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

Chapter 3

by USA_Tiger 2 reviews


Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Crossover,Fantasy - Characters: Harry,Snape - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2016-08-25 - 8528 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

My best buddy Asilyessam has betaed this chapter for me.

Chapter 3

After a bit of wandering around lost, Harry and Zack found the park where they had met the day before and found a nice secluded area to themselves. Harry put all the bags on a park bench and took out the football.

“Ready?” He asked Zack, really excited that he was getting to play with someone rather than by himself.

“Yeah!” Zack bowed playfully, his tongue hanging out as he panted in excitement and his rear end wiggling as his tail wagged. Harry laughed at the image Zack made and put the ball on the ground, giving it a solid kick that sent the ball rolling off. “Woo hoo!” Zack yelled in Harry’s mind while barking loudly at the same time and taking off after the ball.

Severus stayed in the shadows of the tree watching, conflicted if he should leave and report to Dumbledore, stay and watch the boy and dog a little while longer, or go give Petunia a peace his mind. Oh he was so very conflicted and the whole day had been confusing. Finally after watching Harry and Zack play for a few minutes more, Severus came to the decision that the boy was safe and in good hands… paws…. With the dog and that he would return to Dumbledore and report what he had seen. And suggest strongly that the boy should be placed with somebody else.

As he turned to leave, a group of boys led by a child that was much too large for any age caught his eye and he noticed they were heading for Harry. Something told him to stay and watch what would happen.

“Hey freak!” Dudley called loudly as he and his boys headed toward his scrawny cousin. Harry froze as if fright and slowly turned around, a look of fear on his face. Zack wasn’t by his side, the man in a dog’s body had gone after the ball after Harry had kicked it a little too hard and sent it rolling down a small hill. “We’re going to play a round of Harry Hunting.”

“Oh no,” Harry said softly and turned to run, hoping he could get away and get to the safety of Zack but he had hesitated a moment too long and was quickly surrounded, each arm grabbed in a bruising grip by two of Dudley’s ‘friends’. “L-let me go!”

Down the hill Zack’s ears perked up as he heard Harry’s frighten voice and abandoned looking for the ball, turning on his paw and racing back up hill.

Harry struggled in the grip the two boys had on him.

“You think you can just take my second room freak?” Dudley asked. “I don’t know what you did to Mum and Dad but I’m not going to let you get away with it.” Dudley pulled back his fist to punch Harry in the stomach but didn’t get the chance as Zack ran up behind him and grabbed the fat boy by the back of his pants and pulled back. Dudley gave a yell of surprise as he was yanked off his feet, tossed back and rolled a few feet away. Zack turned on the other boys snarling and barring his teeth.

“Get away from him you little bullies,” Zack said as stepped closer to Harry. The boys who had been holding Harry quickly moved out of the way not waiting to be bitten by the large dog, not knowing that no matter what Zack wouldn’t bite a child no matter how bratty.

At the same time Severus had canceled the Notice-Me-Not charm and had walked over to the group, standing behind Harry and Zack. He placed his hands on Harry’s shoulders, who stiffened in fight, then used his best school voice he used on foolish little Gryffindors.

“Is there a problem here gentlemen?” He said in that dark voice that caught everyone’s attention. Dudley’s friends paused in helping the youngest Dursley to his feet and looked up at Severus in fright.

“N-no sir?” Pier’s asked.

“Really?” Severus nearly purred out the word, one dark eyebrow rising. “So I did not see all of you about to inflict harm on this young man?” Zack gave Severus a half glance but kept most of his attention on the other kids.

“Why are you defending him?” Dudley asked, huffing and puffing as he finally rolled to his front and pushed himself off the ground to stand. “He’s nothing but a-“

“I would not finish that sentence if I were you,” Severus said in a cold deadly tone. Dudley seemed to finally realize that things were a little bit more serious than normal and looked up at the man with wide piggy eyes. “All of you return home now or I will be contacting your families. Go.” While it hadn’t been yelled, Dudley and his gang scattered like they had been shot at. As soon as the boys were gone, Zack turned and faced the man with a warning growl. Severus slowly lifted his hands off Harry’s and held them up, taking a small step back.

“That’s right buddy,” Zack said as he stepped closer to Harry, feeling the boy’s hand on his back. Zack took a good look at the man; pale almost yellow-tinted skin, large nose that looked like it have been broken a time or two in the past, all black clothing and greasy looking black hair. “Shiva’s tits! This guy can compete with Hojo for the greasiest hair!”

“Are you alright Mr. Potter?” Severus asked ignoring the looks Zack was giving him.

“Y-yes sir…” Harry said just as cautious and pressing closer into Zack’s side trusting his new friend to protect him. “ did you know my name?”

“My name is Severus Snape, I am a professor at Hogwarts,” Severus said as he crossed his arms over his chest.

“I’m sorry sir, but where?” Harry asked. Severus’s eyebrow rose a bit.

“Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” he said. “The school you will be joining in a year’s time. Surely you guardians have told you about this?” Harry hesitated for a second then slowly shook his head.

“M-my aunt and uncle, they… they claim that magic doesn’t exists,” the boy said. “They don’t even like to hear the word. They’ve never told me about Hog… Hogwarts.”

“Typical Petunia,” Severus said under his breath with a tisking sound and a sigh. “And what do you believe Mr. Potter?”

“Well…. Sometimes I can do things, like the time my aunt cut off all my hair but left a little bit in the front to cover my scar,” Harry said tugging on a lock of hair. “I… my hair grew back over night. And I’ve made a sweater that use to belong to my cousin that was an ugly shade of orange with little puff balls on it shrink until it wouldn’t fit when my aunt tried to make me wear it. I… well how can I do that unless it’s magic?”

“Smart lad,” Severus said then gestured to the park bench. Harry hesitated then walked over to it with Zack by his side. Harry sat down next to his things with Zack sitting at his feet yet still managed to tower over him. Severus said on the other end of the bench with the bags between him.

“Wait… he’s where that scent been coming from all day!” Zack said as he narrowed his eyes at Snape. He had smelled something all day, something that had been nagging him but for the life of him he couldn’t figured out why. He still wasn’t use to the enhanced sense of smell and had no idea what smells belonged to who, but this one had been around them all day. “Ok buddy, why have you been following us? Are you some sort of creep?” Zack growled as he stepped closer to Snape.

“Zack!” Harry quickly jumped up and placed his arms around the dog’s neck. Severus kept very still wondering why the dog was suddenly so aggressive toward him. He slowly reached toward his wand but froze as Zack gave a warning growl.

“Mr. Potter…” He said in a slow calm tone. “Do you know why your dog is so agitated?”

“He… well…” Harry tired to figure out what to say without giving away that he could hear Zack speaking in his head. “He umm…. Thinks you’ve been following us all day…. Have you sir? Why?”

“Yes… I was sent by the Headmaster of the school to check on you,” Severus said, filing away the bit where Harry acted as if he could hear what the dog was thinking. “I witnessed you and… Zack… leaving the house by yourself and wished to insure no harm came to you. Why did you leave the house without adult supervision?”

“Aunt Petunia said Zack and I had to leave after I cleaned out Dudley’s second bedroom and told me not to come back until tonight,” Harry said, sighing in relief as Zack finally stopped growling and sat back down.

“Second bedroom?” Severus asked, the fat boy had said something about a second room as well and could only assume that the boy had been this ‘Dudley’ and Harry’s cousin. “The overweight child, your cousin?” Harry nodded slightly. “Your cousin was given two bedrooms? Whatever for?”

Harry hesitated, he hadn’t minded telling Zack, the man had gone out of his way to help Harry but in Harry’s experience adults didn’t usually help him at all. He looked down slightly and petted Zack trying to smooth down the spiky looking fur that stuck up on the large dog’s head and marveled at how soft it really was.

“I cannot help you if you do not tell me Mr. Potter,” Severus said softly, the same gentle tone he used on some of his abused snakes.

“I’ve told other adults before and nothing ever changed, I was punished instead,” Harry said just as softly. Of course… Zack was an adult and he went out of his way to make things better. Zack lifted his head and licked Harry’s cheek.

“I am not like those dunderheads, I assure you Mr. Potter,” Severus said. Harry sighed softly and petted Zack again.

“I guess go ahead and tell him. I find it weird he was following us all day but he doesn’t give off that evil vibe,” Zack encouraged him.

“My cousin used the smallest bedroom to put any toys or things Dudley didn’t want or broke in there,” Harry said.

“And your aunt allowed this?” Severus asked, he couldn’t imagine uppity Petunia allow something like that to go on.

“Aunt Petunia lets Dudley do what he wants and buys anything he wants,” Harry said with a small shrug. “I only cleaned it out because they are going to let me sleep in there now.”

“…. And where did you sleep before?” Severus asked. Harry murmured something very softly with a red face. “Speak up, I did not hear you.”

“I-I said the cupboard under the stairs,” Harry repeated a bit louder.

“The cupboard… under the stairs,” Severus repeated back. When Harry nodded slightly Severus cursed under his breath. “Blasted woman, I should have know her jealously of your mother would warp her mind.”

“Do… do you know Aunt Petunia? My Mum?” Harry asked looking up at Severus with hopeful green eyes. Lily’s green eyes…. Severus felt his resolve crack slightly and sighed.

“I… knew your mother and aunt when we were children,” he said. “We lived close to each other and I was a friend of your mother’s. I was the one who told her she was a witch years before she received her Hogwarts letter.”

“Can… can you tell me about her?” Harry asked hopefully. “All my aunt and uncle have said is that my Dad was a worthless, jobless drunk and my Mum was a freak of a whore. That last part was mostly Uncle Vernon.” Severus’s face colored in anger a bit.

