Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Once in a Blue Moon

Chapter 2

by USA_Tiger 1 review


Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG - Genres: Crossover - Characters: Harry,Snape - Warnings: [!!] [?] - Published: 2016-03-09 - 8290 words

Once in a Blue Moon

Author: USA Tiger

Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling and Final Fantasy 7 belongs to Square Enix

Author note: Wow, I am so glad you guys liked story idea so much.

My best buddy Asilyessam has betaed this chapter for me.

Chapter 2

The next morning, Zack and Harry were both knocked out of their sleep by a sharp knock on the door.

“Up boy!” Petunia called sharply on the other side. “I’ll not let you skirt your cooking duties. My Diddums needs breakfast.” Then Zack could hear her walking away down the stairs.

“Gee, is she always this cheerful in the morning?” He asked Harry as he stretched out his front paws in front of him and his hind end rose in the air as his back bowed.

“That’s her on a good day,” Harry admitted as he stretched as well. He was thrilled to pieces when he woke up in the guest room with Zack sleeping next to him on the bed, which meant the day before hadn’t been a dream. “Come on, I can’t keep her waiting.”

“You don’t have to cook if you don’t want to. I can always give them another show of my fangs and scare them,” Zack offered as he hopped off the bed and shook himself.

“No, that’s alright. I actually don’t mind cooking,” Harry said as he finger combed his hair, trying to get the wild nest of hair to lie down. “I just don’t like not getting to have any.”

“Well /that is gonna stop for sure. If you’re ok with cooking then I won’t stop you kiddo but you are going to make enough for you too… and me hopefully,”/ Zack added with a doggy grin. “I’m starving.” Harry laughed and opened the door, Zack walking by his side down to the kitchen. On the way into the kitchen Zack took the time to fully take in his surroundings, he hadn’t bothered the night before as he had been more concerned about Harry.

The house was… freakishly neat. His Ma kept a clean house as did Angeal when Zack was his student, but never this clean. There was very little personality in the house, like the Dursleys placed pretty things in it that were expensive or just looked expensive to show off. There were also many, many photos of Harry’s cousin on the wall and damn that kid had been fat all his life! Zack was also not surprised to see no photos of all of Harry. In fact, he didn’t see anything that would make it look like two children lived here. He couldn’t believe someone hated a child just that much.

In the kitchen, it was just as neat and freakishly tidy as the rest of the house. Vernon was sitting at the table, the chair groaning under the fat man’s weight and legs looking like they were starting to bend a little. He had a news paper held up in front of his face, gripping the paper so tightly his knuckles were white. Petunia stood next to the stove with her arms crossed, glaring down at Harry as the boy started making breakfast. Zack gave a meaningful huff at her making her start and quickly back away.

“J-just hurry up boy,” She said then hurried over to the table to pour fat man some more coffee. Zack sat down and watched both the adults to make sure they didn’t make any moves toward Harry and watched Harry as he cooked.

“Wow, do they really eat that much?” Zack asked in shock as Harry made eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes, made a pan of baked beans, and fired some bread with butter, sausages and plenty of all of it. Harry just nodded a little and Zack realized he could have answered his own question, Vernon and Dudley were very fat after all. Speaking of Butterball, as Zack decided to nickname him, a loud pounding sound came down the stairs and the youngest Dursley came into the kitchen.

“Mum, I’m hungry,” Dudley said as he sat down at the table, the chair groaning in protest.

“Breakfast is almost ready popkins,” Petunia cooed to her son.

“But I want to eat now,” Dudley whined. “Hurry up freak!”

Zack growled lowly catching everyone’s attention.

“N-now Diddums, I think you should s-stop using that word,” Petunia said in worry.

“Oh… the dog is still here?” Dudley asked while squinting his piggy eyes at Zack. “Dad, why does the freak get the dog? I want a dog. Make him give me the dog.”

“Now son,” Vernon said though clenched teeth, “you don’t want a raggedy mutt like that.”

“Yes I do!” Dudley whined again, the dog was huge! Dudley could already see all the little kids he could threaten with that dog to hand over their pocket money and sweets.

“No Dudley,” Vernon said. “If you really want a dog we can get one of Marge’s bulldogs.” Zack was amused to see the dismayed look on Petunia’s face at the suggestion. Luckily at that point Harry appeared with plates of food, placing them on the table for the others then going over to the counter where two other plates, one with a much smaller, normal amount of food and one of bacon and sausages. Harry put the plate of meat on the floor for Zack and took the other plate for himself. “Boy! What do you think you are doing!?”

Harry froze with the fork half way to his mouth; Vernon’s face was purple with rage. Zack was already on his feet and standing protectively in front of Harry with his hackles raised. This made Vernon pause, remembering how Zack easily overpowered him the night before.

