Dark shadows crept out of their corners and scurried towards the candle light only to be fought back by the flickering flames. Severus Snape sat facing Harry Potter... Harry Snape and neither was speaking.
“I am sorry, Severus, my boy.” Albus Dumledore's voice spoke from the pages of an old letter that lay on the floor between the man and the boy. “I know that if you are hearing this, I am dead, but I had hoped to somehow break this news to you in a different way. I am sorry. To you both – if Harry is still alive.”
Harry winced, his face hidden by long strands of black hair and the shadows they casted. Severus watched the boy, his expression unreadable.
“I have no memory of this, Harry,” the Professor confessed softly. “The Cruciatus can play havoc with memory.”
“I know, remember,” Harry's green eyes glared at him. “I have some experience with the Unforgivables... or had you forgotten that too?” he spat the question.
Thirty Minutes Before...
“Severus, Harry, I am so glad you were both able to make it on such short notice.” Minerva McGonagall presented Professor Snape with a sealed envelope. “Albus' will instructed you to have this and that Harry be present.”
“Why?” Snape asked, sneering down at the boy.
Harry shifted uncomfortably. “Shouldn't it have waited until school started up again? The Dursleys -.”
“Hang those rotten old muggles!” Minerva said in a raised tone. She put a hand over her mouth for a moment, reigning in her anger and grief. “I am sorry, Harry. It's been hard on us all since Albus passed, but his instructions were very specific. You were both to receive this... you would have gotten it sooner if the lawyers had not taken so long.”
“I see.” Severus bit out the words. “Well, we best get this over with. Minerva, if you could give us some privacy – it seems Albus wanted this to be a private matter between myself and the boy.”
The witch nodded and left the room.
“Dear Severus,” The letter began to speak as soon as it was opened. The voice was that of Albus Dumbledore. “There is something that you need to know. Something that will change your life and the life of young Harry Potter forever. I had hoped to spare you both the pain of this, but you deserve the truth.”
Harry felt his gut clench at those words.
“Fifteen years ago, you and Lily had a child.”
Severus' eyebrows tried to bury themselves in his hairline. His knuckles turned white as he clenched onto the seat arms.
“That child was called Harry... you will not remember this, because less than a month after the child was born, you were almost tortured to death. When you recovered, you had no memory of Harry or your marriage with Lily.”
Harry was breathing too fast now, the room twisting in his vision. Snape was sitting across from him, not seeing or hearing anything as he tried desperately to recall any of this information. The letter continued to read itself.
“James Potter took your place with Lily at my personal request. I felt that you would be better suited as spy if you did not have to worry about your family. I always meant to tell you the truth, but when Lily and James were killed... it was only a few weeks later and there was no reason to tell you then. Harry was left with his Aunt and Uncle to keep him safe. I am sorry.”
Harry looked up from the floor, truly seeing Snape for the first time.
Snape watched as he was studied by Lily's green eyes. A long-forgotten memory stirred in the back of his mind. A kiss, holding a child, the feeling of loving completely and being loved in return. Severus felt his throat close up as tears began to pour over his dark lashes.
“My son,” the words were choked and broken.
Harry wanted to glare and yell and scream and deny everything that they had both just heard, but those two genuine words caught him off guard.
Then, Harry could almost remember a kiss, being held and being loved.