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Creep

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Mar. 22nd, 2009 | 10:22 am
location: My desk
mood: awake awake
music: Hinder - Better than Me

The sequel to my first (completed) Severitus story in my 7 story arc!

Cry - Prequel AU PS/SS
Summary: Severus Snape had been fully prepared to hate Lily Potter's son until the Sorting Hat casts them into a nightmare. That was only the beginning of a world gone mad.
You can find it here

Title: Creep
Rating: PG-13
Status: 4/?
Summary: Just being loved, having a true family doesn't make life easier for the Boy Who Lived. Welcome to another year, perhaps even more frightening than the first. AU COS


Creep

Welcome child, welcome home
Time has come, no longer alone
Yet, you shall struggle yet
This will be one year you won’t soon forget
Not only will they hate, they will learn to fear
They will whisper frightened when you come near
Hunting webs, snakes, whispers precede the dead
Save yourself, it’s not all in your head


Prelude
Harry was unsure of what to say, think or do, looking at the dilapidated house on a much more pitiful street made a part of him long for Hogwarts, for home. But this house, with boarded windows and a tilting front was his father’s home, his true home. So maybe Spinner’s End would not be such a horrible place to live.

As long as his father was beside him… that was all that mattered.

He wasn’t expecting a street like Privet Drive anyway. The plasticity of it did not suit his father.

Severus stood there staring at the house and then down at his son. He seemed embarrassed as he led Harry up the stairs, helping him hop up to miss a broken one. He quickly and inconspicuously took out his wand, undoing the locking charms and wards around it. He pushed the door in gently then ushered his son inside.

“I wish that I could promise you a real home, Harry,” Severus said quietly as he began to light candles along the way with his wand.

Harry smiled at his father when he turned to face him at the stairs. “It’s perfect,” he said and he felt honest. Any place was better than a cupboard, except maybe the Slytherin dormitories.
*****

Draco was not fairing quite as well as his friend.

From the moment he had entered the mansion, he had attacked with a Cruciatus Curse. His mother was locked her chambers, her voice had given from the screaming hours ago. He had to face his father alone.

Lucius had held nothing back as Draco now lay in the middle of his spacious room in a pool of his own blood. The attack had faded by severe willpower but he felt drained now from the amount of magic it took. The beating had been bad enough. It would not do to have him bleed to death.

He wouldn’t give the bastard the satisfaction.
*****

Hermione had prepared herself for one rather boring summer. Nothing could compare to the wonder of Hogwarts and her adventures with the two Slytherins. As much as she loved her parents, she felt isolated. She didn’t belong in their world. She would even take the slander she got from the other Gryffindors just to be back where she belonged.

Collapsing back on her bed in a too-small, much too-quiet room, she wondered what the others were doing. She was worried about them both but felt confident that Professor Snape and Mrs. Malfoy would take care of them.

And so she had nearly three months to herself. Three months of nothing to do but read and write letters, three months of complete solitude. She had never cared as much before about how her parents were so wrapped up in their work, spending little time with their only child.

She had never really felt lonely before in her own home.

Now she did. Immensely.

Sighing she stared at her ceiling fan softly blowing warm summer air on her face, hoping that the entire summer would not be a bust.

I

One's life is not as fixed as one believes. Surprises may lie in store for you, the unexpected often tends to happen ~ Elizabeth Aston


August 16th
“Well go in the Quidditch store after we get your books,” Severus spoke softly to his son as they made their way through the crowd in Diagon Alley. Harry smiled a bit at this and then even more when Severus remarked, “That is if we can drag you away Florish and Blotts at all.”

“I wonder if Hermione and Draco are here,” Harry said sadly, more to himself than to his father.

Severus struggled to keep his face blank. Harry had not heard from either of his friends the entire summer. Severus understood in Draco’s case – he feared the worst from Lucius. Had Draco not been seen in the papers at ordinary galas and balls of the Ministry, Severus would figure the child gone forever.

As for Hermione, the girl had not sent Harry one letter. Harry had sent many in the first few weeks but as the borrowed school owl returned day after day with not a letter with it, his son had become discouraged. Severus himself had fought his anger at the girl, for his son’s sake.

Turning to go down the street to take them to the bookstore, Severus cursed and grabbed his son’s shoulder pulling him behind him.

Harry peeked out from behind his father’s robes to see a tall man with long white blond hair in an argument with a slight balding red haired man. Then he saw Fred, George and Ron Weasley standing nearby. A shift in the crowd caught his attention as Narcissa and Draco appeared behind the tall man.

Harry gasped and made to walk over but Severus held him back. He then saw a familiar bushy head of hair heading towards Draco but a sharp look from Narcissa kept Hermione at bay. After sharing a few quiet words with Ron Weasley, the small expensively dressed family walked away. Harry looked on and watched as the man – no doubt Lucius Malfoy – was soon introduced to some man in dress robes. That’s when Draco looked back, catching Harry’s gaze and quickly looking at the ground.