“You’re mother was not… not that. She was a very kind person that tried to see the good in everyone but did not stand for bigotry or foolishness. And your father,” Severus nearly spat the word cluing Harry and Zack in on that Snape did not like James Potter at all, “well I could say many things about him Mr. Potter but he was neither penniless or a drunk. He fought in the last Wizarding War and you come from a very well to do family.”

“You… don’t like my dad do you. Was he a bad person?” Harry asked worriedly. Severus sighed softly, he hated James Potter but he was bias on his feelings of the elder Potter and didn’t wish to imprint the idea that the boy’s father was a bad person. Had Harry Potter been just like his father like Snape always assumed he wouldn’t stop himself but this abused child didn’t need to hear this from him.

“Your father and I had… troubles with each other during school,” he said. “I admit I do not like him so while I could wax on all day about your mother, I think you should speak to someone else about your father. But do know your father loved you and your mother very much and he did grow up out of his more annoying habits, if he hadn’t your mother would have never started to date him much less marry him. He died for you and Lily and worked to save the lives of many people…. He saved my life as well once but I do not wish to go into that.”

Harry took a moment to mull over this then nodded.

“I won’t ask you about my Dad Mr. Snape,” He said as he sat back down again.

“Professor Snape,” Severus absently corrected. “Mr. Potter…. Why were you wearing rags this morning?” Harry was quiet for a moment as he thought on whether or not he should answer… he had told Snape about the cupboard…

“Those were what I usually wear… I always get Dudley’s second hand clothing,” he said at last. “Uncle Vernon doesn’t like to spend ‘his hard earned money’ on me when I could just use Dudley’s old stuff.”

“And now?” Severus gave a pointed look to the outfit Harry wore now. Harry bit his lip and blushed.

“I… I found some birthday cards that Dudley never opened and they had money inside…. I’m not going to get in trouble am I?” He said worriedly.

“I will not tell anyone,” Severus assured him.

“Hey, ask him if he knows where we can get some underwear and socks,” Zack said, if this Snape guy was going to hang around and claim he was going to help, might as well use that. Harry gave just a slight nod that Severus’s sharp eyes picked up on but did not comment.

“Sir? I found a lot of clothing at that yard sell, but I still need… umm…” Harry blushed a bit. “I need new underwear and some socks, where can I buy those?”

Severus stayed quiet for a few seconds, he understood the appeal of new underclothing very much. His own had always been second hand like everything else he had own growing up. He was reminded of the time James Potter had hung him upside down, using his own invented spell no less, and ended up showing his old, holey underwear to the world… that had also been when he had uttered those words in anger that had broken his friendship with his beloved Lily.

“I will take you to a store where you may buy a few under garments Mr. Potter,” He said finally.

“Thank you sir,” Harry said with a smile, making his green eyes light up.

“You are welcome,” Severus said. “Let us put your purchases away so you will not have to worry about them.” He removed his wand and Harry watched with wide eyed amazement as the man shrunk all of Harry’s things except his leather bag.

“Whoa… it’s like a Mini spell,” Zack said just as impressed.

“Oh… I have to go get our ball,” Harry said remembering the football. Severus shook his head and waved his wand again.

“Accio Harry’s football,” he said then a few seconds later the ball came flying back.

“Wow!” Harry said as he caught the ball. “Magic is so cool.” Severus’s lips twitched just slightly and he shrunk the ball as well, allowing Harry to place all the shrunken items inside the bag before pulling it on over his shoulder. “Can… are you able to make this look like a real leash?” Harry asked curious as he held up the rope. The boy laughed as Severus changed it into a simple black leash, not as good as say Minerva or even James Potter would have done but Severus’s attempt was pretty good.

“If you are ready?” Severus asked after Zack was leashed again. When Harry smiled and nodded and Zack gave off a ‘woof’ of agreement, the dark man lead the pair out of the park.


/“Whooo!” /Zack yipped in glee as the chair he was sitting in slid across the floor as the weird triple-decker purple bus rounded the corner at insane speeds. Harry was laughing just as hard as his chair bumped into Zack’s.

“This is what I imagine what an amusement park ride would be like,” Harry said as the chairs slid again in the other direction. Severus snorted; his chair was stationary thanks to the sticking chair he placed on it. The Knight Bus wouldn’t have been his first choice of transportation, he would rather apparate, but that was impossible with the boy and the dog. Well not impossible but Severus was sure neither were ready for the experience of feeling like they were squeezing through a tube today. Port-key and Floo were out and he disliked muggle cabs and buses even more than this blasted bus.

“This is more fun than that time I tried to ride that wild chocobo without taming it first!” Zack was laughing as the chairs slid back and forth. That big bird had tried its damned best to throw Zack off too and he had been in so much trouble with Angeal afterward but it had been so worth it. Harry so wanted to ask just what a chocobo was, Zack had mentioned it several times since they met, but didn’t want to ask in front of the professor.

