Title: Unexpected Child 2/?
Pairing: Severus/OFC, Harry no-pairing
Warnings: Mentions of Child Abuse, some violence.
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn’t belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: The war had been over for several years, and Harry’s life did not turn out the way he expected it. He ended leaving England and travelling the world. That’s where death found him,but he was the Master of the Hollows and second chances were a given. He would not waste them.
This chapter is not betaâ€˜ed’ yet, so it probably has a few errors. I wanted to get it out as fast as possible. It is also extra long to make up for the delay. 22 letter sized pages.
Author’s note: I can only say that I’m overwhelmed by the response I got through the reviews 49 just for one chapter! I’ll be hard pressed to make the story interesting, but I’ll do my best and hope that you like it, a great part of this is already planned and on a notebook. I actually thought that someone might have already come up with something similar, so I’m really happy you guys think the story’s beginning was original.
I’ll try to keep it as original as possible, but if I can’t (with so many stories around believe me it’s hard) I’ll still do my best to keep it interesting. I said that Severitus Challenge inspired me to write Unexpected Child, but this is not a response to the challenge. Again, I repeat this won’t be SLASH. I also have to apologize for taking so long in getting the chapter out, I really ran into a serious writer’s block with this story and it was driving me nuts that I had about 95% done and yet I could not finish it. I’m still not 100% satisfied with the chapter, since I think some of the reactions, Harry’s, are a bit off. I decided to leave them as is and just warn you that he is going to be OOC and that there still won’t be an appearance by Severus in this chapter.
I finally read book five, and I’ve decided to use some of the things from the book but not all and this will still be more of an AU than canon. I’ll put a warning on the chapters where I make reference to the book. The story is probably going to be somewhere between 10 to 15 chapters long, and I tend to make my chapters progressively longer.
THIS IS AN AU STORY (AU=Alternate Universe), even though I try to follow the original novels as close as I can.
Not a native English speaker writing.
Characters might be Out Of Character (OOC)
There might be spoilers for all four books.
“Severus… Severus Snape,”
“Severus… Severus Snape,”
“Severus… Severus Snape,”
Her words echoed in his head, getting louder and louder, until he could not hear anything else. Not the ambulance or the police car’s sirens, not the voices of the people gathered, or those that rushed to Anne’s help. Someone moved him aside, he did not resist. For a moment, the little girl and him were completely ignored as the paramedics began working on the injured woman.
â€˜Snape’s going to kill me,’ was the thought that managed to filter through his shocked mind.
While he sat there, someone brought lamps to light the alley. Night fell sometime, either during his fight with the thug, or while Anne gave birth. But there were too many things happening for Harry to notice something so trivial.Â As he sat there watching the paramedics work on saving the woman he tried to rescue, Harry became aware of the blood, too much of it. The light from the lamps let him see it clearly. Anne Watkins lay in a pool of it; he was bloody too just as the little girl, and he knew not all belonged to the woman. It was a horrifying scene; he had seen terrible things during his life but never so much blood, this was bound to add to his already constant nightmares. At least the avada kedavra was a cleaner death.
Harry concentrated on the woman instead, not able to dwell much on the other things. He could see how Anne’s chest rose and fell laboriously several times, until it completely stopped. That sent the people attending her into a flurry of activity, he watched oddly detached and wondering why he felt so strange. He should have some kind of reaction shouldn’t he? Harry had been in shock since he began helping with the birth, because of that he was not in a condition to be able to overcome his lack of reaction. What he just learned about Snape, seeing all that blood and the desperate attempts of the paramedics to revive the baby’s mother just pushed him too far.
Harry’s mind fixed on one set of actions. He needed to get away, find the Leaky Cauldron, and contact Snape or anyone from Hogwarts. He promised Anne Watkins to find the man, and planned to keep his word. But… would Professor Snape believe him? He certainly had some trouble believing it, and it all happened to him. He was sure there were not two Severus Snape in the wizarding world; well at least he hoped so.
â€˜That would be a nightmare for all having the misfortune of meeting him,’ Harry thought ironically, as he started to edge ever so slowly towards the street, trying to not to draw attention to himself.
The dark and ill-tempered Professor was probably going to kill him when he gave him the news and his daughter; he just could not shake that thought from his mind. And who knew what his reaction to Anne Watkins death would be? He had not been able to save her. Would the sour man hate him even more than he already did? The thought frightened him more than a bit, but he was a Gryffindor and he would get the baby to him, even if it were the last thing he ever did, which knowing Severus Snape would probably be.
As he inched his way discreetly to the lighted street, he gave a bitter mental laugh at his fate. It was surprising how, in less than a month, he managed to see the death of two innocent people that should have remained alive if he had been able to protect them, or do something to save them. Cedric… was not among his best friends, and yet, they had helped each other during the Tournament. And Anne Watkins, a stranger needing his help, who just happened to be Snape’s… What? Girlfriend? FiancÃ©? She mentioned they were not married yet.
A couple of police cars arrived to the scene just a few moments after the paramedics. Two of the officers noticed the thug lying unconscious among some garbage cans. They immediately went to investigate, and called for another ambulance. The other two tried to disperse the onlookers, while they waited for the other car that was also dispatched to the crime scene.
One of the officers noticed the scrawny boy trying to get away. He could tell the kid was bloody and carried a small bundle on his arms. As far as he was able to tell, the scene pointed to a mugging gone badly, the scrawny lad might be trying to get away with the woman’s property.
