Once Upon a Time in Cokeworth by Kyralian
Summary: Harry is thrilled that he is allowed to go on a holiday with his relatives, but quickly discovers it to be a trick. Instead of a trip to the seaside he expected, the boy is left on the doorstep of a scary stranger who claims to be his father.

A horrible father-story [at least, at the beginning], told mostly but not solely from Harry's perspective.
Categories: Parental Snape > Biological Father Snape Main Characters: .Snape and Harry (required)
Snape Flavour: Angry Snape, Cruel Snape, Stern Snape
Genres: Family
Tags: Child fic
Takes Place: 0 - Pre Hogwarts (before Harry is 11)
Warnings: Neglect, Physical Punishment Spanking, Physical Punishment Non-Spanking
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 27 Completed: No Word count: 80612 Read: 66708 Published: 27 Mar 2021 Updated: 31 Mar 2022
Chapter 14 The Worst Feeling in the World by Kyralian
What happened next wasn’t a conscious choice. It was a need, an uncontrollable desire to regain the life he was used to. He needed to be assured that he hadn’t been abandoned by the only family he knew. The boy wanted the Dursleys to come back for him, to take him home.

Harry was flying across the pavement outside, before his mind could catch up with his actions. His eyes were fixed on the brown bun bobbing up and down, as it flowed in and out of view among the traffic on the other side of the street. He was so fixated on it that he didn’t pay attention to anything else, the boy scarcely heard the horns blaring around him or his father shouting for him to come back.

Suddenly, a speeding car passed scant inches in front of him, and he froze in place, terrified to find himself in the middle of the street. Harry threw his hands over his head, as the wind from cars passing on either side buffeted him. A loud screeching of brakes, and a sickening grinding of metal made him scream. He closed his eyes, unable to do anything to help himself out of this situation. Abruptly, he was flying through the air, pressed against a warm body, and screaming in terror until he was too hoarse to continue. Only then he was able to hear an urgent voice next to his ear.

“Shh, Harry, it’s alright, you’re alright,” it was his father’s voice speaking to him, and his father’s arms holding him pressed against his body so hard that it was difficult to breathe.

The boy began sobbing then, great choking sobs of utter devastation.

“A-aunt P-pet-unia,” he cried into father’s shoulder. “It was h-her! She c-came back f-for me!”

“Shh, you’re safe, Harry,” father soothed, patting his back gently. “Calm down, it’s alright.”

Angry voices were coming from nearby, and he peered over father’s shoulder to see what was happening. On the street, two cars were stopped across the street, blocking the traffic in both directions. Both drivers were out of their cars, shouting at one another, and waving at the damaged front of their cars. People gathered around the scene of the accident to gawk, but nobody was paying any attention to Harry or his father, who stood on the pavement only a few paces distant.

“Are they hurt?” the boy choked out in horror, realising that he somehow was responsible for the two cars colliding. “Oh, God, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to!”

The man continued to pat the child’s back, as he assessed the scene with a critical gaze.

“I think it’s only property damage,” he said softly. “But an ambulance will come in a few minutes to check them over, and you? Are you feeling faint or dizzy?”

Harry looked up at his father in surprise.

“They didn’t hit me,” he said, uncertain.

“No, you pushed them away with your magic,” the man explained, beginning to walk back towards the shop.

Although the words were seemingly calm, they were enough for the blood to drain away from the child’s face, and his body to become rigid. It wasn’t difficult to understand what that meant, he had done something freakish. Uncle Vernon’s purple face flashed in his mind, he had been five and Dudley and his friends were playing Harry hunting in the yard.

They caught him by the shed, surrounding him and pushing him around, jeering that he was a stray and they would kick him to death, like the Thompson’s boys had done to a stray dog recently. He’d fallen to the ground, curling into a ball and throwing his hands over his head protectively. Harry didn’t know how it had happened, but before his cousin’s shod foot could graze his head, Dudley was flying backwards and landing hard on his bum, screaming that Harry had attacked him.

