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The Muggle Way by minniemcmouse

Format: Novel
Chapters: 2
Word Count: 4,883
Status: WIP

Rating: 12+
Warnings: Mild Language, Mild Violence

Genres: Action/Adventure, AU
Characters: Harry, Lupin, McGonagall, Snape, Sirius, OC
Pairings:

First Published: 03/19/2009
Last Chapter: 03/27/2009
Last Updated: 03/27/2009

Summary:
How different could things have been if Harry had the family he'd needed for all those years? If he'd had a family to rely on, to teach him, to care for him, and to help him in all his endeavours? Even if one of his current problems consisted of trying to rid the world of Voldemort for good, how much could his Muggle family help then?


Chapter 1: A Collision of Cultures
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Chapter One

The machines around them beeped at a slow and steady pace. It was rare for the three of them to be able to stand in such silence for a prolonged amount of time, but today it felt like nothing could break this fragile peace. Sirius was sitting in an uncomfortable chair that Remus had shoved towards him upon entering the room. Privately, Severus felt that if anyone deserved a seat, then it was him, but under the circumstances he didn’t feel inclined to push the issue.

A young nurse entered the room and, ignoring the three of them, walked over to the bed. Cool fingers gave relief to a burning forehead, and for a moment her patient opened his eyes.

“Simon?” he asked, raising a battered arm slightly from where it lay on his bed. “Sirius?”

“Sorry, Harry, it’s too early for visitors yet,” the nurse murmured before the boy drifted back into his painful slumber. The nurse swallowed and turned her pained eyes away from the young man who lay on the bed.

“Who’s Simon?” Sirius asked with a frown.

“I don’t know,” Remus replied, “but Harry asked for you, too.” The reminder was delivered gently, with a hand resting on his shoulder.

Severus Snape was being uncharacteristically quiet, staring moodily across the small room at the figure on the bed. The boy was thoroughly bruised; they’d been present when the nurses had partially undressed him to clean his wounds. His face was swollen in odd places, and white strips covered where Potter had been stitched back together – literally! Severus had never been to a Muggle hospital, and after watching them stick needles and what looked like thread into Potter, he vowed never to enter one again. What disturbed him the most about the whole Muggle medicine ordeal was how hopeless it all was; so much of Potter’s treatment appeared to be waiting for his body to fix itself, and to keep him under enough drugs so as to remain unconscious.

It wasn’t until late morning that a man was escorted into the room by the same nurse.

“How is he?”

“Not too bad,” the nurse replied with a faint smile, “and I’m sure he’ll feel a lot better when he wakes up to you.”

The man walked over to Harry and stared at him for what felt like hours. The nurse neither did nor said anything. The man reached a hand out and ran his fingers through Harry’s hair. Harry sighed in his sleep and when the man rested his hand against a bruised cheek, the young man moved into his touch.

“He’s barely recognisable,” the man said, refusing to take his eyes away from him. “What happened?”

“A car crash,” the nurse said, a sneer touching her lips for a moment.

“A car crash,” the man repeated faintly. “At what point in this car crash do you think a hand-print came to be on Harry’s throat, Catherine?” His voice cracked slightly as he spoke. “At what point did similar bruises find his arm? At what point was he tied up?” He pointed then at the bruises around Harry’s wrists that somehow the invisible occupants of the room had overlooked. “At what point in this car crash was he starved for a month?” His voice had dropped to a whisper and he turned away from Harry then, to see tears shimmering in Catherine’s eyes.

“I know,” she said softly, her voice finding strength as she continued, “it is clearly a tale to appease the police.”

“The police? He’s only been here a day!”

“There really was a car crash. The whole lot of them were brought in yesterday afternoon.”

“They’re here?” he repeated and then an odd glint touched his eye. “Are they hurt?”

“Hardly, but they’re milking it for all it’s worth.”

“And what exactly is it worth?” he asked.

“Not a great deal,” she replied. “The policeman on the case is Jonathan, and he’s happy to verify just how little damage was done to the car.”

He noticed the sneer was back on her face. She looked pleased with that minor detail, if nothing else. They had managed to get the upper hand so rarely where the Dursleys were concerned that anything in their favour was to be celebrated.

“So all this…?” he said, gesturing at Harry.

