The next morning, Severus went to wake up Claudia and he found her in a terrible state.
She looked to be in immense pain and he didn't know from what until he hear her talking in her sleep, "Please, Uncle, I'm sorry."
She was having a nightmare and Severus did the only thing that he could think of; he walked over briskly and sat down on her bed. He took her shoulders and shook her gently to wake her up. Her eyes opened and she grabbed onto Severus's arms like he was her life line. She had sweat purring down her face and her hair stuck to her cheeks. She looked into his eyes and saw what she was doing.
She let go of him and looked scared, "I'm sorry, sir."
He shook his head with a smile, "Its fine and its Severus, not sir." She looked down with a sheepish smile on her face.
He smiled and shook his head again, "Come, breakfast will be ready soon."
"What about my clothes?" She asked.
"Hmmm, one moment."
He walked out of the room and soon returned with a four feathers. He laid them on the bed and pointed his wand out and pointed at him; therefore, they turned into a black three quarter sleeved sweater, dark blue jeans, a pair of plain black ankle socks and a pair of blue and black running shoes. She looked at them; then at the man as he walked out the door and closed it behind him. She looked at the clothes and picked up the sweater; bring it close to her, she held it close to her chest and nose taking in the scent of the it. It smelled like lilies next to a running stream; granite, the whole house smelled like lilies. She shook her head to clear it and then quickly dressed. She walked out of the rooms and down the stairs to the sitting room where he was waiting by bookcase to the left of her as she walked in. Wait, that bookshelf wasn't there before, was it? She walked over to him and he smirked at her as he pulled on another snake statue.
The bookcase moved away and led to the kitchen, "All of the snakes lead somewhere in my home. The one on the north wall least to my private potion lad and office, the one to the east wall leads to the back garden, the one to the south wall leads up stairs, as you know, and the west wall leads to the kitchen and front door."
She nodded her head as if to tell him that she understood what he was telling her. She walked with him through the doorway and into the kitchen where he proceeded to make breakfast for them. After they were done with their small meal of oatmeal and fruit, they proceeded to the sitting room where they walked upstairs to Severus's room. He walked over to the fireplace and grabbed the floo powder form the mantle. He took a pinch and threw it into the fire where it roared up and turned green.
He looked over at Claudia and asked, "Is there anything you want to take with you?" She thought about it for a minute and then ran into the room that she was staying. Severus's looked after her when she ran out of the room, and watched as she came back with the book that he gave her to read. He looked at her and then shook his head with a smile.
"What?" She asked with a smile on her face.
He looked up at her with the smirk still on his face and said, "You remind me of your mother. She acted the same way when it came to books."
Claudia blushed a little at that and took the offered hand that he held out to her. They walked into the fire and Claudia was a little surprised that she was doing this.
She looked up at Severus and he said clearly "Hogwarts, Professor McGonagall's Office."
With that they were gone from the house and flying through the floo network. They soon landed in another fireplace with Severus landing on his feet and Claudia stumbled a little from the sudden stop. Severus placed an arm around her torso to steady her and stand her back up with a smirk on his face from her first time.
"Severus, what a pleasure to see you." A woman's voice greeted them.
Claudia looked up and saw an older standing next to an old wooden desk with a red padded straight back wooden chair. She greying black hair pulled tight into a bun and striking green eyes under square glasses. She wore dark green robes and stood tall, showing that she was an important person.
"Hello Professor McGonagall." Severus told the woman.
"Now, Severus, you know that it's Minerva, and who is this young one?" She asked looking at Claudia through her glasses.
"This, Minerva, "Severus said and didn't miss the smirk from the older woman, "is Claudia Potter. I found her after she ran away from her relatives."
Minerva looked at him in shock and brought a hand up to her mouth at looking at her.
"Claudia?" She asked the young girl. Claudia nodded her head at the woman, and Minerva opened her arms to her, "Come here, let me take a closer look at you."
Claudia looked at Severus and then walked over to the woman. Minerva placed her hands on Claudia's shoulder and took in her features.
"You look just like your mother in every way. I especially like the black hair from your father and the red highlights from your mother, you have both of them in you."
"You knew my parents?" She asked softly.
"Knew them, oh, that hardly an understatement. I was there when you were born, dear. I even got to hold you and you were a tiny one at that time; I can tell you still are." She said taking her in even more. "When you're here, I'll make sure you eat enough so you can grow tall like your father was."
"That's actually something I would like to talk to you about, would you mind watching her while I talk with Professor Dumbledore about her?"
"Of course, Severus." She told him. He nodded his head and walked out of the room.
She turned to look at Claudia and smiled, "So, what do you have planned for today, dear?"