“Vernon,” Petunia hissed in warning as she grabbed her husband’s arm. She wasn’t happy about it either, she had already put out the boy’s breakfast of stale bread and old cheese but the dog wasn’t having any of it. Vernon breathed heavily and stood up from the table.

“I’m heading to work,” he said through gritted teeth, he could not deal with the boy or that dog right now. Zack’s glowing eyes followed his every movement as Vernon grabbed his coat and hat then grabbed his keys on the way out the door, slamming it shut. Harry had in the meantime started eating again, assured by Zack’s actions that he would keep his aunt and uncle from taking the food away. Dudley was just disappointed that his father hadn’t punished the freak.

“Once you and that thing are finished eating, you are to start cleaning out the second bedroom,” Petunia said. “Just box everything up and place it in the attic.”

“Muuummm, I don’t want him to have my second bedroom. I need that room,” Dudley whined loudly.

“Dinky Duddydums,” Petunia said through clenched teeth of her own. “We talked about this last time remember?”

“Damn, how many nicknames does she have for him?” Zack asked as he started eating again, quickly polishing off his plate. Harry also finished eating and was taking their plates to the sink to wash. Dudley just whined again and pouted.

“Mummy will take you to the store today and you can buy anything you want,” Petunia promised. Dudley instantly perked up.

“Alright I guess,” he said then started to shovel the rest of the food left on the table into his mouth. Petunia relaxed as a temper tantrum was adverted for now.

“When you are done with the room, you and the beast are to get out of the house,” Petunia said. “Don’t come back until this evening.” ‘Or at all,’ she thought to herself but didn’t say out loud.

“Yes Aunt Petunia,” Harry said as he started cleaning off the table. Dudley hopped up and headed for the stairs, attempting to trip Harry on the way but Harry nimbly avoided his cousin. Soon Harry and Zack could hear Harry’s aunt and cousin leaving the house and the garage door opening outside where Petunia had her little fancy car kept.

“Your relatives suck,” Zack said as Harry cleaned, helping out by licking the plates clean. “How are those chairs holding your uncle and cousin up!?”

“They end up getting replaced at least once a year. Of course, if the chairs get broken and have to be replaced, Aunt Petunia insists on the whole thing being replaced and the remaining table and chairs are usually sent to the dump,” Harry explained as he finished up.

/“Your aunt is one of those people who like to show off, huh,” /Zack mused.

“Yeah, her and Uncle Vernon,” Harry agreed. “Zack, thank you. This so far has been the best two days of my life.”

“Well it’s not over yet, I still got some other things I think need to be done…. I just need to figure out how,” /Zack said with a doggy grin. /“But still, you’re welcome Kiddo.” Harry just smiled, he liked being called ‘kiddo’, it was a million times better than ‘freak’ or ‘boy’, and Zack said it with affection that was real.


The room, Zack decided, was many times worse in the day than it had been at night.

“Why does your aunt let your cousin get away with this if she’s such a neat freak?” he asked as he pawed one of the broken toys on the floor.

“Aunt Petunia would do anything to make Dudley happy,” Harry said with a shrug of his shoulders. “Even let him keep old or broken toys he won’t ever touch again.”

“Ugh, you’re cousin is spoiled worse that the little Shinra prince was,” Zack said with a snort. Harry sighed as he looked at the mess then started piling things into the trash bags he had brought with him. “Hey, I got an idea. A lot of this stuff is pure trash but there is some nice stuff still in here. Why don’t you just keep it?”

“I would get into so much trouble if I did that,” Harry said with a shake of his head. “Uncle Vernon would beat me if he thought I was stealing from Dudley.”

“It’s not stealing since it’s pretty clear he doesn’t want any of this stuff,” Zack pointed out. “Seems like a waste to just stick the good stuff in the attic.”

“Yeah….” Harry agreed slowly. He saw many books he wouldn’t mind having, he liked reading, and even a couple of art sets that were either barely used or hadn’t been used at all. “Well… maybe if I find a good place to hide it… maybe I can keep a couple of things…”

“That’s the spirit,” Zack said with a happy pant. Harry quickly set aside a few fantasy books that looked interesting, Harry was shocked his guardians even let them stay in the house with how anti-magic they were, and stuffed more broken toys into the bag.

“Hey Zack… can I ask a question?” Harry asked after a few minutes of working.

“Ask away,” Zack said as he nosed thought the junk trying to separate the good stuff from the bad.

”What is ‘Shinra’?” The boy asked. “And that other stuff you mentioned, soldier and turk?”