“Poor kid,” a female voice crooned, startling the child out of the bad memory. “Is he okay?”

“Yes, the dunderhead just got a big fright,” father said brusquely. “As you can see, we have a little accident to deal with. May we use your toilet?”

“Course,” Abigail said, jumping from her stool. “This way!”

The man selected a pair of pants and trousers from the bag of clothes, before following the girl to the shop’s back. The toilet was a tiny room, with only enough space for a small sink and a lavatory, and father sighed unhappily as he closed the narrow door. He set the child on his feet.

“‘m sorry I was a freak, father!” Harry cried out, before father could punish him. “Please, I won’t do it again!”

The man’s thick eyebrows rose as he looked at the distressed child, he sat on his haunches to be on the same level with him.

“That’s not a very nice word to say, Harry,” father chastised softly, reaching out to the boy’s waistband, and lowering his trousers and underwear.

Gasping, Harry leaned back as far as was possible in the cramped space.

“I don’t want to be whipped,” he pleaded desperately, tears filling his eyes.

“I know you don’t,” the man said a little sternly, dropping his hands to his knees. “We’ll discuss your behaviour and punishment, when we get back home. Now, we need to change you out of these soiled clothes, don’t you think?”

Harry looked down at his lowered bottoms in horror, only now noticing that they were wet.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, his face growing hot in shame. He hadn’t done it since… Since he had spent a week locked in the cellar.

“That’s alright,” father murmured, resuming the undressing of the boy.

Harry was so mortified that he didn’t look up from his worn trainers throughout the humiliating process, until he was decked in his brand-new jeans and feeling more unworthy of them than ever before.

“Do you want to use the toilet before we go?”

The boy shook his head, his chin wobbling in upset, he doubted he’d be able to look the man in the eyes ever again. He flinched when father gave an exasperated sigh, but rather than bending the child over his knee for immediate punishment, father lifted him up and rocked him slowly, like a baby.

“Don’t be so dramatic, Harry,” he said impatiently. “It happens even to adults, when they are very frightened. You’re changed, now, and it’s over.”

Harry buried his face in father’s shoulder to muffle his crying, as they returned to the main shop.

“I would appreciate it if you didn’t mention it was my boy on the street,” father asked the shop assistant politely. “I don’t think it would do any good for him to be interrogated by the police.”

“Sure, sure, my lips are sealed,” Abigail promised, pursing her lips out suggestively at the man. “It’ll serve those two right to have to explain themselves to bobbies for once.”

“Confundo,” father whispered so softly that it was a bare thrum of noise against Harry’s cheek. The man left the shop briskly, before the girl stopped blinking in confusion. “The things I have to do to protect your dunderheaded skin…” he muttered disgustedly.

“I’m sorry,” the boy apologised.

Father carried him all the way back home, and, even though with each step he was getting closer to being punished, Harry couldn’t help feeling very secure, with his head tucked into the crook of the man’s neck.

“Alright,” father said sternly as soon as they were through the gate on their property. “Back on your feet, boy.”

The child hunched his shoulders forward as he was set on the ground, ducking his head to avoid eye contact. He dragged his feet for the few steps it took to reach the house, but much too soon Harry was standing in the hallway, the door to the outside world firmly closed behind him.

“Are you hungry?” the man asked suddenly, surprising the boy so much that he almost made the mistake of looking up at father, only catching himself at the last moment. He averted his eyes to the linoleum floor and shook his head, his stomach knotting up at the thought of putting anything in his mouth. “Very well, we won’t delay the inevitable much longer. Here,” father held out the bag of clothes for the boy to take. “Take this to your room. I’ll deal with you, after I put away the groceries.”

“Yes, sir,” Harry whispered, taking the bag and scurrying obediently away.