Patrol officer* McIntyre approached the boy from behind and first ordered the child to stop and identify himself, but he appeared not to hear him. So he grabbed the kid before he could edge away to the street. Harry was startled and almost dropped the baby, his seeker reflexes kicking in; he caught her before she fell. His survival instincts took over after that, whatever the current state of his mind, Harry reacted without having to think; he had to escape. The boy struggled as hard as he could against the person holding him, without loosing his grasp on the child. He had to get away and get to the Leaky Cauldron. He was sure muggles would not be able to help him find Snape. However, they might try to locate the Dursleys. In his condition, the idea of the police locating his relatives sent him into a panic.
“No, let me go! Let me go!” He shouted as he struggled, trying not to hurt the crying baby in his arms. They must not call the Dursleys, he would be as good as dead then, and… they might harm Snape’s baby. He was not going to let them hurt her too. He kicked and screamed trying to dislodge the police officer’s hold, ignoring, in his panic, his injuries.
“Stop it boy! You’re going to hurt the baby!” Officer McIntyre ordered him as he struggled to keep his hold on the trashing kid, but Harry was not about to obey.
“No! Let me go! I have to find him and they won’t let me…”
He kept struggling, but he was loosing steam. Harry was small for his age, and even if adrenaline gave him an energy boost, he was loosing too much blood and had some trouble breathing because of the pain on his chest. Hedwig saw his predicament and just as she did with the thug, she came to her familiar’s help. The snowy owl swooped down in a flurry of feathers and attacked the officer, drawing a gasp from the onlookers.
“Kill it Peters! Kill it!” Officer McIntyre cried out to his partner as he battled the furious owl away. He had to release Harry, who was about to run away when he saw the other officer draw his gun and aim carefully. McIntyre tried to protect his head the best that he could, but Hedwig managed to rake her claws on the back of his head and draw blood. “Oh God!” He screamed in pain. “Get it away from me! Kill it for God’s sake Peters!”
“Noo! No! Don’t kill her!” Harry yelled, by this time the baby was wailing at the top of her tiny lungs. “Go Hedwig! Get away!” The snowy owl made one hesitant last pass at the officer, and flew out of range.
Once sure she was safe, Harry bolted away from the scene, but he did not make it very far. The third patrol car arrived a few moments earlier, and one of the officers, keeping the crowd at bay caught him again. He struggled frantically, and the person dragged him back to where the paramedics where. Harry kicked and screamed that he had to find â€˜him’ and that â€˜they’ would not let him. The paramedics wanted to check on both the baby and him, once it became apparent that Harry had been wounded. During the struggle, he bled all over the officers’ shirts. To examine both children, they needed him to release his hold on the baby, but he refused. The boy frantically argued that he had promised to care for her. Harry was in no condition to be reasoned with, he was only fourteen years old, and there was only so much he could take. Seeing his mental state, one of the paramedics took the decision to sedate him.
The boy was injured, bleeding profusely, and looked about to pass out, he was in need of medical attention. They also needed to calm the newborn who was still crying. The conditions of her birth left much to be desired, and the mother had not regained consciousness to respond to any questions before she died. In fact, it seemed that the only one with answers was the boy, and he was in shock, unable to respond to any of them.
Harry was starting to get desperate in his need to get away; his magic beginning to get out of control making some of the rubbish cans rattle. In the back of the alley, a light wind started making things fly. It was too dark for those close to the street to notice, but the sound did become apparent getting louder with each passing second as the wind got stronger. While one of the officers distracted the boy, the paramedic injected a sedative. The last thing Harry saw was the face of one of the EMTs taking the baby from his arms. Once he was unconscious, someone went to investigate on the noise but it had stopped, and since they could not find a reason for it, the police officers dismissed it.
Harry woke up in a cream-colored room completely disoriented. Everything was fuzzy and there were blurs of different sizes and shapes. It took his mind a few moments to realize he needed his glasses. He extended his right arm to the night table, thankfully, they were there, and he put them on. Once he was able to see, he took time examining the place. It was clear he was in a hospital ward and there was an empty bed beside his. A muggle hospital, he noticed as his mind began to wake up completely.
Harry took inventory of his aches and pains, his shoulder and chest the ones drawing immediate attention. Careful inspection of his torso revealed bandages, at least one rib was broken. His left arm functioned but moving it was very painful, and he could feel his shoulder burning, there was also an IV on the left hand. He was still connected to the â€˜thing’; a good guess would be that they had to stitch his shoulder. He was not particularly inclined to check if he was right. For a moment, he wondered what happened to him.
things began returning to his mind, summer break, Kings Cross, the Dursleys, the… mugging… Harry sat up with a start and almost cried out in pain, his ribs protesting wildly. He remained there trying to breathe, willing the pain to go away, and thinking that he was in deep trouble. Anne Watkins’s death was probably because of the attack, and that meant the police would want answers. Some of which he could not give.
“This is just bloody perfect!” He swore softly, things seemed to be going from bad to worse.
Harry needed to get away from there before the police came to ask him questions; he also needed to take away Snape’s baby. It was odd to think that little girl was the â€˜greasy git’s’ daughter, but she was. He wondered how did the â€˜overgrown bat’ managed to get such a beautiful woman to love him. Harry had to admit the man must be brave to have risked being a spy during Voldemort’s first reign; he was certainly very intelligent, excelled in potion making and was way beyond competent with a wand. Still, those were not characteristics that would make the man â€˜lovable’ in his opinion, and as far as his character went… well he had seen nothing â€˜lovable’ there either.
