Work Header

Slytherin Adoption

Chapter Text

Chapter One: The Train Station

    Draco Malfoy stood on Platform 9 ¾, nervously straightening his robes as he waited for the train to pull in. He looked up when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

    “It’ll be fine,” Lucius assured his son. Draco swallowed hard, his next words coming out as a whisper.

    “What if nobody likes me?” Lucius knelt down so he was eye-level with the young blonde.

    “Not everybody is going to like you,” he admitted. Draco nodded and looked down at his shoes. “Some people might even hate you because of who you are. Because of who I am.” Draco hung his head. “But you’ll have Severus,” Lucius reminded him gently. Draco looked up, eyes brightening as he remembered that his Godfather would be teaching Potions, like he had for the past ten years. “And you’ll have Blaise and Pansy.” Draco smiled at the thought of his two best friends. The three of them had grown up together and were practically inseparable.

    “I guess it won’t be so bad then,” Draco said quietly. Before Lucius could answer, they heard a scream. His father stood in one graceful movement, wand in hand, and shielded his son from any possible attack. The platform had gotten quite crowded while they’d been talking, making it hard to detect anything. He started to turn back to Draco when, out of the corner of his eye, he caught sight of a small commotion. Several reporters had gathered around someone, a child from the looks of them, and were taking pictures. The child was obviously terrified as he tried to curl in a ball. Before he knew what he was doing, Lucius strode over and smoothly stepped in front of the boy, effectively blocking the reporters from seeing him.

    “What gives you the right to scare a child just to get a few pictures?” Lucius hissed. At first, no one spoke up, not wanting to incure the wrath of the Malfoy Lord.

    “I...It’s Harry Potter s...sir,” one reporter finally got out. A raised eyebrow was the only sign Lucius gave that he was surprised.

    “I’ll ask again,” Lucius said softly. “What gives you the right to scare him to get a few pictures?” No one answered but when it became obvious he had no intention of moving, the reporters finally left. Lucius turned to the child, who was still curled in a little ball.

    “It’s alright, Harry,” Lucius said gently. “They’ve gone.” Slowly, the boy looked up. Then he said the most heart-wrenching words Lucius had ever heard.

    “Who’s Harry?” Lucius and Draco both stared at him in shock.

    “Don’t you know your name, child?” The older Malfoy asked softly, kneeling like he had a few moments earlier with Draco. Harry watched him with wide, frightened eyes. “What do your relatives call you?” The boy gave a small flinch.

    “Freak,” he whispered, looking down. Lucius had to fight to keep his anger out of his eyes.

    “The name your parents gave you was Harry Potter,” Lucius informed him. Harry’s eyes flew to his, shining with joy before he quickly masked it. Lucius gave a small smile. “My name is Lucius Malfoy. This is my son, Draco.” Draco stepped forward and offered his hand. Hesitantly, Harry took it.

    “Hi, Harry,” Draco smiled warmly. “Would you like to be friends?” Harry’s eyes widened in shock.

    “F...friends?” he echoed. “You w...want to be f...friends? With” Draco nodded and Harry finally smiled, before dropping his hand. As he did, his oversized t-shirt fell off one shoulder, exposing a huge bruise It looked like someone had tried to choke him. Before either Malfoy could ask him about it, a shout was heard and they were surrounded by red-heads.

    “Lucius Malfoy!” Molly Weasley screeched. The former Slytherin winced and slowly stood, turning to face the banshee. “Leave the poor boy alone! You’re scaring him!” Lucius glanced back at Harry and sure enough, he was shaking and trying to hide behind Draco, having gotten to his feet when Lucius did. Lucius turned back to Molly, eyes narrowed.

    “You’re the one scaring him, woman,” he growled. “You and those damned reporters that were crowding him a little while ago.” While the adults were arguing, Draco used the opportunity to gently tug Harry, who was still shaking, towards the train that had just pulled up. Unforturnately, the youngest Weasley male had other ideas. He stepped in front of them, preventing them from going any further.

    “Are you really Harry Potter?” he asked loudly, obviously having heard the reporters. Harry looked at Draco, then back at Ron and gave a tiny, uncertain nod. “Wicked,” Ron breathed. “Do you have the scar?” Harry gave him a confused look. Draco decided he’d had enough. Weasley was ogling Harry like he was a unique animal at a zoo and it was clearly scaring the smaller boy.

    “He doesn’t have to prove anything to you,” Draco sneered, eyes hard as he glared at the red-head. “Come on, Harry, let’s go.” He gently took Harry’s hand and began towards the train. Again, Weasley stopped them by grabbing Harry’s other arm, causing Harry to flinch violently and his shaking to increase tenfold. Draco narrowed his eyes as he glared at Ron.

    “Let go of him,” he hissed angrily but Ron ignored him.

    “You really should not hang around Draco Malfoy,” Ron informed Harry haughtily. “Especially since of who you are.” His voice dropped to a mock whisper, though he knew Draco could still hear him. “His family’s dangerous.” Draco’s heart sank as he waited for the raven-haired boy to look at him in fear, and maybe disgust, like most people who didn’t know his family did when someone gave the same warning. To his surprise, however, that didn’t happen. Instead, Harry took a deep breath and wrenched his arm out of Weasley’s grip, though he was still shaking.

    “T...they are my f...friends and I d...don’t have to s...stand here and l...listen to you try to s...slander t...them!” He ran over to Draco and stood behind him, trembling horribly, his shaking hand gripping the back of Draco’s green and silver robes.
"Father?" Lucius looked away from the Weasley matriarch, who had stopped ranting and was just glaring at him, and saw Harry clinging to Draco's robes. Draco tilted his head slightly to the left and Lucius's eyes moved as well, to the youngest male redhead who was blocking the way to the train. He had had enough and was about to just take both boys and apparate directly to the gates of Hogwarts when the Weasley twins stepped up beside their brother. They each grabbed one of their brothers arms and moved him out of the way, nodding at Lucius as they did. The blonde nodded back and ushered the two boys onto the train, giving Draco a quick hug as he did so.
"Where's your trunk Harry?" he asked as he lifted Draco's up onto the train. Harry finally let go of Draco and shyly held up his wand.
"T...this is a...all I have s...sir," he whispered. "My u...uncle burned e...everything else. E...even my o...owl." Tears filled his eyes and slipped down his pale cheeks. Luciuss nodded.
"I will send you some things then." He went on before the boy could protest. "Don't forget to write." He smiled at Draco and then Harry. "Both of you." He hugged Draco one last time. "Protect him, Dragon. He needs it." He pulled away, smiled once more, and then he was gone.

Chapter Text

Draco stood there for another moment before grabbing his trunk with one hand, Harry's hand with the other one, and walking down the corridor. They passed several compartments before finding one that was empty. Draco pulled Harry in and quickly shut the door, letting go of Harry's hand to put his trunk in the rack above them. When he had finally sat down, he looked at Harry, who was looking around uncertainly.
"Come sit next to me," Draco instructed and then winced internally at how demanding that had sounded. "Please," he added softly. After another moment of looking around, Harry finally sat next to Draco. He grimaced in pain. "Are you okay?"
"Y...yes," the ravenhaired boy replied. Draco knew he wasn't but decided not to say anything. Instead, he began telling Harry about the Wizarding World, Hogwarts, Quidditch, and whatever else he could think of. Since he'd never seen anything in the papers about Harry since he'd defeated Voldemort when he was fifteen months, he was pretty sure Harry had grown up in the muggle world. And the way his face would light up at certain things, he knew he was right.
About two hours into the trip, the door banged open. Harry yelped in fright, eyes wide as he stared at the two newcomers standing in the doorway. Unconsciously, his hand reached for Draco's and Draco squeezed back reassuringly before turning to the door.
"Draco!" the girl whined. "We've been looking everywhere for you." Draco rolled his eyes but gave a smile before turning to the boy next to him.
"Harry, it's okay," he said softly. "These are my friends. They won't hurt you. I promise." Harry finally looked up.
"H...hello." He held the hand that wasn't holding Draco's out. Pansy practically melted at how adorable Harry looked and gave a bright smile, shaking his hand.
"My name's Pansy Parkinson," she introduced herself, letting go of his hand and pulling the boy she was with further into the compartment. "This is Blaise Zabini." Blaise nodded at the boy and took a seat across from him, Pansy sitting across from Draco. It was silent for a moment until Draco remembered that Harry didn't even really know his own name.
"This is Harry Potter." Blaise blinked a few times and Pansy’s breath hitched but other than that, they didn't show their surprise, which Draco was grateful for. It took several minutes of useless chatter before Harry finally started to relax and let go of Draco's hand. Slowly, his eyes started to droop, as he hasn't a proper night's sleep in forever. Laying his head on Draco's shoulder, Harry allowed the rocking of the train and the soothing motions of Draco's hand as he ran it through the black locks to lull him to sleep.
"So that's Harry Potter," Blaise said quietly after they'd saw that the boy in question was asleep.
"Yeah..." Draco sighed as he continued running his fingers through Harry's hair. He gently maneuvered Harry so he was laying down, his head in Draco's lap.
"He's nothing like I thought he'd be like," Pansy commented.
"There's a few things you should know," Draco began slowly. He took a deep breath and quickly explained how his father and him met Harry at the train station and what happened. "I think he's being abused," Draco whispered, showing them the bruise on Harry's shoulder and neck. "He's really shy and skittish. He seems to have developed a stutter, though I don't know if that's something he was born with or if the abuse caused it. The worse thing is he didn't know his name until my father told him." Blaise and Pansy stared at him in shock.
"So you're telling me that the whole world knows his name, except for him?" Pansy asked, horrified. Draco nodded just as Harry started whimpering in his sleep.
"No...please stop...please..." He began to struggle, as though someone was holding him down. Draco gently brushed a hand through Harry's bangs, revealing the lightening bolt shaped scar, and leaned.
"Harry, it's me," he said softly. "It's Draco. You're on the train to Hogwarts. You're safe." Harry stopped moving. Slowly, he opened his green eyes and focused on Draco.
"I'm safe?" he asked, his voice small as he searched Draco's face for any signs of dishonesty.
"You're safe," Draco replied and Harry's smile was so bright it lit up the compartment.

Chapter Text

          Lucius looked up at the bright sun glaring down on him and then at the gates he was standing in front of. Steeling himself for the upcoming conversation, Lucius headed up the path towards Hogwarts, hoping he wouldn't run into anybody. A half hour later, he breathed a sigh of relief at having run into no one, especially Albus Dumbledore. He gave two loud knocks on Severus Snape's office door and waited, both hands resting on the tip of his cane. A moment later, the door was opened by the Potions Master.
          "Lucius?" Severus raised an eyebrow. "Didn't you just see Draco off?" Lucius gave a slight nod.
          "I did," Lucius confirmed. Severus looked at him for a moment before opening the door wider and stepping to the side, allowing his friend to enter. Lucius strode into the classroom and turned back to Severus, who shut the door. He then walked to his desk and sat down, gesturing for Lucius to sit in the chair across from him. After they were both sitting, Severus reached into his desk and pulled out a bottle of Fire Whiskey and two glasses. When they were both holding a glass, Severus leaned back and looked at Lucius.
          "Draco and I met Harry Potter this morning." The blonde instantly regretted being so blunt when he saw Severus's eyes darken and his lips twist into a sneer.
          "Really?" the Professor drawled but didn't say anything else. Lucius sighed.
          "You should give him a chance, Sev," he said quietly. "He might surprise you." Severus scoffed and Lucius knew that nothing he said would change his opinion on the boy, so he drained his glass and stood up. At the door, he turned back.
          "Please remember he is not his father." With those words, he left and Severus sat alone with his thoughts.


          The train whistle blew, signaling they were fifteen minutes away from Hogsmeade Station. Draco gently shook Harry's shoulder, as the boy had fallen asleep again, and quietly explained that they were almost there. While Harry was sleeping, Draco had taken an extra set of robes out of his trunk, which he now held out to Harry.
          "They might be a little big but it's better than nothing." Harry stared at him in shock.
          "T...thank you, Draco." Draco shrugged, a little embarrassed, and turned so Harry could change. Blaise and Pansy did the same. "Okay, I'm f...finished." Draco turned and was surprised to see just how big his robes were on Harry. The whistle blew again and the train came to a complete stop. The small group of four left the compartment but as soon as Harry saw the crowd corridor, his eyes went wide and his breathing got heavy. Someone bumped into him as they passed, causing Harry to scream and run back into the compartment. Draco followed to see Harry under a bench, curled into a small ball, and whimpering. Draco felt his heart clench at the sight and he looked at the other two.
          "I don't know what to do." His friends looked unsure themselves. The whistle blew for the third time and Draco knew if they didn't move fast, they'd be headed back to London. He motioned for his friends to get off the train, indicating he'd be their momentarily. They still looked unsure even as they followed his nonverbal commands. Draco took a deep breath and turned back to his new friend.
          "Harry?" He slowly approached. The boy looked up, green meeting silver. "Harry, the train is empty. There's no one on here but us. It's safe." Harry blinked and slowly uncurled, though he remained under the bench.
          "Safe?" Draco nodded with a small smile and Harry climbed out from his hiding place and stood up, taking the hand Draco was holding out. Draco lead him to the doors and they got off the train just as it started moving. A giant of a man was calling for first years, so they followed and were instructed to get in a boat. Draco and Blaise gave Pansy a sympathetic loom when they realized only three to a boat, but she just shrugged and got into a boat with two other girls.
          Harry stared in awe as the castle got closer and closer. On the other side of the lake, they all scrambled to get out of the boats, and the huge man, who'd introduced himself as Hagrid, led them up the hill to the school. A stern looking woman met them just inside the doors.
          "Thank you, Hagrid." He nodded and disappeared inside a room, and she turned to the nervous looking first years. "Welcome to Hogwarts."