In his room, he perched on the bed, hugging the bag to himself and feeling utterly miserable. Father hadn’t been furious or anything, but he made it very clear that Harry wouldn’t be spared the belt this time. His thoughts raced, searching for some way to convince the man to be lenient one more time, but persistently coming back to the conversation they’d had that morning, and his own voice listing running onto the street as behaviour bad enough to get him whipped.

Eventually, the boy couldn’t bear to just sit there, waiting for his comeuppance to arrive. He jumped up, dumping the contents of the bag onto his bed and staring. Of course, he had known that father was buying loads of things for him, but seeing them piled on his bed made him realise just how much there was. Clothes for hot weather and cool weather, for daywear and nightwear, so many clothes that they rivaled the amount that Dudley had in his wardrobe. Feeling dizzy, he started sorting the clothes into smaller piles, and putting them away in his wardrobe.

Harry closed the door to his much too full wardrobe, and barely had time to begin feeling anxious again, when there was a soft knock on the door and the man was stepping into the room, his sharp eyes taking in everything in sight.

“I see you’ve unpacked, good,” father said approvingly, moving past the child who was losing all colour already, and pulling out the desk chair. He turned it around and sat facing the bed, indicating with an imperious gesture that the boy should have a seat on the bed. “Come, it’s time to talk.”

Folding his arms tightly across his torso, Harry did as instructed, perching at the very edge of the mattress, his eyes firmly glued to the faded green carpet at his feet.

“You’ll do me the courtesy of looking at me, young man,” the man rebuked him sharply. “Or you’ll start this conversation with a very sore behind. I won’t tolerate your disrespect.”

His head whipped up so fast that he got a crick in his neck, panicked eyes fleeted over the strict face, the anger that he had expected earlier was all too visible now. Father had his vampire face on, and it was incredibly hard to withstand his steely stare.

“I’m sorry,” the boy blurted out, unable to take the disapproval in the black eyes a moment longer.

“Tell me why you are in trouble, Harry,” father demanded coldly.

Harry cringed, dropping his eyes automatically, as he considered what to say.

“B-because I ran on the s-street,” he stuttered, his voice rising in agitation. “And I d-disobeyed, and… was f-freaky.”

“Eyes up!” father snapped irritably. “Magical, wizardry, extraordinary. Show some respect for the talent that saved your reckless neck! Now, why is such behaviour unacceptable?”

Father’s eyes were scorching like molten lava, as they bore relentlessly into the boy’s, and Harry wished he could at least blink for a second, but his eyelids seemed to be frozen open.

“B-because it’s dangerous,” he answered on the verge of crying.

“Yes, very much so,” the man said harshly, holding a thumb and forefinger an inch apart. “You were this close from becoming a wet stain on the asphalt, had your magic not surged to protect you, you would have been killed. How do you think I felt watching it happen, Harry?”

The boy was flinching at every harsh word the man said, but that last question confused him. He tilted his head to the side, staring at his strict father with open curiosity. Nobody had ever asked him such a thing before, what would his aunt or uncle feel? Maybe relief that they wouldn’t have to bother with him any longer? He knew father wouldn’t feel that way, all the safety rules and precautions he gave Harry showed that he wouldn’t be happy if he was hurt. Anger? Looking at the blazing eyes, he thought it could be right, but remembering the way the man had held him, after pulling him to safety, made the boy realise that he was somehow wrong.

“I don’t know, father,” he said honestly.

The man’s forehead creased with lines, and his caterpillar eyebrows knitted together into a single black line, but, to Harry’s surprise, he didn’t get any angrier. His eyes widened, and he sighed, rubbing his temples in frustration.

“Let me ask this in a different way,” father said in his softest voice. “If it was me in the middle of the street, about to be run over by a racing car, and you stood on the pavement, watching and knowing that you couldn’t do anything fast enough to help, how would you be feeling?”

Harry’s mouth fell open in dismayed horror, his lips going dry at the terrible mental image.

