Longing of the Soul
AU notes: Harry et al are aged up one year to avoid underage issues. Hogwarts starts at age 12 as a result, not 11, and the dates are bumped up 1 year to reflect the changes as well.
The horcruxes are present in this story; however, Dumbledore doesn't know what they are beyond the journal and Nagini, so he never finds the ring, nor is he cursed by it.
Save only for Harry's cloak, the hallows are not a part of this story.
Main Pairing:Harry Potter/Severus Snape
Other Relationships:Hermione Granger/Ron Weasley; Neville Longbottom/Luna Lovegood; Draco Malfoy/Dean Thomas (eventually).
Major Characters: Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Albus Dumbledore, Neville Longbottom, Dean Thomas, Luna Lovegood, Draco Malfoy, Ginny Weasley, Lucius Malfoy.
TAGS IN SUMMARY
HARRY: Less sassy and whiny than in canon. He’s dealing with depression so he doesn’t fight back as much. He gains his spirit back slowly as the story progresses.
SEVERUS: True to canon in the first few chapters. Has a wake-up call partway in, and gradually softens and opens up. Ends up pretty soft (with Harry, at least—he’s still hard with anyone who hasn’t earned his trust), for the sake of holding onto his relationships. Also, please note that this Severus has several severe phobias and PTSD. Once his walls start coming down, the past starts coming back to bite him. He's afraid quite a bit during his recovery period, though he only shows it in private.
DUMBLEDORE: True to canon. He’s a manipulative berk but he means well. Mostly. He’s not evil, but definitely a morally grey character.
RON: He’s much less concerned with Harry and much more concerned with chasing tail and glory. He does grow up eventually.
HERMIONE: Gets sucked into her relationship and her studies to the point she alienates Harry, but comes to her senses before long.
GINNY: Think “Obsessive girlfriend meme.” Seriously, she has an unhealthy obsession with Harry. She isn’t a bad person—just sick. I’ve tried very hard to walk the line between making her evil and making her ill. It’s tough to make her somewhat sympathetic when she’s doing bad things.
SEAMUS: If you like him, you’re not going to like me much after this fic. He’s very much an antagonist for almost the entire book.
DRACO: He’s a decent kid stuck in a terrible situation. He’s not quite as snotty as in the books. Also, he’s gay. So… yeah, not quite canon.
LUCIUS: He’s pretty much worse than Voldemort here. Be warned.
JAMES and SIRIUS: In Severus’ experience, they are portrayed as the bullies and sexual assailants they are in canon. They might have grown up after school, but until then, they were awful. To Harry, they’re a mixed bag. The loving parents and godfather he remembers, and the bastards who broke Severus all in one. They are NOT portrayed in a good light here, in fact, none of my fics show them in a positive light unless Dumbledore is the bad guy and he’s compelling them to be assholes. If you’re looking for a fic that condones their bad behavior, look elsewhere. I don’t write it.
REMUS: Portrayed as the mild-mannered coward he is in canon. Harry is torn on his behavior. The man doesn’t stand by him like he ought to, doesn’t defend him well, doesn’t even show up in his life much after fifth year, and he stood by and let Severus be assaulted. Remus is avoiding Harry and Severus because of the fact that Harry is aware of his failures and he can’t face up to his mistakes.
LILY: She’s not given a pass either. She let her best friend be attacked. Even if he was a jerk at the time, she still should have helped him, in Harry’s opinion. Severus forgave her a long time ago as he has information Harry doesn’t. Harry’s view of her shifts when the entire story comes to light.
There is a lot of past sexual abuse and domestic abuse in this story. It’s not graphic, but there are one or two short scenes where it is shown in flashback. I’ll post warnings at the top of each chapter to give those who would rather not read it a heads up.
Warnings for this Chapter: past attempted non-con, not successful. Imperius dreams. Implied child abuse. Depression.
Longing of the Soul
The Dangers of Dreaming
7 July, 1997
Through a haze of pain and confusion, a sibilant voice hissed into Harry Potter’s throbbing skull. “Kill … kill them all ….”
Images of his relatives flickered through his mind, all dead in their beds, Harry standing over them with an expression of utmost hatred.
“Kill … kill ….”
But why would he want to? True, his relatives were terrible people and they deserved some pain, but to murder them in their sleep? No. He wasn’t that kind of monster.
