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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9. Chapter 9

Harry wandered through the halls after his release from the Hospital Wing. He physically felt fine, although an unusual uneasiness made his stomach churn. It was in the middle of class, and though Harry had no desire to attend the last half of Charms, he also did not relish the thought of wandering the corridors. Alone. After a few minutes of deliberation and a careful gathering of his courage, Harry decided to pay a visit to Professor Snape in the hopes that he did not have a class at the moment. Harry’s steps echoed off the stone walls in the dungeon corridor, making it seem as if there was someone behind him. After the incident with the invisibility cloak, he assumed that there could be. By the time Harry had reached the potions classroom, panic had set in and he almost frantically rushed the last few feet to the door. 

    “Potter,” a voice said from behind him. Harry jumped, deathly pale, and struggled to pull out his wand. “Easy, Mr. Potter. I am not about to attack you.”

    Harry stopped struggling and turned to find Professor Snape. He thought he should feel relieved, but simply could not summon the emotion while standing in front of Snape’s menacing figure. Snape’s usually blank visage was currently marred by a slight furrow of the brows.

    “You seem oddly on edge, Mr. Potter. Why is it that you are here?”

    “I came to talk to you, but I kept hearing things and I got freaked out,” he rambled. “Do you have a class?”

    “I do, in fact. A class I must get back to,” he said gesturing to the bag of what Harry assumed were potions ingredients that he was carrying. “It will be over in ten minutes. I assume you do not want to remain in the hall for that long?”

    Harry shook his head, feeling embarrassed. Snape glanced around as if to find an alternative.

    “You can wait in my office,” he offered. Harry did not look particularly relieved. “Do not worry; it is perfectly safe this time, I assure you.”

    Snape’s wicked sneer told Harry all he needed to know. Nevertheless, he nodded and allowed himself to be escorted to Snape’s office down the hall. After a complicated string of spells were uttered by the professor, the door to his office swung open.
    “Do not touch anything. I will return once my class lets out,” Snape stated, then simply closed the door on Harry.

    Harry stood, glancing around the room once more. He felt like he had been in this office far too often in the past week. Harry moved to sit at the leather chair in front of the mahogany desk. As he did so, a particular book peeking out from underneath a pile of papers caused Harry to pause. It was the very same book that Harry had seen Snape reading out of on the night that he was attacked. If he recalled correctly, he had seen Snape check this once he realized there was an intruder. It must be of some importance... Harry mused. Unable to curb his curiosity, Harry considered ways of looking at the book without Snape knowing what he had done. He pulled out his wand and carefully aimed it at the bottommost section of papers. 

    “Wingardium Leviosa,” Harry said while swishing and flicking his wand as he had been taught. The papers rose into the air and hovered there, directed by Harry’s wand. He gently set them down on a clear part of the desk and snatched the book up. He did not have much time left. Flipping quickly through the book, Harry had no idea what he was looking for. As he leafed through the pages, he paused on a page that sported a ragged edge that ran up the binding. A page had been torn out here, so Harry looked at the ones surrounding it for clues as to what was missing. He skimmed the page which offered no useful information, but rather was a description of a bowtruckle. Seeming quite out of place, Harry found a few lines scrawled beneath the description, near the bottom of the paper. 

    “Herein is contained the only known research of the notable and most respected Nicholas Flamel, alchemist. This work has been added as a means of preserving the theory whilst barring the knowledge falling into dangerous or public hands. You are implored to guard this work and not use the information for ill or allow those who intend harm to read it. Should you attempt an evil deed using the information contained here, the results shall not be to your liking. Think well.  -Perenelle,” he read.

    Harry’s mind filled with questions. Through the haze of his spinning thoughts, he heard footsteps outside the door. Hastily, he put the book back on the desk and levitated the papers to sit atop it. Harry folded his hands in his lap in attempt to look completely innocent. He donned the mask of blank indifference that the Dursley’s had taught him was the safest. The door clicked open and in stepped the tall black figure of Professor Snape. He shut the door behind him and gazed at Harry critically. Harry did not hold his gaze this time. Snape rounded the desk and sat behind it. 

    “What have you come to talk about?” he asked after an uncomfortable moment of silence.

    “Professor Dumbledore told me that there was stuff we had to talk about,” Harry explained.

    “‘Stuff we had to talk about’? That clears it up,” Snape replied with a generous dose of sarcasm.

    “What happened, sir? I think I have the right to know,” Harry ventured.    

    Snape sat up straight and considered the boy. Just as his gaze was becoming unsettling, he sighed. Harry was almost shocked by this outward display of emotion.

    “I cannot, and will not, tell you the specifics,” Snape stated dryly. “All that I can tell you is that my office was broken into, obviously, and robbed. What the thief took was invaluable and incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands. I assume that his are the wrong hands.”

