Severus Snape had a guest. In his quarters. If you could call an unconscious Harry Potter a guest. The boy was currently lying on his couch, after Severus had carried him through the floo from his office. His son. How did this happen?
“Where are we?” came a voice from the couch. The boy was sitting up, looking around the room. It was tastefully decorated in many shades of green with dark wood furniture. Most likely the boy imagined that my quarters had stone walls and that I decorated with jars of slimy potions ingredients.
“My living room Potter. Your glamour fell.” Severus watched the boy for a reaction, but his face remained blank and he just blinked slowly. Severus couldn’t keep himself from staring at this new Potter. He had Lily’s eyes framed by dark lashes. High cheekbones, fair skin, and an angular nose that identified him as a Snape. Luckily for him, his nose wasn’t as prominent as Severus’s. The slight freckles were from Lily. There wasn’t a trace of Potter in the boy. The only way Severus could be sure he was looking at Harry Potter… or whatever his name should be… was the lightning bolt scar on his forehead.
“You really didn’t know?” the boy asked quietly. He was looking straight up at Severus. With Lily’s eyes.
“No. I did not. How did you discover this? What did you do to test it?” Severus sank into an armchair. The boy explained how he first noticed the physical changes during the summer, but then cast a glamour and didn’t realize the extent of the changes until he let the glamour drop. He glossed over that part, and Severus suspected there was more to the story, but let it go for the moment. The boy described the paternity test that confirmed his suspicions.
“Do you want to see the test?” The boy didn’t look at him. He was most likely mortified at the prospect of Snape being his father, and talking about it only made it worse. Severus was still too shocked to analyze his own reactions. He did need to see the paternity test for himself.
“Certainly. That would confirm that this isn’t a cruel joke by one of your idiot friends.” The boy just ignored Severus’s clumsy barb, and Severus felt a tug on his mind. He allowed himself to be pulled into Potter’s memories, and saw the ink form his face next to Lily’s on the parchment. Then he felt Potter try to push him out of his mind, but Granger was talking in the memory, and he wanted to hear. It didn’t surprise him that she had discovered his relationship with Lily, but he wanted to know what else the bookworm had dug up from the past. As he watched, Potter stopped trying to eject him from his mind, and just let the memory run its course.
“When I mentioned to Madam Pince I was looking for information on your mother for you, she gave me this. Your mother wrote it in her seventh year for credit in potions and charms. It is the idea for contained time warping. She theorizes that with a potion to limit the area and prevent the effects from overflowing, you could charm an area’s time flow to be faster or slower than real time. For example, you could go into the charmed room and spend three hours there, but outside the room everyone else would have only lived ten minutes.”
“I’d like to read that, but I don’t understand what it has to do with me.”
“Harry, I think she cast the spell on herself while she was pregnant with you. If she got pregnant while still in school, well, it would be scandalous! She might have cast the spell, and later, when she married James Potter, she cancelled it, and had you. Maybe she told Professor Snape, and he didn’t want a child, or maybe when he became a spy, she broke up with him and never told him, or they broke up and she didn’t want to have the baby out of wedlock, so she waited until she got married.”
“I guess it’s possible. Slightly far-fetched, but possible. It makes me feel better that they were friends, or more, at one point. I didn’t want to think I was an unwanted baby born of ra…”
Severus found himself shoved roughly out of the memory. He remembered that paper Hermione found. He had helped with the research. Hermione’s theories made sense, but were inaccurate. He and Lily hadn’t had sex until after graduation. But she must have used the stasis spell when he became a spy. When she left. When she ran to James Potter. He looked up at the pale teenager sitting on his couch. He thought Severus had raped Lily. Obviously he tried to talk himself out of the belief, but Severus could tell that was the only scenario that the boy found likely. As if he could have ever hurt her!
“Get out Potter.” Severus’s voice shook slightly. The boy looked like he wanted to argue for a moment. Severus could practically see the questions swirling in his head. Well, that was too bad. He wanted the brat out of his sight. The boy’s shoulders slumped with… defeat? exhaustion? resignation? “And reapply that glamour on your way out!”
Severus closed his eyes as the boy fled the room, hearing the door slam shut behind him. I don’t want a son. I thought I would never have children. Why didn’t Lily tell me? Because I would have made a horrible father. Still would. As if the boy would even want me as a father. I’m the hated greasy bat of the dungeons, death eater, and apparently a rapist to boot. I can’t blame him for that, in all fairness. What does he have to base his impressions on? And why do I even care?
He stood and made his way to a shelf where he kept a bottle of firewhiskey for bad nights. This definitely qualified. Severus was annoyed to hear his back crack as he stood and to feel the lancing pain that was the after effect of Cruciatus. With a tumbler of amber liquid in hand, he collapsed back into his armchair, and simply stared into the flames in the fireplace.
Did he want to try to be a father? No! I’m too old to begin now. Besides, I can’t stand the boy. He’s insolent, idiotic, reckless, spoiled… well not spoiled, perhaps… and not as stupid as he let on. But his attitude was intolerable. But all that power… Could he teach the boy? It would be dangerous. If the Dark Lord ever found out… Oh Sweet Merlin… Severus finished his firewhiskey in one gulp. My son is destined to battle Voldemort.