Chapter Text

          The woman led them into a side room and turned back to the new students, waiting until they'd all gathered around her.
          Draco looked at Harry and saw that he had his eyes squeezed, his breathing was coming in quick, short pants, and he was trembling. Draco gently held both of Harry's hands and turned him so he was facing Draco.
          "Breathe, Harry," he whispered in the terrified boy's ear, remembering his Godfather doing the same for him once or twice. "Just breathe. In and out, in and out." He kept talking quietly as Harry's breathing slowed down and the boy slowly relaxed. "Can you open your eyes for me?" It took a moment, but finally Harry's eyes opened and he looked at Draco, who smiled. They turned back to the Professor, who had finished talking. Knowing what the speech most likely was about, Draco quietly talked to Harry as they followed at the back of the line, Draco still holding one of Harry's hands.
          "That woman is Professor McGonagall. She's the transfiguration professor." He went on to explain the houses and what they stood for, making sure to leave out his own biased opinions as he didn't want to scare Harry. He didn't want the boy to think he'd stop being his friend if they were in separate houses. He really hoped Harry got sorted in the same house as him. He didn't know why but he had this overwhelming need to protect the boy, which would be easier if they were together. As they walked into the Great Hall, Draco noticed Harry was no longer paying attention to him. Instead, he was looking up at the ceiling, a look of awe on his face. It showed a clear, night sky with thousands of twinkling stars.
          "It's enchanted to look like the sky outside," a haughty voice said from a few paces in front of them. "I read about it in Hogwarts, A History." Just then, the hall fell silent as the ratty, old hat Professor McGonagall had just set on the stool in the front of the room began to sing:

"Oh you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see,
I'll eat myself if you can find
A smarter hat than me.

You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat
And I can cap them all.

There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see,
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart,
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry
Set Gryffindors apart;

You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;

Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw,
if you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;

Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folks use any means
To achieve their ends.

So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!

          As the sorting hat finished, thunderous applause came from the students sitting at four long tables. Harry focused on his breathing, Draco's hand squeezing his reassuringly, as the Professor started calling names.
          "Abbot, Hannah!"
          The sorting continued in the same manner with Professor McGonagall calling a name, the student sitting on a stool, and the hat calling out one of the four houses. Harry was getting a little anxious, one hand holding Draco's tightly, as his eyes studied his feet. 
          "Are you okay, Harry?" He looked at Draco and gave a slight nod. Draco looked like he was about to say something else when...
          "Malfoy, Draco!" Draco let go of Harry's hand and walked to the stool. Harry started to get even more anxious when he felt a gentle hand take his. He flinched but relaxed slightly when he saw Pansy holding his hand and looking at him with soft eyes. He relaxed even further and watched as Draco was sorted into Slytherin. The blonde gave him a smile before walking to the table with a green banner hanging above it. Pansy was called shortly after. Before he knew it...
          "Potter, Harry!" He stood still for a moment before remembering that was his name. Slowly, legs shaking, Harry made his way to the front, whispers following him the whole way.
          "Is that...?"
          "The Harry Potter?"
          "No way." Harry took a deep breath and sat on the stool, the Professor setting the hat on his head. It slid over his eyes, obscuring his view of the Great Hall.
          "Well, well, Mr. Potter at long last." Harry was so startled at hearing the voice in his head, he jumped and toppled off the stool, landing hard on the stone floor, the hat a few feet away from him. Hearing some of the other students laugh, Harry's face turned bright red as he grabbed the hat and climbed back on the stool, shoving it over his head.
          "I am quite sorry, Mr. Potter," the hat apologized.
          "It's a...alright," Harry whispered.
          "I keep telling them that they should warn students so they don't get startled but do they listen? Of course not. After all, I'm just an old hat." Harry giggled quietly, surprising himself. When was the last time he'd laughed? "Now, let's see." There was a moment's pause. "This is a difficult decision." The smile fell off Harry's face.
          "Please," he begged desperately. "Please s...sort me into a house. I...I can't go back to the D...Dursleys."
          "Hush, child," the hat said soothingly. "I just meant it's difficult because you have traits of all four houses. Of course, that's what helped you survive. You have the bravery of Gryffindor, the loyalty of Hufflepuff, the love of learning like Ravenclaw, and the cunning of Slytherin." Here he paused. "But it seems like you've already made quite the friend and protector in young Mr. Malfoy. Yes, I think you'd do quite well there." It was quiet for another moment. Then the hat opened his mouth.

Chapter Text

          After Lucius had left, Severus had not stop thinking about his oldest friend's parting words.
          "Please remember he is not his father." Severus had scowled as he looked down at the lesson plans he was trying to organize. How would Lucius know if he was or wasn't like his father? He'd seen the boy for ten minutes. What he'd seen could have been an act. After James Potter had always been good at playing innocent, especially after a prank.
          "Please remember he is not his father." Severus had snarled and shoved his papers in his desk, unable to concentrate, and drained his fire whiskey. The Potter boy would not fool him. Not for one second.
          Now he stood in front of his first year Slytherins, several hours later, absolutely flabbergasted. Of course, none of his emotions showed on his face as he looked around the room, his eyes landing on Harry Potter.
          How the hell had the son of James Potter, who was the epitome of all things Gryffindor, end up in his house?
          He'd watched as the small boy had entered, holding the hand of Draco Malfoy, looking very much like a frightened rabbit. He'd raised an eyebrow when his Godson spoke quietly to the boy, trying to calm him down. And when Harry Potter had been sorted into Slytherin, all he'd been able to do was stare. Especially when almost all of the Slytherins had cheered, causing the boy to blush as he sat next to Draco. He'd groaned and put his head in his hands, not missing the dark look that passed Albus's eyes before he'd masked it.
          "Potter!" he barked. The young child flinched and slowly met his eyes, his own filled with fear. But Severus wasn't fooled. That was the same look he'd seen James give a hundred times when he'd been caught doing something wrong. It always worked but Severus was determined it wouldn't work on him.
          "Y...yes, s...sir?" Harry stuttered. Severus resisted the urge to pinch the bridge of his nose. The boy was worse than his father. He obviously thought the stutter would give him sympathy points.
          “What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” he practically snarled, ignoring Draco's glare. The boy was too gullible for his own good but Severus would be damned if he'd let Draco get hurt.
          "I...I don't k...know, s...sir." So the brat didn't think he had to read his books before class.
          "Tell, me Potter, where would you look for a bezoar?" This time, Potter just shook his head, his eyes filling with tears. Draco's eyes flashed and he handed Potter's hand off to Pansy Parkinson before stalking towards Severus, who actually took a step back. He blinked as Blaise Zabini and Pansy stepped in front of Potter, protectively.
          "A word, Professor," Draco hissed, emphasizing the last word. Severus recovered from his shock and looked at the blonde. Wordlessly, he moved to the side of the room, Draco following.
          "I don't care how much you hated James Potter," Draco began quietly. Severus raised an eyebrow. "Oh, yes, Severus," Draco sneered, "I've heard all about the feud between you, James Potter, and his friends." He paused dramatically. "But Harry is my friend and I will not allow you, or anyone else for that matter, bully him." Draco sounded so much like Lucius that Severus would have laughed, if not for the circumstances. Draco glared at him for another moment and then turned on his heel, rejoining his friends. Severus took a moment to collect himself and then returned to the center of the room to give his normal speech about how Slytherin would be their family for the next seven years, outside the common room they were to show a united front. He ignored the glares from Draco, Blaise, and Pansy, and the curious stares from everyone else.
          "One last thing," Severus added as he got ready to leave. "Tomorrow I will be posting a list of names on the notice board. Next to each name will be a time for you to go to the Hospital Wing, for a full physical. Do not make me track you down or I promise, you will not like the consequences." With that, Severus swept out of the room, leaving his prefects to cover anything he might have missed, as well as showing the first years their dorms.
          As Severus got ready for bed today night, all he could see was tearful green eyes. Again, he heard Lucius's voice in his head: Please remember he is not his father.

Chapter Text

          Harry slowly opened his eyes the next morning and mentally groaned. Breakfast would be soon and he wasn't even remotely ready to face the rest of the school. He could still feel the glares and hear the whispers that there were after he got sorted into Slytherin. He'd almost turned and ran, when the entire Slytherin House clapped loudly, causing him to blush. It was nice to feel accepted, though all the attention made him feel uncomfortable.

          When he'd sat next to Draco he had been told that everyone had expected him to get into Gryffindor because one, both of his parents had been Gryffindors and two, he was the Boy-Who-Lived and Slytherin had a reputation for being dark. Harry thought the whole thing was stupid.

          After all, he didn't remember his parents so how could everyone expect him to follow in their footsteps? And why judge a whole house based on the actions of a few individuals?

          He didn't know much about the Boy-Who-Lived business except that he had somehow vanquished some Dark Lord when he was a baby, which seemed farfetched, and now he was famous. He sighed and grabbed his things, rushing to take a shower before his dormmates woke up. Even in the Wizarding World, he was still different.

          As he showered, he thought about how much his life had changed in the past month. First, he'd received a letter on his eleventh birthday. He'd seen owls circling his house all day, which was very odd, but it wasn't until they started trying to hand him letters that he realized just how odd it was.

          He'd caught sight of the front of the letter he'd taken from one of the owls, which was written in green ink, when Dudley snatched the letter out of his hands and ran to find his parents. As he was unable to read, since the Dursleys refused to send him to school, he had no idea who the letter actually was for.

          There had been loud shouting from the kitchen and the next thing he knew, they were in some shack that sat on a rock, in the middle of the ocean. At least he wasn't spending his birthday, alone, in his small cupboard. Instead, he was spending it on the dirt covered floor of a small, rundown cabin, running away friend owls of all things. If his uncle didn't look so angry, he might have laughed at the absurdity of it all.

          Then, the giant had come. The giant, well half-giant as he would later tell Harry, had introduced himself as Hagrid and presented Harry with both a birthday cake and a letter. Not wanting Hagrid to know about his inability to read, Harry had told him that he couldn't find his glasses, and Hagrid had read the letter.

          Harry turned off the water and dried his body, before quickly getting dressed and heading downstairs. He curled up on a armchair by the fire and waited for Draco.

Chapter Text

          After breakfast, in which they'd received their timetables, Harry followed Draco to their first class. He wasn't sure what class it was, since he couldn't read the timetable, but as they started to go further and further into the dungeons, Harry started feeling anxious. According to Draco, only one class was held down there, Potions, which Draco's Godfather, Severus Snape, taught. The same man who was their Head of House and who seemed to hate him more than Uncle Vernon, and that was saying something.

          He was proven correct when, just as they were taking their seats, the door slammed open and Professor Snape glided into the room, his robes billowing behind him. When he got to the front, he slowly turned and started talking.

          "You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking," he began, his voice soft but as the room was silent, they could clearly hear every word.
"As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses.... I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death -- if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach." (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

          At the end of his little speech, he looked around the room before his eyes landed on Harry, who was sitting next to Draco and listening to every word. The man stared at him for a long moment, his face unreadable, before he looked around the room once more.

          "Well, why aren't you all writing this down?" The previously silent classroom was suddenly filled with noise as the students scrambled for parchment and quills. Harry just sat there, not sure what to do, as he didn't have any supplies and even if he did, he certainly wouldn't have been able to write any notes.

          "Potter!" Harry was so startled, he knocked over Draco's full bottle of ink as he jerked and looked up at the professor with wide eyes. "Do you think that you are above everyone else?"

          ", s...sir," Harry whispered. Snape stalked over to where he and Draco were sitting, causing the boy to tremble in fear.

          "Then why aren't you taking notes?" He waved his wand to clean up the ink and leaned closer. "You're just like your father," he hissed. "He too thought he was above the rules." Harry felt a rush of anger, the likes of which he'd never felt before. He raised his eyes and looked straight at Snape.

          "Whatever my father did to you, it wasn't my fault," the boy said quietly but clearly, not even realizing he wasn't stuttering. "I am not my father, no matter how much I may look like him." It was completely silent for a moment and then Harry's eyes widened as his hand flew to his mouth as he realized what he'd just done. He'd just talked back to a teacher. "I...I'm sorry, s...sir." His stutter was back but again, Harry didn't notice as he jumped to his feet and ran, leaving behind a worried Draco and a classroom full of stunned students.



          Draco had been silent during the whole conversation but he glared at Severus as Harry ran out of the classroom. The man just raised an eyebrow an eyebrow and walked back to the front.

          "Read the first chapter and write a two foot essay summarizing the two potions and their uses by next class." He sat at his desk, clearly dismissing the students. Draco waited until everyone left before slowly approaching his Godfather.

          "Why?" Severus raised an eyebrow at the vague question. "Why do you have to be so mean? Why do you hate him so much?" Severus sighed.

          "Don't you have class?" he asked wearily. Draco stared at him defiantly before walking over to where he'd left his bag and picking it up, slinging it over his shoulder. At the door, he turned back.

          "This conversation isn't over." Then he was gone.



          After Harry left the classroom, he realized he had no idea where his next class was located, or even what it was, so he ran to the Slytherin Common Room, tears still falling down his cheeks. He went over to the same armchair he occupied that morning and curled up. After a while, the tears stopped and he just stared into the crackling fire.

          At some point, one of the Slytherin Prefects, Gemma Farley if he remembered correctly from the night before, wrapped a blanket around his tiny frame but other than that, no one bothered him.

          Why did Professor Snape hate him so much? Was he still a freak, even in the Wizarding World? He started absentmindedly playing with the sleeves of the robes Draco had borrowed him that morning. He'd also insisted on giving Harry his extra school uniform to wear until Harry was able to get his own.

          "No friend of mine will be seen wearing those rags you call clothes," he'd said, ignoring all of Harry's protests. Eventually, Harry had just accepted them and had gone back upstairs to change.

          The portrait door opened, breaking Harry out of his thoughts. He gave a slight smile when he saw Draco enter. The blonde looked around before finally seeing him and making his way over.

          "I was hoping you'd come here," Draco said as he stopped in front of the raven-haired boy. "You ready to go to Transfiguration?" Harry took a deep breath and nodded. After all, it had to be better than Potions, right?