“That damned bastard…” Severus growled, finally leading his son forward but keeping a firm grip on the boy’s bony shoulder.

“Harry!” Severus looked shocked as Granger suddenly jumped his son, holding on tightly and crying. Aware of the attention they were drawing, Severus led the two over to an empty bench outside the bookstore. Hermione stayed still, clenching Harry’s robes and sobbing horribly. Severus couldn’t even find himself to be angry at the girl.

“Sit, both of you,” he said gently but firmly to the pair and watched as his son guided the girl into the seat.

“Harry, I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I don’t know what I did wrong! Forgive me, forgive me…” she trailed off. “I wrote you so many letters... but never got one from you! Just tell me you were busy… that you still want to be my friend…”

Harry looked up at his father over Hermione’s bowed head and mouthed the word ‘letters’ to him. Severus shook his head and Harry spoke no more on the subject. Though, Severus knew that this mystery was far from over.

“Of course, I’m your friend, Hermione… you and Draco are my best friends.” Severus was pleased to note the fact that Granger didn’t seem to care that herself and Draco were his son’s only friends. Hermione finally began to quiet as she looked up at Harry with a watery smile.

“Miss Granger, have you bought your textbooks yet?”

“No, sir,” she said wiping her eyes and smiling at Harry.

“Come then.” He began to walk on and the two children quickly matched his pace. “The old man did not think it imperative to send my son a copy of the list. I assume you have yours, Miss Granger?”

“Yes, professor,” she replied and pulled out a neatly folded sheet of paper out of her robe pocket, handing it over to him.

As Severus unfolded the letter, he stared down at it in shock. The shock quickly turned to anger as he peered down on the texts for Defense Against the Dark Arts. “Curse you, Albus,” Severus muttered, leading the children, much to his chagrin into the crowded bookstore.

“Who is Gilderoy Lockhart?” Harry asked, quietly as soon as they stepped inside to see a large sign announcing Gilderoy Lockhart was there signing his books. A large picture of a pale, golden blond haired man was placed on a large table. The table was covered with glossy tomes and the man in the picture kept whipping out his wand and winking at the general public.

Severus felt the need to gag as two teenage girls – whom he immediately recognized as Hufflepuffs – were goggling at the picture, interspersing between giggling and practically drooling. With a firm hand he lead the children up an empty staircase so that they could get away from the crowd and hunt for books that would be of a better influence on their minds.

Just as they reached the first landing, they spotted Lockhart in the middle of an interview with the Daily Prophet. Severus rolled his eyes and began to walk forward when a certain question stopped him cold.

“–does it feel to be the next Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts?”

“It feels wonderful!” the man gushed, and signed his name with a flourish in a book belonging to an old woman with batting eyelashes. “I feel the security at Hogwarts is failing abysmally as Dumbledore has not only entered He Who Must Not Be Named himself as his student but also the man’s heir, Harry Potter!”

“Do you have any plans in dealing with Potter?”

“I vanquished devilish creatures! I have brought many of He Who Must Not Be Named’s followers to the ground. An eleven year old child is no match of Gilderoy Lockhart!”

The crowd cheered and cameras flashed all around the man. Severus looked down at his son who was staring hard at the celebrity. He was silent for a long time and Hermione reached over to take his hand. He then looked up at his father, solemnly and muttered, “I’m twelve.”

Severus felt laughter bubbling up inside him, but swallowed it down as too many of his students were present. He smirked for his son’s sake and Harry beamed up at him. Hermione smiled at Harry and lead him up the next set of stairs with Severus following, the two never seeing the murderous look of Severus’ face as he glared down at Lockhart.
*****

As soon as Narcissa and Draco entered behind Lucius, Lucius turned and slapped his wife sharply across the face. After a moment, Narcissa raised her head and stared into her husband’s eyes.

“Yes, love?” She asked coldly.

Draco stood with anger encased, never minding the trickle of blood that began to flow from his nose. He felt it pool in his ears. He blinked and red tears made their way down his face. However, it was as if he was unaware of his body’s breaking down. His bloodshot eyes never strayed from his father’s form.

Then something happened. His vision turned almost upside-down, then swirled out of place. It was replaced by something like a waking dream as he watched his father fall, twitching in obvious pain. His mother smiling as her husband screamed. Draco suddenly felt relief. The screaming stopped, bright violet flame, and then, darkness.
*****

“Harry, there’s my parents! Come meet them!” Hermione pulled Harry along in front of her as they exited the Leaky Cauldron. Severus kept Harry in his sight as he was pulled along by his friend.

“Well, who is this, ‘Mione?” asked the woman that was undoubtedly the girl’s mother as both had the same dark frizzy hair.

The balding man – her father no doubt – looked up alarmed as Severus stepped up behind the children. He took a step back and gripped his wife’s wrist tightly. The woman looked confused before gasping as she caught sight of him.

Hermione looked irritated and incredibly embarrassed by their reactions as her tone was no where near as excited now as she introduced Harry and his father.

“Professor, eh?” Mr. Granger had the grace to look embarrassed by his reaction but he was by no means comfortable. “What do you teach, Professor Snake?”

