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!

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12. Chapter 12

Harry was exhausted the next morning. He sorely wished he had gone to bed earlier the night before. As he tried to stay awake throughout Professor Binns’s lecture, he found himself longing for another of Snape’s Wideye potions. Today was also double potions; a combination that Harry had previously loathed. Now, however, he didn’t feel the usual dread, though that could be accredited to his half-awake state.

    Hermione nudged him in the ribs, “Pay attention, he just said this would be on the test.”

    Harry groaned. “Can’t I just copy your notes?”

    Hermione’s eyes narrowed. “But if I let you copy, I’ll have to let Ron copy too.”    

    “Sounds good,” Ron piped up, eyes closed.

    She sighed, “Fine. But the next time you decide to party late, you are on your own.”    

    “Thanks, ‘ermione,” Harry muttered, leaning back once more. “You’re the best.”    

    She softened a little and went back to taking notes on some unfortunate wizard who didn’t realize that centaurs were intelligent and tried to feed them sugar cubes. Harry woke up a little after lunch; the food gave him energy. It was fortunate that Harry had his wits about him, for Professor Quirrell approached him once again in the Great Hall. Harry had learned not to ignore the tingling in his scar and therefore had a fair amount of warning. He tried in vain to catch Professor Snape’s eye at the head table, but unfortunately, a small scuffle had broken out at the Slytherin table which currently occupied Snape’s attention.

    Harry watched Quirrell sweep down the aisle toward him.

    “If he takes me somewhere and I’m not back in five minutes, go tell Professor Snape, ok?” he whispered quickly to Ron, who balked. 

    “Snape? Go talk to him? What are you nutters?” he asked incredulously.

    “No,” Harry said firmly. “Please, Ron.”

    “Alright,” Ron agreed. Harry could tell that Ron hoped he would return as much as Harry himself did.

    Quirrell had reached the table.
    “Hello, Professor,” Harry said with a false cheeriness, hoping to unbalance the odd man.

    “P-potter,” he stuttered, though no more than usual, “c-come with me-e.”

    Harry got up with a meaningful look at Ron. He glanced once more at the head table; Snape had descended into the frenzy at the Slytherin table and was nowhere in sight. He sighed and followed the professor into the corridor.

    “Where are we going, professor?” Harry asked innocently.

    “Th-there i-is someone I-I would like y-y-you to meet,” he replied cryptically.

    Harry estimated that they had been walking for about three minutes. Now, they stood before the great doors that led from the castle to the courtyard. Harry felt the pockets of his robe. A muggle children’s story came to mind as Harry smoothly dropped the only thing he could find, other than his wand: one of his red and gold Quidditch gloves. He hoped that Ron’s fear of Professor Snape would not deter him from delivering Harry’s distress signal.

    Meanwhile, Harry stalled for time, imagining all of the things that could be done on the castle grounds with no witnesses. 

    “Sir, are we going outside?” Harry asked.

    Quirrell nodded.
    “I don’t have my cloak,” Harry said, rubbing his arms as if for warmth. “Can I go fetch it?”

    “N-no. You d-d-idn’t need i-it at Q-quiditch,” he said with a raised eyebrow.

    “My robes were heavier,” Harry stated glumly, giving up on the attempt. THe air was indeed brisk as they stepped outside. By now, Harry was sure that five minutes had passed, and he hoped that rescue was on its way. Though he wished for rescue, he was reluctant to be indebted to Snape once again for saving his life. Harry hoped that it did not come to anything as drastic as that this time.

    Quirrell led Harry towards the forest. They were still several yards away, though the air seemed to have a different chill to it; it was unpleasant. Harry’s breath caught in his throat and his chest seized up. He fell to the ground, gasping  and trying to get air back in his lungs. 

    “What is it boy?” Quirrell snapped. Had Harry not been preoccupied, he might have noticed the lack of stutter.

    “I..” Harry gasped. 

    “Potter!” a voice called sharply. Some air rushed back into Harry’s lungs and he sighed as best he could in relief. “What happened?”

    “S-severus,” Quirrell said, clearly surprised. “H-he j-just collapsed.”

    “Why was he out here?” Snape demanded.

    “I f-found him w-w-wandering, t-tried to g-get Hagrid t-to help.”

    Harry, remembering what Hermione had told him of Legilimency, raised his eyes to meet Snape’s. 

 

---{}-{}-{}---

 

 

    One look in the boy’s eyes told Severus all he needed to know.

    Calmly, he asked him, “Can you stand and walk?”

    The child nodded, pushing himself to his feet with a wary look at the forest. Severus noticed that the scar on his forehead was deeply inflamed. He made a mental note to check for more salve.