Claudia shook her head as she held the book close to her. Minerva smiled at her sincerely and held out her hand, "Why don't I take you to Hogsmeade and show you around, hmm?" She asked her. Claudia looked at her with curiosity in her eyes and leaned her head to the side.
Minerva looked at her and laughed, "You look like your mother when you do that."
She had some kind of glint in her eyes that made Claudia trust the woman. Claudia took the woman's hand after a while and walked with her out the door. They walked down the stairs and Claudia saw all of the wonders around her as they walked through the hallways of the big place. She saw of the wonders in the castle, from ghost to the moving paintings. Even the moving stairs made her face lite up in delight. Minerva looked at her with a little sadness in her eyes at the thought of so much that she had to go through. It broke her heart to see that in that young girl; that she took everything in her life as amazement.
She took the girl down a dirt path to a small village and stopped at the gates, "Welcome to Hogsmeade."
Claudia looked around and then smiled at the woman. Minerva smiled down at her and then leaded her around the village. She showed her all of the things in the village and took her into every shop that there was in the whole little village. Claudia enjoyed herself not knowing what Severus was doing in the castle above them. Severus made the trudge up to Professor Dumbledore's office and up to the statue.
"Lemon drop." He said in discuss to the statue and it jumped out of the stairs that soon started to spin up. Severus walked up to the top stair and let it spin all the way up to the top. Once at the top, Severus walked over to the door and knocked roughly on the door, waiting for a reply to come to his ears.
"Come in, Severus." The old man's voice filled his ears as the door opened on its own accord.
Severus walked into the room and saw the ancient professor sitting behind his desk with the twinkle in his eyes. Severus sat in one of the chairs that was offered to him and nodded his head to the man.
"How can I help you, my boy? Would you like a lemon drop?"
"No thank you, Professor. I want to talk to you about something that has come to my attention recently."
"How recently are we talking about?" The professor asked.
"Last night, to be precise, sir. I was graced with the presents of Claudia Potter coming to my house last night crying into my clothing. I took her home with me and have found put that she was being abused at her home."
"What makes you say that?" He asked with a twinkle in his eyes.
"She let me look at her memories and I saw everything that happened to her that her relatives inflicted on her. They have broken almost every bone in her body and caused her so many bruises that I am surprise that her skin turned back to normal. Can you image how many nightmares that she has had over the course of time that she was there? She had one last night in my home, right next to me, and I never heard one sound come from her. She must have been taught that if she made any sound that she would be punished."
"Now, Severus, you know that she could have morphed the memories to show you what she wanted to think. They could be loving parents that miss her very much and-"
"THEY ARE NOT LOVING PARENTS YOU, OLD COOT! THEY WERE KILLING HER AND YOU DID NOTHING TO STOP IT FROM HAPPENING AT ALL AS SHE TOOK IT EVERYDAY IN SILENCE! SHE WILL NEVER GO BACK THERE AND I WILL HANDLE THEM MYSELF!" With that, Severus spun around and walked out of the office and down to the gates that led out of Hogwarts and to Number 4 Private Drive. Little did he know was that the Headmaster followed him down and came with him.
They both arrived at the front door together and Severus knocked on the door, "I thought that you didn't believe me."
"I don't, I just don't want to see you go to jail for something stupid. You are a needed spy, my boy." Severus was going to say something about that when the door flew open and revealed a very big man in the doorway. He looked a very deep color of purple as he looked down at them.
"Can I help you?" He said through gritted teeth.
"Yes, one we would like to come in and two we want to talk about your niece." Severus said as he pulled out his wand and moved the man away from the doorway. He walked them into the living room where the rest of the family were waiting as Severus backed the man into the couch and made him sit down. Dumbledore sat down in one of the chairs and Severus stood in the doorway and looked around the room and into the hallway.
"What do you want to know about her?" Petunia asked them as she eyed Severus wearily.
"Well for starters, why does it look like she was not even in this house in this first place? I see no pictures of her anywhere." Severus asked as he turned to look at them with his eyes blank and cold.
"We never accepted her into our family." Petunia squeaked as she knew what Severus was capable of doing. Severus looked like he was about to throw curse after curse at them for what the woman just said to him.
"We didn't know how to accept her into our family she was weird and wasn't like us what were we supposed to do; we were scared of her and I mean we tried to beat it out of her so she would be normal like the rest of the kids her age and then maybe she could be accepted into our family I me it was just like your father and-"
"SILENCE!" Severus roared at them; he was tired of hearing her talk like that and bringing up his father only poked the sleeping bear, as the Muggles would say. Petunia fell deathly silent and started to vibrate next to her husband and her son on the floor.