Speaking of the professor, Harry snuck a look over at Snape’s way. The man was currently reading a news paper, or attempting to anyway Harry wasn’t sure if the man was really able to read with the way everything was being thrown around on the bus. And was that picture on the front moving? Harry wasn’t sure what to think of the man. Snape had scared the life out of him at first, and the man was good at looking scary too, but…. Once Harry got to know him a little, he kinda liked the man. Plus he not only knew his Mum but disliked his Aunt Petunia as much as he did! How he wanted to pester the man with so many questions about his mother.

He didn’t quite like hearing that his Dad might have been a bit of a bully, Snape made it pretty clear that he and James Potter hadn’t gotten along, but he also didn’t go out of his way to bad mouth Harry’s father either instead suggesting that he find someone to hear good stories about the elder Potter.

“Leaky Cauldron,” the woman whom was the conductor said as the bus stopped. “Alright there Professor Snape?”

“I am fine Miss Elcomb,” Severus said as he stood, canceling the sticking spell on the chair. Harry and Zack quickly climbed out of their chairs. The conductor Elcomb had been one of his half blood Slytherins, not very powerful but smart as a whip.

“Soon to be Mrs. Lytle Professor,” Elcomb said with a smile stroking the ring on her finger. “My last year working on the Knight Bus, next year there’ll be a new conductor. (1)

“Ah, my congratulations then,” Severus said with a small nod of his head.

“Thank you Professor,” she said then opened the door for them to leave. Harry waved goodbye as they exited the bus.

“Leaky Cauldron?” Harry asked curious as he looked at the grubby looking door and the sign hanging above it. It was settled between a bookshop and record shop, looking very out of place. Zack’s sharp purple eyes noticed that most people walking past didn’t even seem to notice the pub, it was like their eyes were passing right over it like they couldn’t see it. Those who did notice it were dressed oddly wearing what looked like dresses and were entering and exiting the door.

“A wizarding tavern,” Severus explained in a low voice. “It is one of the main entrances to Diagon Alley, the main wizarding shopping streets in Great Britain. It leads to many other streets, when you receive your Hogwarts letter this is where you will buy your school supplies. For now, we will not going inside, instead we are going to the nearby muggle stores.”

“What’s a muggle?” Harry asked.

“Muggle, almost sounds like Moogle,” Zack said in amusement. Harry wanted to ask Zack what a ‘moogle’ was, just like he wanted to know what a ‘chocobo’ was and other things Zack mentioned, there was so much he wanted to know!

“A muggle is a non-magical person such as your aunt and uncle,” Severus explained. “Your mother was a muggle-born, a witch or wizard born to non-magical parents.”

“Huh, that’s different from my world,” Zack said. Harry gave Zack a quick glance, burning with questions. He was so going to grill his friend once they were alone again. Severus noticed the glance of course and wondered what it meant but said nothing as he led Harry and Zack away from the tavern and into the busier streets. He kept a hold of Harry’s shoulder and Harry clung to the leash on Zack’s collar so they wouldn’t get separated.


Zack huffed softly as he laid his head down on his paws and watched the people walk past. No one paid any attention to the very large black Great Dane, Snape had put some sort of spell on him that made people ignore him. Zack figured it was the same spell Snape used on himself while spying on Zack and Harry.

Zack didn’t know what to think about Snape just yet. After all, the man had been following them around like a creep all morning. Checking up on Harry was one thing but to spy on the kid all day? Yeah that was a little creepy and stalker-ish. Plus the guy just had that dark ‘don’t mess with me’ vibe. Still…. Even after all that, Zack gut told him that Snape could be someone he could trust… He could pick up on the darkness in the guy, but being dark didn’t mean evil, and Zack was pretty familiar with evil and he just didn’t get that sense from the guy. Harry seems to like him and Snape could tell Harry all about his mom.

Zack did pick up on the vibe Snape gave off when James Potter was brought up, the ex-SOLDIER was sure it was more than just boy-hood rivalries between Snape and the elder Potter but Snape had down played just how bad it had been to Harry. Zack wasn’t sure but he got the feeling that Harry had picked up on that as well, the kid was pretty smart like that. There was just something about Snape that remind Zack of… of a Turk! Yeah of a Turk, Snape would totally fit in with those guys. He could see Snape getting along fine with Tseng or that Vincent Valentine guy his buddy Cloud was friends with. Somebody like Reno on the other hand…. Zack gave a huffing laugh, yeah he didn’t think Snape would like Reno all that much. Rude maybe but not Reno.

Zack’s ribs gave a heave as he sighed again and went back to people watching. It was so weird how similar this place was to his own world but at the same time so different. He really needed to get his hands…. Errr…. Paws on some books to see how different this world was of course. But just watching the city itself, if it wasn’t the fact the sky was clear with only a few clouds drifting by and the lack of the smell that came from the Mako reactors, he would swear he was on one of the upper plates of Midgar. The buildings were a bit different of course but not by much. And the people! Midgar’s population was pretty high but Zack wondered if this London had even more people.

