Harry Potter wouldn't class himself as being in the worst of positions. Sure, he probably suffered from more than a few kinds of abuse according to various muggle brochures, but there were starving children in Africa. Those kids were definitely in a worse position than he was.
For starters, they didn't have magic.
It was such a small word that held so much meaning and hope to him. The word held promises of the warm Gryffindor common room and ice cold butterbeers on sweltering days at Hogsmeade, stormy days spent in the library as he and Ron studied frantically for upcoming exams under Hermione's watchful eye. He just loved Hogwarts more than anything due to what it represented to him.
An entire month of the holiday had passed and Harry had spent most of those days staring at the roof of Dudley's second bedroom. He never really had gotten into the habit of calling it his own, because it wasn't. The Dursley's had made a very clear point about him taking the food out of poor little Dudder's mouth whenever he asked for something.
His birthday had been a few days prior. Another dust cake had been made as he sung happy birthday and blew the dust away in lieu of blowing out candles and making a wish. It had been quite difficult to find a suitable patch of dust, no matter what Aunt Petunia said he held much pride in cleaning everything thoroughly.
Today had been the day he had received an owl detailing his results. Well, the fact that he didn't have Any results. The Triwizard Tournament had rendered him exempt from the end of year exams and had given him an automatic pass. Hermione was not pleased with that fact at all when she had first heard of how he was not writing exams that year.
He continued to stare at the dark ceiling and could easily recall the most mundane details that no one should be able to recall about a ceiling of all things. He could remember every single crack and dip and discolourment that marred the ceiling's paint. The days of the past month that weren't spent locked up in a room wiling away the time by staring at a ceiling were usually spent in the garden, and when the entire Dursley family was busy Harry was set an inhumanely long list of chores to complete inside the house.
Those days were Harry's favorite. He was able to drink as much water as he could from the taps and scavenging food was a lot easier to do. On a good day, he was able to gather food for a few more days. Not that the Dursley's starved him. They did feed him. Though it was usually a can of cold soup each day. Lately, they had taken to buying those bulk packages that were cheaper and more disgusting to eat. Not that Harry was even able to complain.
The ending to the last term had not been the greatest. Voldemort had a body now and Cedric Diggory was deader than one of Hagrid's literal rock cakes. The Ministry decided that they weren't going to believe him and even a fair portion of his friends were a bit skeptical over what he was saying. Harry really loved the wizarding world.
He was forever the attention seeker was he not?
Anyways, Harry was simultaneously looking forward to and not looking forward to the next school year. Fifth year was the year of OWLs, and Harry didn't think that he was going to do too well on those. There was also the fact that most of the wizarding world was against him and thinking that he had gone mad. But at the end of the day, he was getting away from the Dursleys and that had to count for something.
It took a good while before Harry managed to fall asleep that night.
A knock at the door startled Harry from what he was doing. If it was another one of those persistent door-to-door salesmen he was going to find his wand, wherever it was, and cast some hex that would cause irreparable damage to the damn muggle.
It could be said that his day hadn't been going very well. It had started by being yanked from his dreams by Aunt Petunia yelling shrilly for him to come down and make breakfast. Now that had yet to deviate from what happened during most days, but, unfortunately, it had to have been one of those dreams. Not a nightmare, the complete opposite actually. So he'd had to contend with that.
His morning hadn't improved from that point onwards. While making the Dursley's breakfast he had somehow managed to spill the entire boiling hot pan of bacon onto himself, his arms and stomach were still extremely sore from that and he was definitely putting off checking out the damage.
There had been one saving grace that morning and that had been the fact that he was being given a chore day, an entire day spent doing nothing but chores, all by himself. He had salvaged the bacon from the mostly clean bin earlier that day. The salty taste of the bacon had been borderline orgasmic, even if it had been slightly flavored by last night's spaghetti.
Still, chores weren't the most comfortable of things at that moment. While his arms and stomach had taken the brunt of the oil he still managed to get blisters on his forearms and fingers. That was a lot worse than it seemed, as he had a longer list than usual today as Uncle Vernon was going to be expecting company that night.
So far he was making good progress on the list that was held down on the counter by a dirty dish, he still had yet to do those, the doorbell had just sent his day down further than it had been originally. He got up slowly and dried his hands on his threadbare pants. The Dursley's sure knew how to dirty up a kitchen floor.
His knees ached uncomfortably as he walked to the door and checked out the window to see who it was at the door. It would not be good to ignore one of Petunia's 'friends'. Slowly, he inched the curtains back and immediately he let them drop.
Was that Snape?
Harry stopped for a few seconds as he tried to think of what he should do. The reason to Snape's visit eluded him. There wasn't much reason for the Order to come and talk him something unless it was something important. If it was something important it would probably be a good idea for him to open the door, but it was Snape of all people.
He tried to be quiet as he paced back and forth. Opening the door would be the best of plans, but Snape was out there. The urge to snort and start laughing at himself washed over him. A complete kid, that's what he was acting like. He had just turned fifteen about two weeks ago, he should probably stop acting like an eleven-year-old.
