Harry Potter sat in his cupboard under the stairs, tears streaming down his fever flushed cheeks, struggling to pull himself together after another night in the Dursley home. His uncle had done it again, had beaten him until he could hardly move, but he hadn’t rejected it. His left arm was broken in several places, and his right wrist was as well. His legs were bloodied up, his thighs covered in welts from the belt. His back hurt the worst though-- there were scabs reopened and new fresh wounds that he knew would get infected like the rest of them also by the belt. Several fingers and his nose were also broken, and he had trouble breathing because of it.
He was kind of used to this, to being treated like vermin in his own house, what was supposed to be his home, because the Dursley’s needed normal, and magic just couldn’t make the cut. But ever since he could remember, this was not what home should feel like. Many people described things as a ‘homey feeling’ or whatnot, and eventually he got used to it whenever someone described something in such a way. But he always felt a twitch of the mind, telling him, ‘this is what home should feel like, how it was supposed to be.’
He felt that maybe he just wasn’t meant for such a thing.
But tonight, Uncle Vernon did something he’s never done before. And Merlin, it hurt, it hurt so bad. His arse was sore and leaking semen from when his Uncle had taken his virginity hours earlier. He was so scared, and felt so violated. His Uncle had said it was a going back to school present before shoving him back in the dusty, spider infested cupboard.
He knew he deserved it. Harry felt that it was only fair, after all, he had caused the death of his parents and Sirius. It still may not be punishment enough. At least, that’s what everyone, trusted and untrusted by him alike, seem to keep telling him.
If not when he was awake, in his dreams.
Nightmares. Nightmares of Sirius, who he had seen just outside of the castle wall, to visit him, but unfortunately, someone else had also seen him, and he was reported. He had, of course, not been taken right away, but the next day... Sirius was trapped going home, and the Auror (a new recruit) had used a jinx to stun him, but it had given Sirius a heart attack, and he was pronounced dead in the Daily Prophet.
He kind of felt tired of it all. Harry didn’t see a point in anything he was doing. Defeating Voldemort seemed especially pointless. All he wanted was a family, and true, Voldemort denied him many options at having family, not by just killing his parents, but by making him famous. He was scared no one would love him for who he really was. The Dursley’s certainly didn’t help with that fear.
He was tired of being mad, and after a long period of four years, he decided that he shouldn’t cry over spilt milk, even if it was his parents that it was spilt over.
It only gets you beatings.
Of course, no one else new about that. Now he was just kind of sad. He knew he was denied possibly a life that maybe Severus Snape expected him to have. He couldn’t blame the man, he believed anything Dumbledore told him, and the old coot had a manipulative streak.
But, in reality, he felt like anyone he ever loved died. His parents, Sirius, even Cedric Diggory, who was his short-lived friend from the Tri-Wizard Tournament from just the last year.
It all just comes back around to being ungrateful. He should have been more grateful to have parents, to have a godfather, to have at least one true friend.
Well, that wasn’t entirely true.
George and Fred Weasley, while knowing nothing, had loved Harry, which Harry knew, as Harry was sensitive to the magic of love. He could feel it. He knew true love, and that’s why he let his guard down when he found it. But that just get’s everyone killed. He hoped that the fiery haired twins would not have the same fate, for they were all he really had.
But then he also had no one. No one knew the secrets he kept.
And that was what Harry thought about every time he was beaten, refused food, and stuffed back into the dark cupboard, until it was time to head to King’s Cross Station.
How he had no one to save him.
Harry was beyond relieved to be back on the Hogwarts Express. He was in so much pain, his arse hurt, and his back stung, but he was leaving, and that’s what mattered. And, so no one knew, he had glamours on to hide his hideous skin. They came naturally, his magic soothing him, having healed what it could as soon as Vernon let him be, to make up for what it could not do. Harry knew his magic as a friend. His core was like another whole being. It was sad, his Magic, and it wanted to provide, but could not. But it tried making up for it, Harry could admit.
He didn’t talk at all. Not when Ron and Hermione came into the train car, not when Malfoy came to pester them (successfully making Ron angry at least, until they all got bored), and not when he was poked and prodded at by the three of them. He just stared ahead, flinching as Malfoy poked a sore spot. Eventually Ron left the cart to go find the food trolley (not surprisingly, when Hermione just passed him some galleons with a quick, “Bring me back a chocolate frog.“) Harry just picked at a piece of thread stringing from his brown, ratty pants, picking, picking, picking. When that thread broke he picked at the seats, just picking, picking.