The cars driving back and forth, the people walking, the sounds, the smell of pollution…. Yeah Zack felt like he was back in Midgar somewhat.

Zack lifted his head as he felt Harry coming closer through their bond and gave a doggy grin as the kid and Snape exited the store. Harry’s face was just a tiny bit red, must have been embarrassing to go shopping for undies but Zack was sure it would have been ten times worse if Harry had gone with someone female. Harry picked up Zack’s leash while Snape canceled the spell that kept the dog hidden. Harry’s stomach took that moment to growl and Zack turned to poke the boy in the tummy with his nose.

“Hungry buddy?” He asked. “If we got any money left, let’s see about getting some grub. I think we missed lunch we were so busy with shopping.”

“When is the last time you have eaten Mr. Potter?” Severus asked as he heard the growling as well.

“Umm… this morning at breakfast?” Harry said as he scratched his cheek.

“Why have you not eaten lunch?” Severus asked with a perfectly raised eyebrow. Damn it, Sephiroth use to be able to do that too and Zack could never get it down!

“Well… I’m not really use to eating lunch,” Harry admitted. “At school I might get something to eat but a lot of time I was hiding from Dudley. Aunt Petunia will usually just give me a glass of water and an apple. Sometimes I get some cheese and bread.” Severus sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, somehow he was not surprised. At least Petunia was not all-out starving the child but it was clear the boy was not getting enough to eat. The boy was not getting all the nutrients that he needed, the small skinny scrawny body was proof of that. And sleeping under the stairs didn’t help either.

“Come then Mr. Potter,” Severus said. “We will buy dinner before I return you to your home.”

Snape led the pair to a very nice little restaurant with outdoor seating. After assuring Harry he could have whatever he wanted, and no the boy didn’t have to pay for the meal, Harry ordered his first ever hamburger with chips and a chocolate milk. Zack was given a hamburger as well but just the meat and bread instead of all the fixings like Harry’s. It was nowhere near what Zack was use to eating when he had been a part of Shinra, SOLDIERs had a very big appetite but Zack had gotten use to eating very little while on the run.

Also, Zack was thrilled that this world had hamburgers and fries. He loved hamburgers! He did wonder why the fries were called chips….. meh, must be a difference in worlds thing.

Severus, who stuck to a chicken sandwich, watched as Harry slowly ate the hamburger and the chips. As starved as the boy had to be, he would have thought Harry would have inhaled the meal. He would have gotten sick afterward as his stomach wasn’t use to all that food yet the boy was being careful not to push himself too quickly. Finally, when only a little under half of the burger was gone and only part of the fries eaten did the boy put the food down.

“Are you not hungry Mr. Potter?” Severus asked.

“I… umm… I’m full for now…” Harry said with just a tiny bit of a flush. “I don’t want to make myself sick.”

“You sound like you’re familiar with eating more than you can handle,” the man mused, fishing for information. Harry blushed a little harder and rubbed his hands together. Zack looked up as well to see how Harry would answer.

“A couple of years ago around Christmas time my cousin Dudley got sick,” Harry said. “He wanted his usually breakfast, which is a lot of food for him and Uncle Vernon. Dudley couldn’t finish all of it and Uncle Vernon decided to pull a trick on me. He was a little drunk at the time.”

“What did your uncle do?” Severus asked but had a pretty good idea already what happened.

“He said I could have the rest of Dudley’s breakfast,” Harry said, looking down at his plate and pushing around one of the chips. “It was the first time I had ever been allowed to eat as much as I wanted and I stuffed myself. Right afterward I became sick and threw it all up. Uncle Vernon just laughed as he made me clean it up then made me stay in the cupboard when I wasn’t doing my chores. When school started back up, I went to the school’s library and asked the librarian what would happen if someone who didn’t eat much ate a lot. She showed me a book about it.”

“Did she not ask you why you wanted to know?” Severus asked, Zack huffing in agreement wanting to know as well. Harry shook his head.

“Just about everyone has always ignored that I’ve been abused. I tried to tell someone when I was younger, when I started school and understood that the way I was treated wasn’t right but all that happen was that I was punished by my aunt and uncle,” Harry said. “So I didn’t try again after that, the punishment wasn’t worth it.”

Severus wondered just how everyone Harry encountered could ignore than the boy was clearly not taken care of and abused…. But hadn’t he just that morning assumed that Harry would be a pampered spoiled brat like his father? He would have ignored the signs as well if he had known the boy was Harry when he first saw him… And people did tend to ignore of what was right in front of them. Zack on the other hand growled lowly to himself, Harry’s situation reminded him of Cloud’s so much! Zack had learned, more from his time from watching his little buddy from the Lifestream than from being told, that most everyone in Cloud’s town hated the little blond. At least Cloudy had his mother, Harry didn’t have anyone until Zack came to him.

