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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25. Chapter 25

    Harry stumbled into the common room shortly before dinner time, exhausted. The entire afternoon had been devoted to paperwork which was an extremely tedious task. Most of the time, Harry was simply told where to sign, for  he didn’t understand the legal ramifications that Snape had to be instructed on. In the end, it wasn’t a complete adoption, for Harry still kept his last name. Nevertheless, he would live with Snape and he would be Harry’s legal guardian in all forms. That was quite enough to make Harry happy.

    “Hey there, Harry,” Neville called from across the common room. “Haven’t seen you all day.”

    Ever since the exams, Neville had been acting very friendly and grateful towards Harry. Harry didn’t mind gaining one more friend. “Yeah, I was a little busy but it was a great day.” He smiled at Neville and went over to sit with Ron and Hermione. 

    “Well, how did it go?” Ron asked. “Should we call you ‘Harry Snape’ now?” 

    The use of the potion master’s name caused a few heads to turn in their direction. Harry didn’t care; there was no reason to hide it now.
    “No, I kept my last name. He is officially my guardian now, though,” Harry grinned happily.

    “I’m so glad it went through, Harry!” Hermione exclaimed. “Maybe we can get the twins to sneak us a few Butterbeers to celebrate...”

    “Hermione, when will you learn that anything the twins give you should be kept firmly away from your mouth?” Ron asked.

    “I’m feeling reckless today,” Hermione said.

    Harry’s mouth dropped open in shock. “I didn’t realize that was possible!”
    “Hey, Fred! George!” she called.

    They meandered over. “At your service,” Fred said with mocking graciousness.

    Hermione rolled her eyes. “Would you be opposed to sneaking us a few Butterbeers from the kitchens?”

    “Opposed to breaking the rules?” George asked.

    “Of course we are opposed to breaking the rules; we’re good students!” Fred insisted. 

    “Come on, Fred, let’s go turn them in to Professor Snape.” George said, leading his twin towards the portrait hole.

    Fred shook his head in mock disappointment as he walked. “Encouraging us to break rules. I thought my brother had chosen better friends,” he muttered.

    Hermione rolled her eyes again. “Thanks guys!”

    As soon as they were gone, the trio broke into laughter. They chatted about meaningless things until the twins had returned from their quest. Remarkably few people looked up when they clamored in holding five bottles of Butterbeer. Of course they had snatched some for themselves.

    “Well, here you are, your majesty,” George teased, dramatically presenting a bottle as if it were champagne.

    “Thanks,” she said simply and plucked it from his hands.

    “Oh, well, I see how it is,” Fred huffed jokingly. He cracked open his bottle and plopped down on the couch across from them.

    “So what’s the occasion?” George asked.

    Hermione and Ron looked expectantly at Harry as if acknowledging that it was his choice to tell. Harry considered the Weasley’s a second family and saw no reason to hold anything back.

    “Well, the paperwork just went through,” Harry began vaguely. “Snape is now officially my legal guardian.”

    “WHAT?!” They shouted in unison. Fred dropped his (thankfully already empty) bottle which shattered on the floor. Curious glances flew their way. With a simple wave of his wand, Fred had cleaned it up.

    George lowered his voice, “Harry, they can’t just force you to live with that old bat.”

    “Yeah, that’s not even legal,” Fred agreed.

    “You want us to do something about it?”
    “We aren’t scared of him,” Fred said encouragingly.

    “Though I could understand if you are...” George trailed off, a plan seeming to form in his mind.

    “I’m not,” Harry insisted, trying to explain. He was promptly cut off.

    “I know, you say that but, let’s be honest here. A month of living with that greasy git and you may not come out sane,” Fred said darkly.

    “Really-” George began.

    “Stop!” Harry said forcefully. Remarkably, they obeyed.

    “Listen, nobody is forcing me to do anything,” Harry said. “I agreed, of my own free will, to let Professor Snape adopt me.”

    They stared at him, dumbfounded. Harry wondered if that particular expression was a Weasley thing, for it was very much like the one that Ron had donned upon hearing the news.

