'Til That Morning by Nemo
Summary: Summer after fifth year: Why did everything bad happen to Harry Potter? Why did it always have to be Severus who picked up the pieces? And why did the kid in Severus’ neighbourhood had to be such a Hufflepuff?

Interrupted in his well-earned summer holidays of tending to his vegetable garden and just reading a lot of sciene fiction, Severus Snape is sent to track down one runaway Harry Potter.
Categories: Parental Snape > Guardian Snape Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required), Hermione, Original Character, Ron
Snape Flavour: Snape Comforts, Snape is Angry, Snape is Kind, Snape is Mean, Snape's a Bully
Genres: Angst, Drama, Family, Humor
Media Type: None
Tags: Adoption, Runaway
Takes Place: 6th summer
Warnings: Abusive Dursleys, Alcohol Use, Bullying, Drug use, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 26 Completed: No Word count: 60113 Read: 22035 Published: 26 Mar 2023 Updated: 05 Mar 2024
Different Decisions by Nemo
At first, Ben wasn’t sure what had awaked him. Slowly he came to himself on a comfy old couch in a dusty living room. An empty cup of tea on the coffee table glowed golden in the early morning sun.

Bamm bamm!

“Open up Snape! I know you’re there!” someone shouted from the front door.

Ben tensed. There was no mistaking this voice. His mother banged on the door again.

“Open!”

If the situation wasn’t so dire, Ben would’ve laughed at the pure absurdity of it. His mother out and about this early to talk to one of her neighbours? Reluctantly he extricated himself from the blankets, making sure not to rouse Felix in the process, who was still sleeping calmly at the food of the sofa. Shuffling he made his way to the hall and opened the door just as his mother was about to bang on it some more. Her hand stilled in mid-air comically.

“Well, well. Not who I was expecting, but this is just fine.”

“Errr- good morning?”

“Save your breath, Ben. You’re coming with me.”

“Um, let me just-“

“No Ben! Now!”

Without further ado, she grabbed his arm and dragged him out of the house. On the front steps, he stumbled. Ben had just enough time to shut the door behind him.

His mother marched him over to their house. There, against the door, the old sea bag was sitting. Fully packed and ready to be shipped off to who knows where just like himself, it sat sagging against the chipping wood. It was his father’s only heirloom. He had never met him.

“Get in already!” Greg shouted out of the car parked on the sidewalk.

“Mum? I thought- I’m not going,” Ben said, slowly backing away. His mother sighed as if suffering a great deal.

“Stop this nonsense. We talked about it yesterday.”

Right. How could he forget that disaster? He shuddered just thinking about it.

“What now!” Greg roared out of the car-window, “you get in or do I have to make you.”

Something in Ben’s head must have stopped working because of the sheer hopelessness of the situation. He grabbed his sea bag and slung it over one shoulder. His mother touched his cheeks with her hands shortly.

“It’ll be fine, you’ll see. You’ll like it there.”

Ben could feel tears springing up in his eyes. He was too shocked to speak. As if operated by a gigantic puppeteer his limps moved him to the car and automatically plopped him down in the back seat.

As they speed away down the street, he could see his mother waving in the mirror.


For the last hour or two, Harry had paced in his bedroom. If he would walk some more he worried that he might wear down the already shabby flooring. Since his uncle had left on unsteady feet after their scuffle, Harry had felt the nervousness in his stomach simmering with increasing heat.

Darkness crept out of the corners of his tiny bedroom and Saturday was fast approaching.

It was only a matter of time before Uncle Vernon would’ve worked out another diabolic way to punish him, that he was sure of. For a short moment, Harry had even considered banging on his locked door and screaming until his uncle would come back in a rage just to get it over with. That hadn’t happened though. He wasn’t quite this suicidal.

With a bad feeling, he had freed Hedwig from her cage.

“You have to go to Hogwarts, Hedwig. It’s only for a short time, promise. It’s just-,” he broke of and swallowed hard. “It’s just, I don’t want you to- I don’t know what-“

As if sensing his distress, Hedwig nuzzled her head against Harry’s hand and hooted encouragingly. Then she took off into the stormy night.

With Hedwig gone, the nervousness he had felt throughout the whole day threatened to bubble up entirely and froth like some of his atrocious attempts at potion making in class. Not being able to contain it with pacing any longer, he dropped down on his knees and buried his head between his legs. Hands were pulling strands of his hair and try as he might he couldn’t get back to a steady breathing rhythm.

Rocking on his heals his gaze fell upon the backpack he once used for Primary School stuffed under his bed. Making up his mind, he grabbed it and shook it clear of all the dust clinging to it. He opened the zipper to find old notebooks, a few pencils and some crumbled paper in it. Quickly emptying it of its contents Harry went over to his flimsy wardrobe and threw some clothes inside the backpack.

