As It Began

When Snape is sent to deliver Harry's Hogwarts letter on his 11th birthday, will he still be able to hate Harry after meeting the Dursleys? Harry is a first year at Hogwarts. HP & SS No slash!


10. Chapter 10

As the day drug on, the well of trepidation in Harry’s stomach grew. It was nearing 6:00 when the Gryffindors went down to dinner, and his meeting with Snape was in less than an hour. Harry didn’t eat much, though food was forced upon him. 

    “Eat up, Harry,” George Weasley said. “Snape will want you nice and fat before he eats you.”

    “Shut up, George,” Fred chimed in. “But really, Harry, you need to gain a little weight before the Quidditch match against Ravenclaw next week. Don’t want the wind to knock you off your broom.”

    Harry took a half hearted bite of chicken simply to appease them. 

    “Come to think of it, you better not have detention or...whatever it is with Snape on the night of the match. Wood would kill you,” Fred said with his usual lighthearted grin.

    “If Snape doesn’t do it first,” George said.

    “Oh, be quiet, the both of you! Let Harry eat in peace,” Hermione said in an annoyingly commanding voice. Fred and George shared a look.

    “Trying to study, Hermione?”

    “At the dinner table? No way.”

    “Something is off about that sentence...”

    “Yeah, that won’t do.”

    “Ought to do something about it, eh Fred?”


    Hermione rolled her eyes and tried to tune out their incessant chattering. Harry, amused and grateful that the attention had been shifted from him, took this chance to take a few bites of his meal and glance around him. He was beginning to recognize a few of the people from other houses, such as Hannah Abbott from his Herbology class and- why was Parvati sitting at the Ravenclaw table? He glanced down his own table and spotted her there. Looking between the two he realized that they were twins. Idly, he wondered if they acted like Fred and George, then supposed not seeing as they had been sorted into different houses. Suddenly, Harry’s scar prickled. His head immediately snapped towards Professor Snape at the head table. He was staring at him intently.

    Harry was about to alert Ron and Hermione to this occurrence, when a voice sounded from behind him. 

    “M-Mr. Potter?”

    Harry jumped, then turned around to face Professor Quirrell. His scar prickled even more intensely, but he shut that out of his mind.

    “Yes, sir?”

    “May I-I speak w-with you?” he stuttered.

    “I suppose,” Harry said reluctantly. As he got up from the bench, he saw that Professor Snape had left the Head table.

    Harry checked the time, “Oh, I’m sorry Professor, but I’m due for a meeting with Professor Snape in ten minutes. I’m afraid this will have to wait,” he said. “He won’t be happy if I’m late.”

    “I s-see,” Quirrell said, “I hope y-you realize th-that I will f-f-find you.”

    Harry froze, trying to discern whether or not this was meant to come out in a threatening tone. With one last nervous narrowing of the eyes, Quirrell turned on his heel and left the Great Hall. 

    “Harry?” Ron prompted, breaking him from his trance. “What was that about?”

    “I wish I knew,” Harry said honestly. “But I wasn’t lying, I really do need to go  meet with Snape. See you later, okay?”

    “Alright,” Ron agreed hesitantly.

    Harry turned to the twins, “If I’m not back by 10, send a search party, will you?”

    “Will do, Harry,” they said in unison. Harry made a mental note to ask them how they managed to answer in sync.

    He took his time leaving the Great Hall, though Harry realized that he only had a few minutes to reach the dungeons. In his apprehension, he stalled for time. He exited the large double doors and turned down the corridor to make his way downstairs. As he walked, he heard voices amongst the echoes of his footsteps. He stopped in his tracks, trying to discern whether or not they were in his head. It would not be surprising given the events of the past week. They rose and fell like normal voices, which comforted Harry that he was not insane.

    He crept down the hallway until he reached the intersection from which the voices were coming. 

    “I-I didn’t m-mean-” a voice stuttered.

    “You are to stay completely clear...” Harry could not make out the sentence, for the darkly familiar voice had dropped so threateningly low that he strained to pick it up again. “-gilimens.”

    There was a silence for a moment. It was broken by a ferocious growl. 

    “Any particular reason you are practicing Occlumency at the moment?” Snape asked viciously. “Hiding something?”

    “N-no, i-it is h-habit. Y-you have n-no r-right...” he stammered.

    Snape swore, “I’ll be waiting for you to... make a mistake,” he said with slow, cold enunciation. “Then, I can assure you, I will be there to see that you are punished.”

    Harry was frozen to the spot. He heard heavy footfalls coming closer. Summoning his will, he forced his stiff legs to carry him towards the dungeons at a run. Luckily, if the Dursleys had taught him anything useful, they had certainly taught him how to run and do so silently. He did not stop until he squealed to a halt in front of Snape’s door. Harry straightened his robes and tried to catch his breath. Barely a minute later, Snape came gliding down the hallway.