    “But, why?” Fred asked.

    “Because he cares.”

    “Harry,” George said, almost chastising. “Do you know how many people in the wizarding world would be more than willing to adopt you? Mum and dad volunteered to help turn them away when they owled by the hordes after your parents died. They would all care. But Snape... really?”

    Harry shook his head. “They might care, but Snape understands. He can help me defeat Voldemort, I know it.”

    They cringed at the name. George looked down at his drink dejectedly, as if it had lost all flavor. Fred slapped Harry on the shoulder.

    “Well, if anyone deserves to be happy, you do. Can’t say I agree with the way you’re going about it but it’s your choice.”

    “Thanks,” Harry said gratefully.

    “Me too, mate,” George offered.

    Harry smiled. 

    “So, uh, does he really sleep in a coffin?” 

    Harry sighed. It was going to be a long night. “NO.”

 

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    The next morning, the owl droppings hit the fan. Almost literally. Harry had woken up, eager for the final Quidditch match of the season. If they could win by 210 points, they would tie with Slytherin; 220 and the house cup would go to Gryffindor. He and his friends hurried down to breakfast, woken early by the golden rays of sunshine streaming through the windows. Just as Harry began loading his plate with potatoes, the mail came. 

    Harry noted the unusually large number of owls, but figured that, with only a few days left of the term, students were arranging their return trip home. He shrugged and picked up his pumpkin juice.

    Hermione had paid the owl for her Daily Prophet and unrolled it, reading the headline aloud. “Suspected Dark Wizard Forces The Boy Who Lived Into Adoption.”

    Harry spat out his mouthful of juice. “What? Let me see that.”

Suspected Dark Wizard Forces The Boy Who Lived Into Adoption

By Rita Skeeter

        Yesterday morning, papers were signed which turned the Boy Who Lived’s life over to Severus Snape, 32. Snape is the Potions Master at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry and is described less than favorably by his students. One Percy Weasley, 15 and a Gryffindor prefect, has this to say about his Potions professor, “Professor Snape, while a good teacher is very cold an distant. He lives for intimidation; simply walking into a room makes everyone go quiet. He is a favorite horror story of Hogwarts used to frighten first years and prospective students.”

When I asked students of the Slytherin house what they thought of the aforementioned comment about their Head of House, Pansy Parkinson, 11, said this, “Professor Snape can be very mean. Most of the time, he leaves us Slytherins alone, but he really loathes the Gryffindors. I would hate to be one of them. Harry Potter has been in detention with him most of the year. I should probably feel bad, but I don’t.”

    It is shocking to imagine that the Ministry of Magic allowed this adoption to go through. It is the common consensus here at Hogwarts that no child in their right mind would willingly agree to such an arrangement. Being a Potion Master and quite possibly a Dark Wizard, it would not be difficult for Snape to intimidate or coerce Harry Potter into saying that he indeed wanted to be adopted. In the opinions of many outraged readers, the Ministry and Wizengamot representatives should not have allowed the adoption of the child without assurances that he was acting of his own accord. The Ministry refuses to comment. I assure you that I will do everything in my power to give you, my faithful readers, the inside scoop as soon as possible. Stay scandalous! 

-Rita Skeeter

 

    Immediately after he finished reading, Harry looked up at Snape at the Head table. He wondered briefly if Legilimency was affected by distance, for he could not tell what lay beyond that impassive face. Harry attempted an apologetic look and passed the paper on to his friends. he braced himself for what was about to come after the other students read the paper. Harry looked up again and saw Severus descend from the Head table. He headed over to the Gryffindor table, presumably to talk to Harry. Harry watched his progress. About halfway down, Snape stopped and stood behind one unfortunate student: Percy Weasley.

    “That stupid git. I can’t believe he is my brother,” Ron muttered watching the scene.

    The students around Percy stopped talking. He looked around, confused at the lack of chatter. Snape leaned down and whispered something in Percy’s ear. He paled and sat rigidly. Snape straightened and smoothed his robes with a satisfied smirk. Harry and Ron broke into laughter. Snape continued on towards Harry.

