Rating: NC-17, Harry/Snape
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns the Potterverse, I just play in it from time to time.
Warnings: AU, angst, child abuse, non-con, chan, violence and character deaths.
Summary: Dumbledore's methods to ensure Harry's safety after the defeat of Voldemort do more harm than good.
Thanks again to rakina for the beta and to linnpuzzle for allowing me to use her artwork for the icon base.
Links to earlier parts
Once Minerva heard the full story from both Draco and Severus, it was barely an hour later before Pansy Parkinson was expelled and Draco was sent to the infirmary and into Madam Pomfrey's care. Severus felt guilty that he hadn't picked up on what was happening with Draco either, but he knew how proud Draco was and the boy had been hiding what was happening as much as Harry had.
Pansy was the one who had cast the Imperius Curse on Fred, but she wasn't a great magician at the best of times, which was why Fred was able to fight her spell. It didn't take Poppy long to remove the curse and the Obliviate spells Fred had been under, but he didn't remember anything that they hadn't already guessed or discovered already.
Pansy, it transpired, had fancied Draco, who'd constantly refused the girl's advances. Severus wasn't sure, as his godson had never confided in him about it, but he thought that Draco was gay. He'd sometimes caught Draco looking very longingly at Blaise Zabini when he thought the other boy wasn't looking. Narcissa knew of Pansy's unrequited love and had used the girl to do her dirty work, Obliviating Fred and replacing the video in the Muggle Studies room. The girl was lucky she'd only been expelled and not sent to Azkaban, which was the usual penalty for using the Unforgivables.
They'd let Harry decide, and Harry hadn't wanted her to go to prison over it.
Harry was being very calm about it; too calm in Severus' opinion. To Severus, it seemed as if Harry might be holding things in and one day he was going to snap again like he had that day in the Muggle Studies room.
Severus had a headache by the time he left Minerva's office and walked briskly back to his own quarters. Draco would probably be quite some time yet with Madam Pomfrey, but he resolved to take a closer interest in the boy's affairs in future. He didn't want Draco to feel that he didn't have anyone.
Severus pushed open the door to his quarters and sighed at being back in his own domain. Harry was sitting curled up in front of the fire, a book perched on his lap. It was one of the textbooks for Ancient Runes. He glanced up as Severus came in.
"How are Fred and Draco?" asked Harry, setting his book aside. Harry still hadn't changed back to his sixteen-year old self, with everything that had happened, they'd barely had time to do anything about that.
"Fred's fine, George took him home after Madam Pomfrey gave him the all-clear. They'll pop back in a few days so Fred can gather up his things, and visit the Imp of course," smiled Severus. Harry seemed to like the nickname.
"He's with Madam Pomfrey now, I suspect she'll keep him in for a few days; he's suffering a little from shock."
"I'm - I'm sorry I was so mean to him," said Harry. "I didn't know, none of us knew what was happening to him. It's - it's a hard thing to talk about, but talking to Madam Pomfrey does help. Maybe he'll find that too."
"You're being very understanding about this, Harry," said Severus, kneeling down and caressing Harry's hair. He had the impression that if Harry was a kitten, he'd be purring.
"I know it's a bit of a cliché, but I do understand what he's going through. It happened to me too, so I know how he feels. Well, maybe not exactly. I don't know how I'd feel if my mother did that to me, I just can't imagine her doing that. I can imagine some women doing it, though. Look at Bellatrix Lestrange: she was mad, she was capable of anything."
"Yes, maybe the madness ran in the family. I know it's a lot to ask, Imp, but can you try and be a bit friendlier to Draco this year? He feels as if everyone hates him because of his father being in prison, and now his mother too. He's never really had friends and I think he could do with a few of them, don't you?"
"I can try, Severus. That's all I can promise."
"Now, are you ready to take your aging potion? Have you still got any of your sixth year clothes?"
"Yeah, they're in my trunk. I'll go and leave them on my bed."