Then he abruptly stopped. No, if he would do this, he had to give it some thought. Turning the backpack upside down once again, he began organizing the clothes lying around on his floor. He took a good look at them and decided for five T-Shirts, mainly hand-me-downs from the Weasleys that wouldn’t look like he had inherited them from a baby whale.

Although Dudley had lost some weight with boxing over the last year, he was still considerably taller than Harry. He quickly got rid of them. Harry didn’t exactly feel like attracting attention because of clothes that would point him out as a hobo to the first old lady who would cross his path. Instead, he packed the five Weasley-Shirts, the last two of his Christmas jumpers that still fit, and all the underwear and socks he could find. Furthermore, a faded red cap he had worn for garden work more times than he could count and that would now do a great job of hiding his scar and a jeans went into his backpack. Sadly there weren’t any other trousers that hadn’t grass stains on them or holes. Maybe he could get some of his school trousers out of his trunk?

But that was locked into the cupboard under the stairs. Fuck! He was locked in as well.

While he put everything into the backpack as neatly as he could, Harry pondered his chances at a quiet escape. He thought about Ron’s book about the Sand Wizards lying under his pillow and put that in as well.

Ok, what next? Water, food, shoes, a torch? A pocketknife perhaps?

A cold shiver ran down his back that wasn’t entirely to blame on the welts as he remembered Sirius’ gift which he had simply thrown away at the Ministry when the blade had melted.

Mentally listing all the things he would need, Harry listened for some sounds in the house that would tell him the time. With his panic he had completely spaced out and had no idea how late it was. Had the Dursleys already gone to bed? Had Uncle Vernon really forgotten about his punishment? Or was he just waiting for Harry to make a move and would strike as soon as he’d dare to leave his bedroom?

Pressing face-first to the floor to spy beneath the door to listen for footsteps he concluded that it had to be late enough for his relatives to be snoring away in their respective beds. Now, where had he put the picklock-set Fred and George had gotten him for his last birthday?

With baited breath, he inserted the iron things into the first lock, which clicked after just under a minute. One done, five more to go.

It wasn’t until lock number three that Harry really thought about this endeavour. It would be nearly impossible picking some of the locks, as they were located on the outside.

Stupid! Fucking stupid!

Agitated he turned around and had just decided to break down the door with his shoulder when his eyes fell on the window. He hit his forehead.

Getting stupider by the second Harry!

Luckily the Dursleys hadn’t reinstalled the bars on his window after his drastic escape with the flying Ford Anglia four years ago. Was it really that long ago? It felt like a lifetime.

Climbing out the window and down the drainpipes had been as easy as walking down the street. At least for someone as practiced in climbing trees as Harry was. What had been decidedly more difficult was getting into the house again. Harry was just about ready to abandon his trunk when he saw a half open window. Leave it to Dudley to not shut it out of laziness.

Harry was sure he would’ve been blamed if burglars had robbed Aunt Petunias expensive silverware but now he didn’t give a shit. He quickly thanked whatever deities where responsible for his luck and leaving his backpack in a bush, he wiggled through the small opening. It only took him a minute to pick the locket on his cupboard and wrench his suitcase out. Being mindful of every little noise, he opened it. Digging through it like a mole, he had his wand, the photo album, the invisible cloak and some of his black school trousers all piled up next to him on the floor.

He knew he had to leave the rest here. It pained him to abandon his schoolbooks and supplies at the Dursleys knowing they would dead certain get rid of everything the moment they realised he was gone for good. He couldn’t drag around his school trunk though. No, running away meant you had to go fast, and go fast Harry would.

Rolling the album inside the cloak and the cloak inside the trousers, he put his wand in his pocket and chanced a last look back into the cupboard. There in the cobwebbed corner stood his Firebolt, its twigs slightly bent but its handle still gleaming from the last time Harry had polished it. That afternoon in the common room with Hermione and Ron seemed a million years ago.

Breaking away from the sight and the memories, Harry quietly shut the cupboard. He left out the front door leaving it wide open. Then he retrieved his backpack from the greenery and shouldering it turned his back on Privet Drive Number Four walking out into the dark night.

To be continued...
End Notes:
I’m sorry for the long wait! :( Some things came up and as it was, I really wasn’t happy with this chapter. So, it just sat there on my laptop for two weeks. It isn't as good as I would like it to be. Anyway, there were some twisted timelines in this chapter. Hope that wasn’t too confusing and some puzzle pieces from earlier chapters fell into place for you.


This story archived at http://www.potionsandsnitches.org/fanfiction/viewstory.php?sid=3843