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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13. Chapter 13

 

    Time until Christmas passed quickly for Harry. Between classes, Quidditch practice and study sessions with Professor Snape, he hardly noticed that almost half of the best year of his life had gone by. One thing that Harry did realize, however, was that he was really enjoying himself here at Hogwarts. He had true friends: Ron, Hermione and even Draco. The whole lot of them had been invited down to Hagrid’s for tea and other surprises.

    “What do you think he meant by ‘I have a surprise for you’?” Draco asked suspiciously.

    “I don’t know. But knowing Hagrid, it’s probably something Illegal. Or dangerous,” Hermione said. They had just reached Hagrid’s door when it swung open, admitting them. 

    On the large wooden table bathed in the fire’s glow sat a tiny dragon. 

    Ron paled, “or both.”

    “‘ello there! Come to meet baby Norb’rt, have ya? Just hatched a cupl’a hours ago,” Hagrid said cheerfully.

    “Is this your surprise, Hagrid?” Harry asked.

    “Yup! You like it?” 

    “Er, he is fantastic,” Hermione said tentatively as smoke was released in a puff from its nostrils.

    “Where’d you get a dragon egg, Hagrid?” Draco asked, honestly curious.

    “Won him off a stranger down at Hog’s Head. She seemed rather glad to see it go,” Hagrid commented. He looked down at the miniature reptile with a soft look in his eyes. “Always wanted a dragon.”

    “Um, Hagrid, aren’t dragons illegal?” Harry inquired.

    “I dun’ know the rules, Harry. Never had an interest in law,” he stated simply, as if that released him of all guilt. “That there is and Antipodian Opaleye.”

    They discussed the dragon and other trivial things for a while such as classes and the holidays coming up before Hermione voiced what they were all thinking.

    “Hagrid,” Hermione implored. “You have to give him up. He is going to get a lot bigger, what are you going to do with him? Dumbledore will find out and that will be a mess. Please?” 

    Hagrid stared sadly at the dragon who was currently chasing his tail. “Alrig’ but where would he go? Gotta be safe.”

    “My brother Charlie trains dragons over in Romania,” Ron offered. “Maybe we could send him there?”

    “Alright, you can ask him. But ‘till he responds...” Hagrid trailed off. 

    “We’ll work something out then. Sorry, Hagrid, but we need to go. It’s almost curfew,” Harry said.

    “Thanks fur comin’,” Hagrid said, petting Norbert with a large finger.

    They trudged up to the castle in silence.

 

 

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

 

 

    “How was your weekend, Harry?” Professor Snape asked on monday evening. 

    “Fine,” Harry said simply. He had grown used to the Professor’s company, and when he was not helping Harry with schoolwork, he would teach him new spells. Last week, he had decided that Harry had mastered the most basic defense skills and had rewarded him with two more photos. He sat looking at these now, one was taken at some sort of muggle festival and the other in Diagon Alley. 

    “Usually you are much more talkative,” Snape noticed. “All you have to say is ‘fine’?”

    “Yes,” Harry stated simply. This, however, did not appease the overly suspicious Professor Snape.

    “Harry, look at me,” he said. Harry was reluctant to do so; he knew that Professor Snape had no great love for Hagrid and would probably turn him in. He thought fiercely that he could not reveal this secret. “Harry,” Snape prompted.

    Slowly, thoughts whirling, he lifted his eyes to meet the professor’s. For a moment, surprise clouded Snape’s eyes. Then, Harry could feel his fierce passion falling away and found himself recalling the scene at Hagrid’s hut.

    “Ah, a dragon?” Snape said disinterestedly. “How did you block me?”

    Harry looked embarrassed. “I thought really hard about how you couldn’t know about Norbert. We have it under control, Hagrid is going to send him away! Please don’t turn him in!” Harry said quickly.

    Snape gave Harry a look that implied he longed to roll his eyes. “I will not. Though I do have my suspicions about the origins of the egg. They aren’t common and for someone to just give one away...Hagrid said he won it?”

    “Yes,” Harry answered, relieved. 

