigerator and pulled down the jar. She pulled out all of the money and started to count it out to see if she would have enough to get to where she was going; she counted out 184.83 pounds. She figured that it would be enough for a one way to get there. She didn't know how much a ticket cost, so she figured she would take it all.
She ran to her room and started to pack up her bag. She went back to the kitchen and started to make her some sandwiches and grab her a few bottles of water. She ran to the door and made sure that none of her family members were there ready to catch her in the act. When she saw no one she ran out the door and over to the bus stop. After a few minutes, the bus that would take her to King's Cross Station. She paid the driver, who was looking at her like she was too young to be on the bus and was worried for her safety, 12.32 pounds for the ticket to get to the station and picked a seat in the very back of the bus.
After about twenty six minutes, they stopped at another bus stop and on came Aunt Petunia and Dudley. She saw them and tried to make herself as small as possible in the seat. They took a seat upfront and never took notice to her. Once then entered into London, she felt like she would make it. The soon stopped at a stop before King's Cross and her aunt and cousin got off; she felt so relieved. The next stop that they got to was her stop and she bolted out of the bus and into the station. She let go a sigh of relief that she was holding and walked up to the ticket station.
"May I help you?" The lady at the booth asked her. She had a kind smile to her that she really liked.
"Yes," Claudia said, "I would like a one-way ticket to Cokeworth, please." The lady punched out the ticket and handed it to her.
"That will be 38.46 pounds, please." The lady told her.
Claudia handed her the money and took her ticket to gate seven to wait for her train. After about half an hour, her train arrived and she got on. As she found a seat by the window, she saw police swarm the station along with her aunt, uncle, and cousin with them. The train started to move as they were all searching the station. She can't believe that she actually escaped her family-no her tormenters, for good. She leaned back in her seat and let out a giggle. That was something that she never did and she liked it. There was nothing that they could do now.
After about ten hours, the train stopped at her stop and she got out onto the new land. She looked around at the new surrounding like it would be her last time. The trees were a lush green along with the grass, but since the sun was down, it looked like it was on fire. The birds sang above her in the air and trees; the flowers on the hills where beautiful to look at for hours. The homes were like little cottages with two to three chimneys of a small village and the park was made of all wood and rope. She looked around the place and then at her clothes; her black shorts hung down from her and her grey shirt almost covering her shorts; the shoes that she wore almost sliding off of her feet. She looked like a homeless kid compared to the beauty of the town.
She felt sad to this, but started walking to the home that she knew belonged to her mother. She walked through the town and people were looking at her and directing their kids away from her. She really felt hurt from this, but kept her head high. She soon came up to the house that was her mother's. It was a beautiful two story house with a small flower garden in front of the house. She could see through the window, a family of four sitting down for dinner. She looked at them and saw how happy they were in that home and tears started to leak from her eyes. Her only wish was to have a family that would love her like that.
After seeing this family in her mother's home, she ran away to the park that she passed as the tears flew from her eyes.
As she was running, she ran into the black pant Jean legs of someone who wrapped arms, covered in a black wool material, around her in attempt to stop her, "Woe, calm down." The person said above her.
She looked up into black eyes that were framed by black hair. The man was very tall and muscular with pale skin, and a nose that looks like it was broken at least once in his life.
"I-I'm so-sor-sorry, sir." She choked out.
"What's wrong little one?" The man asked.
"It-it's ha-har-hard to-to ex-expl-explain." She cried out.
The man knelt down to her high and looked into her eyes.
He then looked at her close and back up at her, "Do you have a place to stay, little one?" He asked with a soft voice.
"The park." She answered looking down at his black shoes.
He shook his head and looked at her, "Not tonight." He said as he got up from his spot.
She looked up in confusion as tears streamed from her eyes. He took her hand and led her down the street to another house that looked like the one that she ran away from. He took her in and led her to a room that she found out was the kitchen. He led her to the counter and lifted her up before he walked out of the room to get something.