Chapter Text

          Harry tried really hard but by dinner time, he was a mess. Not only was he unable to get the spells right in Transfiguration or Charms, because of his stuttering and clumsy motions, but when he was asked to read a passage by Professor McGonagall, he'd froze. He just sat there, staring at the book he was sharing with Draco, shaking. Draco had assumed that he'd gotten nervous from all the attention that was on him and how could he tell his new friend the truth? He didn't want Draco to think he was stupid because he couldn't read but when the same thing happened in Charms, he realized he'd have to tell the blonde Slytherin. He sat at the table, picking at his food and trying to formulate what he'd say in his head. He'd just taken a deep breath and looked up, ready to ask Draco if he could talk to him privately, when there was a noise from overhead.
          Looking up, he saw a beautiful white owl soaring across the tables. He blinked when the owl landed in front of him gracefully and held out a leg, with a letter attached. Shakily, he took the letter and untied it. He slowly opened it and stared, not even noticing that the owl hadn't moved.
          "What does it say, Harry?" Draco asked, having stopped eating when the owl had landed. Harry took a few calming breaths. Well, here goes nothing. He looked up and met Draco's eyes.
          "I...I don't k...know," he whispered. Draco's forehead scrunched in confusion.
          "What do you mean you don't know? Is it in a different language?" Harry nervously looked at the other students, some who were openly staring at him, and then back at Draco. The other boy seemed to understand and stood, guiding Harry out of the Great Hall. The owl flew to Harry's shoulder and stayed there.
          The walk to the dorms was silent, each boy deep in thought. Harry was thinking about what to tell the boy and hoped that Draco wouldn't decide Harry was a freak after all. Draco was worried about Harry, especially after the hard day he'd had, and wished he knew how to help him. Before they knew it, they were at the entrance to the common room. Draco said the password and they entered, heading over to the armchair that Harry had unconsciously claimed as his. Harry curled up, looking warily up at Draco, who stood before him.
          "Is everything okay, Harry?" Draco's quiet question and concern gave Harry strength, so he took a breath to calm his pounding heart and spoke.
          "I...I can't," Harry said so quietly, Draco wasn't quite sure he heard correctly. It was silent for a few minutes as Draco tried to process what Harry had just told him. As the silence stretched on, Harry wished Draco would say something, anything, so he could go find somewhere private and have a good cry. It seemed like he was doing that lately, but everything was so overwhelming and he couldn't help it. He was just about to get up, anyways, when Draco's voice broke the silence.
          "Would you like me to read the letter?" Green eyes blinked up at him in shock. Draco gave a small smile. "When you're ready to talk, I'm here." Then he took the letter out of Harry's limp fingers and pretended to put glasses on the tip of his nose, causing Harry to giggle. The blonde winked and held the letter away from his face, cleared his throat, and used his best McGonagall voice. Harry started laughing and Draco had to reread the first line three times before Harry finally calmed down.

          How is Hogwarts going so far? I hope you were sorted into the same house as my son as you guys have what could become a beautiful friendship. I have sent some things for you with a house elf, so they should already be in your room and if there is anything else you should need, please don't hesitate to owl me.

Lucius Malfoy

P.S. The owl is yours. I know you will take great care of her. Her name is Hedwig.

          By the end of the letter, Harry was just staring at Draco, not quite trusting hinself to speak. Then he slowly reached up to his shoulder, where the owl was still perched, and slowly stroked her feathers.
          "Hedwig," he whispered. The two boys looked at each other, grinned, and ran upstairs, causing Hedwig to leap in the air with a squawk as Harry's body jerked. 
          Sitting on the floor, by the foot of Harry's bed, was a brand new trunk. It was silver, with dark green around the edges. His name was engraved on the lid in gold. Walking forward, Harry slowly ran his fingers over the letters. It still surprised him that he had a name, an actual name. Not Freak. Not Boy. But Harry.
          Looking back, he realized that Hagrid must have called him Harry at some point, but he'd been so overwhelmed by this new world he was suddenly thrust into, and the fact that he was apparently famous, that everything else about that day in Diagon Alley was a blur. He wasn't even sure how he got on the platform. One moment, he was leaning against the wall between two platforms, desperately searching for anyone that could help him get to Platform 9 3/4 (the platform Hagrid had told him to go to), and the next he was on the other side of the wall, reporters surrounding him.
          Shaking himself out of his dark thoughts, Harry opened the trunk and his eyes widened. There were three uniforms, two black robes, five pairs of jeans, ten shirts in various colors, and two pairs of shoes. Attached to one of the shirts was a note.

          I wasn't sure what size you are so I had a resizing charm added to your clothes. As soon as you put them on, they should resize to fit you. Your Head of House or a prefect can add the House logo to your robes.


          Draco took the two robes downstairs to Gemma, while Harry started putting his clothes away in the wardrobe that was provided to them. He was just finishing when Draco returned, the robes now sporting the Slythern Logo, and put those in the wardrobe as well.
          "There's more," Draco said from behind him. Harry turned and walked back over, peering in the trunk again. At the bottom were all the textbooks, quills, parchment, and ink bottles he would need for the year. There was even a bag, which Draco said was a bottomless bag, so he could carry all his supplies and not worry how heavy the bag was.
          Harry carefully packed the bag with everything he would need the next day and put everything else in the side table. He looked over at Draco, who had sat down on the edge of his bed next to Harry's.
          "Your father is really nice, Draco," he said, causing Draco to shrug.
          "He wouldn't do all this for just anyone. You must be really special." He have a lopsided grin and Harry grinned back. They both sobered after a few minutes.
          "Can you write your father?" Harry asked quietly. Draco opened his mouth, about to suggest Harry write the man himself, but his mouth closed with an audible snap. Instead, he simply nodded. They fell silent again.
          "Want to go see if Blaise and Pansy are back yet?" Harry nodded and the two headed downstairs. Draco stopped at the notice board, to read something, and then turned back to Harry.
          "Both of our appointments are at 9 tomorrow morning."
          "Appointments?" Harry asked, looking confused.
          "Yeah, don't you remember?" Harry shook his head. " mean, Professor Snape said we all have appointments for a checkup with the nurse in the Hospital Wing." Harry felt the blood leave his face. This wasn't good. Not good at all.

Chapter Text

          The corridors were completely silent except for the sounds of two boys, one dark-haired and one light-haired, as everyone else was either in class or their common rooms, if they had a free period. The two boys stopped in front of the door to the Hospital Wing and hesitated a moment.
          " we h...have to do t...this?" Draco sighed. Harry's stuttering was back, which meant he had to be scared. Over the past day or so, Harry had stopped stuttering altogether around Draco and it had lessened around the other Slytherins. He gave Harry's shoulder a light, reassuring squeeze, and lpushed opened the doors.
          "Hello," a woman greeted them kindly. "My name is Madame Pomfrey and I'm the nurse here at Hogwarts." She looked between the two of them. "So, who's first?" Draco took one look at the smaller boy, who had gone pale, and stepped forward.
          "I will," he said, his voice clear and strong. He gave Harry one last reassuring squeeze and let go, hopping up on the closest bed. The exam was fairly quick. Just a quick diagnostic spell and it was over.
          "All done," Madame Pomfrey said with a smile. Draco got down and turned to look at Harry.
          "It's okay, Harry. It doesn't even hurt." Harry walked closer, his legs shaking. Madame Pomfrey helped the boy up on the bed, stepping back once he was settled. She took out her wand, causing Harry to flinch and cover his head with his hands. The nurse frowned, but said nothing as she began the diagnostics scan. It took several minutes to complete. Afterwards, she read the results, her frown deepening. Without a word, she hurried to her office to floo the Head of Slytherin House.


          Severus Snape was grading papers, as his third years worked on their assigned potions, when he heard the floo in his office activate.
          "Continue working," he said as he stood. "If any of you dunderheads destroy my classroom, the whole class will have detention for a month." He hurried to his office, where Madame Pomfrey's head was visible in his fireplace.
          "I need you, Severus," she said anxiously. "Bring your Healer's bag." Her head disappeared from the flames. He stood still for a moment, trying to process her words, before turning on his heel and stalking back in the classroom.
          "Class dismissed!" he barked. He placed a stasis spell on each cauldron, summoned his bag, and hurried to the infirmary. When he got to the doorway, he froze at the sight before him.
          Harry Potter was laying in the bed, clutching the blanket that he was holding up to his chin, his whole body shaking. Draco was sitting in a chair next to the bed, talking quietly as he tried to calm Potter down. Madame Pomfrey was trying to get the boy to release the blanket.
          "Poppy." All movements stopped at the sound of his voice. The nurse sighed, obviously relieved, and walked over, handing him a sheet of parchment.
           "It's the worst case of abuse I have seen in years," she whispered, her voice a little choked up. Severus raised an eyebrow. Potter was abused? That wasn't possible. But as he read through the parchment, his face drained of what little color he had as he realized the boy had indeed been abused. Quite horribly from the looks of it. He read the parchment a second time. The injuries dated back to the boy's third birthday. Burns, bruises, broken bones, 3 cases of untreated pneumonia, other untreated illness, malnourishment, beaten with a belt, and... No! Severus felt physically sick when he read the last thing listed. Sexual abuse, starting when he was eight.
          Severus slowly looked up and noticed Pot...Harry staring right at him, eyes wide and fearful. He still refuses to relinquish the blanket. Severus lowered his eyes, feeling ashamed.


          What have I done?

Chapter Text

          Lucius was just sitting down at the table, planning on having a nice and quiet breakfast, when he heard the floo activate from the other room. Sighing, he put down the fork he had just picked up and went into the other room, grumbling about 'rude people' and 'he should lock the blasted floo'.

          "This had better be impor..." The rest of words died on his lips when he saw Severus Snape standing in the room, a look of guilt and worry on his face. The Potions Master never showed emotion, so the fact that he was showing not one, but two, worried Lucius. For a moment, all they did was stare at each other.

          "Can I help you with something, Severus?" Lucius broke the silence and Severus nodded.

          "Harry Potter is in the Hospital Wing and I need your help." Lucius just nodded.

          "Let me tell Narcissa and I will meet you there."

          "The floo will be open for another ten minutes." And Severus was gone. Lucius set off in search of his wife.

          "Narcissa," he said, entering the library. She looked up from her book and smiled. The smile dimmed when she saw his face. They may not have been in love but she was his best friend and the one he trusted more than anyone, except maybe Severus.

          When she had been a seventh year, and he was fresh out of school, his parents had held their annual Christmas ball. They had both left the party, her because she didn't really know anyone and him because he was sick of all the girls throwing themselves at him. They'd ended up going to the same place, the library. They'd started talking and he found that he really enjoyed her company. It was late, they'd both been drinking, and he kissed her. One thing led to another and she'd gotten pregnant. Not wanting their grandchild to be labeled a bastard, both sets of parents had negotiated a marriage contract. One of the clauses of the contract was that they had to remain married until Draco's twelfth birthday, at which time they were free to end the marriage. Being an honorable man, Lucius had stayed faithful and so had Narcissa.

          "Lucius, what's wrong?" Narcissa had set her book down and was lightly touching his arm in concern.

          "I have to go to Hogwarts. Draco's fine," he added quickly, seeing her eyes widen in alarm. "It's Harry Potter. He's in the Hospital Wing." Narcissa looked confused but he just kissed her cheek. "I'll be back soon." He checked his watch and saw that he only had a few minutes so he left quickly and made his way back to the fireplace.



          "Thank Merlin you're here," were the first words out of Severus's mouth the minute Lucius stepped out of Madame Pomfrey's office. "He won't let either of us any closer so we can fully examine him. Draco said he sort of trusted you at the station..." His voice trailed off but Lucius nodded his understanding and stepped over to the bed. The small boy was trembling so hard it looked like he was having a seizure, tears streaming down his face and clinging to Draco's hand. The blonde was currently glaring at Severus.

          "Of course he doesn't trust you, Professor." The venom in his voice as he used his Godfather's formal title wasn't lost on Lucius. "After the way you've treated him." Lucius turned his icy blue eyes on Severus, who gulped and wouldn't meet his eyes.

          "We will be talking about this later," the Malfoy Patriarch said softly, his voice not betraying his anger as he didn't want to further scare Harry. Severus slowly nodded and Lucius turned back to the boys. "Harry," he said gently. The boy looked over at him. "Would it be alright if I held you while Professor Snape and Madame Pomfrey examined you?" Harry's eyes flew to Severus and then back to Lucius and he shook his head so hard Lucius was worried he'd give himself whiplash.

          "I promise he won't hurt you,"   Lucius said in the same soft voice. "In fact, he won't even touch you. Madame Pomfrey will examine you and he's just going to watch, so he can instruct on what potions to use." Harry quietly studied him for a moment, his tears and shaking subsiding for the time being, and then slowly nodded. Lucius got on the bed behind Harry and gently pulled Harry into his lap, ignoring the small flinch. He gently carded his fingers through Harry's hair, relaxing him, and nodded at Madame Pomfrey. She walked over and Harry finally released the blanket, allowing it to just cover his lap. She was just about to take his shirt off when Lucius stopped her.

          "Draco, go wait in the hall." He didn't think his son would be ready to see whatever it was they were about to uncover. He was only eleven, after all. Draco obeyed, knowing better than to argue at a time like this. Once he was gone, Lucius nodded for to continue.

          With the shirt out of the way, all the adults could do was stare. Bruises in varying colors and sizes marred the pale flesh. He had a cut that went from his chest to just above his belly button. The worst bruise on his front was the one that Lucius and Draco had seen at the station, though it was bigger than they had originally thought and was clearly in the shape of fingers, wrapped around his throat. Someone had definitely choked him.

          Gently turning him, they saw that his back was even worse. He had whip marks that looked like they came from a belt, more bruising, and the word Freak carved across his shoulder blades. Quickly and efficiently, Madame Pomfrey healed the wounds. She didn't really need Severus's help, which was probably a good thing because the man looked like he was in shock.

          Once his front and back were healed, leaving him with faded bruises and a scar where the cut had been, Lucius gently helped Harry back into his shirt. Madame Pomfrey handed the boy a potion for any internal bleeding and then a dreamless sleep potion.

          "The next part will be the hardest and it's probably better that he's asleep for that," she answered Lucius's unasked question but he just raised an eyebrow, silently reminding her that he never read the medical report. "The scan showed sexual abuse," she said softly and Lucius sucked in a breath. He looked down at the child he was cradling and unconsciously held him tighter. Madame Pomfrey removed the blanket, and then his pants, and again they were left staring.

          There were dark purple bruises in the shape of hands on either side of his hips, as though someone had forcefully held him down. Turning him over again, there was clear anal tearing. With tears in her eyes, Madame Pomfrey patched him up. When she was done, Lucius slid out from under Harry and gently tucked him in. Then he turned to Severus, eyes flashing dangerously.

          "We need to talk," he said in a deceptively calm voice. Severus blinked as he slowly came out of the trance he was in. He just nodded and turned to lead Lucius to his quarters. When they got into the hall, Draco jumped up from where he was sitting on the floor.

          "What took you so long?" he demanded. "Is Harry going to be okay?"

          "Harry is sleeping right now," Lucius responded. "Go to class. You can visit him later." Severus quickly wrote a pass for the class Draco had already missed and to excuse him for the tardiness of the class he was currently supposed to be in and Draco took off. The two men continued to Severus's quarters. As soon as they were inside, Lucius quickly put up several silencing charms and rounded on Severus.

          "What did you do?" Lucius was barely refraining from shouting. "That boy is terrified of you Severus!" Severus sighed and slumped into a chair, covering his face with his hands. Lucius remained standing in front of him. "You know what it's like to be abused, Severus. You know what it's like to be bullied, to be hated simply for being different."


          "No, Severus," the blonde cut him off. "I warned you but you didn't listen." Severus finally lost his temper as he jumped to his feet, his fists clenched and his eyes narrowed.

