Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
A special thanks to The Lonely God With a Box for beta'ing my story.
A/N: Here is chapter 26. I really hope you like this chapter.
Sirius held Harry until his breathing evened out.
“You want to talk about it?” Sirius whispered.
“I-I don't think I can do this,”Harry gasped out. “I don't want to be here.”
“I know, pup. But this was the only way. Just remember what Snape and Moony said. If you say that, everything will be fine.”
Harry sighed. “I just don't know.”
“And anyway,” Sirius interjected. “I'll be there. I will be right by you. And if you have any problems or if those bastards try anything, Snuffles will be right there to stop them. Know that.”
“Okay, Sirius. Thanks.”
Sirius stayed in his human form most of the night holding Harry. Before changing back to his dog animagus, he removed the magical lock on the door. The next morning, Harry woke up to Snuffles' head on his chest. A small smile graced the child's lips. He felt better than he had in a long time. He tried to get up, but the weight of the big black dog's head really had him pinned to the bed. Harry couldn't help but chuckle at this, but knew that he would have to get up soon to make breakfast.
“Come on, Snuffles,” Harry chuckled. “I have to get up.”
The next thing he was met with were a pair of paws barely missing his face as the black dog stretched on top of him. Snuffles jumped off Harry's bed the minute he was done stretching, then he started pacing around the room and whining. Harry quickly got out of the bed and the both child and dog went downstairs. Harry opened the back door to let Snuffles out and then he began breakfast.
Harry was into making breakfast; eggs, kippers, toast, and tea. Snuffles was laying on the floor behind his godson. He really hoped that his relatives would leave him alone. Thirty minutes into him cooking, Harry began to hear the noises of his relatives waking up. The table was being set up with the last of breakfast when the senior Dursley came into the kitchen. Harry's heart was beating hard. He didn't know how this breakfast was going to go, so he stood back a little from the table. Snuffles saw the tension in the boy and whined a little then stood by the boy nudging his head under Harry's hand. Absentmindedly, Harry softly scratched behind Snuffles' ear. Vernon walked in the kitchen and sat down.
“I see you decided to make yourself
useful,” Vernon sneered.
“Good morning, Uncle Vernon,” Harry responded.
Vernon snorted at the boy. Snuffles made his presence know by growling at the male Dursley. Vernon looked down at the dog and his face sneered more. Harry thought he would have a fit at that moment, and his uncle did not disappoint.
“Why is that dog in the kitchen?” Vernon yelled.
Before Harry could respond, Snuffles left the boy's side and pounced on Vernon. Between the weight of the dog and the man, the chair could not take it and collapsed on its side. The dog had his paws on Vernon's shoulders and pinned him to the floor. Vernon tried and failed to get the dog off of him. Harry looked at the scene in front of him and couldn't help but laugh, feeling his tension melt away.
This is going to be awesome having Snuffles here, Harry thought amusingly.
In the midst of tirades that Vernon was spewing out of his mouth, Snuffles heard his godson laugh. Truly laugh. If a dog could smile, he would be grinning ear to ear at that sound. To Snuffles, that was the only sound in the room: Harry's laughter.
Petunia rushed downstairs to see what the commotion was. When she entered the kitchen, Petunia instantly started screaming at the sight of this huge black dog looking like it was attacking her husband and standing by the stove, was that 'Freak' laughing about it.
“See, I knew you were no good,” Petunia yelled over the screams of her husband, pointing her finger at Harry.
Harry sobered up from laughing immediately. He looked at her and for the first time he wasn't afraid. For he knew if he said something back, he would not be hit from behind.
“I didn't do anything,” Harry said.
“Get that filthy beast off of my husband!” demanded Petunia.
Harry looked at her then over at the scene that made him laugh. He looked back at Petunia and a small smirk came across his lips.
“I'll get him off,” a new found defiance came across Harry. “On one condition.”
The fury that Petunia had on her face completely left and for the first time, since her sister's friend, that wretched Snape, threatened her with magic, she felt fear in her own house. She knew that whatever the boy was going to say she was not going to like it.
“I'll get my dog off of Uncle Vernon,” Harry began. “But, I have a few conditions. You will leave me alone. I am not your servant. I will help out around here, but I won't do everything.”
Snuffles long since stopped trying to nip at Vernon's face, for he wanted Vernon to hear what his godson had to say. Snuffles knew that this was a long time coming and he was going to make sure that they heard what he had to say.
“You will stop hitting me,” Harry continued. “I don't want to be here as much as you don't want me here, but I have to stay. And if you stay out of my way, I won't let Snuffles here eat you.”
“Alright, fine,” Vernon struggled out. “Just get this bloody dog off of me.”
A smile of pure defiance came across The-Boy-Who-Lived. “I think I'm going to go for a morning walk.” He walked passed his aunt and out of the kitchen.
“BOY!” bellowed Vernon.
Harry turned back around and came back into the kitchen. Anger boiling over Harry. Harry walked over to where Vernon and Snuffles were on the floor and knelt down.