“Well Shinra is this company from my world, an electric company. But they weren’t always that, they use to be a weapons manufacturer a long time ago but then somebody in the company figured out how to use Mako as an energy source. Mako is sorta a physical form of the Lifestream, in liquid form,” Zack quickly explained at Harry’s confused look. “And don’t let that fool you, they still made weapons when I worked for them. They pretty much ruled the world.”

“And no one stopped them?” Harry asked.

“Most people were afraid of Shinra,” /Zack said. /“They did have some enemies, like Wutai and AVALANCHE mostly, but no one bothered. Shinra also made vehicles and all sorts of other stuff on top of weapons. Shinra also had their own army, plus the Turks and SOLDIER. Now the Turks, which is sorta a nickname for the Investigation Sector of the General Affairs Department, were the guys who did all the dirty works for the president of Shinra.”

“Like MI6?” Harry asked. “James Bond?”

/“No idea what those are kiddo,” /Zack pointed out.

“Spies?” Harry tired again.

“I guess spies is sorta close to some of what the Turks did,” /Zack said. /“Now SOLDIER, and that’s all capital letters, well that’s something different. See somebody discovered Mako could be used to make super humans, so they started the SOLDIER program. There are three classes of SOLDIER, 1st through 3rd, and we did a lot of the heavy fighting that the army couldn’t. The Mako gives us greater strength, let us heal faster, greater senses and gives our eyes that cool glowy look.”

“And which class were you?” Harry tied off one bag of junk and started another.

“I made it all the way to 1st class, one of the very few who did. They only let the very, very best be 1st class,” /Zack said. /“Honestly, while I proud when it happen, it was a lifelong dream of mine, I’m ashamed of what I did while working for Shinra. Between us, the Turks, and the army, we’re the reason why people were afraid. Not a good feeling. The longer I was with Shinra, the more I found out how much of a dirty rat it was.”

“That sounds horrible,” Harry said.

“Ugh it was. They were not above kidnapping, murder, experimenting on people, cover ups, the list goes on. But the Shinra company was very good at painting itself in a good light or people were just too afraid to say anything,” /Zack said as he nosed another pile of stuff. He yelped as the pile fell over and jumped out of the way. A discard birthday card slid out of an envelope whose glue had worn off a long time ago, something falling out of the card. /“What’s that?”

Harry walked over and picked up the items, his eyes wide.

“It’s money,” he whispered.

“That’s money?” Zack asked it didn’t look anything like Gil. “Ohhh, like birthday money? I use to get that sometimes from my relatives when I was a kid.”

“Dudley never opens his cards, I had no idea that there was money in them,” Harry said as he counted out the amount.

“Really?” Zack perked up and gave the room another look around. “Think that there are others cards in here?”

“Maybe, why?” Harry asked. Zack didn’t answer right away, his mind was busy running with different ideas. One of the things he had wanted to fix for Harry was the clothing situation. Second-hand clothing was fine, it wasn’t something Zack had a problem with. In fact everything he wore as a kid, baring his boxers and socks, had been either made by his Ma or had belonged to someone else at one time. His village hadn’t been big, it was a place where everyone knew pretty much everyone else. So it wasn’t at all unusual for clothing to be passed around from family member to family member or neighbor to neighbor until it was just too worn out to be used anymore. Then the tattered remains would be used as a dust cloth.

What Harry wore, on the other hand, was not acceptable. Second hand clothing was one thing, if it was in good shape and would fit, but what Harry wore was not only too big for him, it looked like it had seen better days. But Zack hadn’t quite figured out just how he was going to get Harry in something that was acceptable to wear. It wasn’t as if he could just tell Petunia or Vernon that they were going to buy Harry better stuff, Harry was the only one that could hear him!

“I think…. We should take all the money we find in here and use it to buy you clothing that fits,” Zack said at last.

“Zack… isn’t that stealing?” Harry whispered with wide green eyes.

“I don’t consider it stealing. Your cousin just tossed the stuff in here like it was trash. After that, I think it’s fair game to anyone,” /Zack pointed out. /“And what they don’t know won’t hurt them.”

“Hmmm… I guess…” Harry said looking down at the pounds in his hands. He really would like clothing that fit for once, he never wore anything but Dudley’s castoffs for a long as he could remember. “But Zack, Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon will notice if I got new stuff and will ask where I got the money.”

“Those two piles of chocobo shit should have done this on their own. You don’t own them an explanation Harry and if they try to touch you, I’ll kill them. Or at least maim them a little. They don’t scare me Kiddo, nothing scares me except Sephiroth on a rampage, my Ma wielding a spoon and Angeal giving an ‘honor’ talk,” /Zack said. /“Just leave them to me, I’m going to make sure you are taken care of. That’s what your mom wanted and that’s what I want. Just trust me ok?”