Harry looked around carefully and found his bag lying on top of a chair near the corner. Even from where he was he could tell it was a terrible sight, all bloodstained. He sighed sadly and felt a pang of guilt, he should have been able to do something, anything to save Anne, and yet he had been unable to do it. Funny how knowing someone’s name and going through the ordeal they went through yesterday made him feel familiar with the woman. It was as if he knew her. But he really did not know anything about her, only that she knew Snape and… loved him. That familiarity and that intimate detail only served to make him feel guiltier. However, he could not allow himself to dwell in his own guilt and bad feelings; there would be enough time for that once he was at a safe place and away from the hospital.
His meager clothes had survived unstained, thanks to his bag being water proof, and he dressed with the first things that came out of it. Harry then checked inside for his things; everything was in there including his wand. He debated upon leaving it in the bag or carrying it with him. The boy decided to leave it inside, it would be hard to explain to muggles why he was carrying it, and he was not going to use magic again if he could avoid it. Yesterday was probably a fluke, since he did not get any warning from the Ministry of Magic, but… he was not about to risk it again. Things with Snape were already going to be… difficult to add one more.
Once ready, Harry moved quietly to the room’s door and peeked outside, there were not many people wondering about. After analyzing his options, he finally found a way to slip out unnoticed. Sneaking around in a magical castle had made him an expert at it, even without his invisibility cloak. He was in the pediatrics area of the hospital. After checking a floor map near the elevators he found out the nursery was in the same floor. Harry made his way there trying not to draw attention to himself.
As he approached, Harry heard the cries of a newborn baby and he felt… the odd tingling of the day before, and then he was assaulted by strong feelings, hunger, loneliness, and fear. He stopped in his tracks not understanding where they were coming from. He… was afraid, as he was sneaking away, and trying to take a baby that was not his from a hospital. That had to be against muggle law; and he was probably getting in more trouble than he already was, it was more than enough reason to be afraid.
He was… lonely. It was odd how he had dismissed the Dursleys rejection as non-important, but… even if they hated him, he had always somewhere to go to and… he had nowhere anymore. At the moment he did not have Hogwarts, the only place he called home, The Burrow or Hermione’s home those places were also out of his reach at the moment. He could not contact his friends or Sirius, his Godfather; Harry was and felt truly alone and on his own. However, he knew the hunger was not something he felt. When he was worried, scared or depressed he could not eat, and at that moment he was all three. It puzzled him and wanted to find the cause for those feelings, and who was the one suffering from them.
The little one was wailing her lungs out, creating a general racket with things shaking inside the nursery and no one was able to understand what was happening. She had already set off crying most of the babies there and the personnel were hard pressed to calm all of them. A pediatrician and a nurse were trying to find out what was wrong with the baby girl that had barely slept and stopped crying since she arrived, but so far, all tests had proved normal. She was a very healthy infant with a rather impressive set of lungs. The results, as well as the rattling of things, had the doctor in charge puzzled and concerned.
Harry felt the strong magical aura once he approached the nursery; and the feelings intensified. As soon as he plastered himself to the window to search for Snape’s child the crying baby calmed down. And he felt recognition and vague feeling of safety, a little less fear but the hunger was still strong. It was then that the odd tingling became more like a tentative touch to his senses. It was warm and gentle and without really knowing how he returned it, the sensation made him feel… content and… protective.
Harry searched with his eyes for the baby, that… tingling let him know as much. He could tell the one with the magic was an infant. It was also familiar, the boy felt that tingling before; so he concluded it could only be Snape’s daughter reaching out for him.Â She did that the day before, and he was surprised how strong a witch she was, the little girl was only a day old. After looking at all the babies in the room, Harry realized the one he was looking for was the only child not crying her lungs out. A doctor was the one holding her, while a nurse looked at the little one in disbelief, as soon as she calmed so did the rattling of things.
Before Harry was able to even think of a plan to get the girl out of the nursery, the hospital’s security guards found him. A nurse noticed he escaped from his room and alerted security. He was injured, needed some rest and the police wanted to question him about what happened. He was the only one that might be able to tell them who the woman was and what happened to her and the thug.
The thug that went by the name of Elliot Allen, regained consciousness in the hospital’s ER, and the police had already had the chance to interrogate him. Allen come up with some weird story about the boy throwing him against a wall with just one word. No one had believed him, as something like that was not thought possible. They believed he was on some kind of drug-induced trip. The bird attack would also have been unbelievable had officer McIntyre not suffered an attack and been injured as well.Â Still, because the skinny boy flinging him against a wall was simply not possible, and his blood samples had traces of several drugs, this was the strongest theory. The police also wanted the man for assault, rape, and drug dealing. So, for the time being, it appeared that Harry was not a suspect of the woman’s death.
The guards ordered him follow them, but Harry did not want to leave the little baby, she was scared there and felt safe with him close by. He promised her mother to protect her and that meant to keep an eye on her, and make sure she was fine. From what he could see and sense, the little one was anything but fine. So the boy refused to leave. His refusal only got him being dragged away by force. He did not struggle at first; with his injuries, he really did not want to feel more pain. But the moment he was away from the window the infant began crying again. Going with them was not an option then, so he struggled to get free from their hold. That action caught the attention of the pediatrician who looked at the window.
Harry managed to slip away from the man holding him and went back to the nursery window. The moment a scrawny and scruffy looking kid was close the baby stopped crying. The security guards took the boy away and the little girl bawled her eyes and lungs out again, it puzzled the Doctor.
Dr. Thomas, the pediatrician, was getting worried. The baby refused to eat enough even though they managed to feed her something. According to the tests she ran so far, the baby was perfectly healthy. Although she would not remain so if they could not get her to eat enough soon, Dr. Thomas was still reluctant to connect her to an IV drip. It was too intrusive and she only used it as a last resort if no other methods were available, or the baby too sick or too weak to feed on his or her own, and this was not yet the case with little Jane Doe.
