I Don't Want to be a Hero - Second YearChapter One

A Letter & Diagon Alley

Dinner had been something that Severus and Harry had put together. It was ground chicken ravioli in red sauce. Harry had wanted to use a grocery frozen ravioli but Severus had shown him how to make ravioli from scratch. Harry had watched in fascination for a few minutes and then he had dived in so he could make some ravioli. Hermione had helped with making a fine Caeser salad and Harry and Severus finished up the dinner with some peach tarts that were also homemade.

The evening had been relatively quiet as Draco and Hermione played several games of wizard scrabble (the tiles would randomly re-form themselves) and Harry and Ron indulged in a massacre of wizard's chess.

When Severus could not tolerate their company any longer he sent them up the stairs to bed. He gave them all twenty minutes to clean their teeth, get into pyjamas, get into bed, and then he went to check upon each of them. Father of the Year Lucius Malfoy had shared several fatherly tips and one of them included looking in upon one's son at bedtime.

Ron was snoring, Draco was tossing and turning so he could find a good spot to settle in, Hermione was trying to read but Severus took away the book, and removed her wand. Harry was awake, and waiting for his father.

"You will be twelve tomorrow, Harry," mused Severus.

"Almost grown up!" Harry smiled. "Do I really get a party and presents, dad?"

Severus nodded once, moved into his son's room, and sat down upon the edge of the bed. He moved aside the boy's fringe to reveal the lightning bolt scar. Harry's hair was to his shoulders and it was finally settling into itself instead of flying everywhere. Severus had not required a haircut but he had put his foot down about trimming off the chopped edges; the result of a persistent, bad haircut by Petunia who, according to Harry, hated his hair. Once those ends were trimmed Harry had decided that he wanted hair as long as Lucius Malfoy's. Lucius had preened over that juvenile praise for a week.

"Everyone coming will bring you a present, Harry. I have arranged to have the party in the evening so that we may do the barbecue you have asked for. However, you and I will visit Diagon Alley in the late morning to find you a new wand."

Harry tugged his blankets up to his chin, and beamed. "It's going to be so great tomorrow, dad. I can't wait to celebrate my birthday with you."

Severus tucked Harry firmly into his bed; something he had discovered that made Harry feel secure wherever he slept. "Goodnight, Harry." He leaned over and quickly kissed his son's forehead.

"Night, dad," Harry then closed his eyes, and Severus made sure that Harry's bedroom door remained open the width of himself. Harry did not like to be closed in by a door.

Severus then walked silently past the guest bedrooms where Draco and Ron shared a room, and Hermione had her own. Their doors were closed but he kept his steps quiet as a whisper on the wooden floors.

The living room was at the back of the two-story house. There were bookcases that held Severus's books and periodicals, and also lower shelves that held Harry's books. A Captain's desk was settled in a corner near the fireplace and there were papers and a journal upon its surface. A wide window with a view of the sunrise over the side yard that acted as the house's front yard took up an entire wall. In the evening Severus drew dark green drapes over the window.

The fireplace, its Floo connected to Severus's office at Hogwarts, the Malfoy Manor, and to the Burrow, was centered against one wall with bookshelves on either side that were reserved for knick knacks that Harry collected. The shelves were mostly bare but he had placed a silver Snitch on the shelves, a collection of dragons that tended to wander about on the shelves, and a photograph he had taken of Professor Snape in front of Hogwarts with a Muggle camera.

A smaller desk took the corner opposite of Severus's desk. This desk belonged to Harry for his homework but he still preferred to sprawl on the floor at the coffee table.

The furniture were all new pieces, a sofa, a lounger, two leather chairs that Severus and Harry had taken as theirs, and end tables on either end of the sofa, and a large, square coffee table.

Severus settled into his chair, Summoned his reading glasses, and his well-worn copy of Moste Potente Potions, and began to read. Time passed into the depths of night and just when Severus was about to nod off over his book, there came a tapping at the kitchen window.

Severus hurried to the kitchen towards the front of the house, saw his owl Helios, and opened the window. Helios hopped in with a letter and a package tied to his leg. Both had been shrunk down. Severus relieved his owl, Helios hopped over to his perch, and took a long, needed drink of water.