          "You didn't tell me he was abused, Lucius!" he shouted. "You know what his father did to me, what they did to me. You can't just expect me to let go of that hate overnight!"

          "I did tell you he wasn't his father!" Lucius yelled back. "Merlin, Severus, anyone with two eyes could see he's been abused. The stuttering, the shy almost skittish behavior, the flinching, what did you think it all meant?"

          "His father was a master at manipulating people," Severus replied but this time, his voice was almost a whisper. "I thought he was playing Draco and I was not going to stand by and watch my Godson get hurt!" He rubbed his face with a hand and then sighed, looking at Lucius with a pained expression. "I can never say how sorry I am, but now I have to fix this. I am going to fix this." He started for the door. Lucius placed a hand on his shoulder.

          "Just be delicate. Those...those monsters starved, beat, and raped him. They burned his school things and then his owl. He'd known nothing but hate and torture." Severus looked at him with wide eyes.

          "In his first class, I accused him of thinking he was above the rules because he wasn't taking notes and you're telling me he didn't have any supplies?" Lucius nodded.

          "Like I said, be delicate. You're going to have to earn his trust and at this point, I'm not even sure if that's possible."

Chapter Text

           Draco quickly made his way to the Hospital Wing, Blaise and Pansy on either side of him. Classes were finally over for the day and Draco was anxious to see how Harry was doing. When they got there, however, Harry's curtains were drawn around his bed and they could hear two adults arguing. The three students were about to leave when they heard Professor Snape's voice.

          "Albus, you cannot be serious! Mr. Potter has clearly been abused by those disgusting muggles and you want to send him back?" Draco exchanged glances with his friends and they slowly turned back to the bed.

          "There's no proof that his relatives are the ones hurting him, Severus," came the headmaster's voice. "He needs the blood wards to keep him safe."

          "He's not safe, Albus!" Draco had never heard his Godfather so angry. "He's been raped, for Merlin's sake!" Draco's eyes widened in horror. He knew Harry was abused but had no idea how bad.

          "I'm sorry, Severus, but my decision stands. Come June, Harry will return to the Dursleys." There were footsteps and Draco pulled Blaise and Pansy into the shadows of the Infirmary. A moment later, Albus Dumbledore swept from the room. Draco quickly hurried around the curtains, the other two following, and saw Severus angrily slump into a chair. A quick glance at Harry showed the boy was asleep so Draco turned back to Severus.

          "Sev?" The man's heard jerked up, showing how deep in thought he must have been. He was usually not so easily startled. "'re not going to let Harry go back there, are you?" Severus sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

          "How much did you hear?" he asked softly.

          "We heard what he's been raped." This time it was Pansy who answered as it seemed Draco couldn't say anything. Severus cursed under his breath.

          "No," Severus answered Draco’s earlier question. "Harry will not be going back." He said it with such conviction that no one could, or would, contradict him.




          When Harry woke up, it was dark outside and the Hospital Wing was empty. At first, he was confused as to why he was there. Then the memories of that morning started coming back and Harry curled in a ball, tears filling his emerald green eyes. Mr. Malfoy, Draco, and Professor Snape all knew about the abuse.

          Would Mr. Malfoy want Draco to be friends with him, now that he knew what a freak Harry was? Would Draco even like him anymore? And Professor Snape...oh Merlin...Professor Snape would probably say he deserved it, and he'd be right. The Potions Master had always known he was a freak and now, he had proof. Harry closed his eyes, trying to will the tears away. When he felt like he was finally under control, he opened his eyes again and looked around the room.

          There were two rows of beds, all of them empty except for his. The walls and ceiling were white, at least, he thought they are white. It was dark, with only the moon as his only light, so the walls could have been a light yellow. Looking around some more, he saw two doors besides the door he'd entered through earlier. Hoping one might lead to a bathroom, Harry gingerly got off the bed, only to grin when he could feel no pain. He couldn't remember the last time he was completely pain-free. He started to test his different limbs, only to have a small cramp in his abdomen remind him why he'd gotten out of bed in the first place.

          Rushing over to the first door, he quickly pulled it open and breathed a sigh of relief at seeing the small bathroom. He relieved himself and washed his hands before hurrying back to the bed and slipping under the covers, pulling the blanket up to his chin and turning on his side to face the door. He didn’t want anyone to sneak up on him. Closing his eyes, he realized how tired he still was even though he had slept all day. The last thing he thought of as he fell asleep was Draco and how he hoped he hadn’t lost his first friend.



          When Harry opened his eyes again, the sun was shining through the windows, confirming that the walls and ceiling were indeed white. He turned back to the door and yelped, seeing a blurry figure standing by his bed. He clumsily reached for the night stand, his hands closing on his glasses, and he shoved them on his nose, bringing the Headmaster’s face into focus.

        “Hello, Harry.” The small boy frowned slightly at the familiarity, as though the man knew him more than just a student. “I’m sorry to startle you but I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a while.” Harry pushed himself into a sitting position.

          “W…what about s…sir?” His voice was small, meek, and Dumbledore frowned.

          “There’s no reason to be afraid, my boy,” he said, sitting in the chair by Harry’s bed. “There’s been a mistake, Harry. You will have to be resorted.”

          “W…why?” Harry whispered. “I l…like S…S…Slytherin.” His eyes filled with tears. He didn’t understand. Did Professor Snape really hate him that much? Maybe it was because Draco didn’t want to be friends anymore? His thoughts were interrupted by an angry voice, causing him to flinch.

          “What is going on here?” Professor Snape was standing in the doorway, eyes blazing, and Harry hid under his blanket, body trembling as he prepared for the first hit. It never came. Hesitantly, he peeked out of his blanket and saw Snape glaring at Dumbledore. “A Hogwarts student cannot be resorted without consent of the student, the Headmaster, the student’s current Head of House, and the student’s prospective new Head of House.” Harry slowly lowered the blanket, confused. What, exactly, was his professor saying? Dumbledore slowly stood up.

          “Everyone knows how much you despise the boy, Severus.” Harry flinched and, surprisingly, so did Severus. “I just assumed you’d have no problem with it.” Severus’s eyes narrowed but Dumbledore continued before he could speak. “And Minerva will do what is best for the child.” Madame Pomfrey chose that moment to enter from the door that Harry saw the night before, the one that wasn’t the bathroom, and bustled over. She took one look at Harry’s still frightened face and shooed both men out before fussing over Harry. After a few swishes of her wand, she tucked him in and stepped back.

          “Everything is healing nicely,” she informed him. “I would like to keep you for another day, just to make sure everything heals.” Harry nodded and Madame Pomfrey went back to her office to inform his teachers.




          Harry awoke the next morning with a small grin. Draco, Blaise, and Pansy had visited him the day before, assuring him that nothing had changed and they were still his friends. They had eaten dinner with him and then taken turns reading the different passages that had been assigned the past two days. Blaise and Pansy had then taken their leave and Draco wrote Harry’s essays as he dictated. By the time Draco had left, ten minutes before curfew, Harry hadn’t been able to stop smiling.

          After Madame Pomfrey gave him a clean bill of health, Harry went to the bathroom and quickly changed into the clothes Draco had brought the night before. There were no classes, so Harry was wearing dark blue jeans and a emerald green sweater that brought his eyes. He laced his brand new dragonhide boots and looked in the mirror. It felt really nice to be wearing clothes that actually fit. He ran back to his bed, grabbed his bag, and left the Hospital Wing, meeting Draco outside.

          When they entered the Great Hall, all conversation stopped as everyone turned to look at him. Harry took a deep breath, his hand unconsciously reaching for Draco’s as they headed for the Slytherin table.

          “Mr. Potter.” The Headmaster’s voice froze him halfway to the table. He slowly turned to the Head Table and gulped when he saw the hat in Dumbledore’s hands. “Please come up.” Harry turned panicked eyes on Draco, seeing grey eyes wide with horror, and then made his way to the front. He never noticed Snape get up from his seat so the sudden hand on his shoulder startled him so much, he almost tripped.

          “I’m sorry,” the Professor said softly. “I tried.” Harry didn’t know what shocked him more: the man apologizing to him or the fact that he seemed to want to keep Harry in his house. Didn’t he hate him? He just nodded and climbed on the stool.

          “I’m sorry, Harry.” He turned to Professor McGonagall, who was standing next to the Headmaster. “I would be honored to have you in my house but not like this.” Dumbledore had obviously had enough and set the hat on Harry’s head. The hat had just fallen over his eyes when the doors flew open.

          “Albus Dumbledore!” Harry lifted the hat to see a very angry Lucius Malfoy making his way towards them. He stopped before them and softened his look as he looked at Harry. “Go sit with Draco, Harry.” The boy didn’t need to be told twice. He handed the hat to his Head of House and ran over to Draco, who gave him a quick hug. Lucius turned cold eyes on Dumbledore. “You seem to forget I’m the head of the Governors of Hogwarts and therefore, any decision this big has to go through me.” He produced a piece of parchment. “You will find all twelve signatures on there overturning your decision to resort a child. Especially since that child has not given his consent and neither has Professor Snape.”


          “Don’t Lucius me,” the blonde hissed. “Another stunt like this will result in termination of your position and maybe even a stint in Azkaban. Let this be your only warning.” He turned, his boots clicking on the floor in the silent hall, and walked over to Draco and Harry. “I’d like to talk to you after breakfast,” he said quietly, making sure Dumbledore couldn’t hear. “I will be in Professor Snape’s office.” Both boys nodded and Lucius left after another glare at Dumbledore. Harry ate quietly, making sure not to look at Dumbledore, who was furious.

Chapter Text

          Harry stared at Professor Snape and Lucius Malfoy in shock. He couldn’t believe what he’d just heard and was trying to process. He turned wide eyes on Draco, who only beamed at him, before looking back at the two adults. Could he believe them? Was this some kind of major prank? He’d never think it of Lucius but the Professor? That was a different story. The man had hated him since day one. How can he trust anything he had to say?

          “Y…you w…want to a…adopt me?” Great, now his stutter was even worse than ever. Who would want a boy who can’t even talk properly, much less read or write. Not that they knew the last part. Come to think of it, he should probably tell them. Or at the very least, Lucius. He really needed to learn to read if he wanted to stay at Hogwarts. He knew that, of course, but that didn’t make it easy. Shaking those thoughts away, he looked back at Lucius and Severus. “W…who?” The two men looked at each other.

          “Me,” Snape said quietly, hesitantly reaching forward but Harry took a step back before the Professor's hand could touch him. He started shaking his head, his emerald green eyes wide with fear. Before anyone could stop him, he turned and ran. Severus stood to go after him but Lucius stopped him with a hand on his arm.

          “Let him go,” the blonde said softly, nodding at Draco, indicating he should go make sure his friend was alright. Draco ran out of the room and Lucius looked up at Severus, who was still standing. “He’s had a rough first week of school.” Severus sighed and sat back down. “Also, your treatment of him probably made it harder.” Severus opened his mouth and then shut it, falling against the back of the chair. “I told you getting his trust was going to be hard, maybe even impossible. I think you need to start with being honest with him…about his father.”

          “How am I supposed to tell an abused child, who has probably always wished his parents were still alive and would rescue him, that his father…his father…that his father was no better than his uncle?” Severus's voice broke at the end and Lucius gently rubbed the man's back, soothingly.

          “He'll understand why you were so determined to hate him without even really knowing him.”



          Draco frantically searched for Harry everywhere. He searched the common room, the dorms, the library, and several classrooms. The more he looked, the more worried he got. Harry was nowhere to be found. Taking a deep breath to calm himself down, the blonde decided to head back to the common room. Maybe Harry had needed some time to himself and now had gone back. He had just started walking down the stairs to the dungeons, when a voice called his name.

          “Malfoy!” Draco turned to see one of the Weasley twins who had helped him and Harry at the train station. “Are you looking for Harry Potter?” he asked as he ran over. Draco slowly nodded. “I saw him run outside about fifteen minutes ago.” The young Malfoy Heir could have slapped himself. Of all the places he searched, he never even considered the boy might have gone outside. Muttering a thank you, Draco raced outside and sure enough, Harry was sitting by the lake.

          “Harry?” He slowly approached and Harry turned to look at him. It was clear that he had been crying. There were no tears, but his eyes were red and puffy. Draco sat down and looked at him. “Are you okay?” Harry just turned his head and gazed out across the lake again.

          “What's it like?” he whispered and Draco was elated. Harry wasn’t stuttering which meant, no matter what he was feeling, he was still comfortable around him. Then he frowned as he finally processed the question.

          “What is what like?” Harry sighed and pulled his knees to his chest, wrapping his arms around them. He then placed his chin on top of his knees, still looking at the lake.

          “Having parents.” He was still whispering and Draco had to move closer to hear.

          “It's a wonderful feeling,” Draco explained, putting an arm around Harry. “To have people who love me no matter how I mess up, who tell me they’re proud of me, who hug me and kiss me…there’s nothing else in the world like it.” Harry just lay his head on Draco's shoulder and was silent for a long moment.

          “When I was little, I used to lay in my cupboard…”

          “Cupboard?” Draco interrupted.

          “My bedroom.” Harry said it like it was the most obvious thing in the world and Draco was glad he couldn’t see the anger in his eyes. He gave the smaller boy a small squeeze in silent support. “I used to lay there and wish my parents hadn’t left me. I would make up stories, when it got especially bad. My parents weren't really dead. They just didn’t know where I was but someday, they would find me and take me away. They’d tell me they loved me and had missed me and we’d…we'd be a family. That’s all I wanted…a family.” He fell silent again.

          “I think you should give Uncle Severus a chance,” Draco said earnestly. “He’s really not that bad once you get to know him.” Harry didn’t reply.



          It took a lot of convincing on Draco's part, a lot of convincing, but on Sunday evening, after dinner, the two boys knocked on the door to Snape's office. The man answered the door, blinked a few times, and then wordlessly held the door opened wider. Draco and Harry entered, the later holding tight to Draco's hand. Severus closed the door and turned to look at them.

          “I…I don't k…know about the a…adoption,” Harry said, his eyes never leaving the floor. “B…but maybe we c…could get to k…know each o…other?” He still didn’t lift his eyes until a hand gently lifted his chin and he saw the Professor kneeling before him.

          “I'd love that, Harry.” Harry gave a tentative smile and the Potions Master smiled back. The boys left but an hour later, Draco was back.

          “Harry's asleep,” his Godson announced as he flopped in a chair. Severus gave a little snort of amusement at the boy's dramatics and sat behind his desk.

