Chapter 3

Harry Potter In Trouble But What's New About That?

Harry moaned, his pain-filled green eyes snapping open as the events of today came flooding back to him. He would have sat up, but he was unable to do so. First his uncle had decided to beat the crap out of him, for the fact Hedwig had called out to him once last night. She'd just wanted to let him know she was back from performing her task, delivering a letter to the Order. They were still demanding letters every three days, why he didn't know. His uncle could beat the crap out of him in front of them and they'd do nothing. As long as he was kept alive to perform his 'duty' to the wizarding world, that's all they cared about. They knew how he was treated, and the fact they did nothing made Harry want to sit on his arse and doing nothing for them right back. Unfortunately it wasn't in Harry's nature at all; it was ingrained into him, to not let anyone win. It was probably his most Slytherin trait, although everyone mistook it for a pure Gryffindor trait.

Harry winced; his mind was wandering, and he must have banged his head harder than he thought. He forced himself to look around, already knowing wherever he was, it wasn't good at all. He froze upon seeing a Death Eater wandering around the room. The walk was distinctively familiar, he didn't know why. That was until he saw the robes billow slightly as the man walked to the other side of the room. His heart sank. Snape, it was Snape who was in this room with him. Had he been caught, or was he just guarding him? Guarding him seemed most likely; Snape wasn't one for stupidity. Snape's spying was extremely important for the cause; there was no way he was here to help him out. Which meant the order would try and 'save' him; probably take ages to do so as well. That's if he was alive by the end of the night. Judging by the previous encounters…it was a pretty good guess that he'd be killed nearly right away.

"It's a fine mess you've gotten yourself into this time, isn't it, Potter?" said Severus twirling around, removing his mask as he did so. He didn't see any surprise on Potter's face; he must have already known it was him. He had searched every item in the room, and sensed for every kind of spell. This, by the way, had taken him nearly an hour with the number of items strewn across the room. For a guest room, it wasn't half elegantly furnished. There was nobody aware of what was going on in here, which was a good thing.

Harry just stared at Snape impassively; it wasn't as if this had been his fault. He had stayed at the Dursleys' like a good little boy, doing exactly as Dumbledore had instructed him. Although he had planned on leaving as soon as he turned seventeen. Which so wasn't the point; he was supposed to be protected at Privet Drive. Gritting his teeth, he answered, "For once I did not do anything." He hadn't gone seeking adventure, or Voldemort for that matter. Didn't go trying to save the school, or his godfather.

"Indeed," said Severus, having to concede the point; the wards had fallen. He didn't think it had anything to do with Potter. Which was a first, and unfortunately he wasn't in the best of situations right now. He didn't have much longer; no doubt the Dark Lord would be getting impatient. He wasn't sure what else he could do to avoid the inevitable. He wouldn't be able to get Potter out of the manor and past the wards to Apparate. Portkeys didn't work here either; Potter was quite frankly stuck and none of his sheer dumb luck would help him now. It would take a miracle to get them out of this without being tortured to death.

Harry sucked in a breath, his hand automatically clutching at his forehead.

Severus was well aware of the connection between the Dark Lord and Potter. He'd found out when he'd been requested to give Potter Occlumency lessons, which hadn't gone well at all. He had warned Dumbledore, there was just too much distrust between them to attempt it. Albus had just insisted he had to, that he couldn't be the one to help him. Evidently the Headmaster was keeping something from Potter, something he didn't want to take the chance the boy would find out about. He knew without a doubt he was out of time. Removing his wand, watching as Potter flinched, he looked away, not able to stare into the fearful green eyes before him. Then he cast the spell, biting his tongue as the boy screamed in agony.

Harry didn't think he'd ever been in so much pain before, his entire backside and back radiated with pain. It was as if his skin had been peeled off, not just anywhere, but if he wasn't mistaken it was his rectum. He writhed in agony on the bed, unaware of the blood gushing everywhere. Eventually his body grew more accustomed to the pain; he lay there panting, his face streaked with tears. He truly would have preferred the Cruciatus curse to this. The additional blood loss made him woozy; he faded in and out of consciousness, barely aware of being dragged back through to the Grand Hall.

The Dark Lord watched his slippery spy bring the boy back in, his sharp eyes taking note of the blood and dried tears. It was just too bad the boy was destined to defeat him; otherwise he would have given him to Severus to keep. He had after all broken his promise when it came to the silly little mudblood he'd taken a liking to. The fascination had perhaps passed onto the son; either that or he just loathed the boy enough to enact his revenge.