“You are like me, Harry Potter. You feel it. You know it. Ssstop denying your dessstiny and kill!”
Harry’s limbs moved independent of his will, forcing him to turn, to sit—
Harry’s garbled shout rang through the house, jarring him out of his nightmares, and the boy suppressed a wince. Shite, his uncle would not be happy with him. Though really, he should be grateful. After all, Harry had just stopped Voldemort from forcing Harry to kill his relatives for the third time that night. Gods, these dreams—they would drive him mad.
Or he would lose control of them one day and become what he feared worst.
At least Vernon didn’t know that Sirius had died three weeks ago—yet. Harry still had the protection of his godfather’s bad reputation, though how long it could last with Riddle poking through his mind every night was anyone’s guess.
Harry cringed and staggered out of bed. If he had to deal with his uncle, it was always better to face him on his feet. Easier to dodge that way.
The door locks clicked one by one and, as the last one opened, the door slammed inwards, creaking on its hinges. Vernon hovered at the door in his plaid pyjamas, huffing and puffing like a mad bull, eyes popping with fury. Harry took a step back for his own safety.
“What do you think you’re doing, screaming like a bloody nancy boy every night! It’s gone far enough, I tell you! Some of us have to work in the morning, unlike lazy, good-for-nothing layabouts!” He stepped closer, and Harry backed away. “That’s it. You’re going back to that freaky school and never setting foot in this place again, do you hear me?”
Harry suppressed a snort. As if that would be a punishment. Even living with Snape would be more fun. At least the professor would feed him once in a while. Probably.
“All right then,” Harry said with courage he didn’t feel. “I’ll just send my godfather a note then, as he’ll have to be the one to pick me up. I’m sure he’ll be glad to see me.”
Clenching his fists, he breathed deep and fought the roiling wave of grief in his chest at the mention of Sirius. Every night, he relived it, that terrible moment at the Ministry when his godfather was lost to him forever, a laugh frozen on his face even as he fell through the veil. It still hurt like a lost limb to know he had lost the only person who had loved him since his parents, but he couldn’t let even a flicker of that show, not to his uncle, or his last remnant of protection here would vanish.
His heart panged with guilt at the thought of using his godfather’s name this way. Was it wrong to protect himself with the reputation of a dead man?
No, Sirius would think it all a grand joke, were he still alive to enjoy it.
The thought of what else Sirius had thought made for excellent laughs turned Harry’s stomach, but he kept that thought from his expression too.
Vernon’s blotchy red colour receded, leaving him with a complexion like badly-mixed strawberry porridge.
“Now, now. N-no need for that,” he choked out. “I suppose you can stay. But you’ll be working extra hard to make up for this tomorrow, you hear?”
Harry gave him a bored look. “So, the same as usual then?”
Vernon’s eyes bulged. “Don’t you sass me, you ungrateful little freak! We clothe you, feed you, shelter you, and you threaten us with your … freaky stuff and your criminal family—”
Fury sprang up, white hot in an instant. Magic rose in Harry and sparked on his skin.
“Get out. Out!”
Vernon took one look at the green-glowing teen and ran like the hounds of hell were on his heels.
Once the floor had stopped vibrating in the wake of Vernon’s retreat, Harry sank onto the bed and ruffled his hair, frustrated that he had lost control of his magic again. He shouldn’t let them provoke him—besides the fact that they weren’t worth the effort, any unauthorised use of magic would give the Ministry an excuse to torment Harry. He had no desire to endure another trial with the toad, but with the last of his family lying cold and lifeless beyond the veil, the insinuations on his loved ones’ characters just hurt too much to bear.
Even if … they were true.
Harry leaned against the wall and drew his knees to his chest, letting his tears flow now that he wasn’t in immediate danger. If things had only gone differently last month, Harry might have been at Grimmauld place with his real family by now. He could have spent the last few weeks playing chess with Ron and sneaking around the Order with the twins. He could have spent time doing his summer homework for once. Hermione would have been pleased. He could have spent some time in the air with the Weasleys, practising his favourite quidditch moves. He would been living with his godfather, making up for the past and learning what it meant to be part of a family. He would still have a godfather.