Zack was determined let Harry have a better life than what he already had. How? Well… Zack still hadn’t figured out the finer details of that, he was a mutt after all so he couldn’t just adopt Harry or anything, but damn it he would figure something out!

After Harry and Zack had finished eating, Severus returned them to Number 4 Privet Drive.

“Uncle Vernon isn’t back yet,” Harry said when he noticed the lack of company car in the driveway.

“Good, I would like to have a word with Petunia without her oaf of a husband around,” Severus said, he had more than a few words for Lily’s harpy of a sister. “Come Mr. Potter.” Severus guided Harry toward the house with one hand on the youth’s back. Zack walked on Harry’s other side making Harry feel protected between the pair as he clutched his messenger bag to his chest. He twisted the handle on the door and quickly found it locked. He glanced up briefly at Snape then timidly knocked on the door, this was not the first time he had been locked out of the house.

A few seconds later they could all hear feet rabidly walking toward the door before the lock clicked and the door was thrown open.

“There you are you wretched boy! You should have been home hours ago to start dinner and how dare… you… set…” Petunia trailed off, looking gob smacked at Snape.

“Hello Tuney,” Snape said dryly with a hint of a sneer on his face. Petunia’s face reddened in anger and her face twisted in an ugly snarl as she pointed at Snape.

“You!” she yelled. “You’re that awful Snape boy!”

“You do remember me,” Severus said in a sarcastic tone. “I’m touched.”

“What are you doing here?” Petunia asked through clenched teeth. Harry watched wide eyed, he had never seen his aunt look at such hatred at someone, not even himself!

“Wow, those two have got a history,” /Zack said watching. “/I wish we had some popcorn, this is kinda entertaining.”

“I am insuring Mr. Potter and Zackary,” Severus ignored the huff of irritation from Zack when the man used his full name, “had returned home safely after their adventures today.”

“Well they’re here so you can go away now,” Petunia said, she was gripping the door so tight in anger Zack wouldn’t be surprised if it started breaking under her fingers.

“Is that how you treat an old family friend Tuney?” Severus was ever so enjoying this, baiting Petunia like he did when they were kids. “My, want would your neighbors think?” That seem to get Petunia’s attention quick and she looked around seeing faces of her nosey neighbors peering out of windows and doors at her. A small whine escaped her, she couldn’t be the topic of gossip this week!

“Get in here!” she said holding the door open. Severus placed his hand on Harry’s back and gently pushed the youth inside. Harry had to fight back a grin, he had never seen anyone rile his aunt up so much, it wasn’t helping that he could hear Zack’s laughter in his head. Petunia shut the door as soon as they were all inside, turning and looking Harry over. Her eyes narrowed as she took in the much newer, well fitting clothing that Harry was wearing rather than the ratty oversized hand-me-downs he had been wearing that morning. “Boy, where did you get that clothing?” Harry gulped and started to fidget, this was what he had been worried about; how was he going to explain where he gotten the money to buy himself clothing that was much newer and in better shape.

“I bought them for him,” Severus said as he placed a calming hand on Harry’s shoulder, nothing in his face or voice to give away his lie.

“You?” Petunia asked in disbelief. “Why?”

“I had assumed that you and your husband were poor,” Severus said amusement in his eyes. “I saw Harry and those dreadful clothes he was wearing, and Lily was such a dear friend to me, I couldn’t leave him in those rags.” Zack was on the floor, his nose under his paw as he mentally howled with laughter. Sneaky sneaky Turk-type man! Even Harry was biting his lip, fighting a grin. “Mr. Potter, why don’t you and your dog go up to your room, I would like to spend a few minutes speaking with your aunt. I will come up and say farewell before I leave.”

Harry glanced at Petunia out of the corner of his eye. Her face was beet red with anger, if she had been able to she would have killed Snape and even Harry with her glare alone.

“Yes sir,” he said quickly. “Come on Zack.” Harry and Zack rushed up the stairs, leaving the adults alone. At the landing Harry noticed Dudley in his doorway looking confused as to why Harry was not being punished by his Mum after he had given her a very heavily edited version of what had happened at the park. Zack’s lips pulled back showing teeth and he growled. Dudley gave an almost pig-like squeal and hastily closed his door.

“Did he just squeal?” Zack asked with a bark of laughter as they entered the smallest room of the house.

“Yeah,” Harry said with a softly laugh. “See, there’s a reason why he’s called a ‘pig in a wig’.”

“Heh, good one kiddo,” Zack said. Harry started taking his stuff out of his messenger bag, putting the shrunken items on his bed while Zack sat by the door trying to listen on the adults downstairs.

“What are they saying?” Harry asked. Zack’s ears lowered a bit and he hunched in a bit on himself.