    “Mr. Potter, do I intimidate you?” he asked, loud enough for many of the surrounding students to hear.

    “No, sir.”

    “Then you will not be opposed to coming to the office of a ‘suspected Dark Wizard’ before the Quidditch match?” Snape said with a hint of dry humor. 

    “Of course not,” Harry replied, grinning. “I mean, what’s one more detention?”

    Snape raised an eyebrow. “Cheeky brat.”

    “Yep,” Harry agreed. Severus swept away to repeat his intimidation process with Pansy. Draco found this exceptionally amusing.

    “So is it true, Harry?” Neville asked, leaning forward from a few seats down.

    “That Snape forced me?” Harry replied. “Of course not. But the adoption, yes it is.”

    The people within hearing distance broke into chatter. 

    “So that’s how you got him to stop bothering me,” Neville said, clarity dawning at last.

    “Yeah,” Harry grinned. 

    “But why Snape, Harry?” someone yelled.

    “I would like to know the same thing,” a feminine voice seconded behind Harry.

    Harry turned to find a woman in obnoxious purple jeweled glasses framed by curly blonde hair. She was wearing so much green that Harry wanted to throw up. “Uh, who are you?”

    “Rita Skeeter, dear. How lovely to meet you,” she said, shifting her green quill to her other hand in order to offer Harry a handshake. He didn’t take it. “Oh,” she huffed.

    “Why are you here?” he asked with narrowed eyes. Almost all conversation along the Gryffindor table had stopped in favor of gaining some new gossip.

    “I came a little early for the Quidditch match and thought I’d pop in to see if you had anything you wanted to tell the public,” she said sweetly.

    “I have something to tell you.”

    “Yes?” she said eagerly, poising her quill.

    “Yeah-” 

    “Harry!” Snape warned, descending from behind Skeeter.

    “-off,” Harry finished, garnering him a glare from Severus.

    “Sorry dear, didn’t catch that. Could you repeat?” she asked in a high, annoying voice. 

    “No, he cannot,” Severus spoke up.

    “Ah, who do we have here? The infamous Severus Snape it seems,” Skeeter smiled and offered her hand once more. Snape swept it away, making Harry feel a rush of fondness for the man.

    “You shouldn’t be here.”

    “No?” she asked innocently. “I simply wanted to hear Harry’s side of the story. Not that he will say anything now that you’re here...”

    “He didn’t force me to do anything,” Harry said fiercely.

    “Harry, dear boy, why would I believe that when he could be intimidating you right now?” She asked with false sympathy. Switching slyly into interview mode, she said, “Why on earth would anyone choose him,” she gave Severus a look of disdain, “over any one of the other families willing to adopt you? How can you trust a Dark Wizard?” 

    Harry growled, growing angry. “I’ll tell you how I know I can trust him. He saved my life no less than four times. He was there for me when no one but my friends were. He rescued me from my muggle family where I was starved and locked in a cupboard. He may be a suspected Dark Wizard, but I would choose him over someone like you any day.”

    Snape’s hard expression softened at Harry’s fierce defense of him. “I believe that is all that he has to say. Now would you kindly leave us alone before I am forced to prove the Dark allegations one way or another? It shall not be pretty.”

    She gave them one last look of utmost suspicion before shoving her notebook and quill into her crocodile skin purse and snapping it closed. “Fine, but  just know that I don’t believe you.”    

    “Ms. Skeeter, do you have any idea how little your approval matters to me?” Severus said in a bored voice. 

    Rita huffed and stomped out of the hall. Spontaneously, the Gryffindor table broke into applause. Harry wouldn’t have been surprised if someone had been taking notes on the whole argument so that by the end of the day, the entire school would know.

    “Come, Harry,” Snape said, though not roughly. “We have caused enough stir for one morning.”

    “I think so,” Harry agreed, rising to follow him. He waved at his friends, figuring that there would be much to talk about later.

    They made their way down to Snape’s office in the dungeons. Once inside, Harry immediately began to apologize.