“Ok,” Harry said. It was trilling to have someone care for him and made good things happen to him for once. Would it last? He didn’t know but he was soaking up the feelings of being cared for and loved for once. Harry stuffed the money in his pocket and got back to cleaning out the room. Every time they came across a discarded card, Harry would open it to check for money and take any that was there. He soon had a tidy small sum. Not huge by any means but still it was more money than Harry ever had and he hoped they could buy something with it.

After a couple of hours, Harry soon had the room as clean as it was going to get. He hid the stuff he selected for himself in the wardrobe then took the rest of the bags up into the attic with Zack’s help.


There was something… different… about the wards around #4 Privet Drive but for the life of him Albus Dumbledore couldn’t quite put his finger on to what it was. It wasn’t as if they had gone down, and they were the same strength they had been for the last few years, which while not as strong as they had been when he first placed young Harry Potter in his relatives care, were strong enough to still work against Voldemort. Still something had changed in some way.

Albus was sure it started the day before, Harry’s 10th birthday if he wasn’t mistaken. His twinkly blue eyes lost focus for a moment as he dove down memory lane, it was hard to believe that Harry was one year away from rejoining the Wizarding world and coming to Hogwarts at last. He wondered if the boy still looked like his father James or if Lily’s looks had started to come out in the boy. The shift in the wards couldn’t have anything to do with Harry turning a year older, they hadn’t reacted at all the previous years.

‘I should have someone go check on the lad,’ Albus thought to himself as he absently took a lemon drop from the candy dish on his desk and popped the sour treat in his mouth. ‘I am too busy myself to go with the ICW meeting coming up, I need to prepare for that. Who shoulder I send? Minerva…. No, she was against me placing Harry with the Dursley’s to start with, she may try to find an excuse to take Harry away from them.’

So his Deputy Headmistress was out. Pomona? No, she wouldn’t work either, she was out of the country looking into getting some seeds and cuttings of rare plants for the school and her lessons. Filius… no he wouldn’t work either, he was visiting his family and Albus didn’t want to take his old friend away from that. Dear Hagrid was a possibility… no no as kind as the half giant was and as much as Albus trusted the man, Hagrid was not subtle at all. And this would need a certain agree of subtlety so that left only one person whom Albus could trust…. But he wasn’t going to be happy about it….

“You want me to what?” Severus Snape as sometime later after Albus had contacted him and asked him to join him at his office at Hogwarts. “I must have heard you wrong, but I thought you said you would like me to go check on Potter.”

“Severus would you please let me finish,” Albus said kindly yet firmly. Severus scowled but motioned for his boss to continue. “Yesterday something… shifted… in the wards that protect young Harry. I have been unable to find the cause from this end. All I want you to do check on Mr. Potter and see if you can find the cause in the shift.”

“Why me?” Severus said with what was not a pout, nope no pout here. “Why not McGonagall? Or either Sprout or Flitwick?”

“Minerva is busy with school related business on top of finding time to visit with her nieces and nephews,” Albus said. “Pomona is out of the country and Filius is currently spending time with his own family. You are the last one left whom I can trust with this. It is not like you will have to interact with young Harry, just make sure he is not in any danger. It wouldn’t do for Voldemort’s followers to have found out where Harry has been all these years after all and you did promise to protect the child.”

Severus groaned softly, he just knew that promise was going to bite him in the arse one day. He really didn’t want to go see the child of the woman he loved and his hated rival. It was bad enough he was going to be teaching the spoiled brat for 7 years starting the next year.

“Alright fine,” he said at last as he stood. “I will go check on your precious golden boy. But I think it is a waste of time. Where is the boy living?”

“Take the Floo to Mrs. Figg house, she will be able to tell you where young Mr. Potter lives,” Albus said as he stood and walked over to his fireplace, throwing a pinch of floo power within. “Aravella dear, I have something about to floo over, if you could help him I would be most grateful.”

“Yes yes, send them on their way,” a woman’s voice side from the other side of the fire.

“I doubt I shall be long,” Severus said before stepping into the green flames and letting it sweep him along. On the other end Severus stepped out of the fireplace at Mrs. Figg’s house and the first thing Severus saw was many many cats as they came to investigate this new person in their home.

“Go on now, shoo,” An older woman said, waving her hands to get her cats to move. “Ahh, what can I help you with dear?”

“I am here to check on Potter, if you can tell me where he is living?” Severus said.

“Ah, someone is finally listening to me?” Figg asked with a huff. “I’ve told Albus again and again those people are no good for the poor child. That screw of a woman, Petunia, always yelling at the boy.”

