Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
A special thanks to The Lonely God With a Box for beta'ing my story.
Severus sat by Harry's bed. He knew he shouldn't have done anything to the Dursley's house, but his anger just reached a breaking point. He guessed that his only saving grace was that Albus would not know for sure who done the deed. So, Severus contented himself into the realization that as of right now, all was well. All he had to worry about was taking care of Potter.
Albus couldn't believe what he was seeing. The house was completely inside out. If he wasn't worried to where Harry was, the whole thing would have been funny. He knew that Harry wasn't loved in this house, but he had to stay there, even if it was only for a short while. (Which is what Albus was planning.) He understood Minerva's apprehension of Harry coming back here. He wasn't blind. (not yet anyway) He was planning to have Harry stay overnight and then come pick him up and take him to the Weasley's for the rest of the summer, but it seemed that someone else had other plans.
Albus walked across the street to Arabella's house. She saw Albus walking towards her house and opened the door before he could have the chance of knocking. Albus let himself in the house and Arabella closed the door.
“How are you doing, Arabella?” Albus asked once he sat down in the living room.
“I'm doing good, Albus,” Arabella said.
“So,” Albus leaned back in the chair he was sitting in. “Is there something you need to tell me?”
“About?” Arabella asked.
“Harry,” Albus said. She looked at Albus incredulously. The last time she saw Harry, he was on his way to the infirmary.
“Yes, Harry,” Albus said. “He's supposed to be across the street. Where is he?”
Arabella's brow creased. “Albus, Severus and Minerva took Harry out of here. That was the last time that I've seen him.”
“You're telling me that was the last time that you've seen Harry?” Albus asked.
“Have you seen Severus?”
Arabella looked at Albus as if he grew another head. “Albus, what's going on?”
“Severus was ordered to bring Harry back here,”Albus said.
Arabella shrugged her shoulders. “If he brought him, I haven't seen him.”
“Hm.” Albus sighed. “Well, can you tell me what happened to the house?” Albus walked over to the window.
Arabella followed him and looked out the window. She looked up the street and down the street. Nothing.
“Albus,” Arabella said looking up at the man standing next to her. “Forgive me, but are you alright?”
Albus looked at her. “What is it I'm suppose to be looking at?”
“The Dursley's house.” Albus said, his voice a little harsh.
“It looks fine.”
Albus turned and looked out the window. For the second time in a row, he was surprised. There were no one standing outside. The house was fine. He knew he needed to talk to his potions professor. Soon.
Severus sat with Harry for a little while, then he decided he would brew some potions. He knew he had to get started replenishing his private stores as well as the infirmary's stock as well. And what better time than now, since Harry was asleep. He got up from his chair and walked over to Harry. He put his hand on the child's forehead, checking to see if he was getting a fever. Feeling warm but not hot, Severus figured that he was doing alright to be left alone. He placed warding around the bed to let him know if Harry woken up, and left the room.
Harry woke up and saw that he was in the room by himself. He wondered if Professor ever came back. Still clutching the bear, Harry got up from the bed. He was heading to the door when he looked an saw that he still had the bear. Again, he wanted to chuck the bear across the room, but he just didn't have the heart. He walked back over to the bed and place it down on the pillows.
Too old to have a teddy bear. What would people think if it got out that he slept with a stuffed animal? Probably the most humiliating day ever. There was no way he was telling anyone. Now he's really hoping that Professor wasn't lying when he said that he doesn't spread rumors. Harry walked back to the door and left the room. He slowly walked around the house. While he walked, realized that if Professor Snape had a house like this then there was more to the Professor than just teaching. Everything was on the high end. Each room that he looked in, he was surprised at what he saw. The library surprised him the most. When he walked in the room, it did not look like that room belonged in that house. He couldn't keep the smile from forming on his face.
“Magic is really awesome,” Harry muttered out looking at the extensive collection of books all over the room. The other rooms in the house he just glanced in and left, but the library he had to walk in. Slowly he walked over to one of the shelves and looked at the binders of the book, so that he could read the titles. He was so engrossed in the books that he didn't even notice someone else walking in behind him.
Severus came up stairs from his Potions Laboratory with a milder potion for Harry and his pneumonia. From what Severus had been hearing, Harry breathing was starting to get a little better. When he walked up the next flight of stairs, he saw Harry walking in the library. He followed the boy inside the room. When he went inside, he saw that Harry was engrossed in the few books that were on the far wall.
“Enjoying your self, Mr. Potter?” said the baritone voice at the door.
Harry, not expecting his teacher at the door, jumped and turned, facing his professor.
“I'm sorry, sir,” Harry began a mantra of apologies. He didn't mean to scare Harry. Severus was actually surprised to see Harry show enthusiasm with reading. But then with just the few days, that he was awake, Harry has done a few things that has surprised Severus.
Severus walked over to Harry, holding his hands out in a surrendering manner. “Harry.” His voice was low and non-threatening. “There is nothing to be sorry for. I am happy that you have a devotion to reading. And you're welcome to read whatever touches your fancy.”
Harry still looking weary at his professor, took a deep breath and asked, “Why are you really helping me? Why are you being nice to me, sir?”
Severus put his arms down and sat down in the on the stool that he usually used to collect books off the higher shelves.
