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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16. Chapter 16

Harry could hear the cheers from the stands as he nervously walked out onto the pitch. Almost instinctively, he looked over at the teachers’ stand. Both Snape and Quirrell were absent, which Harry found odd. He had not been expecting Quirrell to show up, but he could tell that Snape was interested in the outcome of the Slytherin vs. Gryffindor match. Harry found reassurance instead in Dumbledore’s soft eyes and crinkled half smile. He mounted his broom and circled the pitch with his team, eyeing their rival team. The Slytherin captain, Marcus Flint shot Harry an unnecessarily challenging look and opened his mouth to snap what Harry assumed would be a harsh comment. Before he got the chance, Wood swept in an made one of his own.

    “Need a compass to fly straight, Flint?” he taunted in reference to the small compass strapped to the handle of the expensive broom.

    Flint growled and tore it off, tossing it to the ground far below. “You won’t be so smug when we land your whole team in the hospital wing. Don’t pull any punches for first years either,” he said with a viscous sneer at Harry.

    Harry paled. Wood shot over and pulled Harry away with assurances that no one would end up in the hospital wing. Harry was not convinced. He reflected that perhaps apprehension of injury was not the best way to begin each Quidditch game. Unfortunately, it seemed to be becoming a trend, much to Harry’s dismay.

    The whistle sounded, shaking Harry out of his thoughts. He lapped his  counterpart, Terence Higgs, as they searched for the Snitch. The wind blew cold and Harry dearly hoped that this wouldn’t be a long game. While looking for the Snitch, Harry noted that the Slytherin Chasers were very aggressive and weren’t true to the rules. They scored several times before Gryffindor could come back with a few goals of their own.

    “Ten points to Gryffindor!” Lee Jordan called happily from the announcer’s booth. “Take that you Slytherins! Come on Gryffindor, another three goals to tie.”

    Harry swept towards the Slytherin goalpost, eyes beginning to dry out from the biting wind. As he neared the other end, a Bludger came flying out of nowhere, forcing Harry to roll to the side. After he did so, however, another (or perhaps the same one) shot out from the opposite side, and again, Harry had to take evasive maneuvers. He finally righted himself and glanced around quickly, searching for the next attack.
    “Jumpy, are you Potter?” One of the Beaters called from beside his partner.

    Harry’s eye narrowed but as he listened to Lee’s most recent announcement, he realized that this distraction had allowed the teams to tie. 

    “Throw them at me, bet they won’t come close,” Harry taunted, trying to sound confident. Without waiting for a reply, he sped off in the other direction.

    A whizzing sound alerted Harry that a Bludger was coming fast. He assumed that the second was not far behind. He dove towards the ground, then pulled up at the last minute, causing both to miss. Harry was extremely confident in his abilities after having played against the twins during the summer. As Harry continued on his way, the two Beaters fell behind, though not before Gryffindor had gained a twenty point lead. Harry circled past the goal posts and watched helplessly as two Slytherin Chasers forced Alicia Spinnet to the ground.

    “You dirty rotten-” Lee started over the intercom.

    “Jordan,” McGonagall warned reluctantly, for she sounded as disgusted as he did over the foul play.

    “Sorry, Professor, but that was cheating.”

    Slytherin scored with the Quaffle they had just stolen form Alicia. Cheers broke out in that section until all of the noise form the crowds abruptly stopped.

    “What’s going on?” Lee asked, not expecting an answer. “The fans have found something more interesting than Quidditch it seems...Didn’t think such a thing existed...”

    Harry and a few others darted quickly over to where everyone’s attention was focused.

    He just barely heard Quirrell shout, “Troll in the castle!” before he watched the sickly man collapse. Confusion and shouting broke the silence and people swarmed the field before they were stopped by Dumbledore’s commanding voice.

    “Silence! We shall take care of the situation presently, there is no need to worry. It would be in your best interests to stay out here until it is deemed safe to go inside. I hope that you will honor this request,” he said calmly. “Professor Sprout, Professor Flitwick, if you would stay here and keep an eye on things? Everyone else, join me in the castle if you would,” he said, addressing the teachers.

