Disclaimer: I obviously own nothing. This story is fanfiction. This disclaimer applies to all chapters of this story.
Chapter 1: The Visit
When Harry awoke and opened his eyes, all he saw was darkness. It was like this every day. At night, he could see all sorts of fascinating shapes and colors, but when he was awake, all he could see was pitch black darkness. It was the opposite of what others experienced, he knew. He supposed it was poetic in a way. His daily life was mundane at best and sad and painful at worst. His dreams, although sometimes horrific due to the nature of their content, were always interesting. Sometimes he thought he'd like to write about his dreams and tell the story about the promising orphan boy named Tom Riddle who grew up to be the powerful and greatly feared Lord Voldemort. He couldn't though, not when he couldn't see and not when his muggle relatives would freak out about him even thinking about magic.
Not for the first time he pondered over why his dreams always were about this one person. He didn't mind much since he could see the magnificence of the world when seeing through this person's eyes. It was just strange how coherent and consistent the dreams were. The dreams flitted between points in this person's childhood and adulthood seemingly at random, but it all came together in time; it was just a matter of waiting.
Today was Harry's 11th birthday, and he was hopeful that it meant he'd get a letter to attend Hogwarts soon. While he knew it was likely just wishful thinking, that all his dreams were showing a place that didn't actually exist, a place that he simply somehow managed to conjure up in his mind through unknown means, he was optimistic.
If the letter didn't arrive and Hogwarts and the rest of the wizarding world turned out to not exist, well, at least he had the dreams to look forward to. They were the only respite he really had in his dark and lonely world. He had no friends, received no verbal or physical affection from anyone ever, often went without food, and lacked what was quite possibly the most important sense to have in order to maneuver throughout life with relative ease: sight.
Because he couldn't see, his relatives couldn't have him cooking or cleaning around the house. He knew that if he could see that they'd have him working like a house elf though. He'd often hear his aunt and uncle complain in some capacity about him "not earning his keep." At times he'd be told that it was because he didn't "contribute" that they withheld food from him. He knew they were lying and that they'd withhold food even if he could see and cook and clean. They just liked to hurt him to whatever degree they felt they could get away with.
Harry sat inside his cupboard most of the time when he wasn't at school. His relatives weren't about to let him lounge around the living room or kitchen. It didn't make much difference to him anyway. Whether he was sitting in the cupboard or sitting somewhere else, he didn't exactly get visual stimulation. At least in the cupboard he didn't have to deal with Dudley shoving him into a wall or to the floor to get passed him or for no reason at all, nor did he have to deal with his aunt and uncle berating him to his face. He'd much prefer to simply overhear them complaining about him and leave him out of it.
The doorbell rang, and Petunia went to go answer it. Harry was able to hear the conversation pretty easily from his cot in the cupboard. The person at the door was a man named Severus, who Petunia clearly disliked, judging by her cold tone when she said his name. The man seemed to feel similarly cold towards her, based on his similarly chilled tone when saying her name. He said that he was told by the headmaster to deliver Harry (though he said "Mr. Potter" in an annoyed tone) his letter to attend Hogwarts. Harry gasped, and hope swelled up in his chest. It was actually happening!
That hope was immediately crushed when he heard his aunt say that he wasn't going to be attending the school, that she wasn't going to allow him to spread his freakishness around her house. Severus said that she had no say so in the matter and told her to fetch Harry for him. Petunia refused.
That's when a chaotic jumble of sounds occurred. Harry couldn't quite make out what happened, but it involved his aunt and uncle shouting various things briefly before going silent, followed by loud, heavy-sounding thumps on the ground and the front door closing. Severus asked Dudley (Harry had to assume) to inform him as to where Harry was. Then Dudley ran up the stairs quickly, and soon after Harry heard the cupboard door open.
"Hello?" Harry asked, turning toward where he knew the man was standing. Harry didn't bother lifting his head up or tilting his head to the left or right though. He had no idea if this man was tall or short, standing or crouching, nor where exactly he was located.
"Mr. Potter, I'm Severus Snape, a professor at a school called Hogwarts, which you are to attend beginning this September. Let's move to the living room to discuss things further, shall we?" Harry could tell that this man, while sounding rather stern, seemed concerned by the tone of his voice. Harry could imagine why. The man was probably surprised by the fact that this cupboard was his bedroom when most people, including children, had actual bedrooms, at least as far as he could tell.
When it sounded like Professor Snape had moved out of the way, Harry fumbled his way out of the cupboard and moved toward the living room, keeping his hands out in front of him to avoid bumping into walls and other objects. He didn't have the probing cane on him when he was at home since he spent almost all of his time in the cupboard and his relatives didn't want a risk of him possibly wandering about ...as though he would randomly do such a thing in his condition.
With just a bit of stumbling, Harry managed to get to the living room and seat himself on one of the sofas. He waited to let the professor begin the conversation.