“Snape.” Harry corrected calmly.

“Snape, yes, Snape, of course…” The man bumbled.

“Potions.” Severus said curtly.

“Oh yes, of course,” Mr. Granger stated, wiping his sweaty brow with a handkerchief.

Severus tried his best to be polite though the sneer on his face seemed permanent. “Your daughter is an amazing student, Mr. and Mrs. Granger. It is a delight to have her in my class.”

Both children stared up at him in shock. Severus quickly shot them a cursory glance which they took to mean that this was going to be a very rare if not a one time occurrence. His expression meant that in no way had he enjoyed the complimentary. Harry and Hermione looked at each other, sniggering. Severus couldn’t find that he was angry with his son’s behavior. It was nice to see him so carefree and happy finally.

“Where are your other friends, Hermione?” Her mother asked cheerfully and a bit nervously. “We would love to meet them... as well.” The last was muttered hastily and by no means escaped Severus’s notice.

“Draco but umm…. he couldn’t make it today.”

“Boys,” her father said incredulously and a bit worried as fathers of daughters are. “Don’t you have any friends that are… well… girls?”

Hermione looked alarmed but said nothing. Nothing could be said.

“I assure you,” spoke a familiar feminine voice, “That the children are the best of friends.”

Turning the group saw Narcissa walk up to him. She smiled at the Grangers but when she looked into Severus’s eyes, he saw the alarm. Bowing to the couple, Severus muttered “Excuse me…”

Walking away with Severus, Narcissa whispered, “Draco is really bad, Severus. His medicine is not working. I don’t know what to do.” Her eyes swam with tears.

“Where is he?”

“With Lucius.”

“What?”

“I had no other choice…” She whispered, fingers coming up to grip his robes. “I’m going to lose him… I’m going…” She broke down in tears, sobbing into his chest. Severus gently pulled her face back and she looked him in the eyes.

“Severus, he’s dying.”


Creep

II


“One's life is not as fixed as one believes. Surprises may lie in store for you, the unexpected often tends to happen.” – Elizabeth Aston


He saw the blood, too much of it, staining the pristine tiled floor that he had scrubbed himself. He saw the dining table set as if it belonged in an operating room or a mortuary. He saw the pale skin of the boy, lying upon it. He saw his light blond hair turn silver in death.

He saw the man in robes, standing over the boy’s form. With a skeletal hand it beckoned him closer, until he could see the face of the boy – clearly dead. It was a face too familiar. He felt panic rise within him like a crimson monster to match the boy’s blood. He opened his mouth to scream but that skeletal hand clamped on his face. He couldn’t breathe.

Then the hood fell away. It was his uncle’s grinning maniac face – the look the man always had before he received a stern beating.

But as he was watching and struggling for air, the face changed. The skin and fat of Vernon Dursley melted away to create an oozing skeleton. A dark swirling mist rose above it, from within it. The dark reptilian eyes formed. He felt himself break away from what had once held the face of the greatest evil he had ever known.

Now he was facing down the greatest evil of all – this time without the Philosopher’s Stone – without his courage.

The rasping, disembodied voice spoke to him, snarling as the mist swirled and shifted violently. “You took everything from me, boy. You will die… as I take it back!”

The mist suddenly moved quickly through his body. He saw dots like splotches of paint across his vision. Then, the darkness enveloped him. Until suddenly, a bright green light appeared within his mind, a sound like death rushing on wings and a woman’s desperate scream.

“Not my baby! Take me instead! I beg you! Take me! Kill me! Not Harry! Please not Harry!”


Harold Severn Snape woke up with a gasp, sweet pouring down his face, mingling with the tears already there. Sitting up in his bed, he looked at the thick emerald drapes around the four-poster. He saw his small collection of books on the bedside table, the open window with the view of the quiet street below.

He looked across the room at his companion. The boy from the dream was there, sleeping roughly but breathing. No blood was in his sight.

Draco was still alive.

Harry smiled in relief.

Realizing that he needed perhaps a calming draught before sleep could take him again, Harry got out of his bed. He almost stepped on the room’s third occupant, lying on the rug beside Draco’s bed. Only Hermione’s fuzzy hair was seen flowing from under the thick coverlet that she had taken from the guest bedroom. Harry had had a feeling that she wouldn’t stay put down the hall all night.

Gingerly he made his way across the room, neither of his roommates stirring. Smiling at them, he left his room with the door shutting with a soft thud behind him. He looked forward and noticed that his father’s bedroom door was open and the bed not touched. Then he noticed the faint light coming from downstairs and began to walk down them. He quickly came to a halt as he heard a voice that belonged to neither his father nor Narcissa Malfoy.

“As much as young Draco’s condition concerns me, it is not the reason I am here, Severus.”

“Then, please enlighten me, Albus – for I would like to rest some, this night.”

Harry’s brow furrowed as he wondered what the Headmaster could be doing in their home. He had a feeling it couldn’t be good. His heart flipped but seating himself on the first hidden stair, he leaned in needing to hear what was being said.