“Definitely not car crash related.”

“None of it?” he asked in a weak voice. She shook her head.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When his eyes opened again, Catherine was disconcerted to see a keen resolve there. “Where are they?”

“What?”

“Where in the hospital?”

“You are not leaving this room!” she told him. “And you’re certainly not going off to exact your petty revenge!”

“I will do as I damned well please!” he shouted, banging his fist forcefully on the bedside table beside Harry. A glass of water shivered violently for a brief moment, and three invisible men jumped at the sound.

“Don’t you dare be so selfish!”

“Selfish!? I—”

She cut him off. “I will not be the one to tell Harry when he wakes that you have grievously injured his relatives and have since been arrested!” He fell silent then. “Despite everything, Harry would never forgive himself if anything happened to them,” Catherine went on to say quietly.

“No, he never wants anyone else to get hurt, does he? No matter what they’ve done to him.”

“Simon?” came a hoarse voice from behind them.

“Harry!” the man breathed, and he spun around so quickly that everyone else in the room thought he would fall. He grabbed the chair and pulled it up to the bed, unaware that one Sirius Black had thrown himself off it and into another man just moments before.

“Yes, it’s me,” Simon whispered, leaning in to brush the hair out of Harry’s eyes.

Then Harry did something that none of the wizards had ever seen him do; he held up a hand, as if to arm-wrestle, and Simon gripped it tightly in his own, letting the boy hold his hand against Harry’s chest.

Such a display of weakness and dependence, Severus mused, and undisguised affection. Even when it had been Potter and Black alone in the hospital wing, Potter did not behave in such a manner, he was sure, from the telltale longing that was written all over Black’s face, and in no small measure on Lupin’s, also.

Simon leant over to press a quick kiss to his forehead, and Harry smiled faintly.

“Do try to keep your absurd jealousy under control,” Severus drawled at Sirius.

“Shut up, you greasy—”

“That is quite enough,” Remus cut in, and they momentarily fell silent.

“Where are my glasses?” Harry asked into the quiet.

“I’ve got them,” Simon replied, placing the spectacles in question on the bedside table. “You can’t have them until the swelling goes down however.”

“Oh,” Harry replied.

“Articulate as always,” Simon replied, sounding to Sirius and Remus uncannily like Snape.

“My apologies,” Harry drawled, “but I rarely get the opportunity to exercise my eloquence in the presence of the Dursleys. I’m all out of practice.” The wizards stared at him then; none of them had ever heard Harry talk in such a manner before. He sounded like Snape, too! Sirius thought privately. He sounds like this ‘Simon’, Severus thought.

“That is apparent,” Simon said, smiling faintly when Harry pulled a face. “Don’t pout, Har, it doesn’t become you.”

Harry snorted faintly, “I doubt I could make myself pout even if I wanted to. My face feels all heavy and strange.” He raised an arm to touch his face but Simon stopped him.

“I wouldn’t do that, if I were you,” he told him, gently lowering Harry’s arm back down to the bed. “You’ve hurt your shoulder quite badly.”

“Why, what happened?” Harry asked him.

Simon sighed. “I was hoping you could tell me.”

Harry pulled a strange face, which in his current state, Simon suspected would normally be a frown. He opened his mouth to speak, but shut it audibly when Harry began to speak. His gaze was focussed on something beyond him, but his hand still gripped his tightly.

“I don’t remember that much. I can only assume that I hit my head in the car crash,” Harry said quietly. So quietly that Sirius and Remus had to lean forwards to hear him, and Severus walked straight past them to stand on the other side of Potter. “The Dursleys were being their usual selves, treating me in the usual way-” he shot a meaningful look at Simon at this point “-and I just tried to get by as best I could under the circumstances. I’d done or said something to upset Vernon particularly, but I don’t remember what it was yet, and he got quite… violent.” Harry paused at this point, as if trying to collect his thoughts. Simon squeezed his hand, hoping to convey some wordless support to him. He suspected it had worked when Harry squeezed back and smiled faintly. “It became very hazy after that. There was a lot of shouting, and I was jostled about a lot. I was picked up and dropped somewhere dark. I’d thought it had been the cupboard at first, but now I think it must have been the car…”

He stopped then and stared into space for almost a minute. Severus felt the boy’s magic swirling around the room confusedly, instead of emanating the calm magical sense one usually got from a magical being. It wasn’t often noticed; it just faded into the background at Hogwarts where everything and everyone was magical, but here, in a Muggle hospital, next to a Muggle man, Potter’s magic was both easily noticeable and recognisable.