"Mr. Potter, can you tell me what you know about Hogwarts?" Professor Snape didn't give away any emotion with this question.
Harry wanted to say that he knew all about it because of the dreams he had but decided against saying as much. The fact was that dreams weren't a reliable source of information. In truth, he didn't know anything definitively about the school. He settled with "You said it was a school. I've never heard about it before."
"Your aunt never mentioned it?" Professor Snape sounded a little surprised.
After a moment, the professor asked, "What do you know about magic?"
"What do you mean?"
"Did your aunt ever discuss magic with you?"
"I don't think she likes magic. The few times I can remember her not letting my cousin, Dudley, watch something on the telly was because it had something about magic involved. I think it might be a religious thing for her, but I'm not sure."
"What do you know about your parents?" Professor Snape sounded like he cared greatly about the answer to this question.
Tentatively, Harry responded, "I was told they were drunks who died in a car crash when I was a baby."
"What?" Professor Snape sounded offended. "Your aunt, Petunia, told you that your mother, her sister, died in a drunken car crash?"
Harry noticed that the professor didn't mention his father in this question but decided not to linger on it. "Yes."
The two sat in silence for a moment before the professor asked another question, sounding like he was barely containing rage. "What else have you been told about your parents?"
"Honestly? Nothing really beyond how they died, that my mother was my aunt's sister, and that my parents couldn't hold down jobs even though they had me. I always got told to shut up the few times I asked for any more information."
Harry heard the professor breathing in a manner that suggested he was trying to calm himself down in order to not have an angry outburst. After another moment of silence, the professor asked another question. "Mr. Potter, that cupboard I found you in isn't your bedroom, is it?"
Harry expected this question to pop up at some point in their conversation, so it didn't take him by surprise. It sounded like the professor already knew the answer to the question and was simply trying to determine whether Harry would be honest with him. Harry figured that there was no point in lying when the truth was already known. "It is my bedroom."
The professor cautiously stated, "I also noticed some other things that have me concerned."
Harry nodded. He expected this too.
"Are you able to see?"
"No. I'm completely blind and have been for as long as I can remember."
"Do you have items that help you get around? I noticed you didn't have anything when coming over to the living room."
"I have a probing cane, but I only have access to it when I'm going to school. Otherwise, they put it someplace. I'm not sure where."
"How much time do you spend in the cupboard?" It sounded like the professor had his suspicions already.
"Pretty much all of my time if I'm not at school."
"Would I be correct in assuming your clothes were all previously worn by your cousin?"
"Yes. Anything I own was previously his."
"Are they feeding you properly?"
Harry wasn't completely sure what a proper diet consisted of, but he knew he certainly didn't have one. "No. They regularly make me skip meals because I can't quote earn my keep end quote. Even when I do get food, it's usually very little and mostly bread."
"Do they ever hit you?"
It was blatantly obvious by now that the professor was trying to determine just how bad Harry's home life was and how much he was being neglected or abused. Since Harry was on a roll with the honesty, he figured he might as well continue. "Not really. I mean, sometimes my cousin shoves me, but I think that actually hitting a blind kid would seem too wrong to my aunt and uncle, so I don't really have to deal with that at least."
"How do they speak to you?"
"They don't really talk to me much, but it's better that they don't. They generally just insult me or complain about my existence when they do. They don't even call me by my name. They generally just call me 'boy', or if they're really mad, they'll call me 'freak.' I didn't even know what my name was until I started school actually." Harry realized he was providing a lot more information throughout this exchange than the professor was asking for, but it sounded like the man really did care, and maybe, just maybe, the man would be able and willing to help him. It was quite clear that the man wasn't from the area. Otherwise, the man would've thought him to be a liar and not listened to him nor asked so many questions.
"Harry, I believe I have enough information now to tell you some things that you should've been told before but that I understand you have not been informed about. I will also state that I will be looking into getting you placed into a better home as soon as possible because your current housing situation is deeply troubling. Your aunt and uncle's treatment of you is, put mildly, inappropriate. As far as your parents go, they did have jobs, they were not drunkards, and they did not die in a car crash. Regarding Hogwarts, it is a school where students are taught about magic and how to use it. Magic is real, and you are a wizard. Both of your parents could do magic as well. Do you have any specific questions at the moment before I continue?"
Harry noticed how the professor swapped out "Mr. Potter" for "Harry," which he was rather happy about. It was also nice to hear that the man would be attempting to help him. Hearing that his parents had magical abilities and that Hogwarts was a magic school simply confirmed what his dreams conveyed to him. He suspected he already knew how his parents died because of his dreams, but he decided it'd be best to not say as much. Harry settled on "How did my parents die?" It just dawned on Harry that, if he remembered correctly, Severus appeared in his dreams before as a follower of Lord Voldemort's.
"Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't tell you as much as I'm about to due to your age, but these are not normal circumstances, and it's better that you hear about this before you begin attending Hogwarts."