“My boy, I fear you will not like the news I am to bring.”

“Then I feel doubly inclined to hear it,” Severus growled weakly.

Harry knew his father must be exhausted. It had not been uncommon that Draco had attacks of the sort. Only they usually let up on their own, especially with a dose or two of the draught Severus prepared. This time, Draco’s body had nearly refused help altogether and the boy had almost bleed to death. He would have – if not for Severus’s quick administration of Blood Replenishing potions along with his normal medication. It had taken nine and a half bottles of the Blood Replenishing potion to stop the bleeding and bring the child comfort. It had depleted Severus’ stores in order to make it stop. They had been desperate. Severus – finding no real need for that many in his home – had only made ten for the stores at Hogwarts Infirmary, housed safely inside is basement laboratory in Spinner’s End.

“The news concerns Harry.”

Harry clamped a hand over his mouth as his breathing became panicked.

“What news do you have of my son, Albus? If you are coming to tell me that you are a sadistic bastard who delights in having professors who want my child dead, I fear I already know.”

“This is not about Gilderoy.” The Headmaster sighed heavily. “Harry needs more protection than you can give him. Lily’s blood is the only thing that can protect him. I’ve talked to Petunia and–”

The sound of crashing glass was loud. Harry looked behind him, from his roost on the top step, hoping his friends would not wake. He didn’t hear a sound from them.

“Albus you cannot be suggesting–! My son will not become a slave for those Muggle monsters again!”

“There are charms to keep them from touching him. I had a severe talk with Vernon Dursley.”

“Did you offer him a lemon drop – or perhaps the entire bowl?” Severus snarled sarcastically, in the hate fullest tone Harry had ever heard him speak to the Headmaster in.

Indeed, Harry had never heard his father so angry. He had always known his father had a bad temper and he had always known that he was likely to fear it. Only now, it was no where near as frightening as what Dumbledore was proposing.

“My son will not go back,” Severus said, slowly, deliberately, frighteningly, calmly.

“It would give you time to yourself. Once Draco is back at Malfoy Manor–”

“And you also, propose to deliver my godson into Lucius’s hands once more. Albus, have you lost your bleeding mind?”

“Godson, he may be, but Draco is not your son. As long as Lucius remains his father, you have no say over him. Not even Narcissa does. It is the way our law works.”

“I am well aware of the law, Albus. Draco shall be my son if that is what it takes to keep him safe then so be it.”

“Severus, you can’t very well mean–”

“I very well mean everything I say.” Severus said flatly. Harry watched as his father walked into view, not seeing his son sitting on the stairs and opened the front door into the summer night. “Now leave.”

The Headmaster walked over to Severus. “I know the best thing for Harry. I am only acting for his benefit.”

“The hell you are,” growled the Potions Master as Dumbledore left Spinner’s End. Harry watched Severus calm himself physically before he shut the door.

Looking up, he caught his son’s eyes. With a sigh, Severus made his way up the stairs and past his child, whispering, “Come, son.”

Harry followed his father until they were inside Severus’s own room. Severus went to his nightstand and picked up the one picture of Lily he still had. He stared at it for a long time as his son stood in the doorway, waiting to be spoken to.

“How much did you hear, Harry?”

“I don’t want to go back... I don’t want you to leave me behind...” The boy said quietly, shuffling his feet, sniffling. He was looking down when Severus crossed the room swiftly and crushed Harry to his side.

“Child, I will never leave you behind. Never. Do you understand?”

Harry nodded into his father’s side, smiling through his tears.
*****

August 17th
Needless to say, the next morning was entirely more pleasant than the night before.

Narcissa had arrived at Spinner’s End once more with no explanation as to why she had left her son alone in Severus’ care. Usually she was always at Draco’s side.

Severus, Harry and Hermione were downstairs eating their breakfast calmly – in fact, a breakfast that Hermione had cooked herself. Narcissa sat upstairs beside her son’s bed, gently administering various healing drafts, basic nutrient potions and several small cups of natural juices.

Draco sighed agitatedly, sitting up in the four-poster Severus had created out of thin air, which was identical to Harry’s. He pushed the glass of pumpkin juice away, with a sneer on his face.

“Mother, please. Anymore and I’ll sick up.”

“Very well,” Narcissa murmured, softly.

Draco looked at his mother strangely, wondering at her solemn attitude and far away eyes. “You’ve seen something?” Though it was a question, the look in Draco’s cool slate eyes said that he already knew.

“It’s not something I would very well like to happen.” She stated, looking out the window at the dreary dark clouds.

“You can’t do anything about it,” Draco stated matter-of-factly.

Narcissa’s thoughtful eyes looked back at her son. “Can’t I?”

“Mother, you’ve already escaped the Unspeakables once with Harry’s mother.” Draco said anxiously. “I need you to not be killed.”

She smiled at him, tears in her eyes, and patted his hand. “You don’t need me anymore, dragonet. You have Severus and Harry and Hermione, even.”