Claudia looked around the room as he was gone and saw that the room was an older looking kitchen. A stone fireplace sat at the far right of her and a sink with two different pumps that were different in shade, one a light grey and the other a dark grey looking color one, sat next to her. A small wooden table sat in the center of the room with four chairs around it, and the wooden cabinets and drawers sat above and under the stone counter that she sat on. The stove was an opening above the fireplace where a vent was in the back to let the smoke out to the top, and a wooden looking freezer and refrigerator sat at the far corner of the room by the door which the man walked through coming back into the kitchen.
The man walked over to her with a long white dress shirt that looked like it would fit over her small frame all the way down to her ankles. He handed it to her and turned around so she could change in peace. She changed into the shirt as fast as she could and then tapped the man on the shoulder to let him know that she was done. When he turned around, he took her old close and walked over to the fire place and threw them in. He then turned around to face her and saw that she was picking at the buttons of the shirt. He could tell something was wrong with her and so he walked back over to her.
She looked up when his shadow fell over her and saw him looking down at her. He lifted her up from the counter and led her into another room across from the kitchen. She found out, once she walked into the room, that it was a sitting room. The room had a comfortable feel to it with another fireplace, two chairs and a couch, two round tables sitting next to the chairs and a coffee table in front of the couch, and bookcases lining the rest of the walls. There was a TV above the fireplace along with small pictures frames filled with pictures- wait did that one picture just move? She looked at him and then back at the fireplace. All of the pictures look like they changed to be looking at them.
"I will explain." He said sitting in one of the chairs and pulled her into his lap. "I guess we should start with names first. My name is Severus Snape, but you may call me Severus."
"Claudia, Claudia Potter." She told him quietly. He looked at her and his eyes got big at the name.
She looked at him with confusion, "Is something wrong?" She asked a little scared.
He shook his head a little, "No, no it's just that I knew your mother. We were good friends when we were younger."
"What do you mean were?" She asked him.
"Your mother died a long time ago." He told her sadly.
"I know, but you can still be friends. She's not gone completely. You still have the memories of the two of you together. She's never truly gone from you." Claudia told him looking up at him. He looked down at her as tears formed in his eyes. He held her close to him as he blinked back the tears that were threatening to fall from his eyes. She looked up at him and him down at her.
"You're right." He told her. "I want to tell you everything about her that I know, but first, how much do you know about your past and where you come from?"
"I know that my parents died in a car crash."
"What, who told you that?" He asked a little angry.
"Aunt Petunia did." She said a little scared that she would get in trouble.
"You're not in trouble, my little one." He told her. "Why are you not with her now, may I ask."
"I ran away from them and they found out all called the police." She said looking down at her hands.
"How did you get the money to come here?"
"I took it from them from their money jar, the rest is in my bag." Severus smiled as if he understood.
"Claudia, I want to show you something, but you must promise not to be scared and let me finish explaining, alright?"
Claudia nodded her head in understanding. Severus pulled out a stick and showed it to her. She looked a little confused until red sparks flew out of it and around the room. She was so astonished by what was going on that she didn't see his face light up at what he was doing. The sparks then flew over to her and into her face. She leaned back as they just hovered in front of her face then they started to change color and shape in front of her. She giggled at the sparks and looked up at Severus. He looked at her and smiled down at her. She was a real blessing to have around. Why would she ever run away? What happened to her while she was with her aunt and uncle?
"Little one, why did you run away from your family?" He asked her.
Claudia looked away and answered, "They never loved me."
"Now, that can't be true. You are a real blessing to have."
She looked up at him with hope in her eyes, "You really think so?"
"Of course I do." He said and held her close to him.
"Have you eaten today?"
"Yes, some bacon and a sandwich that I made for the train ride."
"Is that all?" He asked a little astonished.
"That was all I was aloud." She said looked up at him.
Severus lifted her up and took her back into the kitchen where he sat her in one of the chairs. Her little feet hung down and swayed. He looked at her with a smile on his face and shook his head, his hair flying back and forth. He walked over to a door off to the left that she didn't see her first time in the room and came back with an arm full of vegetables.
"How does soup sound. It usually gets cold here and something warm might make you feel better."