    Harry glanced over at where Quirrell had fallen. He was gone. Harry felt a knot twist in the pit of his stomach. He knew that something was wrong. Without thinking, he leapt on his broom and sped off towards the castle, not caring if anyone saw him. He arrived in a matter of seconds, then dismounted and propped his broom against the outside wall. Glad that he had tucked his wand into his robes for fear of the Slytherins, he drew it now and raced up the stairs.     Out of breath, Harry at last reached the third floor corridor. This time, it was locked. Harry tried to remember the spell that Hermione had used on the day that they accidentally stumbled down here.

    “Alorhamora,” he tried. Nothing happened. “Alohomora.”

    This time, the door clicked open and Harry stepped hesitantly inside. He had to resist using a Lumos charm for fear of giving himself away in the darkness. He slowly and quietly edged down the corridor and could faintly make out the door at the end that was slightly ajar. He had no desire to go in there after the last incident. Harry froze as he heard easily recognizable voices echoing off the stone.
    “I thought we had an agreement, Quirrell,” Snape said threateningly.

    “W-w-we didn’t,” Quirrell replied, more flustered than usual.

    “It was more of a demand of mine, I will admit. But nevertheless, what I threatened still stands,” he replied in a deadly soft voice.

    “R-remeber, w-w-what I said,” Quirrell responded.

    Snape made an impatient noise. “Of course I won’t tell Dumbledore, there is too much at stake for him to ruin it, as I know would happen. Now GO. And don’t come back here because I told you, I’ll do everything in my power...” Harry couldn’t make out what Snape said next.

    Deciding that he  shouldn’t be caught here, he quietly slipped down the corridor and out the door. From there he found a nice, dark cove and huddled out of sight to think things over. Harry began to make connections between Snape’s friendship with Malfoy and Malfoy’s rumored service of the Dark Lord, as Snape called him. Then, he thought of what he had heard just now and how he had seen Snape walk out of the woods after his first Quidditch game. Adding that to the Stone that Snape had broken and his subsequent anger, Harry actually began to shake. He was horrified. The first person that he had ever looked up to had betrayed him; played on his trust. He huddled into a fetal position and whimpered, almost wishing he were back at the Dursleys’. 

    “Harry?” The very person that he had been thinking of called curiously.

    “Get away from me,” Harry said, albeit rather weakly.

    “What happened?” the normally emotionless voice bordered on concern. “Harry, talk to me.”

    “You LIED to me!” Harry accused, wiping his face with a dirty sleeve. “You aren’t trying to protect me, you’re working with him!”

    Snape’s face revealed nothing but shock. “What makes you think that?”

    Harry’s eyes narrowed as he prepared to rant. “You were friends with Malfoy who was one of You-Know-Who’s followers, you were just now talking with Quirrell, plotting something!” he accused rashly. “And you broke that stone! What were you doing with it in your office?”

    Snape shook his head. “You have it wrong.”

    “I have nothing wrong! I’ve seen it! I heard you!” Harry cried, suddenly glad that the school was empty. “I don’t trust you, and I never should have.”
    Of all the harsh things that Harry had said, it was this that made Snape’s eyes flicker with something akin to hurt.

    “Harry please listen to me.”

    Harry stubbornly looked away.

    “Harry, please,” Snape said urgently. “Just listen to what I have to say, then you can make whatever judgements you want. Okay?”

    Almost imperceptibly, Harry nodded. Snape waved a quick silencing charm around them.

    “I am not going to get into the details of my past, but I will give you a brief summary. In sort, I was friends with the wrong group of people in my own Hogwarts days; people like Malfoy. Your mother was my best friend, a good influence on me,” Snape explained. Harry looked up at this. “But I made some bad choices that I thought would impress her. I was wrong. Instead, I pushed her away and fell deeper into the hole I was in. After a while, I came to realize the error of my ways and I turned spy for Dumbledore. Once the Dark Lord was destroyed, it became an easy job, for I was freed of my obligations to him. I was happy to stop pretending, Harry. I enjoy this freedom. Now that he is apparently back, I have no desire to aid in his rise.”

    Harry searched Snape’s eyes, looking for truth behind his words. He could discern nothing from those coal black depths. “Then what were you doing with the stone and with Quirrell?”