“I still need family.” Draco murmured, trying to fight back the tears in his eyes. I will not cry… I will not… not! He sniffled though, trying to make it seem like a sniff one did in anger.

“They are your family now, baby,” she whispered, kissing his forehead. Standing, she looked down at him. “I’m not leaving you forever, Draco.”

“How long?” His voice cracked. Tears spilled over.

“You’ll see in time,” She stated quietly, caressing his hair a bit before leaving the room with a soft click.
*****

Narcissa stood outside the door of her son’s new room, perhaps his new home, if Severus cared enough. And she was sure that he did.

She walked down the stairs in a daze. She approached the kitchen and walked straight to Severus. Grabbing him by the lapels of his robes, she leaned in and whispered frantically. “He’s your son now… Please, love him too…”

Severus eyes widened and he pushed her away to confront her.

But Narcissa was no longer standing there.


Creep

III


“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.” – Ivy Baker Priest


September 1, 1992
Hogwarts grounds

“I don’t see why we couldn’t ride the train…” Draco huffed, crossing his arms across his chest snobbishly. Hermione caught Harry’s eyes with hers, fighting a smile.

Severus fought the urge to role his eyes. “While you might not fear for your own lives–” He cast a significant glance at Hermione who had the grace to look sheepish and Harry who bit his lip. “–but I will not leave you three to mercies of your peers. The Zabini family has been particularly nasty against my wanting you as my ward, Draco and I am not–”

“But sir, we’ve fought against V–!”

“Granger, say the name and I swear–!”

“You Know Who,” Hermione continued, not missing a beat, “was much worse then a Zabini, even one as vindictive as Blaise.”

“Which reminds me…” Severus drawled, stopping outside of the main entrance doors of Hogwarts. He turned to the trio who stumbled a bit at his abrupt halt in step. He was amazed at how innocently dumbfounded they all seemed. “You are not to go wondering the castle at all. You are to go to class and back to your new dorm. Am I clear?”

“But the library…” Hermione whispered.

“You may go to the library but not alone. If one goes, all will go.”

Draco stared at Severus in horror. “Might as well make our dorm there then! Go ahead and conjure us pillows because we’ll never drag Granger away from the shelves!”

Hermione stamped hard on Draco’s foot. He glared at her and in turn, she closed her eyes and stuck her nose high in the air. Harry bit his lip to keep from smiling.

“That is quite enough, Draco,” Severus reprimanded and ushered the three into the castle and straight into the body of an exiting groundskeeper.

A loud “Oof!” came from the half-giant and Draco gripped Harry and Hermione’s robes to keep from falling. Once balanced, the two looked at their friend, who huffed and righted himself quickly.

“Oh, ‘ello, Pr’fessor Snape,” blubbered the great giant, handkerchief held up to his large nose and fat tears fell down his cheeks into his beard.

“Good evening, Hagrid,” replied Severus in his normal acerbic tone, glaring at the large man. “Is it gone?”

“Norbbie’s gone,” He whispered and excused himself from the group sobbing so loud that they heard him even after the door was shut.

“Norbbie?” asked Harry.

Severus looked at his son and then at his ward and Hermione. He sighed, knowing it was best to tell them straight out before they went snooping. “Norbert, his… dragon…”

“Bloody hell!”

“Draco!” scolded Severus.

“What’s he trying to do?!” Draco asked incredulously. “Kill people?!”

Kill… kill... Master says… master says…

Harry stopped cold in his footsteps leading down to the dungeons. He looked along the stone walls but saw nothing. His hand flew up to his chest as if he could stop his frantic heartbeat with a simple fluttering touch.

Kill…

He jumped, whirling as the voice was now behind him. Yet, he saw nothing.

“Harry?” asked Hermione stopping and staring worriedly at him. “Are you alright?”

“Yea,” he said quietly so that Severus wouldn’t notice. He bawled his hand into a fist behind his back. “I just heard Peeves is all.”

She smiled a bit at him and they hurried to reach Severus and Draco who waited patiently and impatiently respectively further down the corridor.
*****

The Welcoming Feast
Great Hall

“Well, Granger looks positively miserable,” Draco observed before taking a bite of his pudding.

Harry looked behind him at the end of the Gryffindor table where Hermione sit by herself. She sat so that her hair blocked her view of her housemates and she stared into nothingness, eating sporadically and looking at her watch every few seconds.

“If we have a new dorm, then why does Hermione have to sit with the Gryffindors?” Harry wondered, not really expecting an answer but Draco answered him anyways.

“Dumbledore is not happy with Severus.”

“For what?” asked Harry.

“More like ‘for which one’?”

Harry stared at Draco dumbly. Draco sighed theatrically. “He took me in. He got us new dorms – Granger included – and you know how much the old man favors the Gryffindors. Severus kept you from going back to the muggles. We could bloody well write twelve feet on what Severus has done to tick him off this summer.”

Harry nodded and cast a glance at his father, who sat beside the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, celebrity Gilderoy Lockhart.

