Chapter 6: An Abomination
Severus Snape was physically ill. He had never, in all his life, imagined that monsters like the Dursleys existed. Nothing any of his Slytherins had ever endured came even remotely close to the horror that was young Harry's life. The only question that Snape had been able to come up with was how young Harry had survived, and as Madame Pomfrey had pointed out, it had most likely been his magic. Snape did briefly wonder how no one, especially Dumbledore, had noticed, but then decided that Dumbledore must not have cared, and left that question alone for the time being. It had been a rough first week of school, but everyone had survived, and Harry had taken to carrying around a chalk board and chalk as a temporary means of communication.
As it was now Friday, and as the Dursleys were the only family to not respond to Snapes letter, he decided that they would be the first house he visited. An evil smirk graced his face as he carefully dressed in a pair of slacks, dress shirt, and long business jacket. He brushed his hair into a pony tail at the base of his neck, and secured it with an emerald green ribbon. Deciding he looked muggle enough, Snape departed his quarters, and headed straight for the apparition point. It had been years since he had seen Petunia Evans, and he was quiet looking forward to their little...chat.
Privet Drive was disgustingly muggle in every way. Identical houses lined both sides of the street, with identical yards, and identical cars in every driveway. Severus Snape almost gagged at how Stepford it was. Making his way to #4 as quickly as possible, Snape knocked on the door and waited for someone to answer.
A tall, bony woman with a horse-like face and mousey brown hair answered the door moments later wearing a garish poppy dress and flowered apron.
"May I help you?" Petunia asked politely, having no idea who her visitor was, or why he was there.
"Good afternoon, Tuney. It's been ages...20 years at least," Severus sneered.
The look on Petunia's face was immediately ugly.
"What do you want, Severus? Why are you bothering me? We sent that...freak...to that abnormal school. Why can't you people just leave us alone?"
"Mr. Potter was sorted into Slytherin House upon his arrival at Hogwarts. As the Head of said House, Mr. Potter has become my responsibility for the remainder of his time at Hogwarts. I am sure you received my letter requesting a home visit last week. It is something I do with all of my first year students so that I may better assist them in successfully adapting to their new surroundings. Since I received no reply from you or your husband, I thought I would make your home my first one for assessment."
"I don't know what the boy has told you-"
"That 'boy' has told me...anyone...nothing. Now I suggest you let me in for our little discussion, or I shall be forced to make a scene, in the best interests of a minor under my charge, and Heaven forbid the law gets involved."
"You can't threaten me, Snape. I know how your laws work. Dumbledore told us all about them when he left that boy with us."
"Then I am sure you are aware that accusations of abuse and neglect are taken far more seriously in the Wizarding world than they are in the muggle one, and that the consequences are more severe, especially when it is muggle on wizard abuse, and let us not forget, young Mr. Potter is somewhat of a celebrity amongst wizards. I can only imagine people may...over react...if he were being mistreated."
"Harry is a no good little wretch just like his parents. He is a vicious liar, and we lived in fear every day he was here!"
"Of what, exactly? That he would rub off on you? Jeopardize your 'normal' lifestyle?" snorted Snape in disgust.
"Get off my property, or I shall call the police!" Petunia shrieked.
"Please do, Madame. I shall be only too happy to explain to them where I am from, and why I am here. Perhaps I shall summon the Aurors as well? We could make it a party," said Severus in a low growl.
"Are you threatening me?" she asked.
"I am making a promise," Snape said in his lowest, silkiest whisper.
"Go away!" Petunia said, and slammed the door in Professor Snapes face.
Severus departed Privet Drive with renewed determination to seek justice for Harry. Petunia Evans always had been a vile creature, and had apparently, only gotten worse. He had, most fortunately, happened across one Ms. Arabella Figg, who knew exactly who he was, and where he was from, and who had invited him in for tea, and to 'see how little Harry was doing'. That had been a most interesting conversation in which he had learned that Ms. Figg had been placed in her home by Albus to watch over Harry, and who offered her services as a babysitter to the Dursleys free of charge, any time Harry needed watching. He had also learned that she had, on several occasions, voiced some serious concerns about the treatment Harry was receiving from his relatives, and had been reassured by the Headmaster that he would speak with Petunia and Vernon, but obviously never had.