She nodded her head at the idea and then looked at him, "I never had someone cook for me before." She told him.
"What do you mean?" He asked, turning around from putting the vegetables on the counter.
"I always cooked for my relatives all of the time, ever since I was young enough to walk."
Severus looked at her at this and walked over to her. He knelt down and looked her in the eyes, "Claudia, I want to do something, but I want you're ok."
"What is it?" She asked a little worried.
"I want you to let me see into your mind to see what they did to you, will you let me?"
Claudia thought about it for a minute and then nodded her head hesitantly to let him do it. He put his index fingers on her temple and looked into her mind at the memories. He saw what happened ever since she could remember. He saw Petunia looking like a skinny horse throwing a frying pan at her head and just grazing her, a whale like man throwing her into a broom closet where a mattress sat on the floor with a thin blanket lying on top. He saw a smaller version of her uncle tripping her down the stairs and almost breaking a vase that she caught. He then saw her plan that she accomplished and the photo album that she had taken with her in her bag. He would take a look at it later once he was done looking into her mind.
He then saw all of the accidental magic that she did. From appearing up to the top of the school house roof to changing her teacher's hair blue. There was many more and these were the ones that he would keep to himself. This was a proud moment in a parent's life for a wizard or witch to do magic for the first time and since he never had kids of his own, he would keep these as if he were her parent and now he knew what it was like to experience this. He took his hands away after he saw all that he needed to see and looked back at her. She looked up at him a little worried and he just smiled.
"I promise you, I will never sent you back to those people as long as I live." He said running his fingers threw her hair. She threw her arms around him and held on tight like he would disappear if she let go. Severus wrapped his arms around her and held on tight to her.
Severus moved away to look at her and smiled, "I will never let anything happen to you, ever." Tears fell from her eyes and he wiped them away. He stud back up and walked back over to the counter. He looked over his shoulder at her and smiled when he saw her looking at him.
"Would you like to help me?" He asked turning back to the cutting that he started to do.
"I would love to." She told him as she got up from the chair that she was sitting in.
He pulled out his wand and summoned a stool over for her to stand on next to him over the sink.
"You can clean the vegetables and I'll cut them." He said with a smile on his face. She walked over and climbed up onto the stool. Severus looked down at her and for the first time how small she was. She's supposed to be ten-years-old and she looks to be about five maybe six.
"Claudia, how much did your relatives feed you while you were living with them?"
She looked up at him from the sink, "About three time a week. Sometimes if I'm in trouble I wouldn't get food for a week to a month, just water to keep me doing my work."
"Hmmm," He said in thought, "What kind of work did they make you do?"
"Well," She said looking back at the sink with the warm water and vegetables were in, "I cooked, cleaned, did the clothes, paint the house whenever it needed it, served for other family members, stayed locked up in my room whenever we had guest, I worked in the garden, the yard, and I think that's it." She told him and then looked up at him. He looked down at her in astonishment and anger at what they made her do.
"Is something wrong?" She asked a little worried.
"Yes, something is wrong, but not to you, what your relatives did to you and made you do." He said to her. "Tomorrow, I'm going to go see them and set them straight. You will never see them ever again."
He turned back to the vegetables before him and started to cut them again. She turned back to the sink and smiled a little thinking about never having to go back to them ever again and that they would get to know how she felt. After a while, while the soup was simmering in the kettle over the fire, Claudia and Severus were sitting at the table talking and getting to know each other. She was told all about the school that she would be going to and everything that she would even know about going to Hogwarts. Severus even when and got his Hogwarts: A History for her to read so that she was all set up for knowing everything there was for her to get ready for school and to also help her better know who she is. He would take her to Hogwarts tomorrow and ask McGonagall to watch her as he talked with Dumbledore about her relatives and then go talk with them.
He walked over to the fireplace and stirred the kettle when Claudia spoke up, "What will happen to me since I'm not going to live with my relatives?"
She was a little worried about not going to stay with Severus. She really wanted to be with him and find out more about her life and about her parents. He turned to look at her once he was done stirring the soup and sat back down at the table.