“Dad doesn’t look too happy either,” he commented.

Snape did indeed not look happy. He glared daggers at Lockhart who seemed oblivious as he brushed crumbs off his pale lavender robes.

“I hope Severus hexes that poncy git soon.” Draco said wickedly. Harry snickered but quickly quieted as Dumbledore called the students to order.

The old man stared over his half-moon spectacles gently at the students – the house of lions in particular. He skimmed over Hermione’s lonely form and quickly sought out Harry who glared at him, looking every bit Severus Snape’s son. Draco grinned widely at the exchange.

“Welcome, to another year at Hogwarts!” Dumbledore bellowed merrily, however, his tone unchanged.

“For a few start-of-term announcements, I would like to remind you that the Forbidden Forest is, in fact, forbidden as is magic in the corridors. Our caretaker, Mr. Filch, would like to add that there is a list of 327 banned items in which you may find at your disposal on his office door.

Also, I would like to welcome our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Mr. Gilderoy Lockhart.” Dumbledore clapped politely. The students, especially the girls, were more enthusiastic with their applause. Harry smiled as his father declined to do so and continued glaring out at the student body.
*****

Second year Slytherins and Gryffindors Potions was first thing the next morning to Harry and Hermione’s intense delight. Draco merely scowled and muttered something about smelling like cauldrons for the whole day.

Their group was the first to arrive, and knowing their professor as well as they did, they set out their things and waited in complete preparation – Hermione happier and more enthusiastic than the boys.

Their classmates filed in, Zabini strolled in and sat at the table behind the trio. He kicked Draco’s chair hard enough to knock his teeth together. He stood, seething, glaring down at Zabini who merely smiled impishly at him.

“Problem, Malfoy, or is it Snape now?”

Draco looked ready to jump across the table when Severus glided in. Hermione reached out her hand, gripped Draco’s robes and pulled him roughly back into his seat.

“Better thank your girlfriend, Malfoy. Wouldn’t want you to have a nosebleed…” Zabini whispered, snickering.

“Is there a problem, Mr. Zabini?”

“No, sir,” Blaise replied calmly, flipping idly through his book.

Silence spread as Severus stood and stared at the oblivious Blaise. Nott nudged him, alerting them of their professor’s attention on him. He looked up in shock as Severus strolled up the aisle. He leaned over until his face was inches away from Blaise’s. “I will not permit to be lied to, Mr. Zabini.”

“Yes, sir…” he whispered, completely cowed by Snape’s rare actions.

Severus straightened up and strolled to the front. He was quiet and his students watched him in shock. He raised his wand to place the instructions on the board when he said, “Ten points from Slytherin.”

The gasp was audible and with a flick of his wrist the instructions appeared. He turned to glare at the class who quickly got to work.
*****

The girl stared across the cafeteria at the Slytherin table, brushing a piece of red hair behind her ear. Her freckled nose was wrinkled in thought before she leaned down and wrote in her book.

I don’t think I can believe what they say about Harry Potter. He doesn’t look evil to me.

The ink slowly disappeared, as if sinking through the page and scrawling words began to answer her thoughts.

He is simply misunderstood. You can be his friend.

Really, Tom?
She asked.

Yes, and I would very much like to meet this Harry Potter.



Creep

IV


“It's a dangerous business going out your front door.” – J. R. R. Tolkien


Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!

Harry woke up with a start. The voice was louder this time, violent and urgent.

He shivered in his sweaty clothes on top of the covers of his bed. His quill, parchment and Transfiguration text lay at his feet. He had only meant to lay back for a few minutes, rest his eyes but he must have fallen asleep. He looked out the charmed window of the dungeons and sighed as stars tinkled merrily at him.

He pushed himself off the bed, surprised that his legs were weak and shaking beneath him. He was almost grateful for the hateful, mysterious voice as at least his nightmare was at an end. He could no longer hear his mother’s screams.

He supposed it was destiny that Halloween would never be a happy holiday for him.

He gained his balance quickly and picked up his mother’s photograph from his bedside table. The wrinkled and worn picture was now preserved in a beautiful silver frame his father had gotten him for his birthday, his only present. It was the only thing Severus could afford with his teacher’s pension.

But it suited her, Harry thought as he traced his index finger along the ivy etching.

“Harry!”

He jumped at Hermione’s voice, as she came running into the room he shared with Draco. Her eyes stared at him with an excited but slightly concerned expression when she saw his face and what he held. She slowed down and smiled at him, taking him by the hand.

“Come on, Harry. We’ll miss the feast.”

He nodded and sat down his mother’s picture.

“Are you going to be okay?”

Kill… Kill… Master says…

He faked a smile for Hermione’s sake and was relieved that she did not see through his façade. “Yea, I’ll be fine.”
*****

Large eyes watched the two children from behind the window curtain. The creature’s large bat-like ears twitched before it snapped its fingers and blinked out of existence with a soft ‘pop’.
*****

Severus was only going to the feast for his son’s sake. He knew that Granger would no doubt drag him there if he did not want to go.