Hermione spoke up after Ron had gone. “Maybe he just wants to be left alone. He can often be tired after the summer,” she suggested. Malfoy sneered, though he tucked the information into the back of his mind. He silently reminded himself to tell Snape about Potter. Something wasn’t right.
The only reason he noticed was because of his own summer, that he had to spend alone, as Lucius was away on a mission from his Lord, and Narcissa, well... she had been gone for some time. His mother, as it turned out, was never so much in ‘love’ with his father as much as his money. It really did make sense, as Lucius had been the one taking care of him all his life (contrary to belief), and he had barely seen his parents so much as talk to each other ever since he had been born, probably. Anyway, spending time with no one had made him think about how pathetic he really was. No one really liked him for him so much as feared him, or liked his devilishly handsome looks. That was all he wanted really, and for him, it didn’t have to be a pureblood girl, or he would be a hypocrite. No, he feared what his Lord would do if he learned of the information. Somehow he still was offended by Mudbloods, but it was more of just a chain reaction. He was used to saying it, and he didn’t know how to stop following his stupid instincts.
Hermione huffed. “Yes, well, what are you doing here anyway? You can pester us more at school, now shoo.”
Malfoy sneered, ready to retort that he wasn’t going to listen to a girl, much less a Mudblood, but he realized, it wasn’t as fun without Potter. He didn’t really have anything against the three. He just loved the reaction. His shoulders slumped when he thought about how petty he was being, once again. “Yeah, okay. Just see if you can snap him out of it, will you Hermione?”
The bushy haired girl gave him a look of surprise. “Umm, yeah, sure Mal-- Draco.”
“M’kay, thanks.” He rushed out of the little cabin, pushing past Ron, who stood in the doorway, the tips of the blonde’s ears and cheeks a bright red.
Ron was shocked to say the least. “Did DRACO MALFOY just apologize to you, or am I seeing things?”
Hermione laughed. “You said the same thing about your hearing when Lavender asked you out a couple years ago.” Ron glared at her. “Lavender is my girlfriend, and I would appreciate if you--”
“Ron, I’m just kidding.”
“Right, I knew that.”
Then the train whistle blew, and Harry jumped up, grabbing his trunk and making his way off of the train after the prefects. The prefects looked at him surprised as he rushed past to get to the carriage’s, not giving the train a second glance, not even looking towards the first years making their way towards the boats.
Ron and Hermione were still lingering on the train, continuing the playful banter from before, not suspecting that their younger friend might be in pain.
Harry, on the other hand, was looking in wonder at the bony magical beasts pulling the carriages. A small girl, presumably from a younger year, though obviously not a firstie, approached Harry. Her hair reminded him of Malfoy, though lighter, if it was possible. “Thestrals. They’re rather gentle really, just a bit different. You can only see them if you’ve seen death.” She looked into his dull emerald eyes. “Oh my. And death you’ve seen,” she whispered. She reached out and grabbed his arm lightly, not missing the slight flinch he gave, though it couldn’t be helped. It still hurt from healing incorrectly. “Come, young one, we can still make it to the first carriage. Maybe then you can be alone for a few moments, hm?” she asked in a dreamy voice, leading him to the front end of the line of carriages, a thestral for each one.
He climbed in, waiting for the wavy blond to join him, looking at her confusedly when she didn’t. She smiled at him. “I know you well, Harry. Spend some time to yourself.” And then she was gone.
Harry breathed a sigh of relief and laid his head back on the seat just as the carriage lurched forward. A quick glance behind him told him the had sent this one early, as the other students rushed to find a carriage.
Absentmindedly he wondered how the girl knew his name, or that he wanted to be alone. Was he that transparent? Of course, typically everyone did know that he was Harry Potter. Sometimes he just wished that he didn’t have that stupid scar. Or that he lived. Maybe people would have been safer that way.
And that’s where he fell asleep, the carriage moving softly with a steady thump of the thestrals walk lulling him to darkness after many sleepless nights.
After the first day of coming back, Harry successfully managing to take a shower while keeping the glamours in place after coming back from the first years sorting, he was exhausted. But he had Potion’s now, for two hours, with the Slytherins.