As she looked at the scene unfolding on the other side of the nursery window, there seemed to be one last option before she had to use an IV. However, the idea seemed weird and quite unorthodox. Nevertheless, the story behind the baby’s birth was just as strange. A thug mugged and wounded her mother, she gave birth assisted by a kid and died soon after the girl was born because of blood loss and the wounds. The doctor guessed the scrawny boy was the one that delivered her; the little girl seemed recognize him somehow, that was the really weird part, and she stopped crying when he was near. If the older child did not mind having a baby close, maybe the little one would be calm enough for some time so she could feed her. Picking a bottle, Dr. Thomas went after the Security guards carrying the wailing infant.
“Security wait!” Dr. Thomas called over the baby’s cries; as soon as she got closer, the infant wails became just soft whimpering. “I’m Dr. Mary Thomas from pediatrics. I need to speak with the boy.”
“Well, you’re not the only one Dr. Thomas, the police want to too,” when he mentioned this Harry went white as a sheet. It seemed that he would have no other option but to talk to the police, the problem was how much and what to tell them. He had better start thinking some story to feed them. “So you have to wait your turn,” the man sneered at her and started to pull Harry by the right arm to his room, as soon as the distance between him and the baby increased she started wailing.
“No, you wait,” she told the men walking toward them; the girl stopped crying the closer she got to Harry; it was so abrupt that the security guards noticed and looked at her puzzled.Â “Look I don’t know what’s going on exactly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of something like this ever happening, and I certainly have never seen a case like this in my years as a pediatrician. But she calms down when he’s near. He delivered this baby last night. Since they took her from him, she has not stopped crying, and has barely eaten. Her health is at stake, and if being close to that boy her helps my patient, then it takes precedence over whatever else you have in mind gentlemen.” She glared at them and her tone of voice left no doubt that she was serious.
“Ok doctor, what do you want to do?” the guard holding Harry sighed a bit exasperated, but knowing Dr Thomas was right. She was the head of the Pediatric ward after all.
“What’s your name kid?” She asked her tone much friendlier and pleasant, a warm smile played on her lips and eyes. The Dr. was not young; she was probably forty something.
“Harry,” he responded after thinking a bit and looking wearily at the guards. It was important that they did not locate the Dursleys, if he gave his full name, they might search for records of him and eventually find them.
“Harry, that’s a nice name. What’s your last?”
“I’m just Harry,” he said softly.
“Come on punk,” one of the guards said giving him a shove. He just happened to hit Harry’s injured shoulder.
“Ow!” he yelped in pain. “Careful with the shoulder!” He finished through clenched teeth; it had hurt like hell.
“He’s not a suspect is he officer?” Dr Thomas asked giving the man a leveling look. She would look at the boy’s clinical charts to see what kind on injury he sustained, and check that the oaf’s manhandling had not worsened the problem.
“No, ma’am not so far, the police just doesn’t know exactly what happened yet. But they have a dead woman, an injured patrol officer and a drug dealer also wanted for rape and assault whose statement doesn’t make any sense. It all points out to this punk being the only viable witness, that’s why they want to speak with him.”
“Well then, if young Harry here isn’t a criminal, don’t treat him like one. Can’t you see he is injured?” The Dr. snapped at them, and winked at Harry, who gave her a shy grateful smile.
“I didn’t say he wasn’t a criminal Dr. I just said he wasn’t a suspect in this particular case. This punk has all the markings of a petty thief.”
“Hey! I’m no thief you…” he began quite angry, but the other officer interrupted him.
“That’s what you say punk, but not giving your full name makes…”
“You have no right to call me a thief because I won’t tell you my last name. Maybe I don’t have one or maybe I have other reasons,” Harry interrupted the security guard sounding clearly offended. The Dursleys might not have provided him with suitable clothing, but that did not mean he was a delinquent, only that he had no good clothes to wear. “You can’t judge a person because of how he looks.”
“Ok Harry, I think you noticed what happens to my patient when you’re away. Do you have any idea why she acts like this? Maybe you and her mother were close…” The Dr asked ignoring the security officer. The man could be right, but the boy might be a runaway. That would explain the second hand clothing, there were many reasons for children to run away from their homes, and most did not make the children criminals.
“Umm… not a clue ma’am,” he responded politely, although he had a theory.
Harry could not to tell the Doctor that he believed the baby’s magical powers were searching for someone familiar. She had sensed him the day before, as he remembered the tingling sensation. He really did not know why or how a baby that small would do something like that. His knowledge of magical children was zero and he had not much chance of thinking about it, so it was just a spur of the moment theory until he had the chance to ask a wizard or witch. Maybe Madame Pomfrey or Mrs. Weasley, she after all had seven children, would know.
“And… I’d never seen her mother before yesterday.” Harry finally decided that the safest course of action would be to tell the truth in relation to knowing Anne Watkins. He still was not sure what to say about knowing who the father was. Explaining Snape and Hogwarts were going to be complicated. Besides, the thug probably said that Anne was alone when he first saw her.
“So you didn’t know her mother Harry…” she asked getting curious about the boy. “Can I ask you why you came to see her daughter then? You’ve no responsibility towards the little one, and you’re injured and should be in bed.”