    “I’m so sorry, Severus. Everyone is really going to hate you now,” Harry said. 

    Snape fixed him with a stern glare. “How in Merlin’s name is this your fault?” He waved his hand dismissively. “I knew that something like this was bound to happen. Nobody would expect the hero of the wizarding world to choose a Dark Wizard like me for a guardian. They got that right at least.”

    “But I did!” Harry insisted.

    “I know that, Harry,” Severus assured him. “That is what matters.”

    “I guess.”

    “I have lived most of my life being hated by the public,” he smiled wryly. “Though if you have anything to say about it, that may change.”

    “It will,” Harry vowed. “Do you think she will print what I said?”

    “Perhaps,” he said. “but I doubt it. It would require admitting that she was wrong.”

    Harry grinned. “Wouldn’t want that, would she?”

    “I think not.”

    “What did you say to Percy?” Harry asked.

    “I assured him that I was well aware of the stories about me and they are false. I did, however, insinuate that they just might become true if he continued to associate with Skeeter,” Severus said with a smirk.

    Harry smiled. “I daresay you intimidated him.”

    “Yes, I suppose I did,” Severus replied.

    Severus pulled open a drawer in the side of his desk and rummaged through it. 

    “There are only a few days left of the term, and I want you to have this as, say, a celebration present,” he said, pulling out a leather bound book with a spiky spine that changed colors sporadically. “I had Hagrid help put this together for me; I was unsure of the best way to cut up a Streeler shell.”

    He slid it over to Harry who was careful not to touch the poisonous shell.

    “It is charmed so that it cannot hurt you,” Severus pointed out.

    Harry nodded and opened the book. Inside were all of Severus’s pictures of his mother. The first page held the one that he had rescued from the Dursleys. Harry flipped through, recognizing almost all of them. He smiled. Towards the end, there were a few that featured his father or Harry himself. He looked up at Snape curiously.

    “Hagrid,” he said by way of explanation. Harry nodded and made a mental not to thank him.

    When he had reached the end of the pictures, he noticed that over half of the book was left unfilled. 

    Snape saw his look and said quietly, “For you to fill up with your own memories.”

    Harry’s throat tightened. “Thank you, Severus.”

    Severus gave a rare smile, making him look years younger.

    Harry pulled the crumpled up newspaper from his pocket and used a careful spell to sever the picture that was next to the article. It was one of Harry and Snape at the ice cream parlor in Diagon Alley on their first trip. As he arranged it in the album, he idly wondered how long Skeeter had been following him, waiting for something to happen. He dearly hoped that a random person had taken the picture and sold it to Skeeter. It would make him feel marginally better. Harry looked at the picture on thin newsprint and watched himself lick the ice cream. He saw a large glob drop onto his robes and watched Snape’s subsequent look of horror. 

    “I wonder why they picked this picture,” Harry mused out loud. He grinned. “This was you on a good day.”

    Severus lifted a brow, but seemed pleased that he was included in the album. “Was it? Do not forget that I loathed you then.”

    “It’s easy to forget,” Harry said honestly. “Thanks again, Severus.”

    He nodded. “You best get ready for the match. Hopefully you can catch that Snitch fast.”

    Harry’s eyes narrowed. “If I catch it too fast, Slytherin will win the cup.”

    Again, Severus’s eyebrow shot up as if to say “And that is bad how?”

    Harry shook his head, said goodbye and left Severus to think about the horrible things that he could do to get even with Rita Skeeter...

    His thoughts were interrupted by Harry poking his head back in.

    “Severus?”

    “Yes?”

    “I just wanted to apologize; during the adoption interview, I forgot to mention the time that you saved my life after Quirrell broke into your office and hit me with a blasting curse,” Harry said.

    Severus’s brow knitted. “That is quite alright. How did I save your life, though? I merely transported you to the hospital wing.”

    Harry struggled for words. “I was kind of floating in the dark, then I heard you all my name and I found my way back. Anyway, see you later.”

    On that confusing note, Harry was gone, this time leaving Severus with even deeper thoughts.

 

 

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