          “So you're bored and thought you would bother me?” Draco smirked before adopting a serious look.

          “Actually, I wanted to talk to you.” Severus was pretty sure he knew what was coming but merely nodded his head. “I had to spend all weekend convincing Harry to give you a chance. Don’t make me regret that!” He gave Severus a warning glare. “If you hurt him…” He trailed off but Severus was very much aware what the son of Lucius Malfoy could do if he were angry enough.

          “I have no intention of hurting Harry, Draco.” Draco nodded in acceptance.

          “Good. Now one more thing…Harry can’t read.” Severus blinked in shock. “His aunt and uncle never sent him to school, so he never learned.”

          “But the muggles have laws about those types of things,” Severus protested. “They would have gotten in a lot of trouble if someone found out.”

          “I’m not sure how they got away with it.” Draco stood up. “Maybe that’s something you should ask him.” He went to the door. “Please, don’t tell him I told you. I just thought you needed to know.” Severus nodded and Draco left.

Chapter Text

          The library was empty, or so Harry thought, since practically everyone was at lunch. Harry, however, just needed some time to himself. It'd been two weeks since he’d been in the Hospital Wing, two weeks since the discovery of his abuse, and Harry had had little time to himself. It was like Draco, Blaise, and Pansy had taken it upon themselves to make sure one of them were always with him. It was like they thought he was made of glass and might break at any time. Sure, he might be a little fragile, but he’d been pretty much alone for ten years. Surely, he could handle an hour every now and then.
          When he wasn’t with the Slytherins, he was spending time with Severus (which Harry was told to call him when they were alone). They were slowly getting to know each other. Harry was seeing a completely different side to Severus and, although he wasn’t sure he completely trusted the man, it was nice. Severus still wouldn’t tell him why he hated Harry's father and Harry didn’t push. It didn’t matter that much, anyways. James Potter was dead and Severus Snape was quickly becoming a father figure. Harry smiled at the thought as he sat at a table in the back corner of the library.
          He took a random book off the shelf and began trying to sound out the words. Even though he and Severus had started to grow close, Harry still hadn’t told the man he couldn't read or write. He didn’t want Severus to think he was a freak and push him to the side. Shaking away the depressing thought, Harry continued with the book.
          It was ten minutes later when he heard a sound. He looked up for a moment, shrugged, and went back to his book. Harry heard it again. Curious, he shut his book and stood up, beginning to walk the aisles. He was just about to give up when he noticed movement on the bench by the window. Walking closer, he saw it was a girl. She was curled in a ball, her head in her knees, her shoulders shaking as she cried. Her bushy brown hair was hiding her face. Harry was never good at talking to new people but she looked so sad. He was trying to think of something to say when she suddenly looked up and glared at him.
          “What?” she snapped, quickly wiping her tears though it was futile as they kept falling.
          “A…are you o…okay?” Harry asked softly and her eyes softened a little. She sighed and looked out the window.
          “I'm fine.” Harry stared at her before turning to go back to his table. A few moments later, he heard someone clearing their throat and looked up to see the girl standing there, shifting from foot to foot, looking slightly awkward.
          “I just wanted to say I’m sorry for snapping at you.” A faint blush colored her pale cheeks. “I’m just not used to anyone caring.” Harry smiled in understanding and gestured for her to sit next to him, which she did.
          “I…I'm H…Harry P…Potter.” Her eyes widened but thankfully she didn't say anything.
          “I’m Hermione Granger.” The bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. Harry put the book back and picked up his bag. He took a quick glance at Hermione's robes and saw the eagle, meaning she was in Ravenclaw. He gave a silent with of relief. She wasn’t a Gryffindor. Some of the other Slytherins had told him about the feud between Gryffindor and Slytherin but they hadn’t said anything about Ravenclaw. That meant it was okay to be friends, right? The bell rang again. He gave Hermione a wave and hurried out of the library. As he ran, he ran through the timetable in his mind. Today was Tuesday, which meant it was…it was…oh crap! He couldn't remember what Severus had told him.
          “Harry!” The boy turned to see Draco, Blaise, and Pansy running up to him. “Why weren't you at lunch?”
          “I…I just wanted t…to be alone,” Harry muttered, glad that his stutter wasn't too bad, even with how embarrassed he felt. A hand on his arm made him flinch and then relax as he realized it was just Draco. The blonde smiled gently and moved to take Harry's hand.
          “Come on,” Draco said, tugging him down the corridor. “We're going to be late for Potions.” Potions! Harry resisted the urge to smack his head. How could he have forgotten? Severus had even reminded him at dinner the night before! Shaking his head, he allowed Draco to drag him to class.



          The next day was Saturday and, therefore, they had no classes. Draco and Harry were in the library, trying to finish their weekend homework as they were going to spend Saturday with Severus. The Potions Master had noticed Harry squinting to see things and, after finding out Aunt Petunia had found the glasses in a charity bin when Harry was eight and had never taken him to an optometrist, he decided to take Harry to get his eyes checked and get new glasses. Then they were going to go to lunch, do a little shopping, and when they got back, they were going to eat dinner in Severus's rooms. It was going to be perfect!
          Harry shook his head and tried to concentrate on Draco's voice as he read about the Goblin Wars for History of Magic but it was so boring! Luckily, they only had a few reading assignments to do so Draco didn’t have to dictate any of Harry's essays. Draco had just finished the chapter and was digging out his Transfiguration book when there was a sound of someone clearing their voice. Harry looked up and smiled brightly when he saw Hermione standing there. She gave Draco a wary look and turned to Harry. She opened her mouth when Draco interrupted.
          “Who are you?” he asked a little rudely.
          “T…this is H…Hermione G…Granger,” Harry told him quietly. Great, he was nervous and his stuttering showed it. Draco sneered, which startled Harry a little bit.
          “Granger?” He scoffed. “I don’t recognize the name which means you must be a Mudblood!” Hermione's eyes widened and she tightened her grip on her books.
          “I’m sorry to have bothered you,” she whispered before running out of the library. Before she left, Harry saw a year slide down her cheek. He watched until she was gone and then turned on Draco.
          “I don’t know what a Mudblood is,” he said, barely refraining from shouting since they were in the library, “but Hermione is my friend and you had no right to insult her!” Draco blinked, speechless. Harry had never lost his temper with Draco before. He'd never even seen him mad, except at the train station when he’d yelled at Weasley. He must even angrier now, Draco thought. He didn’t even stutter. He broke himself out if his thoughts just in time to see Harry's things packed and the boy himself heading out the door. Draco ran after him, not even bothering to pack his own things.
          “Harry!” He burst out the doors and saw Harry at the end of the corridor. Boy, Harry was sure fast when he was angry. “Harry!” He ran faster and caught up with Harry halfway down the stairs to the dungeons. “Will you stop for a minute?” He put a hand on Harry's shoulder and turned him around. Harry’s eyes were hard, almost like ice, as he looked at him.
          “I…I’m s…sorry,” Draco wheezed, trying to catch his breath from the running he’d just done. Harry's eyes narrowed.
          “I’m not the one you need to apologize to.” Harry turned and started descending the stairs again.
          “Harry…” The smaller boy ignored him and this time, Draco let him go.

Chapter Text

          “What’s a M…Mudblood?” Severus almost dropped his cup of tea in shock as he looked over at Harry. He shakily set it down on the table in his small kitchen, where they were current sitting.
          “Where…” He cleared his throat and tried again. “Where’d you hear that word?”
          “Draco,” was the simple reply. Severus raised an eyebrow and then gave a little shake of his head.
          “I should have known,” he muttered, picking up his tea. After a long sip, he met Harry's eyes again. “Is that why you guys wouldn’t talk to each other?” That morning, after breakfast, the three of them had gone to Hogsmeade and then Diagon Alley. The whole time they were at the eye clinic, and then lunch, Harry refused to even look at his blonde friend. Several times, Draco looked like he wanted to say something but in the end, he'd just followed Severus and Harry with a haunted look on his face. The tension was so thick that, after lunch, they’d forgone the shopping and just returned to Hogwarts. They were supposed to have dinner with Severus, like they had started doing every Saturday night, but Harry showed up alone.
          “Y…yes,” Harry whispered, looking at the table in front of him. “I made a new f…friend and Draco c…called her a M…Mudblood.” Severus sighed and sat his tea down again.
          “A Mudblood is a name some Purebloods use for Muggleborns. Someone who has magic but their parents don't,” he clarified at Harry's questioning look. “It basically means dirty blood.” Harry's eyes narrowed.
          “Wasn’t my mother a…a Muggleborn?” he asked, looking up and staring straight at Severus with his piercing emerald green eyes. Severus had to look away for a moment, remembering another pair of green eyes, these ones accusing as they stared at him. He cleared his throat again and looked back at Harry.
          “Yes,” Severus replied quietly. “Yes she was.” It was silent again. “You should let him apologize.” Harry just stared at him. “If I know my Godson, he's feeling horrible but doesn’t quite know how to say he's sorry. He’s most likely afraid you’ll reject it…and him.” Harry looked thoughtful for a moment.
          “Alright,” Harry finally said. “I'll give him another chance.” Severus gave a slight smile and let the subject drop. The two finished their tea, while making small talk, before making their way into the sitting room. Harry grabbed his bag, getting ready to leave, when Severus placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder. The small boy looked up at him, eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
          “Sir?” Severus sighed and gestured to the couch. Harry took the hint and slowly sat down, still clutching the strap of his book bag.
          “I thought I told you to call me Severus when we’re alone,” Severus said as he sat in the armchair facing the couch. Harry nodded quickly before lowering his eyes to the floor, his shoulders tense. “You’re not in any trouble, Harry,” Severus continued softly, watching Harry intently. The young Slytherin visibly relaxed, his back straightening as he looked up again. Severus hesitated another moment and then spoke, knowing the subject was going to be uncomfortable for Harry. “It has come to my attention, through observing you in class and with talking to some students, that you are unable to read.” Harry’s eyes widened to about the size of saucers and his hands started shaking.
          “P…please don’t e…expelled me,” he whimpered, eyes filling with tears. Severus gently took Harry’s trembling hands in his own and looked him straight in the eyes.
          “You’re not going to be expelled, child,” Severus whispered. “I want to help you.”



          When Harry finally returned to his dorm room, he felt lighter then he'd felt in days, maybe even months. There was even a spring in his step as he walked. As it was an hour past curfew, Draco was already asleep so Harry quickly got ready for bed, deciding to talk to Draco before breakfast.


          The next morning, Harry woke up after all his dorm mates had already left. Disappointed at missing the opportunity to talk to Draco, he got dressed and almost ran to the hall, as there was only twenty minutes left before the food would disappear, signaling the end of the meal. Thankful it was Sunday, and he didn’t have to worry about class on top of everything else, Harry plopped down at the almost deserted table and grabbed some toast and an apple. A few weeks at Hogwarts, and he still wasn’t used to decent meals, especially in the mornings. Seeing Blaise, he leaned across the table.
          “Blaise, where’s Draco?” he asked softly, proud of the fact that he hadn’t stuttered at all. The other boy stared at him with piercing blue eyes for a long moment.
          “I’m not sure,” he finally answered the question. “When I got up this morning, he was already gone. He hasn’t shown up at breakfast, either.” Harry slowly sat back, guilt and dread in the pit of his stomach. He took a bite of toast and chewed it slowly. Was Draco really that upset? Or had Harry hurt him? But Draco was the one who’d insulted Hermione. Harry wasn’t in the wrong, was he? It wasn’t like he had a lot of experience with friends, after all. Suddenly not hungry, he pushed his plate away and stood. He’d just turned to the door when Blaise stopped him.
          “He might be out by the lake. Sometimes, when he gets upset, he finds a quiet place to just sit and think.” Harry nodded and headed out of the castle.



          Draco sat beside a huge oak tree, throwing rocks into the lake. Every once in a while, the giant squid that resided there would come to the surface and look at him before swimming back down, his huge tentacles slapping the water lightly as he disappeared into the murky depths. The blonde sighed before throwing one last rock in and laying on his back, looking at the clouds.
          He kept replaying the fight with Harry in his head. He knew what he’d said was wrong. It was a word he’d often heard his grandfather, Abraxus Malfoy, say when he was younger, before he died. One time, when he was about five or six, he’d gotten really mad at Pansy and said it. That was the angriest he’d ever seen his father or Severus. He’d been sent to his room immediately and told to not come out the rest of the night.
          The next morning, Lucius had been much calmer as he explained to Draco exactly what that word meant and why he was never to use it. He never had…until now. Sighing again, Draco sat up and pulled his knees up to his chest. He lay one cheek on top and just stared out at the lake.
          “Draco.” The young child turned slightly to see his Godfather standing there. Not saying anything, he turned away again. The man sat next to him and lay a hand on his shoulder.
          “He’s really mad at me, isn’t he?” Draco blinked back the tears threatening to fall.
          “I don't think he's angry,” Severus spoke softly. “Just hurt, especially since his mother is also Muggleborn.” This time, the tears started to fall.
          “I forgot about that,” he whispered. “Harry will never forgive me.”
          “I think that’s my decision.” Draco’s eyes widened and he hurriedly wiped his eyes before standing and turning to face Harry.
          “I’m sorry,” they said at the same time before laughing nervously. Neither one noticed Severus going back inside.
          “I’m sorry,” Draco repeated. “That was an awful thing to say.” Harry studied Draco’s face.
          “Then why did you say it?” Draco flushed and looked at the ground, mumbling something. “What?” Draco took a deep breath and Harry straight in the eye.
          “I was jealous,” he admitted. Harry’s eyebrows crinkled in confusion. “I was worried that if you start making friends outside of Slytherin, you wouldn't have as much time for me.” Harry's eyes softened and he slowly reached forward and took Draco’s hand.
          “I will always have time for you, Draco,” he said firmly, giving the hand he held a little squeeze. “You’ve helped me so much and I will never be able to thank you or your father enough.” He let go and stepped back with a little smile. “You’ve even helped me stop stuttering.”
          “How?” Harry’s smile brightened.
          “By making me feel safe.” Draco slowly smiled as well. “Now come on, I want you to meet Hermione…again.” Draco was a little apprehensive about seeing the Ravenclaw, after what he'd said to her, but she was surprisingly understanding. It turned out, she didn’t have any friends since her housemates thought she was too brainy, even for them, and a showoff. But Harry understood the need to prove yourself, especially when everyone around you has known this stuff since they could talk. The three of them spent the day together, with Blaise and Pansy joining them after lunch.