“Harry?” Simon prompted gently. “Are you okay?”

Severus stilled as he felt Potter’s magic wrap around him, swirling and mingling with his own, as if trying to tell who he was. For the first time, he wondered whether Potter would instinctively know that someone else was there, someone he couldn’t see. Dumbledore had cast the charms on them however, and there was little chance that the boy would be able to see through something as powerful as that. But still, that niggling doubt was there. And suddenly Potter’s magic was gone, reduced to the calm that he was used to.

“I… yeah, I’m fine,” Harry replied quietly. “I don’t know whether I remember the car crash, but I think that I do. There was a strong jolt and then everywhere hurt. There was more shouting and then everything went white…” If there had been a rest of the sentence, it drifted away, and no one ever heard it.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Simon said quietly.

Harry raised a sceptical eyebrow. “You call this okay?”

“Very well, allow me to rephrase. I’m glad you’re alive,” Simon told him quietly. Severus almost thought he could see Potter’s magic wrapping around this man at this point, and he wondered who on earth he really was. He was certainly no Dursley.

“I wonder if they were taking me to hospital, or…” Harry trailed off again, wondering whether the Dursleys were just going to dump him somewhere, anywhere, and his being involved in a car crash was the only reason he was there at all.

“It doesn’t matter, you’re here now,” said Simon, firmly.

The door opened then, stopping Harry from whatever it was he was going to say. The young nurse walked in, and smiled when she saw the two men in the room talking quietly.

“Hey, Cathy,” Harry said, a smile forming.

“Don’t call me that,” she said, in a long-suffering tone, which made Harry’s smile widen. “I’m afraid this isn’t merely a social call, or at least not from myself anyway.”

“Who’s here?” Simon asked, his tone flatter than the wizards had heard before. “Do I even want to know?”

“Your charming brother, for one,” Catherine told him, “but there are a few others as well, who I know would like to see for themselves that Harry has survived his latest ordeal.”

“And then maybe we can all go lynch the Dursleys together!” Simon said with mock cheerfulness colouring his words.

Harry shot him a horrified look, and Catherine gave him one clearly telling him that she’d told him so. And then the door burst open, to reveal rather more than just a ‘few’ people to see Harry.

Severus took the opportunity to steal out of the room, and to try and find some fresh air. It had been one of his worst nightmares, the last few hours in the Muggle hospital, one which he would never wish to repeat again. He left Black and Lupin watching over Potter, the latter being swarmed by his fan club. Severus snorted slightly. At least Potter had his fan club, made of Muggles, admittedly, but it was there nonetheless. He was glad that despite his world being turned upside down in the last day, some things never changed.

He sat down on a bench outside, gasping in cool, fresh air. It made a change from the stale air in the hospital. Severus closed his eyes; finally being able to relax somewhat now that he was away from Potter and his frightful injuries. He had always thought he’d like to see Potter injured somehow, but having seen the result, he was left feeling nauseated and vaguely guilty. Someone appeared close to his side, and his eyes snapped open instantly. He groaned inwardly when he realised who it was.

“Black,” he said coolly. “What do you want?”

His guard instantly went up when he saw the expression on the other man’s face. It was the kind of expression that told of some kind of imminent attack.

Sirius stared at him intently, and managed to get out between clenched teeth. “You were watching over Harry all summer, personally. You’re going to tell me right now how in the hell this happened to him, and why you never raised a finger to stop it.”

Severus stared at him, and the earlier guilt that had tried to wash over him came back full force. Some how, he’d managed to avoid thinking about this little detail entirely. Now faced with this fact full on, he had to admit to himself that he had absolutely no idea as to how Harry Potter came to be in this state. No idea at all.