    Harry thought about what he had read. Almost as if reading his mind, Snape’s gaze shot toward the book. Upon seeing it there, his looked relieved, though his gaze narrowed. Harry hoped that its positioning was close enough that Snape would not notice. 

    “But, sir, what about him attacking me?”

    “We can only assume that he was after you rather than me. Do you know why?” he asked.

    “No, sir,” Harry said.

    “How much do you know of the night that your parents died?” 

    “Only what you told me, sir; that it wasn’t a car crash, but that they died fighting an evil wizard,” Harry responded quietly.

    Snape seemed to cringe. “Mr. Potter, your mother...and father... sacrificed themselves to save you when the Dark Lord came to kill you.”

    “To kill me?” Harry asked in disbelief. “The Dark Lord? Who’s that? Is that You-Know-Who?” he asked, recalling a confusing remark by one of the Weasley twins.

    “Yes, to all of your questions. As for who it is, he is the most evil wizard that this land has ever known. He wanted to kill you; tried to kill you,” Snape amended. “But somehow, you, a baby defeated him. How?” he said not with incredulity, but with a passionate thirst for explanation.

    “I don’t know sir, I was a baby,” Harry said.

    “Cheeky brat,” Snape sneered.

    Harry ignored the insult while he puzzled over this new information.

    “What was his name?”

    “It is not to be said,” Snape said.

    “Can you write it down?” Harry asked. “I need to know.”

    “Why?” Snape asked suspiciously.

    “I’m not sure, but I need this.”

    Snape obliged, albeit warily. Soon, Harry held a scrap of paper with the sharp, slanted scrawl of Professor Snape’s handwriting. Voldemort. 

    “Voldemort,” Harry breathed.

    “Don’t say his name,” Snape growled. Harry paled and nodded. He stuffed the paper into his pocket.

    “So someone is trying to kill me because I killed Vol- You-Know-Who?” Harry asked.

    “That is what we presume, though I am certain they had other reasons for breaking into my office. The fact that you were there simply presented an opportunity that they could not ignore.”

    “But, I was just a baby! I didn’t even know I killed him!” Harry cried indignantly.

    “I know, Mr. Potter, there is no need to shout. Some were so loyal to the Dark Lord that they would have killed scores of people merely for his entertainment. They will not think twice about taking this out on you,” Snape said without emotion.

    “May I go now, sir?” Harry proposed, needing to process all of this information.

    Snape sneered, “Certainly.”

    Harry was about to leave when he suddenly turned to look at Professor Snape.

    “Professor? One more question.”

    “If you must,” Snape said tiredly.

    “Why do you hate me?”

    At this unexpected question, the professor’s dark eyes snapped to Harry’s. They seemed to be searching to see if this was an honest question. Seeing that it was, Snape answered him.

    “Because of your father.”

    “What did he do?” Harry asked.

    “He was my worst enemy,” Snape stated. “And he saved my life.”

    Harry’s brow furrowed in confusion. “I’m glad he did.” One of Snape’s eyebrows rose. “Because you saved mine.”

    And with that Harry was gone.

 

 

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

 

 

    Severus sat in front of the fire nursing a glass of firewhiskey and thinking about the conversation that he had with the Potter boy earlier that day. He had felt so stupid giving the reason for why he hated Harry, and despite the fact that Minerva had pointed the very same thing out to him only a few days before, it finally became clear how very stupid his reasoning was. Illogical, even. He was taking the sins of the father out on the son; one thing that he had loathed in his childhood.

    “Idiot,” he muttered to himself. 

    Despite his feelings for what he himself had said, the child’s words cut Severus to the core. He drained his glass and began to pace, recalling the feeling of the total and utter destruction of his soul from that one sentence. He had been so hard on the boy, but now... That was something that Lily would have said. Perhaps that was the worst part. Furious with himself, Severus took up a quill and began grading papers, letting his guilt and remorse transform into criticism for his students. This served only as a distraction, not relief, and Severus knew that it would be a rough night. He was right.

 

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

 

 

    Harry rose the next day and descended to the common room. Here, he found Ron already up; a rare sight. With him sat Hermione, as usual bent over a thick book. 

    “Mornin’ Harry,” Ron said. “This came for you.”

    Harry accepted the cream colored envelope and broke the green seal. 

    “Come to my office at 7:00 tonight,” he read. “signed Professor Snape.”

    Ron patted Harry on the shoulder, “Good luck, mate.”

    Harry desolately sat on the couch beside Hermione who glanced up as if coming out of a trance. Harry was sure that he would be chastised for the comment he had made before leaving, though he could not work out how that was offensive.

    “Come on, let’s go down to breakfast,” Hermione suggested upon seeing Harry’s expression. 

    He tried to cheer up as they sat in the Great Hall drinking pumpkin juice and talking over the day’s schedule. 

    “Ugh, double potions,” Ron complained as Harry’s heart sank once more. 