          “Alright, class!” The gathered Gryffindors and Slytherins turned to the woman speaking. It was a few days after Harry and Draco made up and they were finally having Flying Class. Draco had been so excited, bouncing around all morning, but Harry was nervous. He was afraid of heights and the thought of being on a broom, high in the sky, was terrifying. Draco kept trying to reassure him but he still want sure.
          “My name is Madame Hooch and I am the flying instructor. I know classes started a few weeks ago, but I’ve been out sick with the Wizard’s Flu. Apparently, there was no one to cover my classes.” She scowled for a moment before smiling at the students. “Alright, everyone stand next to a broom.” She pointed to two neat rows of broomsticks laying on the grass. There was a few moments of everyone scrambling to get a broomstick before the class settled down again. Looking around, Harry noticed that the Gryffindors were lined up, facing the Slytherins, and Ron Weasley was right across from him. Gulping at the look in the red-head’s eyes, he turned to look at the teacher again.
          “Does everyone have a broomstick?” As one, the class nodded. “Okay, not put your hand over the top and say up.” Harry nervously put his hand over his broom and said the command. His eyes widened when the broom flew right into his outstretched hand. He looked over at Draco, to see he also had his broom, and the two boys smiled at each other. Eventually, everyone held their broom, Ron being the last one, and Madame Hooch blew her whistle to get the class to quiet.
          “Okay, now mount your brooms.” Harry did so, his nervousness plaguing him again. “Now, kick off with your foot gently. Only hover a foot or two off the ground.” Before Harry could, he heard some yelling. Looking around, he saw one of the Gryffindors fall after crashing into the castle wall. Madame Hooch rushed over and helped the poor boy to stand. She turned to the rest of the class. “Class dismissed!” Feeling relieved to not have to get on a broom, at least not yet, Harry dropped his and followed Draco inside.

Chapter Text

          Over the next few weeks, things were relatively peaceful. Harry and Draco got to know Hermione better, Harry finally got on a broom and found out he could fly surprisingly well, and Severus started teaching Harry to read. There were a lot of tears, a little frustration, but by Halloween night, Harry could read easy words like cat, dog, the, and other simple three and four-letter words. He was also working on writing his name. He did pretty well with the H and the R, he could almost complete the Y but the A was giving him some difficulties.

          The night of the Halloween feast, Draco found Harry in a corner of the library, working on one of his new muggle learn-to-read activity books that Hermione had had her parents send for him. At first, Harry had been embarrassed that Hermione had told her parents but, not only did they send him the nicest letter that was both understanding and encouraging but the books were helping him learn how to write and a little bit how to read, though that was harder when no one was around to correct him when needed.
          “Harry!” Draco yelled, slightly out of breath as he ran to Harry’s table. It was clear he’d been looking for the smaller boy for a while. Harry carefully finished the S he was practicing and put down his quill before looking up at Draco, a questioning look on his face. “I’ve…I’ve been looking f…for you e…everywhere!” Draco exclaimed, trying to catch his breath.
          “Well, you found me,” Harry said quietly, amusement making his green eyes sparkle like emeralds. Draco smirked and sat across from Harry.
          “I wanted to know why you aren’t at the feast.” The slight smile on Harry’s face fell and he turned to look out the window, trying to hide the tears in his eyes. He’d cried in front of Draco a lot since meeting him and he didn’t want the blonde to think he was some sort of crybaby.
          “I don’t feel like celebrating,” he muttered, still refusing to look at his friend. For once, Draco stayed quiet, allowing Harry to gather his thoughts. When Harry felt like he wouldn’t break down at any second, he looked back at the other boy. “For years, I thought my parents were killed in a car accident. M…my relatives told me that my father was an un…un…unemployed drunk, who got in an accident. It supposedly killed my m…m…mother and left me with this scar.” He pointed to the familiar lightning bolt shaped scar on his forehead. “I…I was always told that both my parents had not wanted me and so my f…father killed himself and my mother, to get away from me.” Feeling the beginning of tears, again, Harry turned to look out the window once more.
          “I always refused to mourn for them, because if they didn’t care about me, then why should I care about them?” Draco placed a comforting hand on Harry’s shoulder and Harry smiled at him over his shoulder.
          “I don’t know much about your parents, Harry, but I do know they loved you,” Draco said softly. “They loved you very much.”
          “I know.” Harry sighed and turned to fully face Draco. “This is the first year I have been able to fully grieve and I guess I just didn’t feel like celebrating with everyone else. I’m sorry I worried you, though.” Draco shrugged.
          “It’s alright.” It was silent for a moment. “Do you want to go see if Uncle Severus is still in his rooms? I don’t think he celebrates, either.” Harry nodded and shoved his books into his bag before slinging it on his shoulder and following Draco out of the library and down to the dungeons.



          Severus opened the door on the first knock, having just sat down to the simple dinner the House Elves had just brought him. He raised an eyebrow at seeing his Godson and Harry standing there but wordlessly stepped aside and allowed them to enter.
          “Have you eaten?” he asked the two boys, turning to them after locking the door. Draco looked at Harry and then back at the Professor.
          “No,” he replied, not wanting to explain that he had started to eat before realizing Harry wasn’t at dinner and went looking for him. Severus simply nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. He came back out with two goblets of pumpkin juice and some sandwiches. He handed the items to Harry and Draco, who sat on a couch and quietly began eating. Severus summoned his own dinner and sat in an armchair facing the boys.
          As they ate, he realized how quiet Harry was being. Suddenly, he realized he wasn’t the only one still mourning Lily (and Harry was probably mourning his father as well) and that was probably why Harry wasn’t in the Great Hall. When they were done eating, Severus banished their empty dishes and stood up. He took a photo album off the top shelf of his bookcase and silently handed it to Harry. The boy opened the cover and his eyes widened as he quickly looked up at Severus.
          “S…sir?” he whispered. Severus smiled slightly.
          “Your mother was my best friend,” he explained. He decided now was not the time to explain about fifth year or his part in her death. Harry would probably never forgive him and he didn’t know if he could handle her son hating him. Not now, not after everything. “She gave that to me in fourth year for Christmas. I’m sorry but I don’t have any pictures of Po…your father.” Harry only nodded and turned back to the book, running his fingers over the pictures as tears filled his eyes.
          “Draco, can I talk to you?” The blonde nodded and followed him into the kitchen. “Is he okay?” Draco sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
          “I don’t know,” he admitted quietly. “He wasn’t at dinner so I went looking for him and found him in the library.” He quickly explained what Harry had told him. “He's never mourned his parents so I think it's almost like he just lost them.” Severus nodded.
          “Has he said anything to you about me adopting him?” Draco looked at him for a long moment.
          “No,” he finally replied. “Harry doesn’t open up unless you catch him off guard. I have no idea what he thinks about it.” The two talked for a few more minutes and then went back into the sitting room. Harry was still looking at the pictures.
          “It's almost curfew,” Severus told them. Harry looked up and nodded before standing up and handing the book to Severus. “You keep it for now.” Harry's eyes opened wide and he brought the book to his chest.
          “Thank you,” he whispered. He started to follow Draco out before suddenly turning and running back to Severus and giving him a tight hug. Severus was shocked for a moment before hugging Harry back. Harry smiled brightly and followed Draco out the door and back to the dorms.



          “Help…me…” Harry looked around and saw four different halls. They all looked exactly the same so he paused, trying to concentrate on the voice. “Help…me…”

          Harry started down one of the hallways and as he went, the voice got closer. “Help…me. Please…help…” Harry started running at the desperation he heard in the voice. Suddenly, he saw someone at the end of the hall, reaching for him. Harry began running faster but the closer he got, the further the man seemed. Suddenly, they locked eyes and Harry saw them flash red before a blinding white light surrounded him.
          “Help…me…you're the only…one who…can…”

End Dream


          Harry woke with a start, his heart pounding, covered in sweat. For the first time in years, his scar started burning and the only thing Harry could think as he tried to go back to sleep was:


Why did the man seem so familiar?

Chapter Text

          Harry sighed in frustration as he tried to sound out another word. Three weeks had passed since Halloween and he was at his breaking point. Every day, it got harder and harder to make it through class. His stuttering was getting better, so his spells were finally working, if only a little bit. But the reading...that was tough.

          Harry threw the book across the room, narrowly missing Draco who had just stepped into the dorm room, before turning onto his stomach and burying his head into his pillow. Draco bent and picked up the book before sitting on the bed and, hesitantly, reaching forward and setting a hand on his friend’s back. Harry tensed automatically before relaxing and turning on his side to face the blonde.

          Draco’s heart clenched at the look of utter despair on the raven-haired boy’s face. He set the book he was still holding on the side table and, removing his hand from Harry’s back, he gently wiped the tear that had fallen down the other Slytherin’s cheek. Harry blinked rapidly, trying to keep more tears from falling.

          “I can’t do it,” Harry whispered, unconsciously leaning into Draco’s touch. No one had ever wiped away his tears before and he had to admit, it felt really nice.

          “Yes you can, Harry.” Draco’s voice was so determined and his eyes so earnest that Harry couldn’t help the slight smile. Draco smiled back and wiped away another tear that had fallen. “I believe in you, Harry.” He picked up the book again and set it in Harry’s lap. “Uncle Severus and Father believe in you.” He took his free hand and set it on Harry’s other cheek. “Now all you need to do is believe in you.” Harry took a deep breath and slowly opened the book to the page he had left off. He looked back at Draco and gave a determined nod. Draco grinned and sat back. For the rest of the afternoon, Harry continued sounding out words with Draco gently correcting him when needed.





          “Help me…” Harry looked around, the walls seeming to close in on him as he tried to locate the owner of the voice. “Please…help…” Harry desperately searched the room until finally, in the far corner, he saw a young man. He was in a cell of some sort. Harry looked around and realized they were no longer in the room from before but in a dungeon of some sort. He looked back at the man and slowly approached.

          “Hello,” he said softly. The man smiled at him.

          “Hello,” he replied. Before he could say anything more, Harry felt himself being pulled away. “Please, help me Harry!” Harry reached out towards the man and grabbed his hand, trying to stop whatever it was that was pulling him away. As soon as their hands touched, a bright light filled the room, blinding Harry. When the light disappeared, both the man and the cell were gone. “Harry…please…you’re the only one who can help…” Harry looked around but nobody was there and the voice faded as Harry felt himself waking up.

End Dream




          “I know!” Draco exclaimed, jumping up and startling Harry, Blaise, and Pansy. The four Slytherins were studying in their common room. For the past fifteen minutes, they had been taking a break, trying to figure out what to do the next day as it was Saturday so they had no classes. They had just returned to their homework when Draco had jumped up.

          “What do you know?” Pansy asked, not even looking up at the excited blonde. Apparently she was used to his antics.

          “Remember how you and I used to explore the abandoned parts of the Manor?” Pansy finally set her quill down and looked up at him, her eyes twinkling mischievously as she slowly nodded. 

          “Let’s explore Hogwarts!” He looked around at his friends. “This castle is so huge and old; we’re bound to find something exciting!” Blaise and Pansy both agreed and went back to their homework. Harry, on the other hand, looked a little unsure. But one look at the pleading on Draco’s face and he couldn’t help but agree. The smile he got from Draco was worth it as he turned back to his book and started copying the ‘R’ the way it was being shown.




          The next morning, after breakfast, the group of four gathered in the Entrance Hall, trying to decide which part of the castle they wanted to explore first. As they were talking it over, Hermione came out of the Great Hall and, noticing them just standing there, approached them.

          “Hey guys,” she greeted. “What’s up?” Draco quickly explained his idea. “So what area of the castle are we going to explore today?” Draco raised an eyebrow.

          “We?” She smiled.

          “Of course,” she said, shifting her bag from one shoulder to the other. “You didn’t think I’d let you have all the fun, did you?” They all laughed as they followed her to Ravenclaw Tower so she could put her bag away. When she came back out, she repeated her question. “What area are we exploring today?”

          “How about the dungeons?” Harry’s voice was quiet but they all heard him anyways and turned to look at him in surprise.

          “The dungeons?” Hermione asked. “Don’t you live in the dungeons?” Harry shrugged and looked away, wishing he hadn’t spoken. Draco stepped forward and placed a hand on Harry’s shoulder.

          “I think it’s a great idea,” he said softly. Harry turned to him and Draco gave him a warm smile. Then he turned to the others. “We haven’t actually seen that much of the dungeons.” Blaise and Pansy nodded in agreement. Hermione sighed but finally nodded as well.

          “Alright,” she said as the group headed downstairs again. “It’s not dark, is it? I…I don’t really like the dark.” Harry shyly put his hand in hers and she smiled at him.

          “Not really,” he assured her. “And if it is, didn’t we just learn that spell that lights up your wand?” Hermione’s smiled widened and the worry started to disappear from her eyes.




          Two hours later, the group of four Slytherins and one Ravenclaw were getting tired as they explored the last dusty, unused classroom.

          “Well, this was a big waste of time,” Pansy grumbled as they left the room and started towards the stairs to take them up to the main part of the castle.

          “Yeah,” Blaise piped up. “The next time you come up with something to do for fun, Draco, make sure it’s actually fun.” Draco just shrugged and turned to ask Harry a question when he realized that neither Harry nor Hermione were with them. He turned back to face the way they had come and saw both of them at the end of the corridor, staring at something.

          “Uh, guys, I think Harry and Hermione found something.” Blaise and Pansy looked where Draco was pointing. Slowly, the three children backtracked until they came to a stop next to the other two.

          “Harry?” Pansy questioned but Harry just shook his head and pointed down a corridor that they hadn’t noticed before. Slowly, they walked down the hall, the light getting dimmer the further they walked. Unable to see anymore, Hermione lit up her wand and held it up. Their eyes widened as they all froze in shock.

          “What is this place?” Hermione whispered as they looked down the corridor. Cells lined both sides, all of them seemingly empty. And then Harry heard it, a voice he’d only heard in his dreams.

          “Help me…”

Chapter Text

          "Help me." Harry hurried down the corridor, Hermione following. The others looked at each other and shrugged before lighting their wands and also following, although much more cautious.

          Harry raced past all the empty cells until he came to the last one on the right. This cell was darker and colder than the others and Harry squinted as he pressed his face to the bars.

          "Hello," he said softly. At first, he thought maybe he was going crazy as there was no reply. Maybe, when his uncle had tried to choke him, the lack of oxygen had done more damage than he'd thought? "H...hello?" he whispered, a little uncertainly this time. Great. His stutter was back. There was what sounded like a rustling of cloth from the far corner.

          "Harry?" Suddenly Harry was staring into a pair of crimson-colored eyes.