However, once he reached the Great Hall through the side entrance, he found that every student was crowded around the doors leading to the Entrance Hall, craning their necks to see something beyond them. Their food was left untouched and the jack-o-lanterns still floated ominously above the empty tables.

Severus’ heart pounded hard as he hurried to the doors and pushed through the students. Most parted for him while others he merely pushed out of the way, mainly first-years who were not as used to his snarling attitude.

He heard Lockhart long before he saw him.

“There now, Argus. I will handle the culprits! Now if you would kindly step aside, Minerva–!”

He heard Harry’s short scream and Draco’s spitting words seconds before they came into view.

“Let go of him, you bloody idiot, before you’re eating slugs for weeks!”

Severus registered several things at once. Lockhart held his son’s arm in a tight grip and Harry had never more resembled Lily then he did then. He scratched and clawed against his professor like a mad cat. Draco’s nose was bleeding heavily as his swayed, wand pointed at Lockhart. Hermione sat on the ground where she had been pushed down, sitting in a puddle of water as it poured like a waterfall down the main staircase, drowning everyone’s feet up till their ankles.

He strode forward quickly and lifted Lockhart by his robes. A shocked look crossed the man’s too pretty face and he let go of Harry reflexively. Severus threw him forcefully to the ground and aimed his wand at him.

“What the hell were you doing, Gilderoy?” Severus asked in furious calmness.

Lockhart merely gaped up at him, mouth moving like a fish out of water. Then he began to stutter badly.

Draco wiped his nose with the back of his hand, smearing the blood across his cheek, and cursed. Severus cast him a disapproving glance while the boy merely muttered, “I had it covered you know.”

“I have no doubts,” Severus replied. Draco scowled and swayed a bit before Harry took him by the arm and let Draco put his weight on him.

“Now, Severus–” McGonagall began before she was cut off by the arrival of the Headmaster.

His no longer twinkling blue eyes looked at the group, resting on the trio and the three professors. He glanced at an angrily sobbing Argus Filch before he asked, as if discussing the weather, “What appears to be the problem?”

Lockhart, sensing an escape, bounded to his feet. “Headmaster, I was only applying disciplinary actions where they were due.” Getting as much space between himself and the Potions master as possible, he continued. “I was punishing–”

“Manhandling,” said Hermione smartly, standing up, robes dripping.

“–punishing these three for vandalism against school property and cursing Mr. Filch’s cat.”

“Cursing?!” bellowed Filch. “They’ve bloody well killed her!”

Almost as one, Severus and Dumbledore’s eyes rose to take in the stiff cat hanging from a wall sconce and the glimmering words on the wall above her – Enemies of the Heir, Beware!

Severus walked forward and touched one sparkling letters above him. His fingers came away covered in red. He looked at Dumbledore quickly and they seemed to hold an entire conversation in that one gaze.

“Children, Argus, Gilderoy, Minerva, Severus, let us discuss this in my office.”
*****

Professor McGonagall quietly escorted the three from the screams of Dumbledore’s office into the empty corridors. Everyone else had been commanded back to their dorms early and the other professors took patrols out of caution and fear.

Draco, Harry and Hermione didn’t dare speak in front of their professor as she shined her wand around every corner before ushering them on. Coming outside the portrait of Salazar Slytherin she scowled at the drunken lout, snoozing in his frame, bottle dangling from limp fingers. Casting a glance at the three, she stood off to the side and stamped her foot sharply.

“Gillyweed,” muttered Hermione, cowed by the scrutiny in her Head of House’s stare. Yet, McGonagall did not bother to follow them in, she merely sealed the door with magic that Severus would undo once he arrived from the Headmaster’s office.

Once the portrait closed entirely, Draco’s stubborn front fell and his friends quickly helped him to the sofa in front of fire. He huffed aggravated and took the potion Harry had fished from his robe pocket.

“Can you believe Lockhart?” asked Hermione rhetorically, practically seething. “The idiocy of a professor from a great school like this…”

“Dumbledore sure knows how to pick ‘em, eh?” muttered Draco.

Harry stared into the flames. The haunting words echoed in his brain from earlier. He looked sideways at his silent friends and decided against telling them.

No use telling them something like that. I’m already a freak. Don’t need to make it worse.

Harry sighed, missing the look shared by Draco and Hermione at this. Draco shook his head and looked back at the dwindling fire.

“To think that I bled my nose on purpose to write on the wall… Does he think that I go around carrying blood replenishing potions in my school bag just so I can write unimaginative messages in the Entrance Hall?”

“Well, you do have blood replenishing potions in your bag,” said Harry gently, the corner of his lips twitching.

“That is beside the point. The point is Lockhart is a nutter.”

“Tell us something we don’t know,” said Harry, now grinning at his friend, green eyes twinkling a bit even as shadowed as they always were.

Draco shoved him slightly but he was smiling.