    “Mr. Potter,” he inclined his head. Harry narrowed his eyes.

    “Professor,” he replied as Snape undid the charms on his door.

    “You may enter.”

    Harry did as was suggested and stepped into the now familiar room. He took a seat at the chair and carefully folded his hands in his lap, trying not to be nervous. He was worried that Snape’s apparent anger at Quirrell would leak into this conversation. Harry wondered why he was here.

    “I assume you are wondering why you are here,” Professor Snape said, lowering himself into the chair across from Harry.    

    Harry remembered the snippet of conversation he heard just moments before about thoughts. He squirmed in his chair and resolved to ask Hermione if people could read minds. 

    “Potter,” he began, then scrutinized Harry closely. “What did Professor Quirrell want with you?”    

    “I don’t know, sir. He wanted to talk to me, but I excused myself to come down here. Thank you, sir.” 

    Snape looked truly perplexed. “Whatever for?”

    “For an excuse not to talk to him,” Harry replied quietly, not wanting to be seen as a coward. After all, he was a Gryffindor.

    “Does he frighten you?” Snape asked with a higher level of patience than Harry would have expected from him.

    “No, it isn’t that...” Harry trailed off, looking away.

    “Well?” Snape snapped, shattering the illusion of patience.

    Harry flinched almost imperceptibly. “Uh, well when he looks at me a certain way, or something, or maybe it’s when he is near me,” Harry struggled for words, “my scar tingles and gets itchy.”

    Snape narrowed his gaze.

    “It’s okay though, I can handle it,” Harry assured him quickly, as Snape looked about to yell.

    Rather than yelling, Snape got up and moved to tower over Harry. His hand shot towards Harry’s face as he cringed. A flicker of hurt crossed Snape’s features. Inches from Harry’s face, the large hand stopped, then gently brushed the scar. It was as if someone had poured a bucket of icy water over Harry’s head. He gasped. A similar sensation must have shot through Snape, for he held his hand gingerly, rubbing it with its counterpart.
    “Stay,” he ordered, though not particularly harshly.

    He returned from the back room moments later carrying a small tin.
    “Your scar is exceptionally inflamed, have you noticed?”

    “No, sir, though it hurt pretty bad when he was standing right behind me,” Harry answered.

    Snape nodded, “May I?”

    This time, it was Harry scrutinizing Snape’s face. Slowly, he nodded.

    The chilling shock did not return as Snape’s thumb smeared salve over Harry’s scar, though a soothing sensation filled his forehead. Harry smiled gratefully.

    Snape returned to his seat. “You may keep that, if it bothers you again.”

    “Thank you, sir,” Harry said.

    Snape merely nodded. 

    “Why am I here?”

    “How are your studies going?” he asked Harry abruptly.

    “Fine. Well, I’m not too great at...uh potions,” Harry admitted, feeling an odd need to talk. “But you know that.”

    “Indeed I do,” he said with a sneer. “I read your most recent essay.”

    Harry hung his head.

    “Would you like help?”

    Harry’s bright green eyes met Snape’s. “Why?” he asked suspiciously. “I thought you hated me,” he accused. “Why am I really here? You are avoiding the question.”    

    “I don’t know,” Snape muttered softly.

    Harry’s shock played on his face. He stared in silence at Snape.

    “Had any other student talked to me that way, it would have earned them a week of detentions,” Snape informed Harry.

    “Sorry, Professor.”

    They sat in silence for a long moment.

    “I would like that, Professor,” Harry said. “Your help, I mean.”

    Expression softening ever so slightly, he said, “Very well, would you like to brew something or revise your essay?” Snape gestured to the aforementioned essay; a sheet of parchment covered from top to bottom in Snape’s green marking pen. 

    “Brew something, I should think,” Harry suggested quickly.

    Snape smirked. “Perhaps the Cure for Boils? Yours failed to cure...well I believe it might have caused boils.”

    Harry eyed him carefully. “Was that humor?”


    Harry seemed to struggle to grasp this notion, which caused Snape’s smirk to widen.


    Harry obediently followed Snape into the potions classroom where he was instructed to gather the necessary ingredients. He carefully laid out the porcupine quills, snake fangs and horned slugs. 

    “Crush the snake fangs with the pestle, if you would,” Snape told him.

    Harry did so, and once he was finished, he went to add it to the cauldron as the instructions called for. Snape stopped him before he could raise the bowl to the cauldron’s edge.

    “Those are not crushed finely enough. Do you see the large chunks in here?” he asked.