"HOW DARE YOU TALK TO MY WIFE LIKE THAT YOU FREAK!" Vernon yelled at the man as spit flew everywhere. Severus took out his wand again and pointed it at the large man that was starting to get up from his seat, but froze at the sight of the wand. He slowly lowered himself back down onto the couch and stayed silent for the rest of the time.
"I have seen what you have done to her while she was living here with you and have come to the conclusion of one thing; I will be taking her in and raising her up in a good environment that is right for her." He said as he started to walk out of the door, but turned to look at them with a smirk on his face, "You will be getting the forms from me soon and you will never see her and the money that she took from you ever again as long as she is with me. I feel that the money was rightfully hers in the first place."
He turned away from them and walked out of the house apperating back to the school with Dumbledore right behind in shock. As they arrived back, Severus was striding to the dungeons that was his home during the school year and walked into his private office. He sat down on of the couched in the room and brought his hands up to his face. He soon felt a hand on his shoulder and saw that it was Dumbledore with a sad look on his face.
"I'm so sorry, my boy. I never knew what was going on in that house. Where is she now?"
"With Minerva; I asked her to watch her for me as I went to deal with that problem."
"Good for now would be a good time to make a list of everything that you will need for her in her new life.
Severus looked at him and summoned a piece of parchment and a quill, and charmed it to write whatever he said.
"Well first, she will need some new clothes since she has been wearing her cousin's old hand-me-downs. She will also need some books for her to read as she is with me and her school things since she will be starting this year. I'll also need to find out what she interested in since her birthday is coming up fast. I don't know how to do this."
"Yes, you do." Albus told him as he placed a hand on his shoulder.
Severus looked at the man and then bowed his head to look at his hands in his lap. After a while, Albus left him alone and Severus sat there thing about all of the things that he could do for her while she was with him. A little while later, a brown barn owl flew into his quarters. He received a note from the two women inviting him to lunch at the Three Broom Sticks at noon sharp. Severus looked at his emerald eye embellished silver pocket watch and decided to head out and be there early as he usually was. He decided that he would be able to look around and see if he could find something that she may like. He took his pouch of coins that he had and his travel cloak, and started to make his way down to Hogsmeade.
As he walked through the gates he saw the two women walking over to the book store and took long strides to make his way over to them. Once he was walking along side of them, after startling Minerva and receiving a slap in the arm, they were walking together into the store.
Minerva walked over to the novel section and was looking for something for her while Severus leaned over to Claudia and whispered into her ear, "Why don't you go and look for something that you might like."
She looked up at him with a smile on her face and her eyes lit up with glee and ran over to the fiction section of the book store. Severus shook his head with a smirk and walked over to the potion section and looked for the new Hidden Potions in the World book for his collection and the new Defense against Dark Spells. He soon when looking for the new child that has been living with and found her in the section with the elegant journals; she was looking at a certain green one with the Irish Tree of Life symbol on the front.
Severus walked behind her just as she was reaching for the book and gently placed his hands onto her shoulder, making her jump into the air a little. She turned around to face him and a sheepish smile came over her face when she saw who it was. He looked down at her and smiled with a sincere smile on his face. He looked over her head just by his eyes and looked back down at her and, he saw that she didn't notices him looking at the book.
"She must like to write. I'll need to search this more and see what else I can find out about her."
"Come; let's go look for books that you might like to read. We need to fill up your bookshelves in your room."
He just said her bookshelves in her room and she liked the sound of that being told to her. She took his offered hand and he led her over to the bookshelves filled with books her age. She picked out a few adventure ones and all of the books about the history of the new world that she was in that the store had. Severus picked some out on Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts. The other books that she would get would be her school books and those were explanatory. He really found out easily about her love for history, just like her mother and even him, which is weird since James never did like history. He figured that she got it more from her mother then anyone really.
While she was looking at the books Minerva walked over to them; Severus whispered in her ear about the green journal that she was looking at with the Irish Tree of Life on the cover and asked her to pick it up for him. He had promise to repay her later on. She nodded her head and walked over to the book that he was talking about and picked it up; hiding it from Claudia's view. After Claudia had picked out a huge pile of books, Severus laughed at the sight and made a comment about how she didn't have to buy the whole store at one and that they could come back to get other books that she may want, but he bought all of the books for her anyway and the cashier was more than happy to sell the books to them seeing as to how many she was getting. Severus paid the man who was so thrilled to sell the books and receive the money since it was the most that he had sold since he has been the owner of the shop.
After they finished, Severus called for Minerva and told her that they would be over at the Apothecary looking for new ingredients for his potions and how he need to stock up on some that were running low at home. She waved them off and looked for more books that she could get. When Claudia turned away Minerva held up the journal as in to ask if it was the right one; Severus nodded his head to the woman and then led the girl out of the shop before she bought the entire store. They walked across the street and over to another.