    “Great,” he said sarcastically, losing his appetite.

    “Hey, Harry!” a voice called from behind him. Harry turned to see Draco waving from near the Slytherin table. Other Slytherins shot him disgusted looks, but Draco didn’t seem to notice. Harry noted that he didn’t seem to have many friends. Feeling bad for his friend,    Harry asked if Draco could join them at the Gryffindor table.

    “No! Slytherins can’t sit with Gryffindors, that’s like, forbidden or something,” Ron protested.

    “It is not,” Hermione stated indignantly. “There are no rules against it; in fact it should be promoted. House unity.”

    “Yeah, house unity as in our house and their house,” Ron responded. “Separate,” he clarified.

    Hermione rolled her eyes. Defiantly, she marched over to the Slytherin table and tapped Draco on the shoulder.

    “Would you like to come sit with us?” Harry heard her ask quietly.

    “Er,” Draco glanced at the glaring faces of his fellow Slytherins. “Maybe another day. Thanks, though.”

    She looked slightly disappointed, perhaps hoping that he would prove Ron wrong. Hermione simply nodded and returned to the Gryffindor table, now garnering glares of her own. 

    She shrugged, “It was worth a shot.”

    They finished breakfast quickly, then retreated to the library. 

    “Hermione, will you revise my essay?” Harry asked, needing both the help and the distraction from his brooding. 

    “Sure, Harry. Which one is it?”

    “Transfiguration.”

    She nodded, crossing out lines with her quill. By the time she had finished, it was almost time to head out to Herbology. Deciding to get an early start on the long walk to the greenhouses, the trio gathered their books and left library. As they walked down the hallway, Harry felt something off about his surroundings. A ripple seemed to spread through the air in front of him as he ran into someone who appeared not to be there. Yelling he stumbled backwards and pulled his wand out. He did not yet know any defensive spells, so he went with an alternate mode of escape. Grabbing the robes of his oblivious friends, he pulled them into the door to his right. Shutting the door behind him with a gasp, Harry saw that Hermione had her wand out and was locking the door.     

    “That probably won’t hold for long, depending... wait, what are we running from?” she asked, confused.

    “Someone in an invisibility cloak. I think it’s the same person who attacked me the other day,” he explained while catching his breath. “Where are we?”

    “The third-floor corridor,” Ron said shakily. “Out of bounds to those not wishing to die a horrible death.”

    Harry glanced around, not seeing anything that seemed dangerous. “Maybe they were over exaggerating. It doesn’t seem that bad,” he said.

    Beside him, Harry herd the murmuring of a spell. “Run!” he said urgently.

    They bolted down the hallway as the lock clicked and the door was pushed open by an unseen hand. They bolted down the corridor, skidding to a stop before a door at the end. Ron frantically tried the door; it was locked.

    “Alohomora,” Hermione said quickly and without hesitation. The lock clicked and they stumbled inside.

    “That was close,” Harry breathed, panting.

    “Uh, guys?” Ron muttered, his voice cracking. Harry saw him staring in horror at the center of the room. Following his gaze, Harry found the object of his horror. A massive three-headed dog lay sleeping in the middle of the floor. Harry estimated it’s fangs to be at least a foot long and it’s whole lead was about as big as Harry. In unison, they screamed.

    Hermione fumbled for the handle as the dog raised his head, or one of them anyway. At last, her fingers found purchase and they were released into the corridor. Harry wished that he knew the spell Snape had used to make blue threads fill the air. Unsure of whether or not the invisible man was still here, they bolted to the door and stumbled out into familiar territory.

    “Whaddya think yer doing?” a voice boomed.

    “Hagrid,” Harry cried, so happy to hear his voice that tears almost leaked from his eyes. 

    “Didn’ you hear that yer not supposed to be in there?” Hagrid asked, looking softened slightly by Harry’s warm relief. “It was an accident righ’?”

    They nodded contritely. 

    “All righ’ then. Run along now, don’ want you to be late.” Hagrid ushered them forth.

    Greatly relieved to be back in friendly surroundings, they hurried to Herbology, discussing the recent shock they had received. 

    “Ugh, did you see the drool?” Ron remarked. “Disgusting.”

    “It’s teeth were huge, too,” Harry pointed out.

    Hermione huffed, “Boys. Didn’t you see what it was standing on?”

    “I was a little preoccupied with it’s three heads to see it’s feet, Hermione,” Harry retorted. Ron snickered.

    Her eyes narrowed. “It was standing on a trap door, for your information,” she snapped.

    “Sorry,” Harry apologized. He opened his mouth to say more, but they had arrived, late, to class. The lesson on flesh eating plants drove the situation to the edge of his mind, ready to drift back if he became unoccupied. 

    Harry wondered if this had something to do with the missing pages of that book. Something to do with Nicholas Flamel. Something to do with him.

 

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