“But I… I do… I do have some responsibility doctor,” Harry hesitated only a bit before responding. He noticed her puzzled look, as she gestured for the guards to lead to his room and they started walking towards it. “You see… I promised her mother before she died that I’ll look after her daughter,” he said softly and looking to the floor. Guilt consumed him, but at least he could do his best to keep his promise. Although so far he was not doing much, they really needed to get away from the muggle hospital before they ended in an orphanage. He already had enough things in common with Tom Marvolo Riddle to add that one too. “So… I came to look for her, I wanted to make sure she was fine, but… she isn’t, is she?”
“I think I understand what you mean Harry, and I have to say it’s very noble of you,” she gave him a small smile, not many kids would try to keep such a promise. “This little one’s healthy, but… we just couldn’t figure out why she barely ate and didn’t stop crying. Nothing we did calmed her, but now that I’ve found she’s calm with you, there’s a good chance that she’ll eat and sleep. I can assure you she’ll be fine. Umm… do you mind if she keeps you company?”
“Oh not at all Dr, that way I can keep my promise to her mother.”
â€˜And I can try to find a way to escape if we’re together. I’ll probably need to learn how to handle a baby so it’ll be a good idea to have her close and see what the nurses do,’ Harry thought seeing the opportunity in her offer.
“But I don’t know anything about babies,” he ventured, hoping that she would offer to show him how to take care of Snape’s daughter.
“Don’t worry kiddo, the nurses or I will take care of her,” she told him with a small grin. “We can teach you of course, if that’s what you want.” Harry just grinned and nodded.
Upon entering his â€˜room’, Harry noticed the two men waiting there, both looked quite annoyed for having to wait for him. None wore uniforms, but he guessed they were police officers. The urge to run away assaulted him, but he kept himself in check. There was no way he could escape with one security troll holding his arm, save from apparating, which he did not know yet how to do. The guard escorted him back to his bed, while the other guy went out and brought back a nurse. Without giving him much chance to say anything, the woman was about to hook him back on the IV drip. Dr. Thomas told her not to until she had checked his chart, and to send in the physician in charge of Harry. To the young wizard’s surprise, the woman obeyed immediately, sounding quite respectful.
A very young Dr. came in moments later. He introduced himself as Dr. Williams, the pediatrics resident in the ER*. Harry was not assigned a floor doctor yet. Dr. Thomas was silent a few moments then told the younger MD that she would take the boy as her patient and she would like to go over his medical chart with him later since, at the moment, they had the officers waiting.Â She introduced herself as Mary Thomas, the head of pediatrics, and informed them that she would be present while they took her patient’s statement. From what the ER resident told her, the boy had a nervous breakdown the day before, and she would not allow them to put her new patient under unnecessary stress.
The men did not look pleased at all, especially the oldest looking of the two. But as the boy’s medic, she had every right to be present, and decide what was best for her patient. The eldest of the two protested the presence of the little girl, and Dr Thomas gave him a demonstration of what happened when she moved away from the kid. She told them they had no explanation of her behavior, but that she was willing to humor the newborn if it helped her remain healthy. After that, she sat on the other bed, apparently ignoring them and started feeding the baby while the officers began their work, although she kept a close watch on Harry’s reactions.
“I’m detective Walter Anderson and this is my partner lieutenant Anthony Roberts. We’re from the homicide division.” One of the men started, he was about Sirius height with auburn hair, and blue eyes.
Detective Anderson had an ugly looking mustache, was portly, and wore a stern disapproving expression. He reminded Harry of his uncle Vernon, and the boy could not help but feel a bit intimidated by the man. Unconsciously he made himself look smaller. The lieutenant had black hair and baby blue eyes and he too, like his partner, had a mustache, but his was well kept, and better looking. He was more on the skinny side, looked much younger than Anderson did, and his expression was friendlier too.
“We want to ask you a few questions about what happened yesterday,” Detective Anderson went on, pinning Harry with a slightly disapproving glare.
“Yes Sir,” Harry responded softly looking wearily at the detective. The police officer made him feel uneasy and he had not started asking his questions yet. He had the feeling things were not going to go smoothly with that man. Still, he would try to keep calm, avoid snapping and be as polite as he possibly could. In his experience, at least with his uncle, loosing his temper usually led to big trouble. “I’ll answer what I can Sir.”
“Well then, for the record, let’s start with your name, age, and address.” Detective Anderson began as he moved a chair closer to Harry’s bed and sat on it. His partner started taking notes as he sat on a chair by the foot of the bed. The young boy hesitated for only a brief moment, but that caught the attention of both police officers. They refrained from mentioning it, but filed it to analyze later.
“I’m… fourteen years old. But I’ll be fifteen on the 31st of July. My name’s Harry… Harold James,” he said softly and his voice lowered in volume at the end. He started fidgeting with the blanket nervously.
“Is James your last name?” The detective inquired looking pointedly at him and Harry shook his head no. “Then what’s your last name Harold?” He began getting suspicious of the boy, as it had just become clear that he had something to hide. He decided he was not going to go easy on the kid if he was uncooperative. Harry remained quiet, refraining from looking at either police officer. “Harold what’s your last name?” Anderson asked again.
“Is my last name really necessary Sir?” Harry asked nervously, he fidgeted with the bed’s blanket and his voice was very soft. “You… you want to know what happened… I… can tell you that…”
“Of course your last name is necessary!” Anderson exploded making Harry cringe on his bed. “You’re a minor and we’ll need to talk to your parents…”
“I’m an orphan,” Harry interrupted while he tried to think what to do.
Harry knew telling them his full name was not an option, but he was afraid that lying would get him into more trouble than he already was. He had the notion that this time he really was on his own, with no one to come and rescue him. The young wizard also did not want to admit that his â€˜family’ had turned on him, since Harry would have to admit to the abuse and neglect. That was too embarrassing and humiliating. He had promised himself that he would never let anyone know about that, and he would do whatever he could to keep that to himself.