When Harry left to do just that, Severus made his way to the Potions lab and took down the two vials that Harry would need to take to return him to his proper age. He'd miss having Harry to care for but it was probably best that Harry returned to the dorm and his friends. Having sixteen year old memories and thoughts in an eleven year old body was probably a bit disconcerting.
As soon as he got back, Severus handed the vials to Harry. "Take both of these and then go and lie down. It will be a bit painful as your bones and muscles grow in such a short space of time. It should probably take one to two hours at the most but once you're fully grown again, the pain should stop. If not, I can give you a painkiller until it eases; it's not a permanent pain."
"Thanks, Severus," said Harry as he held the vials in his hand. "I'll miss living with you and Fred."
"I'll miss you too, Imp," said Severus as he kissed Harry on the top of his head. "Now, scoot and let me see the new you."
"Okay," smiled Harry as he made his way to his bedroom and closed the door.
Severus took out the latest edition of Potions Quarterly and spent a good hour snorting at the glaring mistakes in some of the abstracts. You didn't need to gather moonstone at the full moon, that was just a legend and it would not affect the potion no matter when it was gathered. He'd a good mind to write to the editor and complain about the mistakes and he was just about to hunt out a quill and parchment to do just that when Harry's bedroom door opened.
He did nothing so clichéd as dropping his jaw to the floor, but he did stare probably more than was warranted at the sight of the boy - no, not a boy - it was definitely a young man before him. Harry had grown about four more inches in height than his previous sixteen-year old incarnation. No longer was he the scrawny, underfed waif; his chest was broader, well muscled and his face held the chiselled angles of a man, not the babyish softness of childhood. There were no hairs on his chest, but there were a few downy hairs on his chin and upper lip. Harry had draped a sheet round his bottom half and he blushed at Severus.
Severus could almost convince himself that he'd imagined the flash of arousal as he saw this half-naked young man in his quarters. If Harry hadn't been a student... but he was and Severus quelled his body almost as soon as he felt the twitch in his groin.
"Erm, Severus. I think we need to go shopping again – none of my clothes fit me anymore."
Severus couldn't help it; he took another look at the taller, broader Harry and burst out laughing. "That we do, Imp, that we do."
Of course, since none of Harry's clothes fitted him anymore, Severus loaned him some of his own which he shrunk to fit Harry and both of them made their way to Hogsmeade. Harry liked shopping with Severus; the man seemed to know instinctively what might suit Harry and he bore no nonsense from the sales assistants who would have tried to get Harry to buy more than he really needed.
They spent a productive few hours in Madam Malkin's getting Harry new school robes as well as three new uniform sets and a couple of pairs of shoes. After that, Harry concentrated on some more casual items: a few t-shirts; three pairs of jeans; some casual canvas trousers and a couple of short-sleeved shirts now that summer would soon be here. Severus left him to browse the underwear by himself, but not before Harry had seen the man blush.
It was a delight to pick out all different sorts; teenaged Harry had only ever had Dudley's old hand-me-downs before, usually greying and frayed y-fronts. Harry picked out cotton and silk boxers, feeling a bit extravagant at buying himself silk, but it was his money and he was going to spend it how he chose. He avoided the y-fronts altogether, but did pick out a couple of pairs of briefs that were more comfortable for flying than the boxer shorts. Some more socks and then he was done, the owner of a whole new wardrobe.
One of the assistants rang up the sale and Harry gave her the details of getting the money out of his vault. The parcels would be sent to Hogwarts by Owl Post in the next few days, so they had nothing to carry after they left the shop.
"Thanks, Severus, and for the loan of the clothes. Looks like I'll have to borrow some for the next few days until mine arrive as well."
"You're very welcome, Harry. Shall we go to the Three Broomsticks for a butterbeer? You must be thirsty after trying on so many clothes."
"That would be great, Severus. It feels so good to be back outside." Harry took a deep breath as they walked along and just as Severus was about to push open the door to the inn, they were halted by a screech from behind them.