    “He must have had something the stranger wanted dearly in return...I suppose you would not say no to visiting Hagrid now?” Snape asked.

    “No, sir. Though you musn’t tell him that I told you,” Harry said.

    “Agreed.”

    It was still mostly light out as they crossed the courtyard towards the tiny wooden hut. After knocking on the door, Snape waited impatiently on the front step. Hagrid appeared in the doorway before long and upon realizing who was there, tried quickly to hide the creature behind his back. He was unsuccessful.

    “”fessor Snape! Wha’ can I do fer ya?” Hagrid asked.

    “May I come in, Hagrid?” Snape spoke with an air of disgust.

    “Er well, now isn’ really a good time, ya know,” Hagrid stalled.

    “He knows about Norbert, Hagrid,” Harry said. 

    Hagrid looked at Harry disappointedly. “Oh, alright, come in then.”

    “It is not Harry’s fault,” Snape said in defense. “I forced him to tell me.”

    Harry was touched at Snape standing up for him. Hagrid also seemed to relax and offered around some tea and rock cakes. They accepted, though Harry had no intention of eating the cakes.

    “We cannot stay long, Hagrid. I simply came to see Norbert,” Snape said smoothly.

    “Didya now? I won his egg off  strang’r! Can you believe ‘at?” Hargid said loudly. 

    “I can,” Snape said, looking Hagrid in the eyes.

 

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

 

    Severus watched the seen unfold through the drunken memory in Hagrid’s mind. He saw a cloaked figure sitting across from Hagrid and noted that it’s face was in the shadows.

    “Tell me, Hagrid, have you ever worked with a Ceberus?” she (for the voice was most definitely female) asked. “Fascinating creatures.”

    “Yea I ‘ave! Ther’ not really as bad ‘s they look,” Hagrid slurred through a haze of ale. “Play a lil’ music and Fluffy goes righ’ to sleep.”

    Severus ended the Legilimency. He had seen enough.

    “You blasted fool,” he growled at Hagrid.

    “Wha’?” 

    “Come, Harry,” he snapped while turning and marching from the hut.

    Outside, Harry asked, “What’s wrong? What did you see?”

    “Nothing that concerns you.”

    “Did it have something to do with the Philosopher’s Stone?”

    Severus stopped dead in his tracks. He grabbed Harry by the shoulders and jerked him around. Severus did not need Legilimency to see the fear in his eyes.

    “How do you know about that?” he demanded. The boy was silent.

    Snarling, Severus resorted to Legilimency yet again, realizing that he should stop relying so much on that skill. Once more, Severus encountered a barrier when he attempted to delve into Harry’s mind. It was as before however; a churning sea of emotions rather than a smooth barrier that a practiced Occlumens could erect. Severus had never seen its like before. He had more experience than the boy, though, and after more effort than he would care to admit, the barrier broke. Inside, Severus found the memories of the stone breaking, the page in the purple book and of Hermione telling Harry what her research had found.

    His eyes flashed with anger.

    “You went through my personal belongings,” he accused. “YOU HAD NO RIGHT.”

    Harry paled even more. “I’m sorry, Prof-”

    “GO! Get out of my sight. You have no business meddling in what does not concern you,” Snape shook with anger.

    “But, Professor,” Harry began.

    “I said, ‘GO’,” he snarled. This time, Harry obeyed. With a pained look, he took off at a run towards the castle. 

 

 

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

 

 

    Once inside, Harry slipped down a corridor and huddled behind a stone gargoyle. His churning emotions slipped his control and Harry began to cry. After several minutes, he dried his eyes though did not feel any better. Now that the sounds of his sobbing had stopped, Harry could hear footsteps approaching down the corridor. 

    “Who’s there?” he shouted, voice wavering. Harry drew his wand, trying in vain to calm himself enough to remember the spells that Snape had taught him. This did not have the desired effect, however, for thinking of the lessons with the potions master only made Harry want to cry again. 

    The footsteps neared, then rounded the corner. 

    “Draco?” Harry asked. 

