- At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, earlier that day -
Hedwig flew into the castle and into the Great Hall, where Professors McGonagall and Snape were talking about the up-coming year.
She hooted around her beak-full of note and alighted onto Severus Snape's shoulder. Scowling Severus turned with a questioning look towards the snowy owl - then to Minerva, who took the small note from Hedwig's beak and read it.
'It's from Harry Potter, Severus,' she said, 'it's a bit illegible but you can just make out, what it says. It seems, that he couln't get onto the train, this morning.'
Severus raised an eyebrow at her. 'Does he bother to say why?' he asked in a clipped tone.
'Only that he has a condition that stopped him from boarding the trian.'
'Condition!' Severus replied. 'Send a reply to him, saying that he'd better be ready. I suppose I'll have to take an inordinate amount of time fetching the boy!'
And with that, Severus Snape shooed Hedwig off of his shoulder and stalked out of the Hall.
- Back at Privet Drive -
Later that day Hedwig returned with a reply to Harry's earlier note, but being unable to read it - Harry didn't.
Harry was sitting on his bed. He'd just been allowed to use the toilet and now he was once again locked in his bedroom. Just then, he heard the doorbell ring, and then he heard his Uncle shout from downstairs, 'WE DON'T WANT ANY FREAKS HERE!'
A few seconds later Harry's bedroom door was blasted open.
Harry jumped as the door banged off of the wall.
'Mr Potter, I presume?' asked a low stern voice.
Harry turned his head to his right - in the direction of the voice.
'Who's there?' he asked softly.
'Don't play games with me, Mr Potter,' the voice went on, 'I am Professor Snape, and I'm here to take you to Hogwarts.'
Harry didn't move from his place on the bed. 'So, Hedwig got my note to you? I'm glad - I wasn't sure if anyone would come.'
'Didn't you recieve a note that was sent to you?'
Harry nodded and pointed towards his desk.
'I see that you didn't bother to open it.'
'There isn't really much point, sir, with my condition. It's pretty pointless.'
'And what condition is it, that you think you have?' asked Snape.
Harry bowed his head, he didn't feel like talking about it.
'I'm blind, sir.' Harry replied softy.
Harry Potter, son of Lily and James Potter was blind? Surely the boy was joking, Snape thought.
'Mr Potter?' said Snape, as he came forward and knelt down in front of the boy. 'Do you mind, if I make sure?'
'Will, will it hurt?' Harry asked, somewhat timidly Snape thought.
'No, Mr Potter, it won't.'
'OK,' Harry again said softly.
Severus cast a diagnostic spell over Harry and concluded that the boy wasn't lying, that he was in fact blind.
'How did this happen, Mr Potter?'
'My, my Aunt hit my head with a frying pan,' Harry replied in a whisper. 'A couple of times.'
Lily's sister had done this?! Severus thought. He shook his head and got up. Looking around the small bedroom, he found all of Harry's new school things and shrank them, including Hedwig's cage and placed them all into a pocket in his black robes.
Once done he turned back to the boy, who he saw was now holding his wand, with a sad expression upon his young face.
'Come, Mr Potter, I'm going to take you to Hogwarts, with me.'
Harry stood up, but didn't move.
'Please,' Harry asked softly, as he continued to hold his wand, 'can you guide me, sir?'
Severus took hold of Potter's left hand in his right, and helped him out of his room and down the stairs. When they reached the bottom step, Severus spoke.
'Please wait here, Mr Potter. I need to speak with your Aunt and Uncle.'
'Will I have to return here, for the summer?' Harry asked sadly.
'I'm affraid that I can't answer that, Mr Potter.'
Harry nodded dejectedly and bowed his head.
Severus left Harry in the hall, but was back a few mintues later.
'Come along, Harry,' he said in a soft calm tone, as he opened the front door.
Harry noticed the change in Snape's tone, how it had gone from stern to soft and gentle in a matter of minutes, but didn't question it, he took hold of Snape's left arm, and together they exited No. 4 Privet Drive.
They stopped a short way away from the house.
'You'd better hold on tight to my arm, Harry.'
Harry did as he was told, and a moment later he felt as though he was being compressed, as the air went out of him. It only lasted a couple of seconds, before his feet hit solid ground. He wobbled slightly and would've fallen to the ground, had Snape not been supporting him.
After waiting a moment or two for Harry to get his bearings, Snape made sure that he was alright before they started up the sloping drive that led to Hogwarts castle.
A short time later, Snape told Harry that they were coming up to a set of steps.
'First step, Harry.'
Harry's grip on Snape's arm tightened a fraction, as he made his way up the main steps and into the Entrance Hall of Hogwarts.