‘Petunia?’ Severus thought startled though he didn’t show it outwardly. He hadn’t heard that name in many years, Lily’s son was living with that jealous bint? That… surprised him. What in the world made Dumbledore think Petunia was a good choice for any child to live with? Unless she changed in the years since he last saw her, which he doubted very much. Still, he wondered what Potter had done to anger his aunt, more than likely he had back talked her or threw a fit over not receiving one treat or the other….

“Madame, the address if you please?” Severus asked out loud.

“What?” Mrs. Figg blinked startled for a second. “Oh, yes yes. Just two streets over, Privet Drive. Number 4.” Severus nodded and headed for the front door. He took a moment to transfigure his clothing into some more muggle looking, a pair of black slacks and a black turtle neck with an added cooling charm to keep himself from becoming over heated. He also quickly cast a Notice-me-not charm on himself so he wouldn’t be bothered as he checked on Potter. Prepared as he was going to get Severus opened the door and walked away.

Following Mrs. Figg’s directions, Severus quickly walked the two streets over to Privet Drive. He sneered as he looked around; all the houses looked the same. How utterly boring and how utterly like Petunia to live in a place like that. He quickly counted the numbers on the houses until he found number four, standing in front of the house across the street. He wondered how long he would have to stand staring at the house before Potter or any of his family came out.

While waiting he quickly noticed a young boy standing on the sidewalk in front of the house. The thing was sickly looking wearing raggedy looking clothing that was much too big. He could see one bony shoulder sticking out of the neck hole of the shirt. Standing next to the boy was a very large Great Dane with black fur and a white marking on its cheek. The boy was tying a rope to its collar like a make shift leash. As if sensing that they were being watched, both the boy and the dog turned in his direction. Severus’s mouth nearly dropped open as he found himself looking into Lily’s eyes and his own dark eyes quickly darted up to boy’s forehead where a lightning bolt scar rested.


After they had finished putting all the bags of Dudley’s things in the attic, Harry headed down to his old cupboard under the stairs with Zack on his heels.

“I can’t believe someone is that cruel to make anyone live in this tiny ass closet!” Zack snorted in anger as he watched Harry gather his few belongings. The cupboard was tiny, it had a thin mattress on the floor that didn’t look comfortable at all with a thin blanket on top. Zack could see spider webs in the corners and one even had a spider sitting in the middle of it. He had no clue what sort of spiders they were as he was unfamiliar with the spiders of Earth he just hoped those things weren’t poisonous. He also noticed that the only light source was one bare blub.

Zack watched as Harry took out a few more of the oversized rags the Dursley’s had given him, took a few drawings off the wall, and took out a small box of crayons and a couple of broken toy soldiers.

“Are those the only toys you have?” Zack asked with a doggy frown on his face.

”Yeah, these are Dudley’s old toys. I managed to sneak them away before they could be tossed into Dudley’s second room,” Harry said then held up the crayons with a smile. “These were given to me by the lady at the library, it’s one of the few places I can hide from Dudley and his gang.” Zack’s heart broke at how proud Harry was at the small box of crayons, they were likely the nicest and possibly the only new thing the boy had ever gotten. Harry finished gather his stuff and took it up to the smallest room in the house, laying it all on the bed. “So where are we going to go to look for new stuff for me to wear.”

“Well first… when is the last time you had a bath?” Zack asked as he sniffed Harry. “No offence kid but you reek.”

“I usually get a quick shower about once a week. More during the school year, Uncle Vernon doesn’t like me wasting water. And he doesn’t like me using the hot water,” Harry said embarrassed. Zack snorted softly.

“Well you are getting a decent shower or bath kiddo. With hot water. Those planet-damned people aren’t here right now and I’m not gonna let you freeze just to get washed up,” Zack said then gently pushed Harry toward the bathroom. “Come on, bath time!” Harry laughed as Zack playfully guided him along to the bath and went in. Zack went outside to sit in the hallway to give Harry some privacy. ”Remember, turn on the hot water and to wash behind your ears!” Harry laughed again and closed the door. Soon Zack could hear the water running on the other side and after a few minutes steam drifted out from the bottom.

Relaxing as he waited for Harry to get finished, Zack thought about the last couple of days. He didn’t think he was doing too badly on taking care of Harry. The kid was sweet, that was for sure. But those Dursleys… they were rapidly getting closer to replacing Hojo as his number one person to hate list. He didn’t know how he was going to keep himself from killing that fat bastard if this kept up. The skinny bitch was looking for a good bite as well. The problem was Zack didn’t know how far he could push them; Vernon had barely kept himself in check.