“My name is Harry,” Harry whispered. “You will stop calling me 'Freak', 'Boy', or any other name that is not Harry.”
Harry stood up and walked out again. Once he got to the front door, he called out for Snuffles to come. Snuffles tried to nip at Vernon one more time before getting off. He walked over to the table of food, stood on his hind legs and grabbed the biggest kipper of the platter and walked out of the kitchen.
For the first time, Harry really felt good. He told his relatives what was on his mind and he really loved what his godfather did to his uncle. They walked as he ate half of the kipper that Snuffles stole off the table. Snuffles ate the other half before they started walking.
They found themselves back at the park. Harry looked at the swing that he was sitting on a few days ago and remembered how sad and depressed he was. He remembered all those feelings. As he sat back on the swing, Snuffles right in front of him, he couldn't help the happiness and joy that he was feeling now. But there was something else he was feeling. He was missing his Potion Professor. It had been only a day since he wasn't in Professor Snape's presence and he was missing him. Harry shook his head at the mere thought of missing his professor, and if someone told him three weeks ago that he would miss the dour man, he would actually laugh in that person's face. But now, he did miss him.
Snuffles noticed the feeling changed around his godson and faced the child. He noticed that Harry was longing for something, but he wasn't in the same state he was in last night when he comforted him. Harry looked like he was missing something. Snuffles was about to face his godson, when he heard footsteps coming closer. His ears became alert and a low growl escaped the dog alerting Harry.
Harry saw Dudley and his gang of friends coming towards him. Even though he told his aunt and uncle how things were going to be, he did not really want to deal with Dudley's gang. Snuffles stood in front of Harry. A low growl could be heard from the black dog. The boys walked up taunting Harry, but Sirius was in search of just one of them. He waited to see which one would show him what he was looking for.
“Listen to me,” Severus said pulling Sirius to the side. “Keep your eyes on Harry and protect him.”
“I know how to take care of my godson, Snivellous,” growled Sirius.
“Yeah, sure,”Severus dismissed the name. “There is a child I want you to watch for. He has done something to Harry. Something that has that boy trembling in fear at night.”
“What are you telling me?”
“There is someone making Harry feel uncomfortable.”
Realization of what Severus was saying appeared on Sirius' face.
“You don't mean, that someone....”
“He says nothing's happened, but it doesn't change the fear that I saw in his eyes when I asked the question. Look, I don't like you, but I'm entrusting you to use the hatred you have for me and the love you have for that child and protect him from that person.”
“Consider that person dead,” Sirius said.
“Don't kill them,” Severus admonished. “Harry is still going to need you later on. Just scare them.”
“Do I have your word?” Severus asked.
“You have my Wizarding Oath that I will protect Harry with my life.”
Severus nodded. He was about to walk away when he felt a hand on his arm. He looked down at the hand and then back to Sirius.
“I want you to do the same,” Sirius declared.
Without delay Severus looked at Sirius, “You have my Wizarding Oath that I will protect Harry Potter with my life.”
Snuffles watched as the boys tried to surround him and Harry. But Harry got up from the swing and stood next to his black dog. The boys came up and Snuffles looked at all of them. And just as he thought, the one he was looking for was standing next to Harry.
Harry didn't like him standing so close to him. Snuffles barked.
“So, Freak,” Dudley started. “Where did you get the mangy dog from?”
Before Harry could even answer, again just like at breakfast Snuffles pounced. This time, though, actively biting Dudley's hand. Dudley screamed and fell back to the ground after the attack. Snuffles barked again and the boys turned on their heel and ran off. Snuffles chasing after them, but didn't miss the laughter he again heard from his godson.
Snuffles chased the boys down the road. They all got into their minds that they would split up. This pleased the black dog even more, because the one that he wanted was running down an alley way, alone. He could tell the boy was getting tired, but because of his form of being a dog, Sirius' endurance was much better than this boy's. When he saw the boy run to a dumpster and lean against it, he knew it was really time to have some fun.
Stealthily, Sirius crept to the other side of the dumpster and transformed back to his human self. He walked around the bin and was upon the boy before he knew what happened. He gripped the boy shirt and slammed him against the wall behind him.
“Who...who are...you?” the boy wheezed out. He was still trying to catch his breath from running and the breath he did recover left from him out of shear fright of this strange man grabbing hold of him and pinning him to the wall.
“You know Harry Potter,” Sirius said. His voice was surprisingly calm.
The boy nodded.
“You will stay away from him. You will not come near him again. Whatever you have in your mind to do with him, you had better change it. Harry is NOT interested. Don't make me come back here again. Tell your friends: Harry is off limits.”
The only response Sirius got was the sound of water hitting the pavement below. Sirius looked down and saw that the boy had wet himself. He moved closer to the boy's ear and whispered, “I do not want to have to see you again. I will be watching.”
He then let go of the boy and walked off. Once he knew he was out of sight, Sirius transformed back to a dog and went back to Harry, who was actually swinging on the swing with a content smile on his face.
A/N: I know I didn't put if Hagrid is alive or dead. I promise it will be announced in the next chapter.
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