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Through the Quiet Emerald Eyes (The Philosopher's Stone)

Chapter Text

Harry waited nervously in the Great Hall, eyes trying to take everything in while also watching Ron and Hermione’s mouths.  So far, he’d managed to go the whole train ride without giving his new friends (and wasn’t that a strange word for him- friends) any reason to suspect that he was deaf, but it was a lot easier in the compartment with just him, Ron, Hermione, and Neville (and Ron had been skeptical of the little black muggleborn girl with the bushy hair and large front teeth at first, but Harry had been so eager to help look for the toad, to help anyone at all, that he’d shoved aside his doubts for his new friend).  

The Dursleys didn’t care that Harry was deaf because of their neglect in not taking him to the hospital when he got a life-threatening ear infection 6 years ago, he had to be normal.   So when he survived the infection, alone in his cupboard, but lost his hearing as a result, they gave him no chance to adjust.  He learned to read lips to avoid slaps and didn’t let his speaking ability decrease in the least, as a mispronounced word was worth a smack with the belt, and he didn’t like slaps with the belt.  Unpleasant at the time, the point was that he had no trouble following conversations between small groups, his eyes expertly tracking the movements of the speakers’ lips and giving no indication that he was in a world of total silence.  Hermione’s had been difficult to read at first, because she spoke so quickly, but he quickly learned that if Hermione was talking, that meant no one else was talking, so he could focus exclusively on her and catch at least most of what was said.

But now he was in the corridor outside the Great Hall with the entirety of the first years, and he had the gnawing fear that people might be trying to talk to him and he didn’t realise.  If anyone caught on that he couldn’t hear, there would be questions, and then things might come up about his home life. And if Uncle Vernon found out that he’d let people find out about the cupboard and the beatings and how little food he had… his back ached, reminding him that he still had wounds that had barely scabbed over.  For a week, for a glorious week after Hagrid took him to Diagon Alley, things had been wonderful- he was in Dudley’s second bedroom, and the Dursleys were afraid enough to feed him three times a day and keep their hateful hands off of him. How was he supposed to know that Dudley would go snooping in his room while he was out for a walk and find the letter that notified students not to use magic during the summers, on top of the Hogwarts Informational Packet that he’d picked up at Flourish and Blotts’?  After that… well, the cupboard was tighter after he’d had a bedroom for a little bit, and starvation was worse when you’d been lured into the false belief that it was over. He pulled his robes tighter around his small form and reviewed the glamour charm in his head- as soon as he was officially sorted and allowed to use magic, he’d put it on, and no one would have to know, if he could only keep his wits about him.

Hermione Granger watched as Harry, deep in thought, didn’t even react to the entrance of the ghosts and the surprised squealing of the students around him.  There had been other things, too, that worried her. On the train, for example, he’d been looking so intently at her when she spoke. In primary school, there had been a HoH student that had watched the teacher the same way.  And Ronald Weasley had mentioned how he’d seemed to have trouble understanding his mum at first, when she tried to tell him about the platform. On an impulse, she reached out and tapped him on the shoulder, politely ignoring his jump of surprise.

“Are you deaf?” she asked him in sign language, seeing no need to mince words.  He didn’t answer, but his eyes widened, so he’d clearly understood her. He was about to try to squeak out a denial when they were interrupted by the entrance of a stern-looking woman in emerald robes.  Hermione watched Harry again, how carefully he squinted at her as she spoke about the four houses (and come to think of it, his glasses looked way too old to be the proper, updated prescription…)

She had no chance to try to talk to him during the first part of the sorting, either, because she and Harry were in different parts of the line, arranged alphabetically as they were.  But she watched as the first students were sorted. She was so proud of Neville for making it into Gryffindor. That ought to start him on the path to finding his self-worth, she thought in satisfaction, cheering even when he accidentally sat down with the hat, cheeks burning as he brought it back.

By the time Granger, Hermione was called, she was beginning to rethink her immediate decision to ask to be placed in Gryffindor.  The hat was nearly 2000 years old, and it had seen things in Neville that Neville couldn’t see in himself.  She would see what it had to say about her before she made any decisions.

Ah, a bright mind you have, the hat spoke into her mind as soon as it was placed on her head.   While you’ve certainly the courage for Gryffindor, I dare say their impulsivity would drive you mad.  And Hufflepuff is out- you’re far too ruthless, and you see in black and white, right and wrong. Hufflepuffs, while a noble house, would be a direct contrast to what you are.  You’d be a wonderful Ravenclaw, but I think they’d drive you mad as well- they love learning, yes, but on their own terms and their own time. They’re the type to neglect their homework to do dangerous experiments and drag teachers on tangents.  You’d be a wonderful Slytherin- Salazar himself would be proud.