“I can’t hear a thing.” Zack said. ”He must of done something to keep us from hearing them. Hmm, I wonder if this world has something like a Silence spell.”

“What’s that?” Harry asked as he sat on his bed.

“It’s a status spell, makes it so you can’t make any noise. So makes it impossible to cast any spells,” Zack said as his used his back foot to scratch behind his ear. “If you rely a lot of magic materia, it’s a pain in the ass. Only way to get rid of it is Echo Herbs or to use an Esuna spell.”

“Does your magic work like Professor Snape’s?” Harry asked.

“I doubt it. I never used that stick thingy he used,” Zack said. “We use materia, it’s a solid form of mako. See the marble looking things on my collar?” Harry got up and looked at Zack’s collar.

“Yeah, you have seven of them. 3 red and 4 green,” Harry said.

“Those are materia, the red ones are called summon materia and the green ones are magic ones,” Zack said.

“Summon?” Harry asked.

“Yeah, we can use those to summon creatures from another world. There’s a whole lot of them,” /Zack said. /“Let’s see…” Zack closed his eyes and concentrated on the orbs. “These are ChocoMog, I love that summon, err… bahamut and… Knights of the Round?”

“Like the knights of the round table?” Harry asked. He had once read Sword in the Stone and it had sparked his interest in the Arthurian legend so when he could he would try to read other books at the library.

“What’s that?” Zack asked. Harry gave a short explanation about King Arthur and Merlin and the Kings of the Round Table. The large dog tilted his head to the side for a bit. “Well, the attack has a bunch of guys in armor attack the target and then the last knight wears some really impressive armor with a cape and uses a sword to give the final blow so… maybe. Weird.” How strange was it that one of the summons, albeit a extremely rare one, could have some sort of ties with something in Harry’s world. Did other summons have similar ties? It would have to be something he and Harry looked into. His ears perked up as he heard Snape’s footsteps on the stairs. /“Heads up kiddo, looks like the adults are done talking,” /he said before Severus walked into the small room.


Severus slipped his wand from the holster on his arm and cast a silencing ward around Petunia and himself as soon as Harry and Zack started up the stairs, if Petunia was anything like the girl from his youth she still had the ability to get quiet loud. He smirked as he saw Petunia flinch out of the corner of his eye.

“What… do… you… want?” Petunia asked between clenched teeth. She wasn’t stupid, she had no defense what so ever against an adult wizard and she knew what Snape was capable of.

“Can’t I visit an old family friend,” Snape sarcastically asked. “Visit the child of my best friend?” Petunia snorted in a un-ladylike way.

“I know you and Lily had a falling out during her time at that… that freakish school of yours,” She said. “So don’t give me that bull.” She gulped as Severus towered over her.

“Lily and I may have had a falling out but never once did I not consider her my friend,” he said coldly.

“If you truly cared you would have visited the boy a long time ago,” Petunia said.

“It was only recently that I learned that someone had foolishly given Harry to you to raise,” Severus admitted. “If given the chance I would have informed them a long time ago that you were a piss poor excuse of a guardian.”

“I am a perfect example of a loving parent and guardian!” Petunia screeched in anger. Severus eyed the much to clean house, lined with photo after photo of her too fat son… and not a single one of her nephew.

“I would beg to differ,” He said. “Your son will be lucky if he lives last his 20’s at this rate with how fat he is. And no loving guardian,” as he spoke he had slowly walked around toward the stairs. He saw Petunia stiffen as he neared the cupboard. “Would force a child to live in a small broom closet under the stairs like a House Elf.” He blasted the door open with a spell at the words. He tisked and shook his head as he saw the filthy, thin mattress on the floor, the thread bare blanket and the bare bulb hanging from the low ceiling. He spied spider webs in the corners and other little things that left clues that someone lived inside the storage space for a long time.

“How dare you-“ Petunia started to say then gulped as Snape turned on her.

“No Petunia, how dare you!” He said. “You abused the only child of your only sister. No good decent normal person as you call yourself would treat a child so! I might loath the boy’s father but I would never beat, starve, or do any of the things you did to this child or any other child!”

“I never asked for or wanted that boy here!” Petunia yelled back. “My life was perfect once Lily was fully out of my life. You didn’t see what that man she married did to my Vernon. You didn’t see how horrible she made my life! Our parents liked Lily better than me; perfect, perfect Lily. Well now she dead, her freakish way of life caught up to her and I’m saddled with her son.”

“I have no doubt James Potter did something to humiliate your husband,” Severus said in a cool tone. “But if your husband is like you, for once I applaud Potter’s habit of pranking. But don’t ever speak ill of Lily, she is 100 times better than you could ever be. She gave her life for her son, refused to let him be killed by a mad man when she was offered a chance to spare her life. If it had been the other way around and Lily was the one raising /your son/, she would treat him as her own.”