Chapter 2: Chapter Two
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Chapter Two

Simon’s face had darkened when he’d seen the mob of people pour into the small room. A few people, indeed! He sighed inwardly knowing that they all had a right to be there, in their own way. His younger brother sauntered in, followed by the secretary of the local primary school, three teenagers, an old man, a smug chef still wearing his restaurant trousers, a young policeman and last, but not least, a three-year-old girl. They were a motley crew, Simon admitted, but to Harry, they were family.

Beside him, Harry managed to morph his expression of dismay at being so descended upon into one of happiness.

“Harry!”

“How are you?”

“Someone get this boy some food!”

“So where exactly is this Dursley then?”

“I cannot believe this happened to you!”

Harry held himself back from drawling, “Really? But this seems to happen almost every year!”

Instead, he said, “Hello, Flora,” and smiled warmly at the young girl who’d clamboured onto the bed. He winced when she climbed across him and wrapped her arms around his neck.

“Now, Flora, Harry’s really not very well…” Simon started, and made an attempt to move the girl from Harry.

“Flora! Get down from there at once!” barked Catherine, the young nurse returning to the room to find something akin to chaos.

“But Muuum!”

“No ‘but’s!”

Remus smiled faintly from the side as the room got louder and more chaotic. Conversations carried on all around Harry, but he didn’t appear to be really taking part in any of them. Seeing a gap to one side, Remus moved to sit down next to Harry.

“I’m glad you’re okay,” Remus said quietly, not knowing why he spoke to someone who couldn’t hear him.

“You call this okay?” Harry murmured to the side of him, repeating his earlier words. Remus gaped openly at Harry, who turned to face him slightly. “Thanks for coming, Remus. I really appreciate it.”

“What was that, Har?” Simon’s brother asked him.

“Nothing, just thinking aloud,” he replied.

“About how great we are and how much you’ve missed me?”

“Something like that, yeah,” Harry said with a smile.

“Shut up, Jack,” Simon said, cuffing his younger brother lightly around his head.

Remus had been staring at Harry for a lon moment. He couldn’t imagine how it had been possible for Harry to have seen through their spells, but then Harry regularly surprised them all. Harry opened his mouth to say something to Remus but it never made its way into coherency, because right then two men came bursting through the door.

“You listen to me, Black –”

“No you listen to me!” Sirius shouted. Next to him, Harry saw Remus close his eyes in a display of disbelief. “You were charged with protecting MY godson with your life, and he mysteriously ends up in a Muggle hospital being sewn back together, what – TWO weeks later? And you have no explanation, no memories as to why or how this occurred? You expect me to believe that?!”

“No, I—” Severus began in a drawl, but was cut off by magic whipping around him. Potter’s magic.

“That’s enough!” Potter said loudly in Severus’ head, and when he glanced at Black, he was sure he’d heard it, too. Black was staring at Potter with an odd expression on his face, almost as if he’d just consumed some kind of vile potion. Severus calmed himself by thinking of ones he could potentially feed Black and their consequent effects.

“What just happened?” Remus asked Harry, not knowing whether he’d be able to respond. He received a playback of the last few moments in his head, complete with Harry’s mental speech. He stiffened. How did Harry know how to do these things? Somewhere in his mind, he registered that Sirius and Severus were shouting at each other again, having momentarily set Harry’s newest ability to one side.

“Well if Minerva was meant to be watching Harry too then where the hell is she?” Sirius demanded.

“I don’t recall,” Severus said in a cool tone, “Oh wait, I remember. She went to fetch Potter’s doting dogfathers. What a marvellous change in company that was.”

“Right, we’re going to talk to her,” Sirius said, grabbing Severus’ wrist in a tight grip.

“The hell we are! I’m not going anywhere with you, Black,” Severus snapped, wrenching his arm back. “Now get your paws off me!”

“I’ll go speak to her myself then.”

“And fill her mind with ten kinds of nonsense, all beginning and ending with me being the cause of Potter’s current state? I think not. You’re coming with me!”

“No, you’re coming with me!”

Remus waved his wand, and they both disappeared. Harry grinned and opened his mouth to say something when Jack put a hand lightly on his shoulder. “We’re going to head off then since you’re clearly not all together again yet.”

Harry smiled up at he and Simon, realising that they were the only two in the room with him.

“I’ll be back first thing tomorrow,” Simon promised.

“You don’t have –”

“I know,” Simon interrupted, “but I want to. I’ll be here every morning until we can get out of here.”