Very well then, put me in Slytherin, Hermione thought, considering the matter done.

Not so fast- there has not been a muggleborn Slytherin since the war, and bigotry still lingers.  It will not be an easy path for you, my child. I could put you in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, as I have done with others in your situation.  I dare say Flitwick would love your dedication.

Nothing in my life has been an easy path, Hermione argued.   I’ve been facing racism, and I’ve been teased for liking books. I’ve always been too loud, or not girly enough, or not good enough.  I want to go where I actually have a chance to do something, to change their minds. Put me in Slytherin.

Very well, the hat said, “SLYTHERIN!”

The room went so quiet you could hear a wand drop, and even Harry could tell by the sudden stillness that every single student in the hall was silent.  Hermione didn’t seem to care, however, as she made her way to the green and silver table, her eyes like a bronze warship and her head held high. Her frizzy curls bounced around her face as she moved, but she carried herself like a queen nonetheless.  Harry felt his hands sweat- if Hermione could tell he was deaf, so early on, would the hat send him back? Would he have to leave the only place he’d ever felt like he had a chance to belong, even if he wasn’t quite normal here either, all because he couldn’t hear?  Would they at least let him eat before they sent him back in disgrace to his cruel relatives? He was queasy and terrified by the time the last person in front of him was sorted, and he saw Professor McGonagall call his name as he slunk up to the hat, wishing he could disappear into the floor.

Not a bad mind, the hat said, and Harry nearly fell off the stool- he could hear it.  Had he- but no, he realised as he watched people’s lips move at the tables but heard nothing.  The hat was just sharing its thoughts.

Plenty of courage, too, the hat said, loyal to a fault to those who deserve it.  You’re cunning, or you wouldn’t have survived this long.  So much drive to find your place. But where should I put you?

Anywhere, Harry thought desperately.   Just as long as you let me stay.

Well then, the hat decided with finality.   Better be “SLYTHERIN!”

Harry made his way to the table, trying to be noticed as little as possible, avoiding Malfoy and sitting next to Hermione, who turned to him again, but seeing the panic on his face, said nothing and merely spoke to him out loud, although Harry noticed that she moved her lips much slower than she had on the train.

Finally, the hat called Ron, who was questioning everything he thought he knew.  An hour ago, he thought Slytherin was for evil gits like Malfoy, but if there was one thing he was sure of, it’s that his new friend Harry wasn’t evil, and he was in Slytherin.  And Hermione, although bossy, wasn’t evil either- she was too righteous to be evil, and Ron had to admit he was growing fond of her- she hadn’t mocked his family for being poor, and she’d grudgingly admitted she hadn’t had many close friends growing up, or anyone at all to talk to, much like Harry.  When he stepped up to the stool, he was actually questioning his desire to go into Gryffindor- Harry and Hermione were the first people he’d ever known who didn’t treat him like he was just another Weasley. He was Ron (or Ronald, in Hermione’s case).

Ahh, so many confused youth tonight, the hat chuckled, and Ron thought queasily that wrestling a troll would involve a lot less circuitous thought.   You would go well in Gryffindor, no doubt, or Hufflepuff, with loyalty like yours, but you would suit Slytherin as well.  You are a strategist, Ron Weasley, and your mind is unique from that of your brothers. You are loyal, but only to those who have earned your trust, and you are someone who will stick by the people you love until the very end.   Ron took a brief moment to think that that sounded far too ominous for a boarding school and a funny hat talking to an eleven-year-old.   But tell me- this Malfoy boy that you so dislike, would you be willing to put up with him?

For Harry, Ron thought.   Yeah.  

Well then, that’s settled, the hat seemed to preen in satisfaction.   But I bid you to keep an open mind- you’re not the only one in Slytherin that has grown up in the shadow of your family, and for many, the shadows have been colder.  

Before Ron could respond to that, the hat yelled out his placement, and he could see everyone in the hall staring again, almost as hard as they had for Harry.  Well, he’d definitely differentiated himself from his family now. He looked nervously at his brothers, expecting disappointment, but while Percy was scowling, George and Fred were giving him big thumbs up, probably already planning to wring the Slytherin password out of him and use it to create havoc.  Ron didn’t even care about that at the moment as he smiled back, relieved, before setting down next to Harry.