          Draco was unsure what to do. If this man was who he thought he was, and he'd only ever heard of one man with eyes like rubies, then Harry could be in great danger. This could all be an elaborate trick.

          "Go get Professor Snape," Draco whispered out of the corner of his mouth, not taking his eyes off of Harry talking to the man. Blaise and Pansy nodded and hurried off. "Harry," he said quietly as he stepped closer. He gulped when the man turned his eyes to him but he pushed his fear away and took another step. "I really don't think we should be here, Harry."



          Harry looked back at him and then back at the stranger. He was scared but something was telling him to talk to this man.

          "You're the man from my dreams," he whispered, proud that his voice was only a little shaky and he was no longer stuttering. The man smiled.

          "Yes." Suddenly there were footsteps and the man disappeared back into the dark.

          "Harry, we should leave," Hermione urged but the other boy didn't move. He peered into the cell, trying to see where the man was.

          "Harry!" Suddenly, Severus was at his side and picked him up, ignoring his protests. "Harry, what are you doing down here? Are you hurt? Did..." He paused when something in the cell moved into the light.

          "Severus." The Potions Master narrowed his eyes at the man, trying to place where he saw him before. The eyes flashed red and he gasped.



Chapter Text

          "B...but we thought you were dead!" Severus just could not wrap his mind around what he was seeing. "W...we searched for weeks!" He took a step closer and looked in the man's eyes. "Tell me one thing that only Sal would know." Sal, or whoever he was, raised an eyebrow.

          "Wouldn't a potion be more effective?" Severus gave him a glare.

          "We will be using a potion to make sure of your identity later," Severus hissed. "But I need some sort of assurance before I let you free in a school full of children. Now answer the damn question!"

          It was silent for a long moment. Finally, the man Severus called Sal slumped in defeat, his voice little more than a whisper as he spoke.

          "After mother was killed, I used to have nightmares. In them, she would say that it was my fault she died, that I was worthless and she never loved me." He looked up and his eyes flashed red again as he met the Potions Master's gaze.

          "After one particularly bad nightmare, when I was eight, you came in to comfort me. I'll never forget what you said that night." By now Severus was fighting back the tears. "You told me that she loved me with all her heart and as long as I remember that, she would never truly be gone." Sal reached through the bars and placed a cold hand on Severus's cheek.

          "I never had another nightmare, at least not about her." Severus gave a watery smile and lifted his wand, muttering an incantation and the door swung open.

          "Let's go to my quarters." His voice was choked with emotion.

          "But professor, how will we get him there with no one seeing?" Hermione questioned softly. Severus was thoughtful for a moment before saying another incantation and Sal suddenly disappeared. Harry wildly looked around until Severus gently ran a hand through the boy's unruly hair.

          "It's a disillusionment charm," he explained. "No one will be able to see him. Now, if we all miss lunch, it'll look suspicious so you five head to the Great Hall and meet me in my rooms in an hour." They all nodded and Severus let Harry down, watching as they left. He turned to where he was pretty sure Sal was.

          "Let's go. When they rejoin us, you can explain what happened." He turned but froze at the other man's words.

          "Where's my father?" Severus sighed but didn't turn around. This was going to be a long afternoon.

          "I will explain later." They started down the corridor.


          "No, Sal, I will not have this conversation when I cannot even see you." The rest of the walk was spent in silence.


          An hour later, the students entered Severus's chambers, Harry leading them. Harry and Draco were the only ones who knew the password. After they were all seated, Severus called his personal House-Elf, Itsy, and ordered tea. It was silent as they waited for Itsy to return. Once they all were holding a cup, Severus turned to Sal, who took a big gulp of tea before beginning his tale.

          "It was the night before my 11th birthday." Sal's hands were shaking slightly as he put the cup down so he wouldn't drop it. "I was so excited and couldn't sleep." He gave a weak chuckle as he looked over at Severus. "I think Sev had to come in three or four times to tell me to go to sleep." This time, it was Severus who laughed slightly.

          "Where was your father?" Draco asked curiously.

          "Out of the country on a business trip. Sev was watching me." He took a deep breath and continued. "I had finally fell asleep when a loud bang woke me up. Before I could react, someone entered my room. He was wearing a hood that covered his face. I tried to run but he stunned me and then the next thing I remember, I woke up in that cell." A tear slid down his cheek and Severus put an arm around him.

          "You've been here the whole time?" Sal nodded.

          "Sev, where's my father?" Severus took a deep breath.

          "Sal, when you disappeared, we searched everywhere for you. Your father wouldn't sleep, he didn't eat, and then...then he..." He turned and looked directly in Sal's eyes. "Sal, your father went insane."


Chapter Text

                    Far away from Hogwarts, in a hidden manor, Tom Riddle sat alone. It was dark and gloomy outside, reflecting his mood perfectly. As the thunder roared and the wind beat against the windows, Tom sat in the dark. In one hand he held a barely touched glass of fire whiskey and in the other…in the other, he held a picture. Suddenly, his eyes flashed red as he through his glass at the wall, watching as it shattered and the liquid coated in the stone floor. He slumped forward, head in his hands, as the picture slipped from his loose finger tips. Against his will, the memories flooded his mind just like they did on this day every year…the day he lost everything.



                    It was Tom Marvolo Riddle’s third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He really liked Hogwarts, but for some reason, the Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Dumbledore, seemed to have a personal disliking of him.

                    "Is everything alright, Master?” Tom’s pet snake, Nagiria (Nagini’s mother) asked.

                    “I guess so,” Tom replied. “I was just wondering about my family.”

                    “The ones who gave you up?” Tom’s best friend Abraxas Malfoy entered the dorm room just as Tom was hissing to the snake. He took a step. Tom turned and stared at him, wide-eyed. Professor Dumbledore had not seemed happy when he had mentioned his ability at the Orphanage and he did not want to lose his best friend. After a moment of silence, Abraxas let out a breath.

                    “Why didn’t you tell me you were a Parselmouth?” he asked. He didn’t sound angry, just curious. Tom frowned.

                    “Parselmouth?” he asked. Abraxas nodded.

                    “That’s what people who speak Parseltongue are called,” he explained. “It’s very rare, and can’t be learned. You must have been born with the ability.” After being reassured that Abraxas would keep his secret and that he hadn’t lost his friend, Tom made his way to the library. After learning that books on Parseltongue were only in the restricted section, he managed to get a slip from Slughorn, who rather adored him and would basically give him anything he asked for. He returned to the library and began looking in the shelves in the restricted section until he found a book labeled Parseltongue: The Language of Snakes written by Gormlaith Gaunt.

                    Tom sat in a quiet corner of the library and opened the book, to find that it was written in an odd text. As he studied the text, the words soon became clear to him and he recognized that the book must have been written in Parseltongue. After getting over his momentary shock, Tom sat back and began reading. Luckily it was a Saturday as it took him several hours to fully read the book and by the end of it, he had more questions than answers.

                    Apparently, Salazar Slytherin was the first known wizard to speak the snake language so it was unknown whether it was genetics or a spell the man had created. Whatever had caused it, it had passed down through the generations which basically meant that if Tom could speak Parseltongue, then he was most likely descended from Salazar. Leaving the library to go to the Great Hall for dinner, Tom decided his next step was to research his family tree.

                    Tom was a brilliant student, especially at potions, so with the help of Abraxas he brewed a potion that would show a person’s entire heritage. It took three weeks of them sneaking around to get the ingredients and then finding an abandoned classroom to brew the potion but finally, it was ready.

                    “Are you sure you want to do this?” Abraxas asked quietly as he handed the goblet over to his friend. Tom nodded, a determined look in his eyes, and downed the potion. Abraxas pointed his wand at the thirteen year old and muttered the incantation. Almost immediately, a piece of parchment appeared on the desk in front of the boys and they watched as it slowly filled with writing. Once done, Tom slowly read the parchment and when he got to the end, he looked up and grinned at Abraxas.

                    “I am the heir of Slytherin.” Abraxas smiled back.



                    It would be three years before Tom thought any more about Salazar Slytherin. After all, finding out that he was the heir to one of the founders of Hogwarts was amazing but it didn’t really have much to do with his life, other than the fact that he could speak to snakes.

                    Three weeks into Tom’s sixth year, he was working on a project for Professor Slughorn and therefore was, once again, in the restricted section of the library. He had just set a small pile of books on the table when something caught his eye on the bookshelf right in front of him. It seemed to call him and so he slowly walked forward and pulled a small, leather-bound journal from between two books. He opened the cover and breathed in sharply when he saw the words Salazar Slytherin’s Journal written in elegant cursive. Tom looked around and, seeing no one, slipped the book into his bag and continued on with his research for Slughorn.

                    For the next three months, Tom read and reread the journal. For a guy that lived hundreds of years ago, he certainly was interesting. But one of the things that stuck out to Tom was the fact that Salazar had been afraid of dying and leaving his family alone so he had made a horcrux, so he could come back to protect his wife and son. That had Tom stumped, even as he continued reading the journal. What the heck was a horcrux and how could it help a person come back after death?

                    Through strategic questioning of Slughorn and plenty of research, Tom was able to find out that in order to make a horcrux, you had to kill someone. Tom studied the professor in front of him as he processed this information. Slughorn had been wary of revealing any information on Horcruxes until Tom had presented him with a bottle of very expensive elfish wine. The year before, he had secretly claimed the Slytherin vault at Gringotts and was now exceedingly wealthy and able to butter up his favorite teacher.

                    "Why does a person have to kill to make a horcrux?” he asked quietly. Slughorn sighed wearily.

                    "Because, when you murder another, you fracture your soul,” Slughorn explained. “The fractures are so fragile at the moment, that you can perform the dark ritual of placing a soul piece in an object to make the horcrux. However, it is terribly painful and leaves a hole inside of you. To make a horcrux, a person must want to intentionally murder their victim, or the ritual will not work.” He shook his head. “It is horrible, dark magic, Tom. I advise you to give up your research on this and return to your normal studies.”

                    Tom was extremely shaken by Slughorn’s words and agreed to put horcruxes out of his mind, and so he did, for a short while. Instead, he focused on another thing the journal had spoken about. It was a chamber that supposedly held something of great value to the man. He opened it and a basilisk came slithering out, startling him. He was so focused on the huge snake that he never noticed the girl crying in the stall behind him until it was too late. Before he could command the snake to stop, Myrtle Warren was killed.

                    Horrified, Tom ordered the basilisk to go back into the chamber and sealed it up. Everyone thought it was Rubeus Hagrid, as the third year was always bringing dangerous creatures into the school and Tom, scared that he would be expelled and sent back to the orphanage, didn’t correct them. He never meant for Hagrid to be expelled but it was too late to say anything and besides, it was bound to happen sooner or later anyways. After that, Tom focused completely on his studies, determined to put all thoughts of Salazar out of his mind.

                    At the end of his sixth year, Tom found out that he still had a living uncle. When he got on the train, he acted like he was going back to the orphanage but instead, went to the home of Morfin Gaunt. He told him who his mother was and asked if he could live with him but the man just laughed. He started to belittle Tom, calling him weak and all kinds of other things but, when the man starting saying horrible things about Tom’s mother, Tom took out his wand and pointed it at him. Morfin started to say the killing curse so without thinking, Tom said it first.

                    He watched, shocked that he had just killed someone with the darkest curse there was. He tried to tell himself that it was self-defense, but that didn’t really help. He was about to leave when he had a thought. After all, the man was already dead, right? He remembered what Slughorn said about intent but decided to try anyways. He took the ring off Morfin’s finger and did the dark ritual, screaming in pain as the spell took hold and created the horcrux. Afterwards, he just stared in shock. He really wasn’t expecting it to work. After all, he hadn’t intended to kill his uncle, had he?

                    Deciding he had to get out of there, Tom used to the floor and, to cover his tracks so no one could trace the murder back to him, Tom flooed to several different places before finally ending up at the Leaky Cauldron and getting a room for the summer.

                    It was during that summer that Albus Dumbledore defeated the Dark Wizard Grindelwald, which led to celebrations that lasted the rest of the summer and into the new school year.

                    It was during his seventh year of Hogwarts that Tom met Serafina Lestrange. Her brother had been Tom’s friend since first year but until now, he had never really paid her much mind. She was a year younger than him with long, gold curls and big, brown eyes that he could drown in for hours. As they got closer together and eventually started dating, he was able to somewhat forget the events of the school year before and the summer. But, when he realized he had fallen in love with her, he told her everything. He didn’t want any secrets between them.

                    Far from being disgusted or angry, the young witch had been understanding and kept telling him that she loved him, no matter his past. That he’d made some wrong decisions but she knew that he was good. That was when he asked her to marry him. She said yes, even though it meant her father, who hated the idea of her marrying a half-blood, would disown her. Her uncle stood by her side and, when he died three months after they were married, left her a manor and a few vaults at Gringotts.

                    They tried for years to have a child but after the third miscarriage, they decided that it just wasn’t worth all the pain to keep trying so Sera took a potion that would act like permanent birth control. They were saddened but they had each other and that was enough.

                    In the spring of 1969, they found out that the potion that Sera took had worn off. And if that wasn’t impossible in itself, she was pregnant. Tom had immediately begged her to agree to be on bed rest for the entire pregnancy. This was their last chance and he didn’t want to risk anything. The pregnancy, while hard on a woman who was in her 40s, went well and on January 10th, 1970, Salazar Slytherin Riddle was born.

Chapter Text

         “What do you mean my father went insane?!” Sal jumped to his feet, a wild look in his eyes. Harry's whimper drew everyone's attention. The young Slytherin was curled in his chair, holding his head protectively. Draco looked at his Godfather, unsure of what he should do. Severus gave a slight nod towards the door and Draco went to Harry’s side.

    “Come on, Harry,” he said softly, gently taking his friend’s hand and pulling him to his feet. “Let’s go back to the common room.” Harry slowly stood up and followed silently. When they were gone, Severus looked at Sal, who was completely confused by what had just happened. Before the Potions Master could open his mouth, a knock came at the door. Severus motioned for Sal to stay quiet as he walked towards the door. Waving his wand, he was able to transform the door into a one-way mirror for a few minutes. Seeing it was only Lucius Malfoy, he cancelled the charm and opened the door, pulling the surprised blonde in and quickly shutting and warding the door.

    “I saw Draco and Harry in the hall. Harry was crying but he wouldn’t tell me…” Lucius’s voice trailed off as he finally noticed they weren’t alone. He turned back to Severus with a raised eyebrow. The Potions Master sighed as he crossed the room to his liquor cabinet, pulling out a bottle of fire whiskey and pouring it into three goblets. He passed them out, sighing when Lucius refused, and then returned to the armchair he’d been sitting in earlier, Sal doing the same, before looking up at the blonde.