“Then the name of the institution…”
“Never been in an orphanage,” Harry interrupted again.
“So give me the name of your legal guardian, you must have one. By the way you talk I can tell you’re not from the streets,” Anderson said exasperated.
“I… I… I can’t tell you that Sir,” he said very softly and looked at both men, his eyes silently pleading for them not to ask.
“Look boy, you’re making me loose my patience and I really don’t have much of it. What are you hiding? Do you have a criminal record? Is that it? We can certainly check your fingerprints for a match on our database. Or is it that you’re Allen’s accomplice? ”
“Criminal record?” Harry asked his eyes bugging out of his sockets; did that mean he was under suspicion? Detective Anderson thought he was on the thug’s side? He could not help but be horrified by the idea. However, he still could not tell them about the Dursleys, Vernon would kill him if they contacted him. The boy really could not understand why, but he feared Vernon Dursley even more than he did Snape’s rage or Voldemort. “I… couldn’t… I wouldn’t… I’ve never committed a crime Sir,” he finally said. “And… I don’t know who this Allen is.” Both officers noticed his expression, and lieutenant Roberts began to think the boy was either innocent or an accomplished actor.
â€˜Liar, liar, you got Cedric and your parents killed and what crime could be worse than that?’ A little voice inside his head reminded him, but Harry pushed it away. He really could not say anything about that; muggles would not understand any of it.
“So… you’re a runaway Harold…” the lieutenant began, playing close attention to the boy’s reaction. To his surprise Harold seemed to be telling the truth when he answered.
“No, it’s not that I ran away…” he began saying, but did not finish that was already saying too much even if it was the truth. The Dursleys were the ones that abandoned him.
“Harold,” Detective Anderson began in a threatening tone of voice and he scowled menacingly. At least the man thought he was being menacing, but Harry had to put up with Snape’s facial expressions for four years, and after him, everyone else was an amateur. No one could inspire as much fear in even the seventh year students as the Potions Master could. “Let me get this straight, since it seems you don’t understand how serious your position is at the moment. Either you cooperate with us or I’ll be pressing charges against you, for obstructing a murder investigation at the very least. Of course I can also go for accomplice in first degree murder.”
Harry looked worried as he pondered his options. Muggle jail and live, or calling his uncle and die once they were alone. It really was no option, no matter how hard his life currently was, he still wanted to live. The wizarding world depended on him, and he was sure that someone would get him out of jail sooner or later. There was also the baby, if Vernon killed him who was going to tell Snape that he had a daughter? Informing him might still get him killed but at least he would keep his promise, and Dumbledore might be able to do something to keep the Potions Master from seeking his demise.
“Detective… Sir… I want to cooperate,” he began in a soft but determined voice. “I really do, but… I can’t tell you more about me… It’s not… I couldn’t… I’ll be…” Harry stammered unable to find a way explain without saying too much, then sighed in resignation when he could not. “If… if you think I should be in… jail… then I’ll be. I… tried to help her; I couldn’t let him kill her, and tried to save her even though she died despite my efforts. I’m innocent, but you… you don’t give me any choice. I can’t tell you more about me, so going to prison it’s… it’s the only option I have.” He could see Detective Anderson turn a strange shade of plum, just like his uncle did, and he could not help flinching and assuming a more protective position, muscles tense and arms ready to raise and protect his head from a blow.
Harry feared that the man might actually hit him; and this reaction did not go unnoticed by lieutenant Roberts or Dr. Thomas, both of them had experience with abused children. The lieutenant excused themselves for a moment and pulled his partner out of the room, before the man was able to say anything else. They could be heard arguing before they returned, and Anderson looked even more annoyed, but this time Roberts took the lead in the questioning.
“Harry, I can call you that, can’t I?” He asked in a soft and friendly tone of voice, Harry just nodded looking wearily at Detective Anderson, who looked like he wanted to kill him. He would have to wait his turn since Voldemort, Vernon Dursley and probably Snape were already waiting for their chance at it. “Were â€˜their’ beatings too bad?” He inquired unexpectedly in a very soft voice.
By the small signs Roberts caught from the boy’s attitude, he suspected that, whoever the legal guardians were, they beat the boy. Besides why else would he prefer going to prison before telling them who he was. In addition, on the statements taken from the witnesses all agreed that Harry had kept saying that â€˜they’ would not let him find someone and he had been quite frantic about it. â€˜They’ might be his legal guardians. With the unexpected question he was hoping to catch the boy unaware enough to slip something.
“They haven’t been so bad since I got my letter from Hogwarts, but… he warned me they would be worse this… God!” He groaned and hid his face in his hands realizing what he had told them.
â€˜How can I be so stupid? I didn’t want anyone to know, and I just blurted it out to the police! Snape’s right, I’m an idiot.’ In a moment of distraction, he admitted the abuse by his family, and the school, how was he going to explain Hogwarts? This man was shrewder than the other was, and he was an idiot for falling into that simple trap. â€˜It’s no wonder Dumbledore doesn’t tell me much. How can I face Voldemort and his goons when I blurt things out just like that?’