    Harry nodded and returned to his grinding. Once it was satisfactory, he added it to the cauldron and followed the directions, stirring, heating and adding porcupine quills. The horned slugs were next; Snape instructed him to chop them into diagonal slivers. 

    Harry could feel the Potion Master’s dark eyes upon him as he chopped them quickly and efficiently. They came out perfect. 

    “Where did you learn such skill with a knife?” Snape asked curiously.

    “I’ve done the cooking for the Dursleys since I was eight,” Harry responded quietly. 

    “Ah,” Snape said. He could sense that the boy was unwilling to speak more on the topic, so he let it drop for the time being. 

    When at last they had finished, the potion was perfect. 

    “Why is it that you could not perform this well in class?” Snape questioned. “You made few mistakes.”

    Harry looked uncomfortable and did not speak.

    “Potter, look at me,” Snape commanded. Harry glanced up. “Ah,” the professor said, understanding. “I intimidated you.”

     Harry blushed and stared intently at the bubbling potion. He felt humiliated and exposed. Could Snape really read his thoughts? The notion was disturbing.

Harry stared resolutely at the cauldron, refusing to move, even when Snape beckoned. He was angry with him, and Harry’s defiant streak came out in full force.





    “Potter,” Snape snapped for what must have been the fifth time. “Step away from the cauldron and come back to the office.”    

    The boy stared intensely at the cauldron, seeming far away in his thoughts. 




    Each attempt got more desperate, annoyed and short-tempered. With an exasperated sigh, he stepped over and grabbed the small boy tightly around arm. Green eyes flashed up at him, and before he could stop it, Snape found himself using Legilimency on the boy.

    Through Harry’s eyes, he saw a large round faced man, the same one that Snape remembered from the cottage during the summer. Vernon Dursley. His morbidly obese face was bright red as he screamed at Harry for missing a strip on the lawn. Quickly, the chubby hand flashed out and grabbed Harry’s arm in the same spot that Snape had grabbed it a moment ago. He could feel the pain through Harry’s mind as his iron grip tried to crush his arm. He saw an image of a discolored patch of skin that looked, and felt, far worse than an ordinary bruise. 

    Snape removed his hand as if burned and stared at Harry in horror. 

    “Harry,” he said, and this time got a small response; a slight tilt of the head.

    “Harry, I’m sorry,” he forced the words out of his mouth, not because he didn’t mean them, but rather because they felt strange on his tongue.

    Harry nodded slowly, accepting the apology. He seemed to appreciate the rareness of such an expression. 

    “Will you come back to my office?” Snape asked rather than demanded. “I have something I wish to show you.”

    Harry nodded again, seeming incapable of words.




     When they had again entered the office, Snape used his wand to unlock one of the drawers on the side of his desk. From within, he withdrew an envelope. Opening it, he removed three pictures. Harry perked up in curiosity.

    “These are some pictures of your mother,” Snape said, “and me,” he added in a tone so soft that Harry did not catch it. 

    Harry leaned forward with a hungry look on his face. Snape slid them over to him and then moved to stand behind him. 

    “This was Lily and me as we left for our first year at Hogwarts,” He said, pointing at the wizarding photo in which a small red haired girl and dark haired, sallow looking boy hung from the window of the Hogwarts Express. They waved excitedly and grinned. Harry could not help but smile; this was his mother at his age. “I don’t know who took the picture, but they owled it to us after we arrived.”

    Snape moved to point at the next one. “This was us before our first trip to Hogsmeade.” 

    In this photograph, the young Snape and Lily were bundled in scarves and long cloaks, but looked flushed and eager. Lily tossed her hair over her shoulder and grinned, waving at the camera. Snape smiled lightly as he watched her wave. The scene repeated itself over again, and Harry felt that he could watch it all day.

    “This is fourth year, at a Slytherin vs. Gryffindor Quidditch match,” Snape said, moving on. “Gryffindor won,”    he remarked, a touch bitterly.

    Snape and Lily stood at the edge of the pitch as players swooped around on brooms. It seemed as if the match were over, for Harry could see spectators celebrating at the edge of the picture. Lily tossed her red and gold scarf into the air, where it was caught by a Gryffindor player. Harry could tell by his robes that he was the seeker; he had the same outfit that Harry wore. Harry watched it loop around again for a better look at the person on the broom.

    “Is that...” Harry started, eyebrows furrowing.

    “Your father?” Snape finished. “Yes, that is James Potter. Seeker,” he sneered.

    Harry watched this photo several more times. “Are there more?” he asked.
     Snape nodded. “But you will have to earn them.” He checked the time. “You ought to be going. Would you like to do this again? I am willing to help you further in potions...or whatever else.”

    Harry nodded. “I’d like that. Goodnight, professor.”

    The door closed with a click.

    “Goodnight, Harry.”

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