Armed with this knowledge, Severus made his way to the Ministry of Magic intent on paying a visit to one Lady Greengrass, Head of the Department for the Wellbeing of Magical Children. Upon entering the Ministry, he submitted his wand, handed over his documents for review and was begrudgingly pointed towards the Wizarding Children's Services offices, though nfortunately, he was most intimate with the way.
"Lady Greengrass," he said, knocking on the witches' office door.
"Professor Snape! School's only been in session for...a week! I must say I am saddened to see you so soon. Didn't it take a full month for you to show up last year? I hope this visit isn't about Daphne," said Lady Greengrass with a frown on her face.
"No, my Lady. After that one hitch with all the first years, Miss Greengrass has done quite well. I have had no complaints from any of the other teachers, and she seems to be getting on well with her year mates."
"Good. I am so glad to hear that. Astoria starts next year, I do so hope she ends up in Slytherin. Not only for family preference. I feel safer knowing that my children are so well looked after in your house."
"Thank you, Ma'am."
"Please, Professor. Call me Delilah. We've known each other too long to be so formal."
"That we have, Delilah. I'm afraid...it's not good. Not good at all. And I wanted to come to you sooner, probably should have, but you know I like to have all of my facts before I act on anything."
"Severus, you are most thorough in any claims you have ever made, and unfortunately, everything you have ever reported has panned out into something. Who is it this time? A first year obviously, but I can't think of who it might be. I know Lucius would not get caught mistreating Draco, and Crabbe and Goyle just don't seem the type. Lady Zabini left young Blaise in the care of a nanny, probably until he reaches his majority; and Lady Parkinson absolutely adores Pansy, and of course, Patrick is wrapped around her little finger. Lord Nott is strict, but I don't see young Theo being abused. Who else is there?"
"Harry Potter has been sorted into Slytherin."
"No!" gasped Lady Greengrass.
"Yes. I can assure you everyone else was just as surprised."
"I fear so. Albus Dumbledore's Golden Boy isn't so golden after all. And I must confess that the Headmaster doesn't know I am here. The allegations are terrible, I'm afraid. Unlike anything I have ever come to you with. And Albus has been implicated as well."
"I would prefer if you worked the case yourself. I assume you understand the need for discretion and propriety. I know as Head of the department you are extremely busy, and that you don't usually handle cases, but young Harry has apparently reached out for help before, and it was all brushed under the table. A neighbor even went to Dumbledore on several occasions to express her concern over Harry's wellbeing, and she believes that she was continuously ignored."
"How bad is it?"
Severus dug out all of his paperwork; Harry's missive, Poppy's exam notes, the notes from his own exam; the vials of memories he had extracted from Ms. Figg and Harry himself, and sat them on the table.
"The Dursleys would not comply with the home visit I request for all of my first years, and I have been unable to obtain Mr. Potters school or health records. I have found no other neighbor who has encountered Harry other than seeing him do chores. From what I can gather, the Dursleys warned everyone against him telling them that he was mentally unstable, and violent. I had Poppy conduct a physical exam on Mr. Potter when I could go no further in my own examination of him. I do hope you haven't eaten yet. The food might come back up."
Lady Greengrass raised an eyebrow and summoned her Pensieve before flipping through the paperwork. The more she read, the paler she got, she didn't even make it to the memories before she lost the contents of her stomach into the trash bin.
"Yes. I know."
"I cannot even imagine. I have no doubt that the Headmaster was aware of everything going on, or at the very least, he turned an absolute blind eye. Nothing excuses his actions however, especially since it was he who placed Mr. Potter with the Dursleys."
"What do you mean He placed Harry with the Dursleys?"
"Just that. He retrieved Harry from the wreckage of his parents' home and awayed with him to his aunt and uncle's house, and that was that."
"Who was Harry left to in the Potters wills?"
"I have no idea. James and I were enemies, but I can't ever imagine that Lily would have left any living thing to her sister. Lily and I grew up together and Petunia only gets viler with each passing year it would seem," Severus sneered.
"I thank you, Severus, for bring this to my attention. I will of course handle this case personally, and with the utmost discretion. I will meet with Madame Bones as soon as she returns from lunch, and I will prepare papers for emergency guardianship to be granted to my department immediately. In the meantime I will work on finding a suitable guardian for young Mr. Potter until this whole mess can be sorted out. I will be sure to keep in touch, as always."
"Thank you, Lady Greengrass."
Snape and Delilah shook hands, and he departed for Hogwarts where he would wait for the glass house that Albus Dumbledore had built, to break.