But, as much as he would have loved to spend the summer at his real home rather than in the Dursleys’ house of pain, how much would he have been able to enjoy it knowing what Sirius had done? Harry’s final words to Sirius hadn’t been kind, but even knowing that he had been so harsh with the man just days before his death, he couldn’t quite regret it. Harry had seen the dark side of his family in Snape’s pensieve that day and the knowledge had left a bitter aftertaste in spite of everything.
For years, Harry had operated under the misapprehension that Snape had been the bully. That, like he had singled out Harry as a target for his ire, he had latched onto Harry’s innocent father and godfather and tormented them for no reason.
It was a convenient story, something he had used to comfort himself even when the facts didn’t line up. When Sirius said something too cruel. When Remus, cheeks red and his eyes downcast, let Sirius go on about Snape behind his back for hours without a break yet pretended to be friendly to him when Sirius wasn’t about. When Molly looked at both men, approbation sharp in her eyes and her lips pursed, wooden spoon shaking in her fist.
Even then, Harry had clung to the belief that his family were good, honest people and Snape the epitome of all things evil. Well, behind Voldemort, of course.
But that day in the pensieve had ripped the blinders away, and all of Harry’s carefully-constructed beliefs had come crashing down on his head. Like it or not, Harry couldn’t deny that, at least during the memory he had witnessed, Snape had been the victim.
At first, he had denied it. He had tried to blame Snape for their behaviour. The man was mean, so maybe he had brought it on himself. The thought left a squirmy, slimy feeling in the pit of his stomach, but Harry denied it over and over again. He couldn’t let go of his beliefs. Maybe his family had been crueller than usual that day, crueller than they needed to be, but it still had to be Snape’s fault somehow. It had to be.
The fact that Snape had cut Harry’s mum with the sharp side of his tongue when she had only been trying to help had only given the idea fodder. Harry’s mum must have recognised the evil in him when she turned him away. Snape had been associating with Death Eaters and scum and he had only gotten what he deserved. Harry refused to admit any other possible explanation.
Until he got a taste of Snape’s medicine a week into the summer hols and realised just what an awful thing his parents and godfather had done.
Piers, Gordon, and Dudley had cornered Harry in the park down the street. Apparently Harry Hunting had lost its appeal, so the bullies had decided to branch out in their abusive ways. The scrawny, myopic Harry hadn’t stood a chance against three burly brawlers without his wand or access to his accidental magic, and so, when they tired of beating him and wanted to view their work first hand, Harry had no choice but to let them look.
Piers closed in, and Harry backed into the wooden slat wall behind the playground, but he had nowhere to run. “Oi! Get his shirt off, Gordon! Let’s see what the freak is hiding!”
Meaty hands grabbed Harry’s too-loose shirt and pulled it off in one swoop, the garment far too large to have provided any real resistance.
“Cor, look at ‘im,” Gordon said. “Skin and bones.” He ran a hand down Harry’s abused ribs, bringing pain and horror to the smaller boy.
Tears stung Harry’s eyes in spite of himself. “Stop it! Don’t touch me!”
“Aw, poor widdle freak is gonna cwy!” Piers snickered. “I don’t blame him either! Look, there’s not an ounce of meat on him!”
Gordon poked at Harry’s ribs far too hard, and Harry shielded himself with his arms, shaking and struggling not to keep his accidental magic from killing them all.
“Gods, he’s an ugly little shite, isn’t he, Big D?”
Dudley gave an uncomfortable sort of laugh. “Er … I guess, but don’t you think—”
“Cor, look at this!” Harry cringed as Piers yanked him around, revealing the half-faded belt scars on his back and hips, interspersed with fresh cuts. “What’s he gotten into then, D?”
Dudley let out a muffled cry of shock. “I … I dunno.”
“Must be that school, innit? They cane ‘em there, don’t they?” Gordon poked one of Harry’s scars, and Harry reeled around and swung at the bastard.
“Get off me, you bloody perverts!”
Piers and Gordon laughed. Dudley just looked horrified.
“Perverts?” Piers snickered. “We ain’t nancy boys like you! But eh, maybe we could use him for a trial run, Gordon? Get some practise in for the real thing? Big D could use some.”
Harry moved back, eyes wide with horror and heart stuttering in his throat. “N-no. No!”
To Harry’s immense relief, Dudley had pummelled his idiot friends for even making the suggestion that he force himself onto his cousin, or Harry would have had no choice but to release his magic. He could endure a hell of a lot, but rape? No.