It would just have to be something he dealt with as he came to it. Zack wished he hadn’t rushed off so quickly, if he had just stayed a few more moments, if he had thought to ask Lily a few more questions…. Well it was too late now, he had to work with what he had. Not the first time he worked with so little information.

A few minutes later Zack heard the shower turn off and a few minutes after that the door opened with Harry wrapped in a towel. His skin was pink from the shower and scrubbing the boy had done and had a huge smile on his face.

“Feel better? I know I always did after a hot shower after training all day or coming back from missions,” Zack said panting happily. He had really missed hot water the year he and Cloud had been on the run from Shinra. Bathing in cold lakes or rivers sucked big time!

“Yeah,” Harry said as he headed to his new living space. He dropped his dirty clothing on the floor then pulled out some clean, if still threadbare and too big, clothing to dress in. Zack quickly turned his back to let Harry dress in peace. “So where are we going to go?” the boy asked as he stuffed the money in his pocket and carried towel down to the wash room.

“Hmmm no clue since I’m not at all familiar with anything here,” /Zack said. /“Just wonder around and hope for the best?”

“Well we can’t go into London, we have no way of getting there,” Harry said. “At least nowhere they would let a dog in. Oh… Zack you’re going to have to wear a leash, they have rules about that here. Aunt Marge complains about it each time she has to put Ripper on a leash while visiting.”

“Oh joy. Reno would have a laughing fit if he knew about me on a leash,” Zack said with a roll of his eyes. “Ok, leash it is. Where is it?”

“Well…. We don’t have one… maybe a rope tied to your collar?” Harry suggested.

/“Can’t hurt to try,” /Zack said. Harry found some of the rope he used to keep his pants up and left the house with Zack, locking the door behind him. They stood on the sidewalk in front of the house while Harry tied the rope to Zack’s collar. Harry then stiffened as did Zack, the hair raising on the back of Harry’s neck. Both turned to look across the street but Harry saw nothing. After a few seconds he shrugged and turned back to tying the rope to Zack. Zack didn’t look away, everything sense told him that he was being watched right now but try as he might he couldn’t see anything. That was never a good thing, it was like his eyes kept skipping over just that one spot.

“I’m ready Zack,” Harry said as he finished. Zack gave the space across the street one final look then walked off down the street with Harry.


‘This is Lily’s son!?’ Severus thought in shock as he looked the boy over. ‘This tiny, sickly looking boy?!’

Severus was so glad he had a notice-me-not charm on him so no one could see the flabbergasted look on his face. Now that he knew it was Harry Potter, he could easily pick out looks the boy shared with his bully of a father, like the hair, and the ones he got from his mother, such as her eyes. Harry and the dog, Severus absently remembered that he heard the boy call it ‘Zack’, were walking away from him and he quickly moved to follow. His mind was conflicted on what to think, the child looked nothing like how he imagined. In his mind, he had always assumed the boy would be healthy looking with a superior look on his face that would make him look just like his blasted father.

Instead here was a child that was nothing but skin and bones swimming in clothing that was much too big for him. Lily would have a fit if she saw the state her son was in.

Severus slowed a bit as the dog stopped then turned to Harry for a moment. His eyes narrowed at the confused look on Harry’s face.

“Won’t I be too heavy?” Harry asked. The dog chuffed then got behind the child and slid between Harry’s legs, making Harry give a soft gasp of surprise as he was suddenly riding the Great Dane like horse. Once Harry was secured on its back, the dog started running slowly down the street. Severus cursed and quickly tagged the boy and dog with a tracking spell.

That had been…. Odd…. It was as if…. Harry had heard the dog say something. Going back over his memories, Severus quickly picked out the other oddities of the dog… like its eyes. The eyes had a literal glow to him. That dog had not been a normal dog. Using the tracking spell, Severus followed after them.


Zack realized as they started off that just walking around hoping to find something was much to slow while walking. He stopped making Harry stop beside him.

“Hey climb on my black kiddo,” Zack said, he would move faster than both of them.

“Won’t I be too heavy?” Harry asked confused, Zack wanted him to ride on his back like a horse?

“Kid, I’m willing to bet you’re as light as a feather and I’m a lot stronger than I look,” Zack said as he moved behind Harry and pushing between his charge’s legs. He heard Harry gasp and hands cling to the collar around his neck. “Just hold on tight.” He warned before starting off at a slow run. Another reason he wanted to get out of the area, he swore someone was watching and following them.

The further from Harry’s home they got, the faster Zack went while Harry laughed in joy once he got use to riding. The streets around them changed as they explored, Harry going further than he ever had before outside of going to school.