That was another thing. He didn’t care about the Slytherins anymore. They were just judged badly. Not every witch or wizard coming out of Slytherin was bad, just as not every Gryffindor was good. Harry learned where prejudice would get you, and that would either be on the wrong side of a stinging hex, or no where. Neither sounded appeasing, especially in his condition. He was especially tired of beating back Malfoy just because he didn’t accept his friendship in first year. He was just plain tired.
He was interrupted by Snape’s voice.
“It’s called a Verba Animae. Even Longbottom couldn’t possibly mess this up.”
Harry thought about Snape. He was a right foul git sometimes, but had saved his life on many occasions. He was the bravest man he knew, yet was so childish. He wouldn’t give up his prejudice, against Gryffindors, and his father, James. Harry was kind of disappointed in him, even if he could understand that what his father did was despicable. It was in the past, and Severus should learn to let go if he ever wants to be happy. Harry suspected he was younger than he looks, and more of Snape’s life should be spent happy, for all of the lives he saved and made happy. Harry shook his head in sympathy.
Hermione raised her hand. “Uh... sir? Neville isn’t here today. He’s in the infirmary,” she said tentatively.
Snape critically raised his eyebrow. “Exactly, ignorant girl.” Hermione blushed, resting her chin on her hands.
“Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way...” Hermione blushed harder, ” the Verba Animae is a potion that is a lot like Veriteserum, but it forms it into a poem, and when you swallow it, it will express your very soul, and the words will just come to you.”
Now Harry was panicking. He was very sure that his soul had some nasty things to say about himself. Maybe there was a way out? Just magically become poetic and make it up?
“And like I said, it is like Veriteserum, so you cannot resist what your soul is telling you to say. Now, turn to page 394 and get started.” (A/N- lol)
Harry sighed. Figures. He turned to the page and started reading, preparing the ingredients exactly, making sure to cut the proportions evenly. After several minutes of
stirring and adding ingredients, and waiting, the potion came to simmer at a nice, light blue color. With a flick of his hand the worktop became clean, and his fire out. He cast a wandless stasis charm on it, with several shields, determined to have at least one potion turn out alright, even if it would probably spit out his own secrets that made him feel worse than Voldemort.
Eventually, everyone had a light blue potion on their desk, capped and ready for consummation. Snape sneered at the Gryffindors, and came to a stop at Harry’s desk.
Harry mentally groaned.
“Well, well, well, Potter seems to have actually made a potion correctly. Since he has, he get’s to go first.” Harry grimaced at the menacing look on Snape’s face. “I want to get the spoiled brat’s Poem out of the way anyway.” He waved his hand as a gesture to continue, carelessly walking to his desk as Harry obediently downed the potion. Immediately, his eyes went blank, and Hermione watched curiously as he appeared to have an internal battle with himself, his mouth opening, and Harry closing it again forcefully.
Then his mouth opened a final time, the deep voice full of sorrow stopping the professor in his tracks.
“If I could speak
A thousand words come to mind
But can’t come out
For my enforcer has left me voiceless
But never painless; no, never painless.
The locks on the door reflect my heart
In which nobody holds the key
Nobody cared, that I can see
Silence was a solemn sound that comforted
When no one asked questions
When no one healed the pain
When no one loved without conditions
When no one shunned the shame
When he came and brought the horrors
That haunt me in my sleep
Secrets beneath the glamours
Things that will taint your dreams
They taunt, they blame, they give you no where to hide
These are the things I feel inside
So many wounds
So many hurts
But if you complain
You get so much worse.
But this just one world,
The other is just the same.
No one to hold onto
Only myself to blame.
To blame for many lives; gone or at stake
Innocence destroyed by the evil it must take
To feel so filthy; unclean
To feel the hands where they should not be.
Look into my eyes; my hope is gone.
How long until I die?
Harry stopped speaking, and looked ashamed. He stared at his feet, wishing he could disappear. Especially after the death part. That wasn’t supposed to be told to anyone, and was Harry Potter’s number one secret.
If he had looked up, he would have seen confused faces.
Many of his fellow students didn’t understand it, just that it was bad, and that ultimately confused them. Why would anything bad be happening to their savior? Hermione and Snape seemed to be the only ones with their mouths dropped in horror. Hermione looked at him with such sad eyes, whispering, “Oh, Harry... how long have you been hiding this from us?”