Hermione smiled herself and looked into the fire, fighting the fear of what to come and just being content in the moment.
*****

Weeks went by and still there was no change in Mrs. Norris though Professor Sprout’s mandrakes were coming along nicely enough that she would be revived by the end of the school term. No one was happier with this news than the Weasley Twins with their enemy incapacitated. Walking through the hallways was more horrible than usual as Peeves was always more than happy to help them.

“This is utterly ridiculous,” said Hermione hopping across a small glowing, gooey pond concocted by none other than Fred and George.

In fact, the two were following the trio as they walked to their dorm. They realized they were being followed when they turned down the Potions corridor in the dungeons. Glancing behind her, Hermione whirled to face them, almost throwing Draco off balance who had been unknowingly keeping a few fingers fisted in her robe to support himself in case he fell.

“Why are you following us?” she asked snobbishly, sounding such a far bit like Draco that Harry had to fight from giggling. Fred – or was it George – opened their mouth to respond when she cut them off, saying, “You do not have Potions this quarter so why?”

“Merlin, does Granger know everything?” asked one to the other.

“I don’t know, George, if so she wouldn’t be with the Heir of Slytherin.”

“What?” she asked perturbed. Harry looked at Draco as he became rigid at Fred’s words.

“The Heir of Slytherin,” replied the one on the right, George. “That’s what that little blighter, Zabini, is calling Potter.”

“He’s off his rocker,” said Draco relaxing a little, but his voice was still tense.

“Of course,” said the twins at the same time, shocking the trio immensely.

Harry blinked at them and then asked quietly, “You don’t believe him?”

“Nope.”

“Not a chance.”

“Harry Potter is no Heir of Slytherin, no matter what shape scar is on his forehead or who is father is. Besides, Professor Snape’s been downright decent lately.”

The trio continued to stare and the twins just beamed at them. “If you need any help, you know where to find us, Hermione.”
*****

The next day dawned bright. It was a Saturday.

It was the day of the first Quidditch game between the Slytherins and the Gryffindors.

Harry couldn’t find it in him to eat anything, despite Draco piling it on his plate, Hermione’s nagging glances from across the hall and his father’s stern stare at him. He couldn’t sleep the night before as the haunting words had swished all around him during the late hours.

He couldn’t help but shake the feeling that something like that that had happened on Halloween would happen again. Only this time it could be worse. Something bad was going to happen and it hung over Harry’s head like a personal raincloud.

Sighing, Harry got up to follow the team out to the field early. Marcus Flint – a decent boy for all it was worth – rubbed his hand in Harry’s already messy hair. He offered the boy a small smile and Draco was happy to see Harry relax a bit. Apparently, Flint was used to Harry’s somber moods.

Harry flew high over the pitch before the game, not really bothering to practice his swooping and diving. He moved in lazy circles and watched the people pour into the stadium. He saw his father and Draco and Hermione move to sit in the teachers’ booth. Harry grinned when McGonagall took a seat leaving the only available one next to Severus for Lockhart. He grinned wider when he realized that Lockhart planned to stand the entire game rather than sit next to Snape.

Soon the game started and Harry’s mind began to ease. He heard a whoosh come near him and dodged just in time to avoid a bludger. He watched as it sailed off to the edge of the field.

And then, turned and headed straight for him again.

Harry yelped and took off flying across the pitch as fast as his broom could go. He weaved expertly between the red and green clad players and yet the bludger stayed on his tail.

He vaguely heard the crowd, not seeing them stand on their feet watching him. The Gryffindor seeker seemed to think that Harry had found the snitch but came up short when he saw what was happening.

Then in split second, Harry did see the snitch.

He raced after it, arm outstretched. He looked back to see that the bludger was gone and the other seeker was following him but many feet away. He grinned as his hand closed around the snitch.

Then, the bludger slammed into his still extended arm. He could feel and hear the snap of bone. Gagging, he lost control of his broom and plunged face forward into the pitch. Rolling and tucking his arm against him, Harry avoided the bludger again. He kept rolling and dodging, quickly loosing strength and getting nauseous from the pain in his arm. Just as he was about to give up, the bludger exploded in a cloud of shimmering dust.

Rolling over onto his side, he stared out but quickly shut his eyes as the world swam in front of him. He was aware of his father’s scent as the man gently sat him up. Harry gagged again but nothing came up. He hissed as Severus took his arm, examining it.

“Shattered I expect,” he muttered and Harry whimpered in response.

“It’ll be fine, Harry.” Severus made to rise and slowly pulled Harry onto his feet. The boy swayed a bit but was otherwise steady. “We need to get you to Poppy.”

They began to walk toward the stadium entrance when he heard Hermione screaming Draco’s name. He sickly pulled Snape in the direction of her voice but stared numbly as the scene came into view.

“What in Merlin’s–!” began Severus but he was cut off by Hermione going into the scuffle. She barely avoided a flying fist as she pulled Draco off of the other boy. Harry grinned weakly when he saw Zabini’s busted nose.

Gripping Draco by the back of his robes and an arm around Harry’s shoulders he led – or pulled in Draco’s case – the two boys toward the castle. Hermione ran after them.


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