Harry smiled, and Simon pressed a quick kiss to his forehead while Jack ruffled his hair on their way out.

“So, Legilimency, Harry?” Harry turned to Remus. It was shaping up to be a rather long day.
   
L

Minerva McGonagall nearly choked on her lunch when twin cracks of apparition sounded from directly behind her.

“No, I apparated you!”

She whipped around and, upon seeing who was standing behind her with their wands aimed squarely at each other, she seriously contemplating apparating away with her lunch.

“What is going on, gentlemen?” she asked in her most intimidating voice, not feeling certain she was up to whatever today’s argument entailed.

“What happened to Harry?” Sirius blurted out.

She wasn’t entirely sure as to why she was so surprised by this line of questioning, considering Harry’s present state, and yet any information she had on the boy seemed fleeting and fluid. The more she tried to pin down what she’d seen in Privet Drive, the harder it became.

“I don’t know,” Minerva eventually replied. Sirius looked shocked, but Severus merely appeared exasperated. He sat down opposite her and held her gaze.

A moment later he spoke to her. “Your memories to do with that street and to a certain extent, Potter, have all been wiped,” Severus said, breaking eye contact.

“Can you retrieve them?” she asked him anxiously. Behind her, Sirius was standing, his expression torn between disbelief and fury.

Severus nodded, his expression remaining stony. “Do not resist me. Try to relax and picture Potter’s house.”

She nodded tersely, and met his eyes with her own. It felt like a pin prick behind her eyes, and then a few more, and then her eyes began to burn. Later, she would reflect that it had felt like a glass shield had cracked and then shattered in her mind. Images began to fly past her then, and she knew that Severus could see them, too.

A fat man with a moustache was shouting at Potter.

A sharp blow dealt to Harry’s ribs. He doubles over in pain soundlessly.

Potter cooking dinner. It smells good. He says something cool and cutting about his relatives and Severus laughs. He looks surprised by his own reaction, and Harry just smiles.

Dumbledore tells them that during their stay, no one, not even Potter, would be able to see them, and that magic was not allowed by anyone.


“I remember everything. Thank you, Severus,” she said quietly.

“Now if only someone could do the same for me,” Severus said, frowning at the table.

“Harry can,” Minerva told him, watching Severus closely.

Severus actually laughed, the first time since they had been in Harry’s company. “Let Potter run rampant in my head? I’d prefer a Hippogriff to Potter!”

“You trained him well, these last few weeks,” she told him. “I would not suggest it if I did not think he was capable.”

“I must apologise, Minerva,” he said in response, “but it appears that I have damaged your brain just now.”

“Remember that he is your only option.”

“I’ll go to Albus then!” Severus snapped at her.

Minerva opened her mouth as if to retort sharply, and then thought better of it. “You do that Severus, but I hope you speak to Harry again before you do.”

Severus eyes narrowed dangerously, but he promised to do as she asked. She  adored Potter admittedly, but she would not suggest Potter do anything that could amount to serious damage on another human. Neither of them could live with such knowledge.

“Your memories will come back slowly for the rest of the day,” Severus told her, realising that her eyes had glazed over slightly. “Let me know if you suffer any side effects.”

It was dark when Severus returned to the hospital. He wasn’t surprised to find the building almost as busy and bustling as it had been that morning. He located Potter’s room with ease, and opened the door to see a mangy dog asleep by the boy’s bed, and Remus Lupin sleeping in an armchair that Severus assumed he’d transfigured. Potter himself was the only one still awake; he was sitting now, and reading a tattered Dickens novel. He looked up when Severus entered, and smiled warmly yet uncertainly.

Potter picked up his wand and cast a silencing spell around Sirius and Remus so as not to wake them.

“Good evening, Professor.”

“Potter.” Severus furrowed his brow. “How are you able to read without your glasses?”

Potter appeared surprised by the question. “Contact lenses,” he replied. “They’re –”

“I know what contact lenses are, Potter,” Severus said, allowing his exasperation to show, “I merely was unaware that you possessed any.”

Potter smiled. “Sorry, I don’t think sometimes. I forget you come from a bit of a Muggle background.” Severus started at that. “It took me ages to explain to Sirius why I was sticking my fingers in my eyes. Anyway, I assume this isn’t a social visit?”