Snape was the first to come to his senses, and decided to dismantle the glamours, not knowing what to expect. “Revelare!”
The glamours slowly faded, along with the shirt, to reveal the marred back, a deep black tinged with purple, with different torture marks of every kind. Burns, welts, boot prints, hand prints.... He had it all.
The Slytherins had seemed gleeful at his poem, but had sobered up at this sight.
Not even the Dark Lord would do this, this hand-crafted torture. Snape blanched at Harry’s frail malnourished body.
“Po-Harry... how could you not tell anyone, child?” he asked.
Harry shifted his gaze to the wall beside him.
“It’s just,” he began, struggling to find the proper words, “I felt unhappy, and unloved. I know I’m not loved by the people that mattered to me. I felt sad and empty, but I also felt silly. I’m the boy-who-lived, so why would I need any of those things?” He paused. “If I had asked, I surely should have been punished for being ungrateful for what I’ve got, even if I don’t want it, because everyone else wants me to want it, so I have to.”
He looked at Hermione, ignoring the rest of his potions classmates along with Ron, for it seemed he was still trying to read Harry’s paper, having yet to decipher it.
“I get the belt, you know, for being ungrateful. It was like he knew what I was thinking.”
Ron’s face paled as he finally looked up to actually see Harry, and heard those words, and paled more, his freckles standing out among his sheet-white face as he pieced it all together. Many of the students in that hour had also finally come to realize ( though most of them were actually Gryffindors, which didn’t surprise anyone, Slytherins were more intelligent than they got credit for, and Gryff’s tended to be stubborn and not believe what they didn’t want to see) Harry’s state, and were horrified.
Snape had a look of utter horror on his face that no one had ever seen, and Harry’s Gryffindor ‘friends’ had looks of guilt. Harry just stared blankly ahead, and Severus knew that look well. He was living a memory.
His soft voice broke through the murmurs around the classroom. “I didn’t mean to be ungrateful, for the cupboard, but it just hurt so much, curling into a ball to fit, when you had gashes on your back, you know?” He snorted. “I doubt it.”
“What hurt more was to be sent back, knowingly, every year. I thought Dumbledore cared. I THOUGHT HE CARED ABOUT ME!” Harry was screaming now, tears running down his red face, his Adams apple moving to swallow the lump in his throat.
Severus didn’t want to hear anymore. But he had to know what happened. He caught young Harry’s eye.
“Legilimens,” he whispered softly.
Then he was in his mind, where the teen was concentrating on trying to block most, though couldn’t for the child was too emotional to even think straight.
It was horrible. A fat, walrus of man--Petunia’s husband, he realized-- was ripping the innocence from the child that Severus now held so gently in his arms while he sobbed. The memory was full of pain, misery, disgust, regret and shame. The boy was so small, he couldn’t have been more than eleven, though Severus knew that he had always been that size. He cradled the child closer, and Harry buried his head in Severus’ shoulder, seeking comfort from anyone who would give it freely.
The professor turned towards the other two of the trio. “You knew about this?” Ron stared at his feet, while Hermione was quick to shake her head about it. “No, we never..,” She stopped when she realized Ron hadn’t said anything in his defense. “Ron...?”
Ron let out a deep sigh. “I’m sorry ’Mione. I never realized it was this bad. I didn’t know the extent of it, but I was told to try and keep him at his relatives, no matter the cause. The only reason we picked him up last time was because Fred and George took me along. I knew something was iffy, because he had bars on his window, for Merlin’s sake! But...”
Snape pinched the bridge of his nose. “Who told you to keep him there?”
Ron furrowed his eyebrows. “Dumbledore, actually. Why would he keep him there?” he asked. Snape snarled. “Why, indeed. Of course, he must have known.” He stood up, carefully picking Harry up bridal style, wincing at the pain this must cause the small boy. He turned to the class after casting a spell on the door. “You are all dismissed, and the new ward on the door will make sure that you are bound by secrecy. Do not betray your fellow student,” the Potion’s Master said threateningly.
He turned to the other two. “Not like I don’t believe you Granger, but I don’t believe you. Yet. You two will follow me to my office and stay put, until I can stabilize your young friend. You will be questioned. Then I will ask an old friend for help.” He then turned to the floo, managing to toss the powder even with Harry in his arms, and shouting, “Albus Dumbledore’s office, Cockroach Clusters!” and disappearing in a flash of green flame.