“A Weasley in Slytherin, huh?” a tall black boy in their year asked.   Blaise Zabini, his mind supplied, remembering the name that had just been called.

“Er, yeah, what’s it to you?” he asked, a little defensive.

“Relax, mate- I’m not going to attack you or anything.  I was just going to ask if you liked wizard’s chess. I’ve asked everyone else in our year, but they either don’t know or don’t like it.”

“Oh, I love chess,” Ron agreed easily, calming down.

“Cool, we should play sometime,” Blaise said.

“Definitely,” Ron agreed.  “My set is pretty old, but it knows what it’s doing.”

Meanwhile, Harry, satisfied that Hermione was absorbed enough in conversation with a pug-faced girl named Pansy Parkinson to be paying any attention to him, was taking a look at the staff table.  Their new head of house scared him a little, but the girl on his other side, Daphne Greengrass, had just given him a strange look when he asked if teachers were allowed to beat students, so he assumed he was at least safer with him than he was at the Dursleys.  He pushed his plate away, still-mostly uneaten. He hadn’t eaten anything in the past three days except for a few sweets on the train, and he felt like he might throw up if he tried any more of the decadent food, however much he wanted to.

“Aren’t you going to eat some more, Harry?” Hermione turned back to him, and Harry shook his head.

“Nervous stomach,” he lied, and she gave him a searching look but didn’t say anything.

Eventually, the meal ended, and it was time to work their way to the dungeons.  Harry was quite good at memorizing his way around, unable to rely on any sounds to help, but even he wasn’t able to keep up with all the twists and turns.  Snape gave a short speech about house unity and the importance of behaving, of representing themselves well, and Harry had to force himself to keep watching the professor, the dirty look he was receiving making him want to hide his eyes, but then he wouldn’t know the rules.

The first years all shared a dormitory, and Harry was about to take the bed closest to the window, which looked out into the lake, when he felt himself pushed aside, holding back a wince as the fresh lashes on his back rubbed against the wall.

“This is my bed, Potter,” Malfoy was telling him, and Harry didn’t need to know the tone was pompous.

“Hey!” Ron stalked up to him, face glowering.  “It doesn’t have your name on it, and Harry got to it first!”

“Oh shut it, Weasel- just because you wormed your way into a place you don’t belong-”

“Stop it,” Blaise ordered them, pulling Draco back by the shoulder.  “We have to live here together for seven years, so we need to get along.  Draco, I know you like sleeping by the window, but Harry did see it first.”

“It’s fine,” Harry mumbled, blushing despite his dark skin tone.  “I don’t wanna cause any trouble. I’ll just take the bed next to it.”  With some effort, he dragged the trunk from the bed at the window to the next one, feeling the scabs on his back strain and crack open, the wetness of new bleeding dribbling down.  Luckily, his shirt was big enough that it couldn’t seep through to be seen on his robes.

“It’s okay mate, you don’t have to…” Ron started to say, but Harry smiled at him, long dark lashes framing his emerald eyes, which seemed enormous on his small face, but not in an unpleasant way.

“I don’t mind.  Then maybe we could have beds next to each other, if you want…”  Harry looked nervous, uncertain, and Ron smiled at him reassuringly, already feeling a protective instinct towards his friend.  He may be the same age, but he looked so much younger, and Ginny had never really needed Ron to play the big brother, so Ron decided that whatever Harry needed, he would supply.  Including comfort in a strange place.

“I’d love that- here- these two are closest to the bathroom, which will be nice when we’re in a rush in the morning.”

“What do you say, Draco?” Blaise looked sternly at the blonde, who sighed.  “Thank you, Potter!” he called out, but Harry, who was looking away, didn’t respond.  His fists clenched, feeling insulted, but Theodore Nott put his hand on Draco’s shoulder.

“Easy, mate- I don’t think he meant anything by it.  I don’t think he feels very well- he barely touched dinner.  And you were kind of mean to him on the train, too… why don’t we try again tomorrow?”

“He was rude to me too,” Draco grumbled, but he’d already given in.

“And I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt your feelings,” Blaise told him.  “Look, I know your dad has this idea of how you should behave, but nobody needs to know if you don’t pull that crap here.”

“Can we leave my father out of this, please?” Draco’s face had clouded over a little.

