The Silent Observer

Chapter 3: The Boy Who

Harry was practically running to keep up with the long strides of his Head of House and as a result almost bowled into him upon Snapes sudden stop.

"In," Snape gestured towards a previously hidden door, following the boy into his office. "Sit," he commanded, and Harry did promptly as he was told. "Now, Mr. Potter," Snape sneered, "I expect a full explanation for your insolence."

Harry stared at Professor Snape with wide eyes, completely at a loss as to what he should do. Several long moments passed by before Snape spoke again.

"Mr. Potter it is late, and as important as you seem to think you are, I have far better things to occupy my time. Now explain to me your insolence, or face detention. I daresay that is a record even your pathetic father couldn't boast."

Harry hung his head. Here was someone else to tell him that his father was no good. Harry wondered how his Head of House knew him and if he had known his mother as well. Shaking his head slowly, Harry looked straight into Professor Snapes eyes imploring him to understand what he could not say, but knowing that it would be of no use.

"Mr. Potter, you are wasting my time," Snape ground out, and Harry could only shrug his small shoulders, a confused look on his face. Severus already had a massive headache, and Harry was only making it worse. "Are you sick, Mr. Potter? Perhaps a cold or something of the sort has temporarily taken your voice?" he asked.

Harry just shook his head.

"Surely you know HOW to speak, Mr. Potter," Snape snorted, to which Harry only shifted his gaze to the floor in shame.

Severus was in shock.

"You don't mean to tell me you don't know how to speak!"

Slowly, still keeping his face down, Harry nodded his head.

"Preposterous!" shouted Snape, causing Harry to jump. "Petunia Dursley wouldn't allow such a thing. Someone might think her 'abnormal'."

They both sat there for several long minutes, Snape contemplating the puzzle before him, and Harry practically shaking in fear.

"Mr. Potter, I shall deposit you to your common room. You are to go straight to bed. You will be present, and appropriately dressed, at breakfast, at 7am, do I make myself clear?"

Harry nodded his head, looking at his Professor.

"I shall speak to the rest of the staff about your…condition…so that special arrangements can be made until something is figured out. You will report to this office for lunch tomorrow, is that understood?"

Harry nodded again, and with that, Severus Snape got up and led him back to the Slytherin Common Room before continuing on to the Headmasters office.

Severus Snape had not required a password to Headmaster Dumbledore's office in many a year and as such simply glared at the sentinel gargoyle as he ascended the spiral staircase. As expected, the Headmaster was seated at his desk in a garish purple dressing gown; a plate of cookies, and a pot of tea resting in one corner.

"Ah! Severus, my boy, what can I do for you?" Dumbledore inquired cheerfully.

"We have a problem, Albus. I think it best you call the staff," replied Snape.

"My boy! It is past midnight! Surely it can wait til morning!"

"Are you aware, Headmaster, that Harry Potter is unable to speak?"

"Now Sever-"

"No, Albus. He has not, and I believe cannot, uttered a word since his arrival. Not in his common room, not to myself, not to his fellow classmates, not to his prefect, not even in private. He has indicated to me that he simply does not know how. I am sure therefore, you can see how his success at this school is already in jeopardy."

"Oh Severus. I am sure once he has been here a few days, he will come out of his shell. I imagine it was quite a shock to young Mr. Potter, finding out he had magic, and that he was a celebrity in our world."

"I fear that is not so, Headmaster. This boy is timid. He hardly looked me in the eye, and was fearful when he did. How was he treated at the Dursleys?"

Albus Dumbledore paused only briefly.

"He was provided all of the basic necessities, and received the blood protection provided by residing in his mother's sister's home."

"And is education not a basic necessity Albus? Surely he is lacking in that area if he cannot even speak."

"Have you asked him why he will not speak, Severus?"

"I have not. It was late enough as it was, and I still have much to see to for classes tomorrow."

"Give him time Severus. He'll come around."

Snape just rolled his eyes and stormed back to his office. That meddlesome old codger was up to something, and if Severus was right (and he usually was) it wasn't anything good.

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