“Is that the reason why you didn’t want to tell us your last name?” Roberts asked softly, “Your guardians hurt you,” and Harry with a resigned sigh nodded looking ashamed. “You know there are laws that protect you, we would…”
“Look lieutenant, those laws or whatever don’t work,” Harry interrupted the man. He knew very well about those laws that were supposed to protect children from abuse. It was just his bad luck that some people could bend them at will or ignore them if you had the right connections. Petunia Dursley had such connections at school and the school district. “At least they don’t for me. My teacher in 4th grade found out, and he tried to help but they didn’t believe him. It was his word against… in the end they just transferred him without an explanation. It was BAD news for me, and I was very careful after that so no one would find out. Now they moved, and I don’t know were they are. Believe me, I don’t miss them, it’s much better this way. I certainly don’t plan on looking for them, ever. So if I have to go to prison to be away from them, then I’ll go.” This last was stated firmly and with a lot of conviction.
“You can’t be serious boy?” Anderson exclaimed making Harry cringe a little at the tone of voice. Too much like Vernon for his peace of mind. “Prison isn’t a place for children.”
“I can imagine it’s not, but I don’t think it’ll be too different from â€˜home’,” he said the last word filled with irony. The house in Privet Drive was not his home, Hogwarts was.
“Ok, we’ll leave that for the moment Harry.” Roberts said with a sigh.
Anderson was going to make things worse with the boy, if he kept going the way he was. Roberts knew enough not to press the kid for information on his guardians, he knew from experience that it would only shut him up. At the moment, they needed his cooperation and to earn his trust if he ended being the witness he believed he was. They had been after Allen far longer than they should have, and so far no one had been able to put him behind bars for more than a couple of months on petty charges. But murder was a big one, he would do 20 years at the very least.
“Is this Hogwarts your school?”
“Umm… yes, boarding school really,” Harry finally responded after thinking a bit. There was no way he could avoid talking about Hogwarts, but he might be able to make it appear like a normal school. He would just have to be very careful with his answers and think before speaking to avoid blurting things out again. He knew he could do it, the sorting hat had wanted to put him in Slytherin and cunning was one of their characteristics. It was time to get out his Slytherin abilities, that is, if he still had them after being a Gryffindor for so long.
“So, is there someone from the school we can contact about you?” Anderson asked. His tone was still harsh, but he was trying to be patient. He knew he could not bully an abused child and get away with it as he would with any other punk or thug. His boss had an incredibly soft heart when it came to that kind of urchins, and the woman would not hesitate to give free reign to the internal affairs department if she got wind of it.
“Well… it’s summer break,” Harry began carefully as this was the beginning of the risky questions. He needed to construct his story well without actually lying too much. He was aware lies could be more trouble than it was worth. “I just arrived yesterday… and I don’t know if there’s anyone at Hogwarts once break starts, or how to contact them,” which was not a lie since he really did not know how a muggle could contact Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft.
“You just arrived? From where?” Roberts was curious because the name Hogwarts was not familiar.
“How come you don’t know how to contact your own school boy?” Anderson asked a bit put out by the many obstacles the boy put up. He did not like it one bit.
“Well I don’t know Detective, it’s usually them that contact me,” he stressed the title a bit annoyed. “All I know is that I get by mail my letter of school supplies in the summer and every September 1st we meet at Kings Cross…”
“We?” Roberts interrupted him, as he made some notes on his notebook.
“Yes, all the students,” Harry clarified. “Then we take a train to…” he thought fast, and remembered that Hermione had mentioned that in Hogwarts: A History there was a mention that the school’s general location was somewhere in Scotland. He just needed to remember a large city with a train station. “Edinburgh, and people from the school pick us up there and they… drive us to Hogwarts.” This was not that much of a lie, since they took the horseless carriages to the school from the train station in Hogsmeade.
“Surely they have a phone number, or a town is nearby,” suggested Roberts.
“Umm… phone? They don’t have one that I know of, at least not for the use of students. And there’s really no town close by.” At least not a muggle one, he doubted Hogsmead would appear in the muggle maps. “They usually do everything by mail, but at the moment I don’t have the address.”
“Well I’ll investigate about your school, now who can we contact there in case I find a way to do so?”
“Well… you could…” Tapping on the room’s window interrupted him. They all turned to look at what it could possibly be making that sound on a 5th floor window, and to their surprise there was Hedwig trying to get in. Harry was happy to see her, she had not abandoned him, but he worried that the detectives might harm her.
“Is that the owl that attacked Allen and the Patrol man?” Anderson asked eyeing the bird outside suspiciously, one hand moving of its own accord to his gun.
“Umm… yes,” Harry said softly unsure if he could let her in. “Hedwig’s really tame, but she’s very protective of me. That man in the alley attacked me, and well I think she believed the Patrol man was doing the same… can… can I let her in? I promise she’ll behave.” He asked them, and included the doctor.
“Harry what about the baby?” Dr. Thomas asked. “That bird might think she’s her dinner.” At her words, the boy looked horrified.
“Oh no, no, Hedwig would never do that! Besides she’ll behave if I tell her to, she’s really smart.” Harry was getting an idea to get in contact with either the headmaster or Snape, and hope the detective and lieutenant agreed with it.
“Pets are not all…”
“She’s not a pet Dr. Thomas, Hedwig’s my friend. Besides she can be very useful, you’ll see.” He would send her to Hogwarts with a letter; he just had to decide who would be better.
“All right, but in your condition you shouldn’t exert yourself. Would you be so kind to open the window Detective Anderson?” The man glared at her, but did as he was asked.Â There was no way he was going to show the brat that he was a bit afraid of the bird, it had after all inflicted some nasty damage to both Allen and McKinney. Once the window was open, the snowy owl swooped in gracefully and landed on Harry’s shoulder. She hooted gently in greeting and nibbled delicately at the boy’s hair in something that to the other people present could only be affection.