    “Go to Hagrid’s then, it is indeed closest,” he commanded, though not harshly. He handed him his Quidditch glove. “I will join you when I am...finished here.”

    The boy nodded and set off. Severus waited until he was out of sight and hearing range before turning back to Quirrell. With a quick flick of the wrist, he disarmed him. Grabbing the front of his robes, Severus lifted his thin figure into the air with ease and slammed him roughly against a nearby tree.

    “What do you want with him?” he demanded, voice deadly quiet.

    “N-nothing,” Quirrell stated, voice quivering.

    “Drop the act, Quirrell, what do you want?”

    The other man remained silent. Severus, left with no other option (not that he wished for an alternative) prepared to Legiliimize the man. It was far more effective when he used his wand; Potter’s mind was just so easy to read that he didn’t need to bother.

    “Legilimens,” he incanted quietly.

    Scenes of the past few minutes flashed in front of Snape’s eyes, cloudy with an uncertain fear. Severus tried to push deeper into Quirrell’s motives and inner thoughts, but an astonishingly strong barrier was put up. Something was off about it though, it did not have the same pattern as the rest of Quirrell’s mind, yet was familiar. It took Severus a long moment before he could place it.

    “No,” he whispered, anger suppressed under a wave of shock.

    Quirrell smiled viscously. “Yes, Severus. He has returned.”    

    “It can’t be...” he said in disbelief. “But where...is he in you?” Severus eyed the turban.

    Quirrell laughed in Severus’s face, “Of course not, you think he doesn’t have better things to be doing than teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts?”

    Severus growled, “Do you expect Dumbledore will let you stay once he hears of this?”    

    “He won’t,” the professor stated simply.

    “Won’t he?” Severus echoed. “Who’s to say?”

    “He won’t because you are currently the only one who knows. And you won’t tell him.”

    “I won’t?” Snape said, chastising himself for merely echoing Quirrell’s words.

    “No, because I know Harry. I know where he sleeps, what he eats, how he gets to his classes...” he hinted at a threat. “Trust me, I will know if you tell Dumbledore...And so will Harry.”    

    “I will never trust you,” Snape said, turning to stalk off to Hagrid’s hut. 

    “Severus?” Quirrell called. “Getting soft on Harry Potter, are you? What will the Dark Lord have to say about that?”

    Severus whipped around, charging back towards the sickly professor. He came within inches of his face. 

    “I don’t care what he says; my loyalty to him died on the night that he did. He shall dictate my life no longer, and know that I will do everything in my power to oppose you. I know what you are planning, and it shall not succeed,” he said in an even, viscous voice. “And you shall not touch Harry Potter.”

    When he turned this time, he did not stop for anything. Within minutes, he had slammed Hagrid’s door open and was looking at an odd scene. Hagrid sat at a large table across from Harry who looked like he had been shrunken. His already tiny figure looked even more so beside Hagrid’s giant bulk. Harry clutched a teacup the size of a bucket and looked to be having trouble drinking it. At any other time, this may have been an amusing sight.

    “Harry, come with me,” Severus said after a moment’s pause.

    Harry smiled inexplicably and exited the hut with a goodbye to Hagrid. Severus nodded to him in way of both greeting and parting and then stepped out into the open air himself. 

    “Why are you smiling so ridiculously? You have practically just been kidnapped,” Severus stated, confused.

    “You called me Harry.”    

    “That is your name, is it not?” 

    “Yes,” Harry said. “But you always called me ‘Potter’. Now it’s ‘Harry’.”

    Severus furrowed his brow. “Is that acceptable?”

    “Preferable,” Harry responded as if trying to imitate the older man’s solemn and complex way of speech.

    Severus remained quiet, still unsure of why the name by which he referred to the boy would matter. Then again, he had never exactly enjoyed being called Snivellus or Greasy Git. He didn’t mind being compared to a bad, however. This didn’t clear anything up for Severus as neither “Harry” or “Potter” were derogatory. 

    Berating himself for letting his mind wander from the present situation, he scanned the lawn. Quirrell was gone. 

 

---{}-{}-{}---

 

    From outside, they were forced to report directly to the potions classroom, just barely walking in before it was time to start class. All of Harry’s classmates were already there and Draco shot Harry an odd look when he walked in with Professor Snape. No one commented however, and Harry was grateful for the silencing effect that Snape’s presence had. The class went well for Harry; his potion was almost perfect. In a good mood, he packed up his belongings at the end of class.

    “Do you simply wish to stay now rather than return later?” Snape asked from behind him.

    “Yeah, that’d be fine,” Harry told him. “I’ll see you in the common room,” he said to Ron and Hermione who had been waiting for him.