"Your parents were killed by a wizard who was, essentially, a terrorist who started a war in magical Britain. Your parents had fought against him and his followers on multiple occasions as your parents were aurors. Aurors are basically the wizarding equivalent of police officers and soldiers. There is a spell that is referred to as the killing curse, and it was used on your father and your mother. It was also used on you, but you survived. No one else has ever survived the killing curse. Somehow, in connection to the curse not working on you, it also appeared to have backfired onto the wizard who had cast it. Ever since that night he hasn't been seen or heard from. Some believe him to be dead while others think he's still alive somewhere somehow. Due to both you surviving the killing curse and the wizard who cast it seemingly dying, you are, more or less, famous in the wizarding world. You are referred to as the 'Boy-Who-Lived.' Do you have any questions?"
"What was the name of the wizard who killed my parents?"
Professor Snape sighed. "Most people refer to him as 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named' or 'You-Know-Who.' Those who call him 'the Dark Lord' usually side with his political stances or were followers of his. None of these titles are his name, but people referred to him in these ways during the war because he put a taboo spell upon his name. Put bluntly, if anyone were to say his name, he and his followers would immediately find the person who spoke it and torture and kill them as well as anyone who was around the person who said his name. Naturally, the fear hasn't completely left people's minds, which is why people still don't refer to him by his name. His actual name, which you should never speak of when you enter the wizarding world, is Lord Voldemort."
Harry nodded. Again, all of this information simply confirmed what his dreams had shown him before. Harry decided to take his line of questioning in a different direction. He really had no reason to inquire more about Lord Voldemort. In all likelihood, Harry probably knew more about the man than anyone else if his hunch was correct that all of his dreams were memories of Lord Voldemort's life. Why all of Harry's dreams seemed to be the memories of the dark wizard was something to investigate at a later date. He doubted that this professor would have the answer as it was likely to be highly unusual. Besides, he didn't need to potentially scare someone who was clearly sympathetic to him at this point. "Did you know my parents?" Harry already knew the answer, but he wanted to see what the professor would willingly divulge.
"Yes. I attended Hogwarts at the same time as them. We were in the same year. I knew your mother, Lily, beforehand as my family lived near her family. She was my best friend for many years though we had a falling out eventually. As for your father, we weren't on good terms with each other. I will simply leave it at that."
Harry nodded. The professor's information was honest and open enough. He didn't need all the details for the time being. "I don't know if it's possible, but with magic, is there a way to give me the ability to see? I imagine it'd be hard for me to learn magic blind."
"Yes. Actually, once we finish up this discussion, I was planning to take you to St. Mungo's, a wizarding hospital, so that they could correct your vision and provide you with nutrient supplement potions. Since you have spent your entire life blind, I realize you'll need an adjustment period. You'll likely have to spend the rest of the summer there before the school year begins in order to get brought mostly up to speed. I will inform the headmaster about your condition so that your other professors will be aware that you may need extra assistance for a time. While you are at the hospital, I will collect the items you'll need for the upcoming school year. You will need to get a wand and be fitted for your school uniform, but due to the special circumstances, I should be able to arrange for the shopkeepers to come visit you while you are at the hospital. If not, I shall come by the hospital to take you a few days before you leave for Hogwarts."
"Sir, I have to ask something."
"What did you do to my aunt and uncle when you came through the front door? I'm guessing you used some sort of spell on them even though I didn't hear you say any words that I would think would be for a spell. They went strangely silent all of a sudden, and I heard what I imagine was them hitting the ground."
"I silently cast a spell to temporarily render them unable to move or speak. There will be no permanent damage, and it should wear off in a couple of minutes. Do you have any more questions that you need to ask at this time?"
"I think that's all for now."
"Very well. Is there anything that you would like to take with you before we leave? You won't be coming back here before the term begins, and if possible, you may never have to return here again."
"There's nothing worth taking with me. If I'm getting my vision fixed and getting new clothes along with whatever else I need for school, I should be fine."
"If you would, then please stand up. We'll be travelling by apparating, which to you I suppose would be teleporting. You'll feel a squeezing sensation and may feel nauseated when it's over."
Harry stood up and let the professor grab hold of his arm before the professor said "Now" and the two apparated. He felt a bit dizzy once it was over and slightly nauseated, but he didn't feel like puking at least; he supposed that was one benefit to having not been given breakfast that morning.
"We're now at the entrance of St. Mungo's, Harry," said Professor Snape. "One thing that is important to keep in mind is that you should try to maintain a low profile while you're here. It's best to not let it be too widely known that you're here or else you'll be swarmed by the press during your stay."
The professor guided Harry into the hospital and spoke in whispers with a member of the hospital staff about who Harry was, why they were here, and how important it was that the staff be discreet. It seemed that the staff member completely understood as Professor Snape and Harry were taken to a private room immediately. There would be absolute chaos in the hospital if anyone learned that the Boy-Who-Lived was there, so they weren't taking any chances.