“You asked,” Severus sighed. “You basically pleaded. I wouldn't deny you that.”
“I didn't think you heard me,” Harry said leaning against the bookshelf. “You and Dumbledore were talking.”
“Yes.” Severus said looking up at Harry. “And while we are on the subject, there are some things that I need answers too.”
Harry looked at his professor and was beginning to dread where this conversation was leading towards.
Severus stood up and walked over to the easy chair that was on the other side of the room. He held out his hand to the small couch next to him for Harry to sit on. Reluctantly, Harry made his way over to the couch and sat down. Not really wanting to know what he wanted to talk about, Harry kept his head down and looked at his hands.
“Harry,” Severus' voice was low and calm. Not the usual bitterness that Harry was accustomed to when someone usually said his name. “Look at me.” Slowly, a pair emerald eyes slowly made their way to a pair of onyx eyes. “There were many things that you said in the infirmary that raised some concern with me. One of them, you spoke of an ominous 'he.' Who is he?”
Harry did not mean to bring him up. The last thing he wanted to talk, and to his most hated professor (that he was beginning to wonder on), was about 'him.' Severus could see the struggle that Harry was going through. While he watched the boy, he held out his hand and silently accio'd the only thing that he knew would calm Harry down.
Harry looking down did not notice the item flying in the room, nor that Severus caught it. Harry, trying to keep his emotions under control didn't notice anything until a familiar soft plush item was held against his chest. Just like all the times before, Harry's arms wrapped around the bear, almost trapping Severus' hand with it. Harry buried his face in the back of the bear's head, took a couple of deep breaths and actually began to feel himself calming down. After a few minutes of silence, Harry began to be aware of his surroundings. And the one thing he noticed was that he was again holding on to that blasted, bloody bear. He didn't understand why this one thing could calm him down as much as it did.
After a few moments of silence, a small voice carried throughout the entire library.
“Why do you always give me this bear?” Harry asked. His head still laying on top of the bear's head.
Severus looked at the small boy for a second and then answered. “For some strange reason, this bear calms you down. So instead of pushing calming draught down your throat every time you have a panic attack, the bear works just the same.”
Harry turned his head so his face was buried in the bear's head. A small smile graced his lips hidden from his professor.
“Thank you, sir,” Harry mumbled in the bear's head.
“You're welcome, Potter.”
Severus sat back in his seat and watched to boy clutching the bear. They sat in silence for a few more moments. He even thought Harry might have fallen asleep. He was about to get up and carry the child back to his room when Harry spoke. He didn't lift his head from the bear, but just slightly turned it so he could speak clearly to the professor.
“What do you want to know?”
Severus sat back in his seat and looked at the boy. “This he. Who is he?”
“Just somebody around the neighborhood. He's one of Dudley's friends.”
“What did he do?”
“Mr. Potter,” Severus' voice was stern, but not harsh. “You are aware how I feel about lying. Something is bothering you. Something is scaring you. And that something has to do with what ever he did to you.”
“He didn't do anything, honest!” Harry sat up from the bear. “He just...” He put his head back down on the bear.
“He just, what?”
“He would make me feel uncomfortable. He would say things. Things that he would do to me. I know it seems stupid to be afraid of something that didn't happen, but I still didn't like it.”
“Did he touch you, Harry?”
Harry shook his head on the bear.
“Sir?” said the little voice on the couch.
“Are you suicidal?”
Harry's head shot up and looked at his professor. His brow creased at the accusation. Suicidal. Never. Well, maybe he did want it all to stop, but he never really wanted to die. Not really.
“When the Dementors attacked,” Severus said bringing Harry out of his thoughts. “I know that you know the Patronus charm. I've seen you cast it. A quite powerful one at that. You had your wand out, but you didn't cast it. Why?”
“I just wanted it to stop.”
“What to stop, Harry?” Severus asked.
“Everything,” Harry turned his head back to the bear. “I'm such a disappointment.”
“Why would you think that?”
“Just look at me; a world class failure.” Tears pooling up in his eyes. “I got Cedric killed. Voldemort is back because of me. I mean, what did my parents die for?” Tears streaming down his face now. “I'm a major screw up.” Harry stood up, now fully yelling. The bear fell on to the floor long since forgotten. “You knew that. You were the only one that saw that. I'm a screw up. I couldn't save Cedric. I couldn't stop the rise of Voldemort. My parents are dead and it's all my fault.” Severus stood up and walked over to Harry. Harry took a step back.
“No.” Harry's red, teary eyes looked up at Severus. “No. You were right. You've always been right. I thought I was something I'm not. And now the whole world knows that Harry Potter is nothing but a spoilt brat that has no care for any one.”
“Harry,” Severus said standing in front of him gripping his shoulders. “Stop it. You're not a spoilt child. What happened with Diggory was a tragedy, but you did not kill him.” Harry shaking his head. “The return of the Dark Lord was not your doing.” Severus took a breath with one hand he gripped Harry's chin and brought it up so that he was looking into his eyes for this last part. “And Harry, I was wrong.” Harry blinked at his teacher. “What I've said about you, I was wrong.”
Harry put his head down, and Severus wrapped his arms around the small boy and pulled him int an embrace.
“I was wrong, Harry. I was wrong.”