He looked her in the eyes and said, "I will keep you until you find someone who wants to take you and will treat you right, but later on if you want, you can stay with me."
Her eyes lit up when he said the last part and she smiled with so much joy that she looked like she could light up the night sky with her happiest. Severus smiled at her and then walked back over to the kettle. He took two wooden bowls and filled them up, taking them back over to their spot. He summoned two wooden spoons over to them and then handed one over to her, "I find wooden bowls keep the heat in and that wooden spoons don't heat up as fast as metal ones." She nodded her head as if she understood.
After dinner, Severus took her to the sitting room and walked over to one of the bookshelves across the room from them. He pulled on a snake statue that swung the bookcase back revealing a staircase leading up. He took her hand and led her upstairs to a hallway with double doors at the end. He led her to the end of the hall and opened the double doors at the end of the hall and moved away so she could see. She walked in the room in awe at the sight of everything.
The walls were done in a dark forest green color with a silver beam going across the middle of the walls with a fireplace at one end of the room next to a dark black door and a king size bed in the center of the room pushed up against the room. There was another door on the right side of the room also in black with a dark cherry wood desk slanted in the far right corner of the room with a matching chair behind it and two chairs in front. A cherry wardrobe sat in the far left corner of the room next to a night stand next to the bed and an oil lamp sat on the night stand with a picture sitting next to it. The windows were from the floor to the ceiling and had thick forest green curtains and silver curtains under them to cover them at night. The books in the room were on the mantel piece of the fireplace with two snakes at the book ends and a pouch sat at the right end of the mantle and a strange glow came from the opening.
She walked into the room and looked at him. He nodded his head and she continued into the room. She looked around the room and took every little detail in. She walked over to the fireplace and looked at the green bag with the silver draw string that had the light coming out.
Severus walked over and took the bag down to show her, "This is called floo powder, you throw a pinch in and the fire will turn green, then you step in and call out your destination that you want to go to. We will be using it tomorrow." He said looking at her. She looked at him in awe and then back at the powder.
He put it back where it was and then showed her the doors, "This one," he indicated to the one next to the fireplace, "goes to your room. The other door," he turned to the one across the room, "goes to the bathroom, come."
He started too walked to the other bed room. He opened the door and showed her a similar room with a fireplace, a smaller desk, a queen size bed, a wardrobe, and the rest of the walls were covered in bookshelves. There was one part of the wall with a floor to ceiling window with green and silver curtains.
"Why is everything in green and silver?" She asked as Severus scooped her up in his arms and took her over to the bed where he preceded to tuck her into bed.
"I am one of the head houses at the school. I run Slytherin house, where my students are considered cunning. There also made up mostly of pure blood wizards and witches."
"What do you mean pure blood?" She asked in confusion.
"Well there are three different types of wizards; pure bloods, half-bloods, and Muggle-borns. Pure bloods are people who have a wizard father and a witch mother and usually all the way through the family tree to the beginning of the days. Half-bloods are wizards with a magical parent and a Muggle parent. Lastly, a Muggle-born is a wizard with both Muggle parents, most of the time in this case the child is abused because of their ability and the parents are afraid of what they can do. They usually want to beat the magic out of them, but they just end up killing the child in the process."
"That's terrible." Claudia said a little scared that her relative were probably trying to do that to her.
"I know, but I will never let anything like that happen to you, I promise." He told her reassuring. She smiled at him and nodded her head.
He smiled back at her and walked over to her door before she spoke up, "Sir?"
He turned around to see her propped up on one elbow, "Yes?"
He smiled at her, "Goodnight, Claudia." He turned the light out and closed the door leaving a crack open.
He walked over to his desk and pulled out a quill and parchment and proceeded to write a letter to the headmaster about what happened that day and that he would be seeing him tomorrow. With that he called his black barn owl, Nightingale, and handed the letter to her. With that she flew out the window and Severus went to bed for the night waiting for the next day to begin. In the other room, however, Claudia didn't want to go to sleep in case this was all a dream and she would be in her broom closet again. She soon fell into a restless sleep full of nightmares of her relatives.