"I can see you pacing up and down like a rabid animal Potter, just open the door," Snape called out from the other side of the door, his voice just as snarky as Harry remembered.
He breathed in deeply and stopped in front of the door. For just a moment his hand hesitated on the way up to the doorknob before he put his hand on it and opened the door.
Harry put on the most insufferable smile he could, "Hello," he said in what he hoped was an overly enthusiastic voice.
Snape did not look very pleased to be standing in front of Harry's front door, "Where are your relatives?"
There was no beating around the bush with Snape. No 'how are you?'s or 'the weather's looking mighty fine' as was quite customary in Britain. It would have irked Harry if he was not used to the caustic treatment from Snape.
"They're not home today, sir." Harry quickly added the sir.
A dark eyebrow lifted and Harry found himself wishing that he was able to mimic that facial expression of Snape's.
"When will they be home?" Snape asked after a few moments of silence. He really sounded like he had no patience today. Harry wiped his grimy hands on the knees of his pants again.
"Aunt Petunia will be home at about four I think." Four o' clock was still a good few hours away. Harry should probably offer Snape tea or something, he was not that uncivilized and he knew that it was good manners to offer guests tea and to not leave them standing at one's doorstep.
The silence really was oppressive and Harry wished that he wasn't standing in front of his most hated teacher in a pair of wet pants with a shirt that hadn't been washed in a few days.
Snape stepped into the room and Harry was forced to take a step back, "I'll have to wait here for your relatives then." He said decisively and walked into the lounge and sat down in the most comfortable chair. Harry realized that Snape would probably not want to sit in the armchair if he knew that it was Uncle Vernon's favorite chair that he sat in nearly daily.
"Would you like some tea sir?" Harry asked. It felt awkward standing there as a professor basically invaded the Dursley's home. Uncle Vernon was not going to be pleased if he came home to this.
"That would be...nice." Snape's back was as stiff as an ironing board as he sat in he chair and waited expectantly for Harry to start on the tea.
It didn't take long for Harry to make his way into the kitchen and put the kettle on and grab a teacup and all of the other tea-related stuff Aunt Petunia usually kept handy for guests. The floor was still wet and he still had most of his chores to finish before Aunt Petunia came home. How he was going to handle that he did not know.
A short while later Harry had set everything onto a tray to take to the lounge. He made sure to wipe all of the water off his feet and placed it down gently on the table closest to Snape.
"Why are you here?" Harry asked. His finger's worried the sleeves of his shirt as he waited for Snape's answer. He looked at Snape as he waited for his professor to reply.
Snape took his time pouring the tea into his cup. He didn't add any sugar or milk into it and took a small sip without waiting for it to cool, a grimace showed his distaste for the tea. It could have been the muggle tea or the brand or the fact that Harry had made it, but nonetheless, he still disliked it.
A few more tedious moments passed and Harry had started to feel the suspense when Snape finally answered, "It seems that I may have come across some important information involving you."
He paused again and took another sip of tea, "You're staying with me for the rest of the holidays."
Harry ceased all movement. Snape had to be pulling his leg. There was no way that he would voluntarily take Harry in. The man absolutely hated his guts. If given a choice between Snape and the Dursleys, it was hands down that Harry was going to choose...actually he would still choose Snape, he seemed like he would be better than the Dursleys. At least Dumbledore would keep an eye on Snape, that was if he was staying at Hogwarts.
If he wasn't, well then the Dursley's were seeming like a far better option.
"Potter, are you okay? Don't tell me your minuscule mind can't handle new information outside of the school term."
"I have to finish my chores sir," Harry said quickly and went back into the kitchen. The suds of the soap he was using on the floor had already dissolved leaving the floor a dirty brown. He got back onto his knees and grabbed the scrubbing brush and began frantically scrubbing at the grout between the tiles.
Harry had managed to clean a large portion of the floor when he felt a presence behind him. He stopped and slowly turned around to find Snape looking at him from the door frame. Those dark eyes of snape's were boring into his very soul and Harry found it very difficult to even look away.
With a sigh, Snape unpocketed his wand and waved it around in what seemed to be an intricate pattern. Suddenly the water that Harry was kneeling in dried up and the floor was instantly cleaned. It looked as if the grout had been freshly laid.
"What else do you need to do before you relatives return home?"
"Um..I need to wash the dishes." Harry stood up slowly and grabbed the cleaning supplies strewn across the floor. Snape had gone through a change of mind, he wasn't sure what had made him change his entire demeanor, but he had.
With another wave of his wand the dishes that were placed in haphazard piles over the kitchen counters were rendered sparkling clean.
"Thank you, sir," Harry said. If Snape was being generous he might as well show that he was thankful for it, because he was. Already Snape had saved him a good hour or so of work.
"And?" Snape prompted him for more of the tasks he had to complete.
"I have a list, I'll get it," Harry rushed to get the list and passed it to Snape who took it and skimmed over it. His eye's widened subtly.
"Your aunt is returning home at six?" He asked Harry for confirmation.
Snape's eyes flicked to the clock on the kitchen wall and back to the list, "We better get started then." He said, disgruntled.