    “You might want to sit for this Lucius.” Lucius shook his head, eyes determined as he turned to look at the young man sitting in Severus's quarters. There was no way he was going to sit until he knew exactly what was going on. The two seemed to be having a staring contest, Lucius’s eyes hard and Sal’s eyes confused, until a cough from Severus had both men jumping and turning to look at him. Severus just smirked slightly before turning serious.

         “Lucius, this is Salazar,” the Professor said quietly, eyes locked on the blonde’s. “Salazar Riddle.” Lucius slowly sank down into the armchair and looked from Severus, to Sal, and back to Severus.

         “I...I think I'll take that drink now.”

         Albus Dumbledore stormed through the halls of Hogwarts, making students jump out of his way at the look of anger in the Headmaster's eyes. No one had ever seen the man angry or even upset and it was quite frightening.

         Harry was walking to breakfast with Blaise and Theo as Draco was talking to Severus and his father about something. When the Headmaster stopped them, Harry shrank back at the look of rage hidden in the depths of the icy blue eyes.

         “Harry, my boy…” Dumbledore paused as his eyes scanned the three of them before locking on Harry's. “Please see me in my office after breakfast.” Without waiting for a response, Dumbledore swept into the Great Hall. Blaise and Theo looked at each other with raised eyebrows before turning to Harry. The small Slytherin was shaking but before they could say or do anything, Draco came up to them.

         “Hey guys!” He was a little breathless from his run from the dungeons and he bent over, hands on his knees, as he panted. After a few moments, he straightened back up and took in the sight of Harry, tears in his eyes and shaking. He wasn't sure what happened but he silently cursed Sal. Harry had been doing so much better and now, after meeting Sal and the events after, they were back to square one. “What happened?” he asked Blaise as he looked at Harry, feeling helpless. He wasn't sure how to help and that killed him more than anything. Suddenly, an image of the first day he met Harry came to mind. He hadn't known how to help then, either, but he'd followed his instincts and it had worked. Hoping it would work again, he slowly approached Harry. The other boy's eyes were unfocused, as though he was trapped in a memory. Draco stopped a few feet away, not wanting to touch Harry as he was afraid that he would panic.

         “Harry, you're safe,” Draco said softly, repeating what he had said that day on the train. “It's okay, Harry. You're safe. No one is going to hurt you. It's safe. You're safe.” Harry's eyes slowly focused on the blonde.

         “D...Draco?” he whispered. Draco nodded and Harry threw his arms around Draco’s neck, his small body trembling. Draco hugged him back as he looked at the other two.

         “What happened?” he asked again. Blaise and Theo glanced at each other.

         “Dumbledore stopped us,” Blaise replied. “He told Harry he wanted to see him after breakfast.” Both boys looked confused. They obviously had no idea why it would upset Harry. Draco nodded and told them to go on ahead. Theo immediately left. Blaise stared at them for another moment before following Theo.

         “He reminded me of my uncle,” a small voice said, startling Draco. He looked down at Harry.

         “Who reminded you of your uncle?” Harry took a shaky breath.

         “Dumbledore. He was so angry.” Draco gently wiped Harry's tears.

         “Let's eat breakfast,” he suggested. “And then we'll go see Dumbledore.”

         “Together?” Draco nodded and the two boy's headed to the Great Hall.

         An hour later, Harry and Draco were sitting in the Headmaster’s office as the old man paced. Finally, he turned to face them, a smile pasted on his face as he say behind his desk and folded his hands.

         “Harry, I know you were in the hidden part of the dungeons last night,” he began quietly. “I need you to tell me who you were with.” Harry out his hands on his lap to hide the fact they were shaking and just shook his head, eyes glued to the floor. “ Harry, look at me.” Harry slowly lifted his head and as soon as their eyes met, Harry was assaulted by images. It only lasted a few seconds before Harry's hand was grabbed, causing him to lose eye contact as he looked at Draco. The blonde was glaring at Dumbledore.

         “It is illegal to enter the mind of anyone without their consent,” he hissed. He turned to Harry and his eyes softened. “Come on, Harry, let's go.” He pulled Harry to his feet and out the door, ignoring the man's protests. There were no classes, as it was Sunday, so Draco led Harry to Severus’s quarters, where he proceeded to bang on the door. The door was opened and before Severus could open his mouth, Harry jumped in his arms. Severus froze for a moment, shocked, as Harry clung to him. Harry usually didn't initiate contact, especially with the Potions Professor. Slowly, Severus wrapped the boy in a hug, his eyes confused as he looked at Draco.

         “Dumbledore called him to his office,” the Malfoy heir explained. “He said he knew Harry was in the hidden dungeons last night. He wanted to know who he was with. Harry wouldn't tell him so he used leglimency on him.” Harry stepped back.

         “What's le...leg...leg…” Severus pulled both boys into his rooms and shut the door.

         “Leglimency is when someone is able to look in your mind and see your memories.” Harry was silent for a long moment. Finally, he took a deep breath and looked directly at Severus.

         “ you s...still want to a...adopt me?” The stutter showed just how nervous Harry was and they could see how terrified he was of being rejected. Severus knelt so he was eye level with Harry and took both his hands in his own, much larger ones.

         “Harry, I would be honored to adopt you, if that is what you truly want.” Harry nodded, looking determined.

         “I need s...someone I can to help me with all t...this.” His stutter was starting to go away, which Harry was grateful for. Severus gently squeezed his hands.

         “You can trust me, Harry. I promise.”


Chapter Text

          It  took a few weeks but finally, right before the holidays, Severus and Harry were legally father and son. To celebrate both the adoption, and their first Christmas together, the new family was invited to Malfoy Manor. Harry was so excited, he was unable to sleep his last night at Hogwarts. Slowly, so he wouldn't wake the other boys, Harry crawled out of bed and went down to the common room. He curled up in the armchair closest to the fire and reached into his pocket, pulling out a picture. It was of a beautiful young woman, smiling and laughing as she waved at the camera.

         The day the adoption was finalized, Severus had given him the picture. He said he was sorry he didn't have any of his father but Harry didn't mind. He wasn't sure he wanted one. Severus still hasn't told him why he hated James, but Harry was certain his father had done something terrible to Severus. Maybe one day, his new father would tell him.

         Harry gazed down at the picture, feeling tears well up in his eyes as he traced her face.

         “Hi mum,” he whispered, oblivious to the person watching him. “I used to wish you were alive and that you'd come and save me from the Dursleys. I would sit in my cupboard and wonder what I did wrong. Why did you leave me?” He took a deep breath. “But it's okay now. I mean, I still wish you were here but now, I have a dad. He says he loves me and I don't ever have to go back to the Dursleys.”

         “Harry.” He looked up to see Severus standing at the door to the common room. “Why aren't you in bed?”

         “I can't sleep.” Harry looked down at the photo he was holding and slowly caressed his mother's face before sliding it in his pocket and looking up at his new dad with a bright smile. “I'm too excited!” Severus chuckled and sat down next to the boy.

         “It's still early. You really should get some sleep.” He ruffled Harry's hair. “How about if I tell you a story? Would that help?” Harry nodded and snuggled into Severus's side. Severus put his arm around him and began. “It was a warm summer day when he first saw her. Her auburn hair was blowing in the gentle breeze and her emerald colored eyes shone with happiness. She was dancing in the grass and he…”

         Harry stared up at the mansion in awe. He'd never seen anything like it. The Manor was so white, it practically gleamed. It was huge and almost intimidating to the young boy. Harry, Draco, and Severus were currently standing at the gates where they had landed after Severus had apparated them. There was a long stone path leading to the front door.

         The yard was so huge that Harry was sure you could fit four or five Quidditch pitches. Off to the side was a group of pure white peacocks, at least that was what Harry thought they were. He saw a picture of one once in a book Dudley had thrown away.

         “You live here?” He asked Draco, who only laughed and led the way up the path. At the door, they were greeted by Draco's parents. Harry gave Lucius a bright smile but it dimmed slightly when he saw the woman standing next to him. He had never met Draco's mother before and he was a little nervous.

         “You must be Harry,” she said warmly, holding out her hand.

         “N...nice to meet you, ma'am,” Harry said, placing his hand in hers, proud that he'd only stuttered once. She laughed and the sound, so open and carefree, instantly relaxed him.

         “Please, call me Narcissa, Harry. Ma'am makes me sound old.” She winked, making him giggle, before letting go of his hand. “Now...who's hungry?”

         Harry stared at the dining room table, which could easily hold 20 people or more, and nervously shifted from foot to foot. He wasn't sure what to do. He'd never been invited to someone's home before and at the Dursley's, it was taboo for him to sit with “normal” people. Hogwarts was different because he was a student and all students sat at the table. It was different with Severus too because the man had told him it was okay plus he was now his dad as well.

         “Harry?” The boy jumped, startled, and turned to Severus. Said man was looking at him in concern. “Are you okay?” Harry shrugged and looked down. Severus, realizing what the issue was, turned to Lucius.

         “He's still not used to being allowed to sit at the table.” Lucius's eyes widened slightly before he went over to the boy and knelt down.

         “Harry, why don't you sit next to Draco?” Harry looked over at his friend, who nodded and gave an encouraging smile. Tentatively, Harry made his way to the blonde and sat in the chair next to him. He remained tense while everyone sat down. It took about ten minutes but, when it became clear that no one was going to hit him, Harry slowly started to relax and eat the food Severus had placed on his plate.

         The week passed by in a blur. Harry had never had so much fun in his life. It seemed like Draco had made it his mission to ensure Harry had a fun Christmas. They built snowmen, had a snowball fight, and made snow angels. Draco showed him the horses and allowed Harry to ride one with him, as Harry was too afraid to ride one by himself.

         In the evenings, Severus and Harry would curl up by the fire. They'd drink hot chocolate and Severus would tell him about his mum.

         “Sev?” Harry asked one night, using the nickname he'd given the man as he wasn't sure about calling him dad yet. “What did my father do to you?” Severus looked down into Harry's curious green eyes.

         “What makes you think he did something to me?” Harry looked down and began fiddling with the edges of his blanket, a little nervous.

         “It's just a...a feeling I have,” Harry said softly. “I mean in my first Potions class, you said I was just like him.” Severus opened his mouth but Harry rushed on before he lost his nerve. “You never talk about him, only my mother, and…” Here, Harry blushed. “I sort of heard you and Lucius talking night before last. Lucius said he was glad you got over my resemblance to my father and you said that you wished you had never compared me to him in the first place. That I was nothing like him.” Severus stared at him for a long moment.

         “Are you sure you want to know, Harry?” He finally asked. “I mean, you're still young and I don't want to say anything bad about James. No matter what he did in school, he still loved you very much.” Harry nodded adamantly. “Okay, if you're sure.” Severus was still hesitant but he also didn't want to lie to Harry.

         “Your father hated me from the first moment we met. The feeling was mutual, especially after he and his friends started playing pranks on me. They would trip me, steal my money, ruin my homework, etcetera. The Headmaster wouldn't do anything. He just kept saying it was harmless fun. I think when I finally realized that I could not trust him was in my fifth year.

         Sirius Black, your father's best friend, tricked me into going to the Shrieking Shack. It's a rundown shack in Hogsmeade but there's a tunnel on the grounds of Hogwarts that leads there. When I got there, I was almost attacked by a werewolf. James, having heard what Sirius did, came and saved me. It turns out the Werewolf was Remus Lupin, another of their friends.

         I thought that James may have finally gotten some morals but it turned out, he was just worried how Remus would feel if he killed someone when not in control. The Headmaster turned a blind eye and insisted that Sirius didn't mean to almost kill me. Sirius didn't get punished at all, not even detention. Instead, I got detention for a month for being out after curfew. A part of me died that day.

         For some reason, the pranks and the insults got worse. And then came the day that I did something I will always regret. Your father had used magic to levitate me in the air, upside down. Everyone was laughing and I was embarrassed. Your mother demanded they let me down and they did, letting me fall to the ground. I was humiliated and angry so I told her I didn't need help from a Mudblood. As soon as I said it, I wanted to take it back. But she wouldn't accept my apology and ended our friendship.

         Later that night, I was coming back from the library when James stunned me and dragged me into an empty classroom. He said he needed to teach me a lesson, to punish me for what I said about Lily. He beat me, worse than I've ever been beaten, and then he...he…” Severus took a deep breath. Only two people knew this. Poppy and Lucius. “James raped me.” He looked at Harry, to see him silently crying. He pulled Harry into a tight hug, ignoring his own tears.

         “I am so sorry, Harry,” he said hoarsely. “I never should have mistreated you because of your father.”

         “It's okay, dad,” Harry said, hugging back just as fiercely. “I understand.” At hearing Harry call him dad for the first time, Severus felt more tears fall. As for Harry, he had no problem calling Severus dad. He was hesitant before because he wasn't sure if he'd be betraying his father but, after hearing what James did, he had no more issues with that. He didn't care that James was a kid. Nobody should ever treat another person like that.

         “Harry!” Harry turned over and placed a pillow over his head to drown out the sound. “Harry!” The pillow was ripped from him and Harry cracked an eye open, glaring at Draco weakly. “Come on, Harry!” Draco whined. “It's Christmas! Don't you want to see your presents?” At that, Harry opened his other eye and sat up.

         “Presents?” he asked slowly. In response, Draco just grabbed his hand and dragged him out of bed and downstairs. In the sitting room was a beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Under the tree, was a huge pile of presents. Harry had never seen so many in his life. Draco tugged Harry's hand and led him over to the tree.

         “Every year, we designate someone to pass the presents out,” Draco explained. “Then, after they're all passed out, we take turns opening them so everyone can see.” Harry nodded his understanding.

         “Harry?” He turned to Narcissa. “Would you do the honor of passing the presents out?” Harry smiled and turned to the tree.

         “Draco.” He brought the big box over to the blonde before picking up another. “Lucius.” This continued for a few more minutes until Harry suddenly stopped, staring at the name of the present he held in his hands.

         “Harry, what's the name?” Severus asked quietly. Harry turned, holding the box like it was a treasure.

         “Harry,” he whispered, eyes filling with tears. He wasn't used to getting presents. He looked at the name of who'd given it to him. “Dad?” He looked at Severus, who smiled gently. “But...but I didn't get you anything.” Severus got up and embraced his son.

         “It's alright, Harry. I wanted to get you a present.” After another hug, Severus sat down and Harry continued passing presents. In the end, he ended up with quite a few from Lucius, Narcissa, Draco, Severus, and several of the Slytherins. He couldn't stop smiling all day.