/“Hmmm…. That looks promising,” /Zack said when they stopped at one street corner and spotted something down the street. In front of one of the houses somebody had set up a bunch of tables and blankets that were covered in everything from dishware to books to clothing and everything in between. Harry slid off Zack’s back and held on to the rope leash as they walked over to investigate.

“Well now, aren’t you a cute little thing,” An older woman a little on the hefty said when she spotted the duo.

“What is all this?” Harry asked curious.

“Something I saw while on vacation in the US a couple of years ago,” The woman said with a grin. “They call it a ‘yard sell’. They just set up like I have and sell the stuff they don’t want anymore and sell it for cheap.”

“So… all this stuff is for sell?” Harry asked while Zack poked his nose into a pile of shoes.

“Ugh, smells worse than my gym bag,” Zack said as he quickly backed up.

“Sure is poppet,” the woman said. “Why don’t you look around, I’m sure you’ll find something you like.”

“Thank you,” Harry said with a small blush and wondered over to the piles of clothing he had spied, Zack following him.

“Tskk… poor thing,” the woman said under her breath as she watched Harry. She wondered how old he was to be out alone with just the family pet and that clothing… even if he didn’t have any money, she decided she would just give him anything he found, there was plenty of stuff her son couldn’t wear anymore out here than the poor child could use.

Harry slowly worked through the pile, the stuff wasn’t new but it was ten times better than what he already wore. Zack also wasn’t bothered by Harry picking out used stuff since he had worn hand-me downs himself growing up. Every now and then Harry would pick up a shirt and hold it against him or a pair of pants. The woman was even nice enough to let Harry go inside to try on some of the stuff he picked out first to see if it fitted.

Harry and Zack soon had shirts, long sleeve and short sleeve, picked out with a few pairs of jeans and trousers along with shorts. Harry even found a nice warm coat he could use when it started getting cold out. Harry also tried on some of the shoes, finding a pair of slightly worn but still in good condition sneakers.

When all was said and done, Harry had the start to a decent little wardrobe going for him. He even changed into one of the shirts he picked out with a pair of jeans and his new shoes.

“Have a look around some more poppet, see if there is anything else you like,” The woman said with a mothering smile as she packed up Harry’s new things into a couple of shopping bags. Harry almost shyly started looking over the other things in the yard sale. He wasn’t used to having things just for him, the crayons and scrap sheets of paper were how he had mostly kept himself entertained while trapped in the cupboard. And now he was encouraged to find other things he could play with and he honestly didn’t know what to pick out. He didn’t have a lot of experience with toys after all other than watching Dudley play with and break the ones he had.

After a bit of time, and much encouragement from Zack, Harry did find a few things. He found a nice little art set that was only a little used with color pencils and a sketch book that never been drawn in except for a couple of pages. He ooed over a nice, soft leather messenger bag he found that had a Celtic knot design etched onto the front, he never seen a bag so nice.

“Ah yes, that was my grandfathers,” the woman said when asked about it. “He used it all the time. I don’t have much use for it and my husband and son didn’t want it either. I think it looks good on you poppet.” Harry blushed and hugged the nice leather bag to his chest. A few fantasy and science fiction books were added, the spines worn out from use.

“Hey Harry, look at this ball,” Zack as he pawed a football and made it roll over to Harry’s foot. “We can play with that together, what do you say?” Harry grinned and nodded, picking the ball up to add to his collection of new things. He thought he had a good enough pile going and was about to ask the woman how much all of it was hoping he had enough to pay for it when something else caught his eye. It was a plush red dragon that was soft to the touch under Harry’s fingers. “That’s cool looking. You going to get it too? You can call it…. umm… Sir Nibbles the third!” Zack huffed in laugher at his own suggestion.

“I’m little too old for a stuff animal,” Harry whispered embarrassed.

“Let me tell you a little secret kiddo,” /Zack said. /“When I left for SOLDIER, I took my stuffed chocobo Warks-a-Lot with me. I use to sleep with him too.”

“Really?” Harry asked wondering again what the heck a ‘chocobo’ was.

“Yep. If you want that dragon get it,” Zack encouraged him. Harry didn’t have a good childhood after all and it was clear the kid wanted the thing. Zack thought it would be good for Harry to have something to cuddle, even if he was 10 years old and most boys that age didn’t play with stuffed animals anymore. Harry blushed and picked up the dragon to get as well.

“I’m not calling it Sir Nibbles the Third,” he muttered.

“Awww, but it’s a good name,” Zack said with a pout. Harry already had a few names flying around in his head, just not Sir Nibbles the Third.