    “You must have misinterpreted my discussions with Quirrell. In reality, I was threatening him to stay away from both you and the stone for he is certainly working for the Dark Lord. The stone that you inadvertently caused me to shatter was a fake that I was in the process of hexing as a trap for Quirrell. Since he was invisibly observing the process, however, it is a moot point,” he explained calmly.

    Harry did not believe he was lying, but perhaps it was simply because he did not want him to be. “And what you said about Dumbledore?”

    “Quirrell said that if I told Dumbledore about any of this, he would hurt you,” Snape said quietly, dropping his gaze. Harry dropped his as well.

    They sat in silence for a long moment.

    “I’m sorry for all of those awful things I said,” Harry said apologetically. “I believe you. Thank you for protecting me.”

    “Of course, I owe it to your mother.”

    Harry’s gaze sharpened. “Is that why you are being so nice? Because of her, not because of me?”

    Snape sighed, a rare display of emotion. “Harry, the trust between us is obviously very fragile. Therefore, I will tell you the truth and I hope you will accept it. Originally, I did change the way I was acting towards you as a favor to your mother’s memory. Now, however, it has moved past that. I find myself willing to help you, not because of her. You have changed me.”

    Harry felt uncomfortable. “Alright,” he accepted.

    “Come, you need to get cleaned up and I need to check on that blasted troll,” Snape said, rising. 

    Harry followed, his emotions churning. 

    “Professor?” Harry asked. “Should I tell Draco, Hermione and Ron about that? They know everything else.”

    “They do, do they?” Snape asked, one eyebrow rising. “You may tell them what is necessary to explain the situation if you feel you must, but I would prefer that you refrain from mentioning anything of a personal nature concerning me. I suppose they are a trustworthy group. I am unsure about Mr. Weasley but Ms. Granger and young Mr. Malfoy are good choices. I certainly approve of my house member.”

    “You don’t think that it is odd that I’m friends with a Slytherin?”

    “I think that it will be to your advantage later on,” he said. “Go back out and see if you can’t blend in with the crowd. It will save awkward questions.”

    Harry nodded. “Sorry again, Professor. I do trust you now.”

    Snape simply waved his hand impatiently and gestured for Harry to join the students outside.

 

 

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

 

 

    Severus followed the banging noises coming from the dungeons and arrived just as his peers managed to topple the unsightly troll that had invaded the school. 

    “Nice of you to join us, Severus,” McGonagall snapped.

    It was common knowledge that Severus desired the Defense Against the Dark Arts position, and therefore would know the best way to attack a troll. They seemed to have managed just fine without him though.

    “I’m merely the Potions master,” Snape said snidely, “where is the qualified individual?”

    “I don’t know where that turbaned man went. He’d probably faint as soon as look at this thing though. Not much help, that one,” she replied bitterly.

    “I suppose we just call the Quidditch match a draw, then?” Snape suggested with mock innocence.

    “Absolutely not!” McGonagall said. “Gryffindor was in the lead, I say we either take the current score or simply continue the game.”

    Severus grunted, thinking that perhaps Slytherin would have a chance in that case. Harry was rather a mess. Only a few moths ago, this prospect would have cheered Severus considerably. Now, however, he was simply shaken. It was mildly alarming how much of an affect losing Harry’s trust, if only temporarily, could have. He hoped that they were on solid footing for a while at least. Severus helped the other teachers levitate the unconscious troll outside, where they called the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, Beast Division. Severus stared at the grotesque creature in revulsion as Quirrell came wandering over. He claimed that he had to recover from his fainting spell and apologized for his lateness. Severus gave him what he hoped was a bone chilling glare.

    “Ease up a little, Severus, you were late too,” McGonagall pointed out after noticing his look. She liked to irk him, it seemed.

    “You could not begin to fathom my loathing of that man.”

    “Gosh,” she breathed. “Remind me not to get on your bad side.”

    “Where is Dumbledore?”
    “Returned to the stands,” she replied casually.

    Snape remained silent, wondering if he should risk telling Dumbledore. He contemplated his options for a moment, then decided that the stakes were too high. Harry definitely did not have the skills to defend himself at so young an age.

    “Since you seem to have everything under control here, I believe I will go. I have a few things to take care of,” Severus stated.

    “Go ahead,” Minerva said tiredly.

    Right now, all that needed to be taken care of was a large glass of Firewhiskey.

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