“Fine, mate- whatever you want.  Just- promise you’ll try not to make drama this year.  It’d be a little different if they were in Gryffindor, but we all live together now, and I don’t want to walk into a war zone every time I try to sleep,” Theodore chided gently.

Down in the girls dorm, Hermione was getting to know her own roommates- Pansy Parkinson, Tracey Davis, Daphne Greengrass, and Millicent Bulstrode.

“Daphne, stop,” Pansy complained out of nowhere.  “You’re making the rest feel bad about ourselves with your perfect hair and your stupid pretty face.  I’d literally kill people for your nose.”

“Yours isn’t so bad- it fits your facial structure,” Millicent grumbled.  “I look like there’s a hag in my family tree.”

“Oh, shut up,” Tracey ordered her.  “Sure, you’re a little bigger than most of us, and maybe your face is a little plainer, but you’ve got lovely hair, and a strong jawline like that is a rare feature in a woman.”

“Thanks,” Millie said, brightening a little.  “I’d still love to have Hermione’s skin tone, though- it’s gorgeous.”

“Oh, wow, that’s really nice of you,” the muggleborn was taken aback- when did the trouble come?  “I… are there not racists in the wizarding world? It’s not so much fun when people tell you you’d look better if you straightened your hair.”

“We don’t really discriminate on skin colour here,” Tracey explained.  “Blood status- well, that’s different, but luckily for you, all our parents were neutral in the war.  Some of the older girls, though… here,” she rifled through her bag and pulled out a number of bracelets with a little matching round charm on them.

“I’m a half-blood, so I’m also expecting some trouble… my mum gave me these bracelets- if we each wear one, the charm will heat up if one of us is in trouble, and we can get a teacher, or at least there will be more of us so it’s a fair fight against whoever’s messing with us.”

“Green and silver,” Pansy hummed, pleased.  “That’s great. If it had been something like red and gold, not even your perfect cheekbones could convince me to debase myself with it.”

“You’re a shameless flirt, you know that?” Daphne rolled her eyes as they all took a bracelet and hooked them around their wrists, the magic adjusting to fit them perfectly.

“Only with cute girls,” she contradicted, winking at Hermione.  “And we’re all cute girls here.”

“Uh, I actually kind of wanted to talk to Professor Snape about something,” Hermione changed the subject.  “Do I have enough time before curfew?”

“Half an hour,” Millie answered, looking at her watch.  “Good luck.”

“Gee, thanks,” Hermione chuckled, a bit morbidly.  Their head of house was a bit scary.

The shiny black leather of her new school oxfords caught the firelight and reflected it, sending little shadows dancing across the stone.  Most of the lights had been extinguished so close to curfew, and only a few lanterns stayed lit in the common room as upper years chatted with each other or, in the case of one couple, snogged passionately.  

Her feet took her tip-tapping to the Professor’s office, and Hermione gathered her courage to knock on the door.

“Enter,” the man’s smooth, quiet baritone seemed to fill the whole office, and Hermione took a deep breath and squared her shoulders.

“Ah, Ms. Granger.  Our muggleborn… enigma,” thin lips quirked sardonically under the hooked nose.  “I hope you haven’t encountered trouble this early in the year?”

“No sir, I’ve been fine so far.  But I wanted to ask you- does Hogwarts have any resources for deaf students?”

“Deaf students?” the professor’s tone was incredulous, and his face gave off the impression that he was about to scold her for wasting his time.  “Hogwarts does not currently have any deaf students.”

“I… I think it does, sir,” Hermione looked him in the eye, and even the professor was slightly taken aback by the determination there.  “I have good reason to believe Harry is deaf.”

“Harry Potter?” Snape’s voice, previously condescendingly cordial with just a bit of an edge, now turned hostile, his expression a snarl.  “Perfect Harry Potter couldn’t be deaf- and if he was, he’d be shouting it to anyone who would listen, expecting special treatment.”

Hermione didn’t care for his tone, and she wondered why the man was being so needlessly cruel towards one of his own students.  She squared her chin again. “He didn’t react to the ghosts at all, like he didn’t even hear them. And wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry, for the sake of your house?” She didn’t use an honorific, feeling he hadn’t earned it.  What was this guys’ problem?

“Fine,” he capitulated, realising he wasn’t going to get rid of this one easily- understandable, he supposed, for the first muggleborn Slytherin in 20 years.  “Flint!” The prefect, who must have had some sort of magical link to Snape, appeared immediately.

“Yes sir?” he deferred.