"Harry! Oh my God! Harry!"
Harry turned to see Hermione staring open-mouthed at him. "Harry! You look wonderful!" she exclaimed. "Where have you been? How are you? What happened to you? You're so tall!"
Harry laughed. "One question at a time, Hermione. I'll explain later. Is Ron with you?"
"Yes, he's just getting a new quill. I said I'd wait at the Three Broomsticks for him."
"Well, come and join us then and we can tell Ron together."
"Harry, maybe you would like to catch up with your friends by yourself? I can see you back at Hogwarts."
"No way, Severus," said Harry, grabbing the man's arm. "You're not getting out of it that easily, you're my friend too."
Harry didn't notice the strange look Hermione gave him as she saw Harry holding the man's arm.
Once they were settled in a booth at the back, Severus went to the bar to order and Hermione instantly began questioning Harry again. "Harry? What on earth were you doing in Hogsmeade with Snape?"
"Shopping," he told her truthfully.
"Shopping? You went shopping with Snape? Why?"
"Because none of my old clothes fit me anymore. Let's wait until Ron gets here and I can explain everything."
Severus returned with four bottles of butterbeer which he set down on the table and the three of them waited in an uncomfortable silence until Ron came in and made a beeline for Hermione. He bent over to kiss her until he saw Snape.
"P - professor," he stammered. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm wondering that myself, Weasley," replied Severus. "I think now that you are here, Mr. Potter may enlighten us."
Harry's heart hurt a little that Severus was back to calling him Mr. Potter, but he guessed the man was trying to put some distance between them again now that Harry was going to be his student again. "I wanted you all here so I can tell you what Severus and Fred did for me."
"So that's where Fred was all this time?" queried Ron. "He was looking after you?"
"Yes," said Harry. "Fred and Severus took care of me when I couldn't look after myself. You see, after I went a bit mental when I saw that tape, they de-aged me."
Ron's eyes were so wide they looked like they might pop out of his head at any moment. Hermione had a rather smug look, as if she had guessed something like this all along. Harry told them all he could and that was why he was now taller and bigger than he had been before; his nutrition had been a lot better when he'd been with Severus and Fred and he wasn't forced to sleep in a small cupboard. It made sense, but Harry was still surprised when he caught sight of his reflection now, as if he couldn't quite believe that he was the young man staring back at him.
"I'll need your notes, Hermione," said Harry. "If I'm ever to catch up. I'm going back to class at the end of the Easter holidays, I still want to be a Healer and I need good marks."
"Of course, Harry. Whatever you need."
"Um, I've got some notes too, Harry," said Ron, turning almost as red as his hair. "But I don't suppose they'll be as good as Hermione's."
"Thanks, both of you."
"You're very welcome, Harry," smiled Hermione as she took a sip of her butterbeer. Harry had the impression that his friends were dying to ask him some more questions, but didn't feel comfortable about it with Severus there. Severus seemed to notice it too.
"I'll take my leave, I have some lesson plans to complete," said Severus, standing up. "I will see you back at Hogwarts, Harry."
"See you later, Severus," said Harry, waving.
Ron waited until the man was out of the inn before really letting go. "Harry! He called you Harry!"
"I know, he could hardly keep calling me Potter when I was a little child, could he?"
"No, I suppose not, but it's just strange hearing him call you that and - and he seems to like you. I thought you hated each other?"
"Not for a while, Ron. I certainly don't hate him, how can I when he rescued me and looked after me? I don't think I could ever hate him again."
"Just wait until you're back in Potions and he docks points off Gryffindor for no reason – you'll hate him soon enough."
Harry didn't reply. He didn't care about House Points anymore; he couldn't care less how many points might be docked. There were more important things in life than who won the House Cup and Harry knew that no matter what happened he would never go back to hating Severus Snape.
That was just something he knew he could never do. Not now.