“I’m glad you found me girl,” he told her caressing the owl’s chest affectionately. “I wasn’t sure you’d be able.” At that and to the other’s amazement the raptor hooted indignantly and puffed her feathers looking offended. “Sorry, didn’t mean to offend you girl. I know you can always find me or those I ask you to.” He caressed the owl’s head and it closed its eyes in contentment.
“Harry, you were about to tell us who we could contact at your school,” Robert told him getting the â€˜interview’ back on track.
“I think… Professor Snape might still be there. I remember some of the other teachers mentioned he doesn’t leave his dungeons much.” Snape would be the best choice since he needed to tell him about the baby. He was not sure the Death Eater turned spy would help him out of his problem but at least he would keep his promise to Anne Watkins. Besides, he was not too happy with Dumbledore, the man’s refusal to let him spend the summer anywhere else was part of the reason why he was in trouble.
“His dungeons? What kind of subject does he teach?”
â€˜Oh bloody hell! Can’t I keep from blurting things out? I’m beginning to thing Snape may be right. I am an idiot.’ Harry thought as he mentally slapped himself.
“Umm yes, the ah… chemistry labs are in the dungeons, and he spends a lot of his time down there doing research.” As far as he knew the closest thing to potions in the muggle world was indeed chemistry, and it was common knowledge that the Potions Master did do some research to improve several potions. He was quiet for a moment, looking thoughtful before he spoke again. “You know, I can send Hedwig with a note to the Professor, she…”
“What? Send that bird… That’s ludicrous!” Anderson exclaimed as he laughed. The snowy owl hooted indignantly and pierced the detective with the equivalent of a glare. It unnerved the man a bit that she seemed to understand what he was saying.
“Detective, have you heard of messenger doves?” Harry knew about them because Mr. Simpson, who lived at number 12 in Privet Drive, raised the things, and well, he knew Hedwig had eaten a few of those when she was out hunting before sunset. He found the feathers in her cage, he still had no idea how she managed to catch them, since owls mostly hunted land prey.
“Of course I have, don’t tell me you have a messenger owl.”
“Well… I do. She’s… trained to send letters, and I know she can get back to Hogwarts. Hedwig knows Professor Snape, and I’m sure she can find him.” He knew she would find him even if he was not at Hogwarts. “I can send a message with her; it’s not fast like a phone but it’ll have to do, unless you find the address or if they have a phone.”
“Do you think this professor will come if you ask him? We need someone who can take responsibility for you, or at least provide us with the information to proceed against your legal guardians.”
“Well… he’s helped me when I’ve had troubles before,” which was no lie since Snape had saved his life, and tried to protect him a few times before despite his hate for all Potters. He was not sure he would help him with the police, but at least he might decide to inform Dumbledore. Harry would also compose a message to draw his attention; he had an inkling that the Potions Master was a curious person by nature although he rarely showed it.
“Does he know about your…”
“No,” Harry cut him off. “No one knows.”
“You’re aware the officers will have to tell him about your guardians Harry?” Dr. Thomas asked, observing the boy carefully.
“I rather no one else knew, but…” there really was no other way around it. To tell the man about his daughter he would have to explain why he was there in the first place. Harry believed Snape would want to use veritaserum to be sure he was not lying. Besides it was time the Potions Master realized that he was not his father, he was not James Potter, and had never been pampered and spoiled by his family. “I guess now that it can’t be helped.”
After that he went on retelling the events of the day before, being as accurate to detail as he could. Both officers questioned him carefully, he of course changed the part when he used magic and just left it at the man, Allen, had tripped while trying to get away from Hedwig and hit his head against the wall. Anderson cross-examined and asked the same thing in different ways to catch him lying. But since he was mostly telling the truth the Detective ended giving up. No matter how he wanted to put some blame or make the kid an accomplice, everything pointed out to him being innocent. Still he knew in his gut that the boy was not telling everything, and it irked him not knowing what it was.
“Well there’s only one thing left and then we’ll leave you to rest Harry,” Roberts began saying. “Who were you trying to find and why?” At this, the boy visibly tensed and was silent for a long time. “Harry? So far what you have told us, matches what we know from witnesses and the forensic team. You’re a witness to this crime and clear of charges, but if you keep things from us or lie then we’re back where we started. Tell me who was it you wanted to find?”
“Well…” Anderson pressed on. “Why were you so desperate to find the bloke?”
“He’s… he’s helped me before,” Harry said but it did not sound very convincing.
“That’s not the real reason is it?” Roberts asked his tone of voice gentle. He watched as the boy seemed to take a long time thinking, then sigh in resignation after coming to a conclusion about whatever he was delivering about. “Why don’t you want to tell us?”
“Because it’s weird, and strange things always happen to me. I don’t think you’ll believe it.”
“Well, we won’t know unless you tell us,” Roberts commented. “Let me be the judge of how â€˜weird’ this is.”
“Ok, but you don’t know Snape, so you really can’t understand why this is so strange. Anne told me Snape was the baby’s father and asked me to tell him…”
“That’s too much of a coincidence boy!” Anderson snapped standing from his chair and looming menacingly over Harry.
“I know Sir!”
“Surely she was talking about another Snape; I don’t think it’s a common last name, but still…” Roberts began.
“Oh it’s him alright, if Snape is not common; think how uncommon the name Severus is. She said Severus Snape, a professor at a boarding school, is the baby’s father and he didn’t know she was pregnant when he left.” The adults in the room looked gobsmacked, and Harry could not help but add. “I told you weird things happen to me.” And Hedwig gave a small hoot of whole hearted support.
* ER = Emergency Room
A/N: I know that no Dr. would ever admit any type of animal into a hospital, but lets just leave this as fanfiction. Since Hedwig making a small appearance was important.