"Well well, Severus it looks like you have had your fun," said Voldemort. The others were all salivating over Potter still, silently begging to be given a little taste of revenge against the brat for all he'd done to them.

"Indeed," said Severus smirking, his black eyes filled with satisfaction, like a starved man finally being able to quench his hunger years later. Severus bowed low, his hope for rescue dimming further by the second. He'd held off for as long as possible, hoping they'd make an appearance. Hiding his thoughts behind his walls, he replaced them with thoughts of revenge against Potter and his son. Thoughts he'd had back when the boy was merely eleven years old.

"Enervate," said Voldemort, his wand flicking to Potter, as the Death Eaters automatically formed a circle, doing it out of sheer habit. It was either that or be cursed, really.

"Don't you ever get tired?" groaned Harry, he was in agony and he could not stop the words from leaving his mouth, even if he wanted to. Honestly, he wished the bastard would get it over with. Just kill him; he did wonder if he'd survive the curse this time though. He had survived one as a baby, it would be curious to see if he'd be able to do so again. Although he wasn't in any hurry to test that theory. Well, not really anyway, his entire body was aflame with nerve ending agony.

Severus, who had his mask once again back on, having donned it before leaving the room, bit his tongue to stop himself smirking or outwardly reacting at all. Nobody could piss the Dark Lord of quite like Harry Potter. It was rather amusing to see him go three different colours, mostly puce. For a child, he certainly had guts in spades, whereas everyone else was terrified of the Dark Lord.

"Crucio," snarled Voldemort, completely enraged. The boy dared to speak back to him? He was Lord Voldemort, and he'd get respect from the boy before he finished him off for good, if it was the last thing he did. No one would think him weak ever again; once Potter was gone, the world would bow before him. After he had dealt with Dumbledore, of course. He was the last thing standing between him and his goal for world domination.

Harry writhed under the powerful and painful spell, never once screaming under it. He wouldn't give Voldemort the satisfaction; he couldn't, and he'd rather die first. Then the spell temporarily stopped― he would need to send the man a text of different spells. Were the unforgivable curses all he knew? Because it certainly seemed like it. He wasn't very original; damn, his mind was wandering again, had he banged his head against the floor again?

Just then all chaos broke loose, as people began to invade Malfoy Manor. Curses were being cast right, left, and centre. Voldemort screamed in rage, but immediately Apparated away upon seeing Dumbledore's bright coloured robes. The Death Eaters continued fighting, until their forearms burned and they automatically Apparated to Voldemort's side.

"Harry," choked Remus, scooping the barely conscious form of his cub into his arms. Apologizing immediately when Harry cried out, he was unable to do anything for him, not until he got him to Hogwarts. With a destination in mind, not even waiting for Dumbledore to tell him what to do, he Apparated out of the now abandoned Malfoy Manor. All the while his mind was whirling out of control, praying that Harry would survive, would hold on long enough for him to get to Poppy. Please Harry, please hold on, I can't lose you too, cub I just can't; I won't survive it.

Everyone bowed down to Lord Voldemort, their faces grim, drawn and terrified. The Dark Lord was in a towering rage, and they didn't want to direct their Lord's anger onto them. They weren't sure if they would survive; he hadn't been this angry since…well, a few months ago, when Potter had gotten away from him again. Lucius was beyond furious; his Manor had been penetrated, and was no longer safe. Thankfully Narcissa had thought to grab their son from his room before Apparating here. It was a fall-back safe-house, where the Dark Lord had stayed while he waited to reclaim a new body. Nobody knew, other than Severus, that was, that this was actually the Dark Lord's house. He was the last of the Riddle family, a very well-off, known Muggle family back in the day.

"My Lord? May I have your permission to go back to Hogwarts?" asked Severus, "I have to lock Potter's memories, otherwise I fear my position is well and truly blown." He shoved all the loathing he'd ever felt in his life, the desire to impress the Dark Lord, and the need to see Potter dead into the forefront of his mind.

"Go," hissed Voldemort, his red eyes flashing ominously. He had lost Harry Potter again. Why hadn't he just killed the brat and been done with it? He grit his teeth, causing his followers to cringe at the sound. At least this time Potter wouldn't be easy to fix. Nor would he be able to tell them about his slippery spy; what more torture was needed than that? He'd see Potter again, of that he had no doubt. Next time he would kill him immediately. By the end of this year, he swore to himself, Potter would be no more. His spy would bring the boy to him, and he would say two words and the world would know never to mess with Lord Voldemort again.