“Go collect Potter and bring him here.  I wish to speak to him.” He nodded and then was out the door again, and three minutes later came back, a very nervous-looking Harry trailing behind him, big green eyes, Lily’s eyes, looking anxiously at him.  Snape hardened his heart and dropped his eyes, refusing to open that box of repressed emotion.

“Ms. Granger here seems to suspect you’re deaf,” he scoffed.  “Will you put her ridiculous fears at ease and stop wasting my time?”

“I’m not deaf,” Harry mumbled, but his eyes were wide and frightened, and Merlin, Lily’s had never looked like that.  Looking closer, Severus realised that Potter didn’t look quite like he suspected him.  While his skin tone was nearly the exact same shade as his father’s, although perhaps a touch lighter, he didn’t wear the same haughty, arrogant expression James had (well, the word for it would be confident, but Severus’ perceptions were coloured both by his hatred of Harry’s father and the fact that James did treat him differently than he did the people who adored him so).  He had Lily’s chin as well, and her soft, cupid’s bow lips, but the most startling difference was the expression on his face, demure, almost… scared.   And his cheeks were rather hollow… didn’t children usually still have a little baby fat at his age?  He seemed to be drowning in his robes, as well, even though they weren’t especially large.  Harry shifted uncomfortably under his attention.

With no notice or sudden movements, he let out a loud bang from his wand, and Hermione jumped, but Harry showed no reaction, and his face didn’t change until he realised that his classmate had spooked at something, at which point he looked wildly around.  Suspicions officially aroused, Severus waved his wand to perform a basic diagnostic charm on his hearing- and the results came back quickly. Completely, profoundly, irreversibly deaf.  He hadn’t been deaf the night his parents were killed, of that Severus was sure.  His eyes narrowed as another suspicion made his heart drop to his knees. Oh, why couldn’t the boy have been an arsehole? He thought to himself as he slowly reached out to tap Harry’s shoulder.  As he’d feared, the child flinched violently.

“Come on, Potter, we’re going to the nurse,” he ordered, over-enunciating his words almost comically, and Harry would have laughed at how unnecessarily ridiculous he looked if he wasn’t so nervous.

“I… that’s not necessary sir, really… I can read lips just fine, sir, and I don’t want to be a burden,” he stuttered out.

Oh gods, Severus thought to himself.   Abuse is looking more and more likely.  

“Tell me Potter, who did you grow up with?” he asked, softening his tone just a little.

“Erm, my aunt and uncle, sir… Vernon and Petunia Dursley.”

“Fuck!” Snape swore.   “Bloody fucking hell!”

“Um, sir…?” Harry put forth tentatively, backing away a little nervously.

“Petunia raised you?” he tried not to let the venom in his voice sneak onto his face lest the child think it was directed at him.  

“Er, yeah- I mean, yes sir,” he corrected, eyeing the professor warily.

“Come, child- we’re going to the hospital wing.  I didn’t think even Albus could be that bloody blind.”  Professor Snape clutched him by the arm, sending a look towards Hermione that clearly told her to go back to her dorm.  Then Harry found himself being dragged through the fire place, and oh dear what was happening? But then he was in a large, white room full of beds that smelled of the disinfectant Petunia made him use when he cleaned the house, and a short little witch with grey hair in a bun that seemed to take up far more than her physical space was stepping towards them.

“What seems to be the problem?” she asked, shooting a concerned look at Harry.  

“Potter’s deaf- completely so.  I need you to run a full scan.”

The medi-witch held her questions and went to pick Harry up to place him on a bed, only to find her hands sticky with blood.  Harry saw the red substance and panicked, scrambling back and nearly falling off the bed.

“Shhh, it’s alright child,” she promised him.  “I’m just going to take a look at your back.”

“I fell!” he blurted, and Madame Pomfrey traded a concerned look with Professor Snape.

“However it happened, I need to take a look at it, alright luv?” she mouthed carefully, and Harry, somewhere in the back of his mind, groaned inwardly- why did people insist on doing that?

Harry had no choice as she stripped him of his robes and large t-shirt, poking at his wrist with a concerned look on her face- Vernon had tossed him out of the car this morning and he’d landed on it, but he was pretty sure it was just a simple fracture and would fix itself like they always did.  It would just hurt for a couple days.

Whatever displeasure she felt when she saw his wrist, it increased tenfold when she saw his chest and his back, gasping.  Behind her, Severus snarled in pure fury, and Harry started to tremble.