“Not today, I’m afraid,” he replied. Severus took an empty glass from the bedside table and transfigured it into an uncomfortable-looking chair. He sat down, pulling a face so slight, it was barely perceptible, but Potter noticed.

“Not a comfortable chair, sir?” he asked, with a hint of amusement in his voice.

“Transfiguration has never been one of my skills,” Severus admitted grudgingly, not sure why he was telling Potter this.

Harry laughed lightly, his battered face contorting strangely when he did so. “I’d forgotten about that. I can’t imagine you being poor at anything. Sir.”

“Poor? I am not poor at anything, Potter,” Severus said indignantly. “I merely focus my talents in more lucrative areas.”

Potter smiled again slightly, as if to say that he doubted it, but did not push the point. Potter the perceptive, who noticed painful chairs, and knew that he wasn’t good at transfiguration, and knew of his Muggle family. Potter who saw through disillusionment charms, and practiced Legilimency as if he’d known it al his life. Potter who smiled at him without hatred or malice, as if he didn’t mind his presence. He wanted his memories back if only to figure Potter out.

“So how can I help you, sir?”

Severus took a deep breath. “Professor McGonagall tells me you’ve become very good at legilimency these last few weeks.”

Harry stared at him as if he’d grown another head. Or offered him sweets. “Yes, sir.”

“Good enough to lift a memory charm?”

And suddenly, for Harry, everything clicked together. Why he’d suddenly acted like the last few weeks hadn’t happened; because for Snape, they hadn’t.

“I’m not sure, sir. I know how to but —” he trailed off.

At least he was being honest, Severus mused. “You’ll do, Potter. I can only think of two Legilimens, and I don’t want either in my mind. You’re the closest I’ve got.”

Harry swallowed and nodded. Knowing he’d get no more invitation than that, he looked into Snape’s eyes.

“Legilimens,” Harry said quietly. His wand lay on his bedside table. Severus noted dimly that he’d never touched it.

Memories were flying, and Harry’s hands moved quickly through the air, performing wandless magic. He pushed memories aside, or pulled others forwards. Had either Sirius or Remus woken then, they would have likened Harry’s movements to those had he been using a Muggle computer keyboard, interspersed with sliding and pushing motions horizontally and vertically through the air.

It took a lot longer than removing Minerva’s memory blocks; Harry found a few more as he worked. Finally, Severus felt his eyes burning beyond anything he’d ever felt before, and Harry’s hands were shaking violently, his head throbbing. Something somewhere cracked, and Harry hoped dearly that it was the memory charm, and not Snape’s mind. Memories of the past week began to fly past them, and Harry closed his eyes, severing contact.

Severus breathed deeply, as the past few weeks pushed and shoved in his head, vying to be viewed and considered. There were a few older memories there as well that Severus had never seen before either. He couldn’t believe Potter had really done it. He had been expecting brain damage, or at least a concussion.

“Sir, are you all right?”

Severus’ eyes snapped opened then. “Perfectly, thank you.”

“Then I did it? You’re —” Harry’s voice sounded tentative and anxious, even to his own ears.

Severus got to his feet and turned his chair back into a glass. Setting it back on the table, he said, “My mental facilities are fully functioning, if that’s what you’re asking, Mr Potter.” He took a breath. “And my memories have been returned to me, with a mild headache.”

Harry breathed a sigh of relief, and then went on to apologise profusely for the headache he had inadvertently caused.

“Considering I was expecting brain damage, a headache is an acceptable alternative. You did well for a first attempt,” Severus said quietly. Memories swirled in front of his vision randomly, assaulting him at odd moments. It would take a day or so to really understand the last few weeks, he supposed.

He surveyed the boy in front of him. Harry was pale and shaking faintly from the exertion used in the Legilimency, and bruises overlapped with the dark circles under his eyes from sleep deprivation. Severus wondered for a brief moment what he’d been thinking of, asking a boy in Potter’s condition to help him, but swiftly pushed the thought aside. It was done now.

Potter gave him a sleepy smile, and on the floor Black growled faintly and rolled over in his sleep.

“Get some rest,” Severus said as he moved towards the door, and after further reflection added, “and thank you.”

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