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Worthy Child

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Severus stalked down the sidewalk, missing the billow of his robes which could not be duplicated in Muggle jeans and button-up. It was refreshing to see the Muggles jump out of his way with alacrity anyway, much like their magical brethren. A scrap of paper clenched tightly in his hand listed an address of a martial arts studio, owned by a Squib. The man was a former military special forces solider, who was to train him on Muggle methods of stealth and defense.

The corners of Severus' mouth twitched upward; Dumbledore had told him he should find a new hobby.

Harry ran as fast as he could, bent over slightly because of his throbbing side where Dudley had hit him, one hand holding his broken glasses on his face. Piers had knocked them to the ground and stepped on them as Harry was tripped by someone. Somehow, Harry's glasses had flown back into his hand, while a pulse of electricity seemed to dance across his skin.

Behind him, Dudley let out a roar of rage and Harry knew he was really in for it. Remembering his teacher's lesson on emergencies, Harry ran harder, looking for an adult to help him.

Severus stopped in front of an older brick building and peered at the small metal plate on the front of building assured him it was the correct address. As he reached for the door, the sound of running footsteps caused him to look to his left, just as a small body impacted his legs. Dropping his arm, Severus managed to catch the child before he fell and steadying him with a hand on his shoulder.

Another child, significantly larger, thundered up and took a swing at the first child.


Severus turned sideways, taking a hard blow on his thigh.

Harry flinched as Dudley screamed at him, gasping as his cousin's fist hit the man's leg in front of his face. The man kept his hand on Harry's shoulder and didn't shove him away.

"Cease your assault this instance!" The man snapped at Dudley, his tone deadly. "Leave before I decide to show you what happens to bullies!"

The sound of running feet told Harry, Dudley and Piers were gone. Harry was surprised when the man knelt in front of him. He took Harry's glasses and turned away, before sliding repaired glasses back on his face.

"Are you hurt, child?"

Severus managed to cast a silent Reparo on the child's glasses, but he didn't want to chance a diagnostic charm. Blood was evident on the pale face and the boy had held his side as he ran. Fearful green eyes met his and a small nod answered Severus' question.

Standing up, Severus lifted the boy up, disturbed by his thinness. "Why don't we both go in and learn a new hobby?"

Glancing casually around, Severus made sure they weren't being watched as he carried the child into the martial arts studio. Severus would heal him surreptitiously and take him home.

The man had gentle hands as he held onto Harry and, suddenly feeling tired, he laid his head on a black-clad shoulder. Harry fell asleep to the sound of low voices talking in an urgent tone, like they had an emergency, Harry thought.

When he awoke, Harry was amazed as he didn't hurt anymore when he sat up. The couch he was on was soft and there was even a sandwich on the table next to him. Harry grabbed it, eating fast, before someone could take it away.

Harry knew it was going to be bad when he got home.

"I believe Kung Fu would help you achieve your goals," the studio owner, Ian, told Severus. "It would certainly help the little one, as well."

"You know him?" Severus asked, surprised.

"No, but I've seen him before, hauling large bags of groceries and running from the neighborhood bullies. Rumor has it, he's a poor relation taken in by reluctant relatives."

Severus frowned; he hated bullies. "Perhaps martial arts would be a good hobby for us both."

Stepping closer, Ian whispered. "He's a wizard."

Startled, Severus glanced into the office, where the child was now eating. This certainly warranted further investigation…