“Did they do this?” he asked Harry, stepping forward, and Harry shrank back as Poppy gave him a stern look.

“We’ll take care of this later,” she told him, disappointed he was letting his own feelings from the past affect the case, even if his anger was on behalf of Harry instead of directed at him.  Turning to Harry, she clucked softly as she ran a few diagnostics charms, and they both had to take a deep breath to keep their magic from reacting to the results. Severe lesions dating back years, several untreated broken bones, one from this morning and at least three of which would need to be reset.  Profound deafness from an untreated ear infection that was very nearly fatal. Severe malnutrition, underweight, compromised immune system. Minor infections in the current wounds on his back and chest.

“Well, dear, you’ll be here a few days, I’m afraid, and we’ve got a little infection on your chest and your back we’ve got to take care of, alright?  I’m going to clean it out very carefully and bandage it, and then I’ll fix your wrist. There’s an old injury on your left collarbone and a couple on your right leg that healed wrong, but I’ll take care of those tomorrow so you can sleep.  I’m sure you’re exhausted.”

Harry nodded, looking crestfallen as Poppy grabbed a few disinfectant potions.  Severus, noticing Harry’s distraction, did something that he really shouldn’t have, but it was really the only option he saw- Harry was both a Potter and an Evans, and an abused child to boot, so he was too stubborn and scared to ever be honest with them.

Merlin keep me out of hell for this, he groaned inwardly as he carefully entered Harry’s mind, looking for old memories of the Dursleys that he could show Dumbledore.  He was even angrier than he thought he’d be, once he did.

Harry was cooking at the stove- he was maybe three or four, although he was so small it was hard to tell.  Bacon grease splashed from the pan and hit his hand, and he cried out softly as his lip warbled. Petunia, doting on her own son at the table, noticed and sniffed, telling him that he shouldn’t cry, ungrateful little brat, as she held his hands to the burners.  He was thrown in the cupboard under the stairs, for Merlin’s sake, and Severus had to admit he was impressed as he watched the burns heal.  Until Vernon came home and saw that his hands weren’t injured as they should be, and dragged him roughly to the shed out back, where he grabbed a belt, already rusted with dried blood, off of a hook and began beating the child mercilessly, adding new wounds on top of scars that were already littering the child’s back.  

Harry was five, and his ears hurt so, so bad, as he curled up in his cupboard, clutching his ragged blanket as tears streamed silently down his face.

“Are you well enough to do your chores yet, boy?” Vernon roared, opening the cupboard, and got only a whimper in response from a half-conscious little boy.  “Useless,” he’d muttered as he aimed a kick at his little ribcage and slammed the door shut again.

From there, the memories were silent, disconcertingly so, and Severus watched along with Harry, trying and failing to read Petunia’s lips as she gave him his chore list.  He asked her to repeat it, his voice quiet and respectful (i.e. terrified). She whacked him with the frying pan she’d been holding, and Harry ambled away, clutching his head with one hand and a bucket of soapy water in the other.

He watched the madness of the Hogwarts letters, cursing Albus for angering the beasts, simply for his own amusement. If Harry Potter hadn’t been getting his letters, he should have sent someone to investigate.  Then came Harry’s pure joy at learning that his parents weren’t useless drunks, that they had loved him. Lily, a drunk, he scoffed.   Even James had more dignity than that. And Diagon Alley- the wonder of the magical world brought with it happiness far more powerful than it should have been, simply because it was one of Harry’s few good memories.  And then Hagrid had dropped him back there- why had Dumbledore sent Hagrid, when it was Minerva’s job to handle such cases? Granted, the giant was friendly, but definitely not observant.  And then Harry Potter, who Severus had automatically expected to be a lazy student, floating through on his fame, was studying his school books with a nearly manic intensity in his sad little bedroom, until his cousin found the information pamphlet and Harry was pushed back into the cupboard, after a thorough beating for ‘lying.’

The no magic rule doesn’t apply to first years! Severus screamed in his head, but of course memory-Harry couldn’t hear him, and the pamphlet didn’t specify.  He pulled out, realising there were thousands more memories but unwilling to look at them.

Harry looked at him intently, having eventually picked up on the foreign presence in his mind.  “You’re not going back there,” he told the boy, inserting his entire being into the statement. Then he stalked out, planning a ‘conversation’ with Dumbledore while Poppy muttered something about how his prescription was ‘so out of date it’s a miracle he could see.’  He had a bone to pick.