Before going in, Severus turned to look at her and grabbed her shoulders, "Some of the things in here is really scary for someone your age and if you feel like you don't want to come in you can wait out here for me. I only need to get a few things in here and I will be right out."
With that in mind, Claudia looked into his eyes and told him, "Can I stay out here and wait for you. I don't really like dark things."
The way that she said dark and not scary broke his heart to see her like that. He nodded his head and walked inside. Claudia was outside for a few moments when she looked across the street and to the left a little at the store next to the book store. The thing in the window caught her eye and she walked over to get a better look. What caught her eye was a quill, but not just any quill; it was a green quill with a silver tipped and six other tips to change it for different writing stiles. It also came with its own ink and little stand for the quill to sit in. It was the most beautiful writing quill that she has ever seen.
She didn't know how long she was standing there when there was a hand placed on her shoulder. She turned around to see a man with a long flowing silver beard that he tucked into the belt of his blue robes with sparkling blue eyes that were behind half-moon glasses. He was very old and had a kind grandfather feel to him. The man smiled down at her and she smiled back up at him.
"Hello, you must be Claudia."
"Yes, sir." She answered with respect to him.
"What are you doing out here all alone?"
"Severus is in the store over there," She said pointing to the shop that she was just standing outside of, "and asked me if I would be uncomfortable going inside with all of the dark things inside so I asked to stay out here, and as I was standing out here I saw this quill set and it was just so beautiful to look at it. I've never seen anything like it." She said turning back to the quill set and looked at them longingly.
She always loved books and stories that she would hear from her cupboard under the stairs whenever her aunt would read to her cousin in the living room when they were younger. She even took old books from Dudley old room and taught herself how to read, but the day that she started school and got better grades then Dudley, she was locked into her cupboard for a week with no food and was only out to do chores and use the bathroom. She shook her head to get out of her daze and then looked back at the man standing behind her.
He was still smiling at her and then patted her head. It was the strangest feeling that she ever felt. No one has ever touched her like that. He walked away just as Severus was walking out of the shop. He was looking for Claudia and was getting worried until he saw her across the street at Scrivenshaft's Quill Shop. He was really relieved and so he walked over to her on the other side of street and right up behind her. She saw him coming in the glass, so she turned around to look at him with a little worry in her eyes that she would be in trouble. She didn't mean to stand there for so long and was going to go back across the street before he came out, but she got so lost at looking at the quill that she and talking to the man that she lost track of the time.
He saw the look and gave her a reassuring smile to her. She saw the smile and returned it back to him. He looked over her head at the quill set in the window and then back down at her. She looked up at him and then just took his hand into hers. He smiled down at her and then walked back over to the book Gladrags Wizardwear store right as Minerva was walking out of the shop.
"Well I'm done with book shopping for now. How about we start shopping again? We need to get you some new clothes instead of Severus using feather to make your clothes. Not that your Transfiguration is bad it's very good, but one; you would not have clothes her size laying around your house, and two; I see the feather fluff on the sweater." Minerva said picking a little one off.
Severus looked at the woman with one eyebrow raised and a smirk on his face. Claudia looked between them and smiled a little at them. They walked over to a big cottage like building with a small wooden sigh at the door that said Three Broomstick. She smiled at the name and was led into the little place. They walked over to a table with padded benches that was close to the door. Severus and Claudia sat next to each other in the corner facing the whole place and Minerva sat across from them. Soon young looking woman with blond wavy hair and green eyes walked over to their table.
She had a kind smile on her face which got bigger when she saw who was at the table, "Why, Severus Snape. Fancy seein' ya here, and who is this little one here?" She asked as she saw Claudia. She really liked this lady; Severus on the other hand was blushing at her.
"This is Claudia, Madam Rosmerta." Minerva answered.
"As in Claudia Potter?" Madam Rosmerta asked as she lowered her voice for only them to here. Minerva nodded her head and her face dropped into a sincere smile. She nodded her head at them and took their orders. Severus with a light salad, Minerva with a small Shepard Pie, and Claudia with a small bowl of Chicken Tikka Masala. They all had an order of butter beer, Severus very cautious about letting Claudia start drinking it and, Minerva and Madam Rosmerta part to convince him that it wasn't going to hurt her at all. They all had enjoyed lunch very well and, the trio walked out of the little pub feeling full and happy as they made their way to Gladrags Wizardwear for some regular clothing. Little did they know that a meddlesome old man was watching them from afar knowing a secret that would change everything in the war, and the outcome of the young dark haired man and the young child with him.
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