Harry sat on his bed in the deserted Gryffindor dorms, hugging his knees to his chest. Tears streamed silently down his face, glamour reapplied. Obviously Snape wouldn’t want anyone to know he has an idiotic Gryffindor bastard. No, that’s not fair. Probably true though. But nobody could know anyway. It would get back to Voldemort. At least I know for sure that Snape didn’t rape my mum. He was so horrified at the thought that I could feel it when he was in the memory. And he didn’t know. Maybe Hermione’s stasis spell theory has merit. I wish Hermione were here now. She could snap me out of this.
Harry angrily wiped the tears from his face with the heels of his hands. Why was he crying? You didn’t actually think Snape was going to want you, did you Potter? Snape? He hates you. A mocking voice that reminded Harry forcibly of Bellatrix sounded in Harry’s head. I don’t want him to be my father! I don’t want to even talk to him, or see him ever again! And he doesn’t want anything to do with me. I’m just a mistake to him, and he’s only a horrible, bitter professor to me. And it can stay that way.
Wiping away the last of the moisture from his cheeks, Harry flopped back onto the bed, and focused on the serene image of the Hogwarts lake. Some time later he drifted into a fitful, nightmare-filled sleep.
Hermione was absorbed in the untitled book. The first chapters had been about simple charms that could be used in the household. There were ways to weave a mother’s love into blankets or clothing for her children, to protect them, or ward off illnesses. The book explained the binding enchantments on wedding rings that grew stronger as time went by, letting a couple sense each other’s emotions, or sometimes even somewhat intertwining their very magic. She skipped over the chapters on sex and lust magic, though she intended to read them later. The just didn’t seem to be relevant to her search for something to help Harry with the upcoming war.
The girl was too absorbed in a passage about sacrificial magic to notice when someone entered the room. Remus coughed slightly to get her attention.
“Oh! Sorry Professor! I didn’t see you,” she squeaked, closing the book hastily. It wouldn’t do for him to know she had this. Hermione got the feeling that some of the book’s content was borderline Dark Arts. Remus glanced at the heart on the cover of the book and chuckled.
“I didn’t figure you for the romance novel type Hermione. And please, it’s Remus. I’m no longer your professor.” The werewolf smiled at her. “So you and Harry, huh? I always thought you’d be with Ron, and he’d end up with Ginny. But I’m often wrong.”
“It could have gone that way, perhaps. I had a crush on Ron at one time, but Harry and I grew closer as Ron found friends with more similar interests to his own. Ginny did too in a way. I think she got over her infatuation and thinks of Harry as yet another brother now.” Hermione shrugged. “Harry and I just fit.”
“That’s great Hermione. You’re good for each other. Harry’s very lucky to have someone who cares about him as much as you do, and I think you know how lucky you are. Harry would walk through fire, or, knowing him, something worse, for you, without hesitation. I’m continually amazed that he turned out to be the person he is today, with all the hell he’s gone through.”
“I am too. I need you to promise me something Remus,” Hermione looked straight at him. “You need to promise that you’ll always see Harry as the wonderful person he’s become. You need to forget that he’s the son of your best friend, and just be there for Harry, the boy. I think he needs to realize people love him for who he is, and that it has nothing to do with who his parents are.”
“I promise. I admit I see more Lily in him than James anyhow. But I would never want harry to think I only like him because of his parents.” Remus fell silent for a moment. “I need you to promise me something as well. Promise that you’ll try to get Harry to open up about Sirius. Help him to stop blaming himself and move on. I know you will. If anyone can help him, it’s you. He trusts you more than he trusts anyone else in this world.”
“I promise. I love him.”
“As do I. He doesn’t realize just how many people consider him family.”
“No. He doesn’t. And we’ll all be there for him when he needs us.” Hermione’s eyes filled with tears, terrified of what could be in store for Harry, and overwhelmed by the love she felt for him.
“And he will need us Hermione. He won’t be alone, no matter what the future brings.”
Voldemort reched down his his mental connection to Potter’s mind. He found himself on the surface of a lake. There was nothing around but calm water, rolling hills, and a cloudless blue sky. Is Potter dreaming this? It doesn’t feel like a dream. Trying to reach deeper into Potter’s mind, Voldemort found he couldn’t leave the lake. Fuming, he retreated back into his own mind. Occlumency!
That was the only explanation. Someone had taught the boy. Or he had natural ability. But neither James or Lily Potter was a natural Occlumens, so he couldn’t be. In fact, the only natural Occlumens he knew of was Severus Snape. So the boy was taught.
Dumbledore wouldn’t have taken the risk. His mind was too full of secrets the boy could have accidentally accessed. McGonagall was decent, but not good enough to teach. That brought him back to Snape. He was the only one who could have taught the boy. He had suspected that he was a traitor, but the Potions master was to valuable a resource to waste without proof. Now, to his mind, he had it. At the next meeting, with all his followers present to learn from this example, Severus Snape was going to pay for his betrayal. Voldemort’s cold, mirthless laughter filled the room.