Severus didn't need to be told twice, he was just grateful to have been able to leave without a Cruciatus curse thrown on him. He wasted no time in getting to Hogwarts, making a bee line for the Hospital wing, where no doubt they would all be. It took him fifteen minutes, and he wasn't disappointed; they were there.

"Poppy?" questioned Dumbledore, staring at the Medi-witch. "Has he been...?" they had all seen the blood.

"I'm afraid so," said Poppy swallowing thickly, but with sheer willpower she managed to keep herself professional. It did her patients no good if she broke down crying over what they'd been through. With Harry it was different; he was in her hospital wing so often she knew him better than most other students that passed within the walls of Hogwarts. She quickly began pouring potions down Harry's throat, and healing him as best as she was able.

"Then you would be wrong," said Severus coldly as he made himself known. He wasn't about to let them think he'd done something so utterly despicable. His lip curled as he stared at them. The Order wasn't there, just Dumbledore and Poppy.

"Severus," said Albus looking surprised to see him, whether it was because he was standing or uninjured he didn't know. "Why is the scan indicating that's the case?" Dumbledore looked furious, put out, enraged, as if someone had put a spanner in his works. Severus should know, he'd seen the same look on the Dark Lord's face all too often.

"It doesn't give exact details of what's wrong, just the area that's been injured. I used a spell, you old fool," said Severus, angry that the Headmaster would even think for a second he'd hurt anyone.

"I am glad to hear it, Severus," said Albus returning to his normal genial self within minutes. "Harry is too important; if he's to be Voldemort's equal, he must participate with someone willingly to gain full access to his magic."

Severus stared at Dumbledore, if he didn't know any better, he would have said Albus planned on ensuring the boy had full access to his magic. The thought actually sickened him more than anything else had this morning. He had to be wrong; there was no way Dumbledore was planning something like that. He didn't like Potter very much, but he wouldn't wish that kind of manipulation on anyone.

"Come up to my office, Severus, we have much to discuss. Poppy, keep me posted," said Albus, as he left the Hospital wing, Severus as always following him.

They saw Remus waiting outside, but paid him no mind as he entered the wing wanting to see his cub.

"What happened, Severus?" asked Dumbledore as soon as he took his seat; he looked pale and drawn. He hadn't expected this to happen; the boy should have remained at the Dursleys' for weeks yet. He'd not planned on letting him leave until his birthday.

"Potter was already there when I arrived; everyone wanted the boy, and the Dark Lord proposed a duel. Winner would get Potter; I won and managed to keep the boy out of their hands for an hour. I'd just returned him to the hall when everyone came flying in," said Severus flatly, always giving only what he needed to satisfy Dumbledore. "Do you know how they succeeded in getting through the wards?"

"Not as of yet, Severus; I am afraid the Dursleys weren't as lucky as Harry," said Albus, his shoulders hunched slightly. "Harry will have to remain at Hogwarts, where he's protected for what's left of the summer."

Severus felt his heart sinking, he did not like where this was heading. There would only be one reason why Dumbledore was telling him this.

"Your quarters are the most protected in the school, and nobody would think to look for him there. I have asked Hogwarts to create a room for him; I am sorry to have to do this to you, my boy," said Albus, his eyes twinkling brightly, making the apology null and void. The old fool was enjoying this; Severus was too stunned to think of anything to say.

"I do not want the insufferable boy in my rooms," snarled Severus, finally gaining control over his voice.

"You will do as I ask, Severus. You can look after him, and if he doesn't do as you wish, I trust you to do what you must to rein him in. You were right, of course, when you told me I had let him have a free reign," sighed Dumbledore; truthfully he couldn't care less, he just needed the boy submissive and yet with enough courage to fight Voldemort.

Severus snorted derisively, wondering just what the old fool was up to now, giving him permission to have full control over Harry Potter. Regardless of whether he did or not, the boy would still end up in his quarters; Dumbledore always got his own way.

"Fine," snapped Severus after a few seconds of quiet contemplation. "But you can tell the boy of his new living arrangements." This was going to be the longest summer of his life. Why hadn't he chosen to go back to Spinners End? That way he wouldn't have to put up with any of this. Damn Dumbledore and his manipulations to hell.

"There will be an Order meeting here tonight, Severus; on your way please bring Harry up with you. He's always wanted to become an Order member, I think now is the perfect time for him to join, don't you? It will certainly take his mind of the events that have transpired today," said Albus.