Harry had been spared that time—and Merlin, he had never imagined the day would come that he would be grateful for his cousin’s bullying tendencies—but Snape? No one had come to save him. And now, Harry knew what it meant to stand there, helpless and scared, while a gang of bullies stripped him, mocked him, and threatened far worse.
How far had it gone with Snape? The man had pulled him out of the pensieve before the memory ended, but Harry clearly recalled his own father calling out, “Who wants to see me take off Snivellus’ pants?” The thought that he might well have carried out his threat made Harry sick.
If James and Sirius had truly stripped Snape naked and left him hanging there for the entire school to mock—maybe even done worse—then Harry couldn’t deny that Snape hadn’t been the bully. However he acted as an adult, then he had been a scared kid, one on four, then one on thirty, hanging upside down and helpless while the entire fifth form attacked him.
As much as the thought hurt, Harry’s family had been the abusers, not Snape. And he would never look at them the same way again. Not his family, and not Snape either.
He had once viewed the world in black and white. Gryffindors were good, honest people, and Slytherins were bad, evil prats. Snape was an absolute monster who had to be working for Riddle, and Harry’s parents were wonderful people Snape had a grudge against for no good reason. After all, since Snape was mean, he couldn’t possibly be good.
And maybe good was a stretch. However Harry’s views on the man had changed, the fact remained that Snape had blamed Harry for crimes he had no part in, had hated him because of the parents he didn’t even remember, and had abused him every day of his life in Hogwarts just because he happened to be James Potter’s son. That wasn’t something good people did.
Even so, Harry couldn’t see him as the personification of all things evil any longer, nor could he view his family as paragons of all things good and light. However they changed as adults, James Potter and Sirius Black had been criminals as children, and Severus Snape their victim. And Lily and Remus had let it happen, doing nothing to prevent Snape’s torture, when they might have spared him.
Merlin, Lily might have been the worst of them all. Harry’s mum had left him to suffer simply because Snape lashed out at her. Granted, the man deserved an arse kicking for using such a foul name against her, but to leave him there to be assaulted? Worse, Remus had told Harry that before that day, Lily had been Snape’s best friend! How could she abandon him like that? If it had been Ron or Hermione hanging there, Harry would have moved heaven and earth to save them, even if they did run their mouths. Hell, even if it had been Malfoy, Harry couldn’t have left him to suffer like that.
And what did that say about his family? Their ‘harmless pranks’ had broken Snape—that much was clear. The man was not just a bully, picking on any stray Gryffindor who happened to cross his path—he was damaged.
And Merlin, if that didn’t make hating the man difficult.
Harry sighed and wiped his tears. No doubt Snape would ensure Harry hated him again five minutes into the new term. He supposed there was time enough to worry about it then.
He looked at the clock over his desk—a broken one of Dudley’s he had salvaged—and groaned. It was only three in the morning and Riddle had already tried to take his mind over three times. Did he even dare go back to sleep?
Harry shuddered and pulled his threadbare blanket over his shoulders. If he didn’t at least attempt to sleep, he wouldn’t be able to work tomorrow. And if he couldn’t work, Vernon would starve him—and potentially strike him—regardless of his fear of Harry’s godfather. It seemed his cowardice only stretched so far before his hatred of his nephew took precedence. As much as the idea terrified him, Harry would have to try to sleep again and hope he didn’t dream.
He stared at his desk and debated for the hundredth time if he should tell the headmaster about his dreams. They had gotten worse since the DoM, when Riddle learned of his link to Harry, and they were certainly dangerous, but visions of chains and padded rooms danced in his mind, and Harry forced the idea away with a shudder. As long as he could resist the Imperius curse, he needn’t subject himself to the fate that awaited him should the grand manipulator ever discover the truth.
No. For now, he could control his nightmares. If that started to change, then he’d tell the headmaster, but not a moment before. Harry wouldn’t survive long locked up in a padded room with nothing but his dark, half-possessed mind for company.
With a sad sigh, Harry turned on his side and beat the lumps out of his makeshift pillow—a sack full of old, torn shirts. Dreams and grief and painful shadows haunted him as he drifted off, and, for the thousandth time that summer, Harry wished he had tried harder in Occlumency. Merlin, what he wouldn’t give for even a few hours without the bloody Dark Lord trying to take over his mind.
“Welcome back, Potter. Let usss try thisss again. Kill ….”