Petunia turned her head away sharply knowing Snape was right. Her oh-so perfect sister would treat her Dudley a lot kinder than she ever treated Harry. She turned back to Snape her eyes hard and full of anger.

“I never asked for the boy to be dumped here,” She said. “Isn’t it enough that your kind sent that dog here to spy on us good normal people?”

“Someone decided your actions toward the child warranted watching,” Severus said as he closed the cupboard door. He looked into Petunia’s eyes and quickly used legilimency to scan her memories of the last couple of days. He saw the memory of Zack somehow casting a fire ball at her oaf of a husband, adding it to the mystery that was Potter’s dog. He also noted that Petunia believed that the wizarding world had sent Zack and that he was either a magical dog or an Animagus. He quickly built up on her beliefs. “So Zackary was sent, it was only after I was informed that you were made Harry’s guardian and I decided to ensure the child was well and that Zackary was settling in.”

All lies of course, Zack came to Harry on his own as the boy’s familiar and he had been sent by Dumbledore to check on why the wards had changed and to ensure Harry was still safe. A blessing in disguise as it had helped Snape past the image he had built up around Harry all these years, but he wasn’t about to tell Petunia, or anyone else for that matter, that.

“We took care of them,” Petunia said defensively. “Despite all the trouble he caused us, he was clothed and fed and given a place to sleep.”

“You made him sleep in a storage space, his clothing was little more than rags and he is so underfed that I am surprised that the child even functions,” Severus said coldly. “What you have done is considered abuse and I’m sure it barely scratches the surface of what you have done to the boy.” Petunia bristled slightly at the words but some part of her knew there was cold hard truth behind it all. “Believe me Tuney, you will be watched much more closely. I would suggest you keep your fat pig of a son and oaf of a husband under control, I am much more dangerous than you remember.”

Petunia paled at the words and she took several steps back from Snape. Satisfied that she got the message Severus canceled the ward and walked up the stairs to the first floor. Several of the doors were closed but one was open at the edge of the hallway and he could hear Harry’s voice from within.

“Professor Snape,” Harry said as Severus stepped into the room. Severus’s lip curled just a tiny bit as he took in the small space. The furniture was cheap and shoddy looking, ready to fall apart at any moment. Even as poor as his family had been while growing up, most of the furniture in his home had been old but well put together. The room was also extremely small, clearly meant to be a storage or sewing room, not a bed room.

“Surely there were other rooms you could have been given Mr. Potter,” he said as he waved his wand over the shrunken items on the bed and returned them to their original size.

“Well… there is a guest room but only Aunt Marge uses it and… umm… it smells like Ripper her dog,” Harry said. “I don’t mind this room, really. It’s loads better than where I was sleeping.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” Severus said. He considered transfiguring the furniture into something more suitable but he was far from a master of the subject and he was sure the transformations would only last a few hours. “If you are sure.”

“I am,” Harry said with a nod and started to put his new treasures up. Zack helped by carrying items over and giving Harry mental suggestions on where to put things. Severus watched Zack, something Zack was hyper aware of. After everything he had seen today and what he saw in Petunia’s memories, Zack was clearly more than just a dog yet every scan Severus had used had pointed to the fact that Zack was just that, a dog that was in a familiar bond with a young wizard. Yet he seem to have a higher form of communication with Harry than any familiar should have and had cast magic on his own. And his being here had somehow altered the wards enough to alert the Headmaster and send someone to check on them.

A curious thought occurred to Severus and he drew his wand, Zack noticed and gave a little warning growl.

“Don’t think I don’t see you,” Zack said his eyes glowing, another thing Snape noted.

“Sir?” Harry asked looking worried as he looked between the man and Zack.

“There is nothing to worry about,” Severus said to the both of them. “There are wards around your home Mr. Potter and I simply want to assure they are accepting Zackary.” Zack didn’t think that was the whole truth, something in his gut told him it was something more than that but stopped growling and sat still to let Snape use magic on him.

Severus’s eyebrow rose after a few moments, he had been really checking on the blood wards and how they were reacting to Zack. He was floored to see they seem to be tethered to Zack with the other end tied to Harry, as the wards should be. The bonding looked new, as if they had recently shifted. This, Severus realized, is what caused the changes that Albus has saw. Instead of being tied to Harry’s aunt and cousin, his blood relatives, they were tied to Zack. That meant the blood wards were not blood wards but something similar.

“I-is everything alright sir?” Harry asked.

“Yes Mr. Potter, the wards are reacting well with your familiar,” Severus said with a little mental shake. He would have to think on what this meant. “I will take my leave of you now.”

“Thank you sir, for all your help today,” Harry said as he petted Zack.

“Yeah, even if you are a creepy Turk,” Zack said jokingly. Severus nodded then apparated out of the room with a sharp crack. “Whoa! Now that is cool!”


Author Note: (1) According to everything I could find Stanley Shunpike graduated the year before Harry started and started working on the Knight Bus the next year.
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