    “See you, Harry,” they said with sympathetic looks. Snape raised an eyebrow.

    Once they left, Snape commented, “They seemed to feel sorry for you; what reason did you give them for coming down in the evenings?”

    Harry’s cheeks reddened as he mumbled something unintelligible.

    “What’s that?”

    “Detention, sir,” Harry said. 

    “Why do you feel the need to lie to them?” Snape asked, looking genuinely confused.

    “I wasn’t sure that they’d understand,” Harry said.

    “Understand what?” Snape asked, beginning to get frustrated.

    “That I like having someone to talk to,” Harry spoke in a quite voice. “They certainly wouldn’t understand that the person I talk to is you. You frighten, well, just about everyone I think.”

    Snape seemed pleased by this. “Do I frighten you?”

    Harry gave a wry smile. “No, sir. I have lived with the Dursleys.”

    Snape grunted. “Come to my office, why don’t you?”

 

    “What happened to me earlier, Professor?” Harry asked, once they reached Snape’s office.

    “It seems that you have a special connection with the Dark Lord. I would not rule out the possibility that he could have caused that reaction in you. I believe that was the plan,” Snape told him.

    “For me to almost pass out?” 

    “No, to take you to the Dark Lord.”

    “He is in the forest,” Harry stated matter-of-factly.

    “How do you know that?” Snape asked sharply.

    “Because when I got near the forest, I couldn’t breathe,” he said. “And I had a dream.”

    “A dream?” Snape echoed. “What happened? Tell me everything.”

    Harry obediently retold the story of how he had fallen asleep on the Astronomy tower and seen a cloaked figure with red eyes on the edge of the forest. Snape looked troubled.     

    “You are sure it wasn’t just a dream?” he inquired.

    “Well, no sir, but it felt...different,” Harry said. So real my scar almost prickled, he refrained from adding.

    Snape nodded knowingly. “Harry, I want you to stay away from Professor Quirrell.”

    “He isn’t You-Know-Who.”

    “And how do you know that?” Snape asked dryly.

    “I don’t know how, but I can feel it. I just know,” Harry said, confused. “He doesn’t feel dark enough.”

    Snape looked slightly worried. “Nevertheless, avoid him, except in class of course. Don’t ever let yourself alone with him, do you understand?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Good. Now, I don’t mean to take you from your studies, but would you be opposed to learning a few spells?” Snape asked.

    “No, sir!” Harry eagerly replied. “Er, yes, sir. Yes, I want to learn spells!”

    “I am going to teach you the basics to defend yourself until help arrives, should the situation call for it. It would be best if your opponent does not know you are capable of this; they would not expect it from one so young. Ready?”

    Harry nodded.

    Snape instructed him to draw his wand. He showed Harry a simple motion and once Harry had that down, he allowed him to try the spell. Snape stood across from Harry in the office, arm raised as if he were shooting a spell at Harry.

    “Go ahead and disarm me.”

    “Expelliarmus!” Harry said forcefully. Snape’s wand twitched, but did not leave his hand.

    “Again.”

    “Expelliarmus!” Harry said, this time envisioning the wand flying from Snape’s hand into his. This vision quickly turned to reality as Harry caught Snape’s wand. 

    “I expected it to take more tries,” Snape noted approvingly, giving Harry an appraising look.

    “What’s next?” Harry asked, excited.

    “A simple stunning charm. If it comes to that, simply keep hitting him with this every time he regains consciousness until help arrives. The incantation is Stupefy.”

    “Stupefy,” Harry said, testing out the pronunciation.

    “This is the motion,” Snape said, demonstrating.

    After practicing, Harry longed to try it out. 

    “On me? Absolutely not,” Snape said in response to this request. “Just aim it at the door.”

    “Won’t it hurt it?”

    “No,” he replied impatiently.

    Harry shrugged and sent a jet of red light toward the door. A shower of sparks resulted, though it seemed as if it stopped an inch from the wood. 

    “Awesome,” Harry said, almost hoping for a fight so that he could try it out. “Can we do one more?”

    “Not tonight, Pot- Harry,” Snape caught himself. Harry smiled. “Though I do have something for you.”

    “Really?” Harry’s eyes grew wide. He had never gotten a present in his entire life. 

    “Indeed,” he said, pulling a small silver disc from his pocket. “Squeeze this three times and I will be alerted. If you are in danger, use this to summon me. It will point me towards you.”

    “Thank you, sir,” Harry said. He was delighted even though it wasn’t really a present. For a brief moment, Harry allowed himself to think that someone, even someone as emotionally distant as Snape, cared. He smiled.

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