“Scared,” he whispered shakily.

“Scared, terrified, hopeless,” father added, looking very unhappy. “I feared that I would lose you, Harry, and that was the worst feeling in the world. I don’t want to ever feel that way again.”

The boy’s eyes filled with tears, he never meant to be so much trouble to the man. He never thought that anyone could want him around so much to feel so deeply. He recalled father saying yesterday that he wouldn’t let his aunt take him away, but he hadn’t considered what that might mean. Harry was so used to being an unwanted burden to his relatives that it was implausible anyone could feel differently about having him around, and now his father finally understood that he wasn’t worth the bother.

“I just wanted to see Aunt Petunia!” he sniffled, lost for words to apologise for upsetting the man. “She was right there, so I had to catch her.”

The man’s eyes narrowed into slits at the words, and his lips went white.

“You did not have to do anything, other than obey the rules I set for you, boy!” he suddenly snarled, making Harry jump in fright. “If you were so desperate to see your supposed aunt, you should have told me, and we could have gone together to see if the person you saw was indeed your aunt Tuney. Instead, you chose to risk your life, got in huge trouble, and didn’t even accomplish your goal.”

The boy ducked his head, thinking of what father had said. He was right of course, all this terrifying day had gained him was to anger his father, and ensure that he would be punished. Harry shook his head, he hadn’t told father on purpose, he wanted to catch his aunt and beg her to take him back, before father could intervene, but he couldn’t really admit that to father.

“Are you going to whip me, father?” he asked in a whisper, after he couldn’t bear the uncertainty another moment.

“Yes, I will,” father said very calmly. “And after this morning, I think you knew what you were getting into from the start. Isn’t that so, Harry?”

The boy’s shoulders slumped, and he peeked up at the stern man in trepidation. He wasn’t holding the belt yet, but as their eyes met, father stood slowly, and began to unbuckle it.

“I don’t want to be beaten,” he whimpered, his whole body seizing up in fear.

Harry watched as the awful thing was readied for his punishment, he couldn’t make himself look away.

“Come, child,” father commanded sternly, resuming his seat, the leather strap wrapped around his fist. Harry swallowed hard, looking at the man pleadingly, but he only shook his head. “You aren’t getting out of it this time, Harry. You knew what would be the consequence of this foolish stunt. Now, come here.”

The boy’s legs shook as he stood, and his heart was racing fit to jump out of his chest. He didn’t know where he got the courage to lift his foot and step forward, but in just a moment he was beside his father, who was watching him with steady black eyes.

Harry drew in a frightened breath, when father unbuttoned his new jeans, and positioned him across his lap. He grabbed the man’s leg as hard as he could, trying not to allow his mind to take him to the last time he was in this situation, but he began to cry when father bared his bottom. The man put one hand over the boy’s back, holding him firmly in place, and without prolonging the tension any further, he swung the belt in the air and began the punishment.

Harry thought he remembered the whipping at the hospital really well, the way the belt left a distinctive blazing line across his bum with every painful lash. This time it was somehow worse, every lash was hard enough to knock his breath out for a moment, before he could scream at the biting pain. The man took his time applying the belt, and it seemed to take an eternity, even though the strap fell only a few times it felt like a lot more. Harry sobbed and kicked his legs, trying to survive as his buttocks were flayed open over and over.

Eventually, father stopped, and he lay across his lap, panting and shaking from pain and exhaustion. His breath wheezed in his scratched throat, and he moaned as father replaced his clothes. His backside seemed to throb worse with every beat of his heart, and Harry didn’t think he could bear to sit down ever again. After he caught his breath, the man lifted him up and pressed him against his chest so hard that he could hardly breathe.

“You have no idea how glad I am that you are safe in my arms, Harry,” he whispered in his ear. “Don’t ever scare me like that again.”
To be continued...
End Notes:
I mentioned Snape is rather harsh, yes?


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