    “Harry?” the Slytherin replied. “What’re you doing here?”

    Harry didn’t respond, but lowered his wand as Draco approached. 

    “Are you alright?” he asked. “You look awful.”

    Again, Harry responded with silence, not knowing how to answer that question honestly. Draco slid to the floor beside him.

    “I can’t say that I know how you feel, but I’m learning,” Draco said sympathetically.

    “Why?” 

    “My whole house has practically disowned me for being friends with Gryffindors. I think Nott put them up to it,” he said glumly. “To think, I have to survive seven more years with him as a dorm mate.”

    “I’m sorry, Draco,” Harry said. He found it easier to focus on Draco’s problems than his own. 

    “It’s not your fault. I am quite capable of choosing who I’m friends with,” he pointed out. “They offered to accept me if I stopped talking to you three.”

    Harry looked at him in askance.

    “I said no.”
    Harry gave a weak smile. “That actually makes me feel better,” he admitted, “Though I hope you don’t have too hard of a time over us.”

    “I can handle them. I’m a Slytherin, remember? Cunning and clever and whatnot,” Draco returned with a small smile. “You want to talk about what’s bothering you?” 

    Without conscious thought, Harry told Draco everything he had discovered about the Philosopher’s Stone. He finished with Snape’s reaction only a short while ago; the event that had led him here.

    “Professor Snape doesn’t seem like someone you want angry with you, Harry. I would apologize before it gets bad,” Draco suggested. He stood up and smoothed his robes. “At least holiday starts in a few days, are you going home?”

    Harry gave a snort. “To the Dursley’s? No way. I already signed up to stay here. Ron is staying with me,” he said.

    “I don’t really want to go home either, but my parents are making me. Hope you have fun here, castle all to yourself...” Draco winked. “I ought to get back before curfew. That is, if they let me back in. See you in Potions tomorrow, Harry.”

    “Ugh Potions,” Harry groaned, making Draco chuckle. “See you.”

    Draco headed back the way he had come.
    “Hey Draco, thanks for being a friend,” Harry called. 

    “Draco turned and smiled.

 

 

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

 

 

    As Harry feared, Potions was horrible the next day. Thankfully, it was the last day of classes before the break. Harry was so distracted by Professor Snape’s incessant glaring that he forgot to turn the flame down to low beneath his cauldron. His potion turned a magenta color rather than the lilac that it was supposed to be. Harry did not hear Snape come up behind him, yet there he was, looking over Harry’s shoulder at the erroneous potion.

    “Does that look lilac to you, Mr. Potter?” Snape said harshly.

    “No, sir, it doesn’t.”

    “And why do you suppose it is not the correct shade?”

    “Because I forgot to turn the flame down, sir,” Harry replied evenly.

    “Forgot? I see. Zero for the day, I should think,” he said with a sneer.

    “Everyone is prone to mistakes, Professor. I deeply regret mine,” Harry said, alluding to the night before.

    Snape raised an eyebrow. “Nice try, Potter.”

    Harry watched as the black clad man swept away from his table. Draco gave him a sympathetic look. 

    “At least you didn’t get another detention, Harry,” Ron said. “Those last few were for practically made up things.”

    “Yeah,” Harry agreed, not wanting to let on that he missed his ‘detentions’.

    Figuring that he wasn’t receiving any points no matter what he did, Harry simply stared at his bubbling cauldron for the rest of class.

    “Are you alright, Harry?” Hermione asked, concerned.    

    “Er, yeah. I’m ok,” he replied.

    She gave him a doubtful look but thankfully did not push it further. In truth, Harry was miserable. This mood lasted for the next few days, and was only encouraged by the emptiness of the castle once everyone had gone on holiday. With his only company being Ron, Harry was prone to sulking.

    “Want to play chess, Harry?” Ron asked on Christmas eve.

    “Not really,” he answered, staring at the fire. “Sorry that I’m not very good company.”     

    “Nah, it’s alright. It’s good to have some peace and quiet now and then.”

    Harry nodded in assent and zoned out, wishing fervently that everything had turned out differently.

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