Soon Harry and Zack were on their way, a little less money in their pocket but loaded with a few things that Harry needed or wanted. The woman had ended up charging Harry even less that what she was selling the items for, she just couldn’t bring herself to charge too much for the sweet young man who clearly never had a chance to have things for himself.


Severus followed the tracking spell to the same street the yard sell was on. Standing in the shadows of one house, he watched as Harry bought himself new things to wear. It was a little shocking to see the son of his hated rival going out of his way to buy used clothing, Severus had always imagined that Potter would have new, expensive clothing… only to see the boy in oversized rags and happy to get something that fit even if it wasn’t new. Happy to buy toys and books that were clearly second hand. It was…. Well it certainly broke a few ideas that Severus had about the boy and it rankled him a bit to see he was so wrong.

He had always figured Harry Potter to be spoiled by whoever had raised him, to be a pampered prince just like his father. He had seen in his mind a brat that disregarded the rules and thought himself better than everyone else. A child who had people flocking to him just because he was the Boy-who-lived and the Potter heir. The prefect little Gryffindor… Severus would admit, only to himself in his own mind, that if he had seen Harry for the first time at Hogwarts he would have allowed himself to see all that. Instead, what he saw was a boy who was obviously neglected and raised by Petunia of all people. He had seen a small child who did not even look his age only to discover afterward that this was Potter.

Severus was already letting the new information settle into his mind.

And then there was the dog. Something was off about the beast, there was no way it was just a normal dog. For one the eyes glowed as if there was a light shining behind it. And there was intelligence in those big purplish blue eyes. Intelligence that was on pair with only a few magical creatures if not humans themselves and it had been able to sense Severus even under the Notice-me-not charm. And the way the boy reacted to it, spoke to it as if he could understand the mutt. As soon as they were in one place, Severus had cast every spell he knew to reveal what the dog was. An animagus perhaps?

But no, all spells that came back all said the same thing, this was just a normal dog. So Severus cast other spells and was only a little shocked by the results. The dog was Potter’s familiar…. That would put a new spin on things when the boy came to Hogwarts. A witches or warlocks familiar were to never be separated from their master or mistress, therefore there were exempt from the pet rule that only allowed a cat, owl or toad as a pet as these were the most common creatures that became familiars.

It would figure the boy would end up with an uncommon animal as a familiar, still at least it wasn’t something like a dragon or some other magical creature. He still wasn’t convinced the dog was just a dog, no matter what the results of the spell said, but it wasn’t a griffin or anything of that nature either so it was something he could live with. Dumbledore might not be too happy about it but there would be nothing he could do.

Seeing Harry and the dog, what did the call the beast again? Zack? Were on the move again, Severus followed at a distance.


“Mum, I’m going to see my friends!” Dudley said as he headed out the door.

“Alright Dudders,” Petunia said then sighed as the door closed behind her beloved son and looked at the bags of stuff her son had wanted. Her check book was a lot lighter now from buying Dudley the food and games and toys he picked out. “Boy come-“ she stopped and sighed again as she remembered that she had told the wretched boy and that dog to leave the house after he was finished cleaning out the second bedroom. She would have to carry this stuff herself.

After putting the food away, Petunia grabbed the remaining bags and hauled them up the stairs and to Dudley’s room. Her nose wrinkled in distaste at the sight of her baby boy’s room, why must Dudley make such a mess? Oh well, she would have the boy clean it up later, under her strict watch of course, it wouldn’t do for the boy to try and steal one of her Dudder’s things after all. Putting the bags on the unmade bed, Petunia left the room and started toward the stairs.

She stopped outside the door to the smallest room, looking at the closed door, and then opened it. The room was spotless of course, the boy had been trained very well to clean after all. Petunia gave the shabby furniture a sneer of distaste, those had been Vernon’s idea to buy. It had been a waste she had thought, why buy furniture for the room when no one would ever use it? But her Vernon, he had a mean streak in him. He wanted to rub it in the boy’s face that they had a room all set up that someone could stay in yet he was kept under the cupboard. Of course, no reason to buy good high quality stuff when Vernon was just making a point.

Well… she supposed it was a good thing they had this otherwise they would have had to go out a buy a bed for the boy now that he was going to be sleeping in this room.

“Bloody beast of a dog,” Petunia muttered under her breath as she turned away and shut the door. She was so sure that Harry was still afraid of her and would do exactly as he was told, she never bothered to check to make sure he hadn’t claimed some of Dudley’s discarded things for himself.

Outside Dudley quickly waddled down the street to his friend Piers Polkiss’s house. He and Piers would gather up the rest of their little gang so they could play some ‘Harry Hunting’, that would teach that freak for taking his second bedroom. And he would force the smaller boy to give him that dog!
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