"Very well," growled Severus before barging out of Dumbledore's office, grateful to be away. Of course, it was that easy for you to forget the people who raised you, were dead. It only took joining the Order to forget the pain of loss. The old fool was mad if he thought that. Of course, Albus knew something Severus did not; if the Potions Master had taken the time to talk to his fellow Order members or read their letters and listen to their concerns, he would have realized Harry's home life…wasn't exactly what he expected. A few bad memories during Occlumency didn't automatically mean Harry had a hard life, after all. Then again, Molly Weasley and Severus Snape had different opinions of what bad meant. Molly would have been outraged by the memories, whereas Severus didn't think they were all that bad. How could being jealous over a shiny red bike be particularly troubling, or being chased by a dog up a tree? Simply put, it wasn't.

"Severus! Severus! Severus!" called Poppy, running to catch up with the resident Potions Master. "I'm glad I caught you, I need these potions brewed as soon as possible. I'm sorry to have to ask you, but St. Mungo's doesn't have them, nor does the apothecary."

Severus took the hand-written notes from Poppy and looked over them, his eyebrows climbing higher. He knew his potions well, and realized why Poppy would need such high level Potions. "Who are they for? Do they have allergies?" Severus asked automatically, having to know before brewing.

"They are for Harry, and he has no known allergies," Poppy replied.

"Potter isn't underweight enough for those potions, Poppy," said Severus seriously. It would do the boy more damage than good to receive them.

Poppy signed as if she'd expected this and handed over her diagnostic sheet. Severus accepted it in irritation... long term malnutrition? The boy had only been in the Dark Lord's hands for two hours, if he was lucky. Bruised kidneys from repeated kicks to the stomach and back? Bruising on forty five percent of his body? Broken and not correctly healed ankle, wrist, arm and two fingers? (No wonder Potter couldn't write properly.) Infections, burns... and the damage done by all the spells today.

"Poppy, I saw no sign of this," said Severus. He wasn't talking about the abuse, he had just been in a room with the boy for an hour at Malfoy Manor.

"No, no, you wouldn't," said Poppy quietly, her face contorted in sadness and failure that she hadn't seen this before. If only she had done one of those scans when Harry had been in her hospital. She hadn't, because before this she'd always known what was wrong with him and how to treat it. "He's wearing a glamour, unconsciously might I add." Her lips were pursed now.

"Have you told Albus yet?" asked Severus.

"No, I shall Floo call him," said Poppy. "I just had to get this list down to you. You saved me a journey."

"I shall have these potions brewed as soon as possible, Poppy. I have a meeting I have to attend tonight, but hopefully I will have them finished before then," Severus said before stalking off, his entire world rocked to its foundation. Nothing was as it seemed any more, and he, a spy, hadn't noticed. Brewing potions was one of the things he didn't mind doing, in fact it was soothing really. It was a balm to his soul, and right now his soul was crying out for space, peace and quietness.

"Thank you, Severus," said Poppy to Severus' retreating form, before she too took off back towards her hospital wing. She had a child to attend to. Normally she didn't since it was holidays, the most she had to do was give potions to one of the teachers if they asked. Or heal an Order member if they came in; they couldn't go to St. Mungo's, otherwise they'd have to explain. That was something they couldn't do, the people who served the Order were supposed to be a secret after all. Otherwise they would just be placing a large target on their backs. One might be better off going up to a Death Eater and telling them what they were.

Upon getting back she saw Remus was still sitting there with Harry, who was unconscious, very pale, and very, very thin... too thin. The glamour he had been wearing was gone. Harry needed all his magic going towards healing him, not keeping a glamour up to hide the extent of his injuries. He was very gaunt, not one ounce of fat on him. So much weight had fallen off the boy so quickly, it was astounding, shockingly so. Remus held one of Harry's hands in his own, speaking quietly to him. Not wanting to intrude she went into her office; she dared not tell him to go and get some rest. At least he had been healed of the bruises; without them he looked a little better. If Remus had seen them... she wouldn't have dared to speculate what he would have done.

"Come on, cub, get better…please, I cannot cope with the thought of losing you too," said Remus, tears flowing down his amber eyes. Harry was all that was left of his pack, he couldn't let him die. He prayed his mind was whole, that the torture curse hadn't been too much for Harry to bear. They weren't even sure if he would wake up. Only time would tell, and Remus prayed and prayed for his cub to wake up.

Edited by Jordre thank you.