Back in the living room Severus enlarged the package, wrapped in red and gold shiny paper, and the scrolled letter. Strongly suspecting what might be in the package he began to read the letter:

Dear Severus,

As acting Headmistress of Hogwarts I have access to Albus' private quarters. After a very thorough search I found what you were looking for: James' Invisibility Cloak. I used a spell to reveal the contents so I would not rip the paper. Whyever Albus thought it would be wise to give a child such an artifact is beyond me. I know you will put this away so Harry will not play with it.

I have received Harry's birthday invitation and I look forward to it. I spoke to Molly Weasley and she is bringing her whole family. Yes, Severus, I know an invitation was not sent but you know how Molly is when there is a party to be had.

The Ministry is in a tizzy, Severus, since the death of Quirrell. It has come to light that Minister Fudge and much of his personal staff were followers of Voldemort and were aiding and abetting those Death Eaters that had escaped on the night of the Potters murders. Fudge that meticulous idiot had kept a ledger providing the whereabouts of nearly all of them. Alastor Moody has been recalled from retirement to lead a committee to track these escapees from justice.

Severus, Alastor contacted me to let me know that Peter Pettigrew is on the list of escapees that Halloween. Minister Fudge was actually using Peter as a spy at Hogwarts through the Weasley family. How? The piece of filth is an unregistered Animagus; a rat. Arthur's been notified of this and he reported that their rat, Scabbers, had gone missing at the beginning of term last year. It is suspected that he may have taken refuge with the rats in the castle. I am highly tempted to hunt him down and deal with him as any self-respecting cat would.

The Dementors have vanished from Azkaban and the Aurors believe this may be because Minister Fudge was in control of them. The Wizengamot has put out a warrant for their discovery, and destruction once found. They have been deemed an "unknown threat" to the magical community.

In regards to Sirius Black he has been 'found' and due to lack of a trial he has been released under guard to St. Mungos for evaluation and care. Poppy Pomfrey is on the committee to evaluate Sirius and she gave me an unauthorised preliminary report that does not bode well for the man; he suffered terribly at the hands of unscrupulous guards, and the Dementors. It is questionable what the state of his mind is.

The Aurory has decided that with the disappearance of the Dementors, and the state of Sirius, Azkaban will be investigated. The population of imprisoned Death Eaters, nine, are being moved to Finem Mundus in Siberia.

The Wizengamot has disabused Albus of any fault in Sirius' incarceration due to the high emotion and confusion of the time. I am of conflicted thought over this, Severus. I feel Albus should bear some responsibility for Sirius' condition but I highly doubt he ever will. I believe what you wrote to me about Muggle Dementia is what he is under.

Speaking of our errant Headmaster, I have finally heard from Remus and he has located Albus in Arizona. He was living amongst a tribe of Hopi Indians on the Hopi Reservation with a family that was taking care of him… and he was making something called 'Dream Catchers' and selling them. Remus tells me that Albus was entirely happy, and wholly forgetting that he had a school to run, and had fought a war.

This is disturbing, Severus, but Remus tells me that Albus wept "over the loss of his son, Tom Riddle". I did some research and discovered that Tom Riddle had been adopted from a Muggle orphanage. Voldemort had been… his son.

I am reeling.

I shall see you and Harry tomorrow, Severus.

Good evening,

Minerva McGonagall

acting Headmistress of Hogwarts

Severus sent the letter from Minerva to his desk, then studied the prettily wrapped Invisibility Cloak in his lap. He pinched the bridge of his nose, and for a moment he closed his eyes as he mulled over what Minerva had written to him.

Voldemort - Tom Riddle - had been the adopted son of Albus Dumbledore. It was no wonder the older wizard had fallen under the spell of Prophecy; Albus could never bring himself to kill his own child!

And, he had loved him.

Severus opened his eyes, and his lips thinned as he thought of the child he had adopted, that now lay above him sleeping. This child who had been manipulated by that dotty old man into becoming a weapon to kill the monster for him.

And then there was Sirius Black… Albus' favourite Marauder.

Severus refused to be pulled into any sympathy towards Sirius Black for all the headache he had caused Severus as a student, and the further bedevilment he had continued as an adult. Black had nearly caused his death when he was a student, and Black had never shown any remorse. When it was thought he had killed twelve Muggles, and Peter Pettigrew his best friend, Severus had never questioned the flimsy evidence. Now, though, with the discovery that Pettigrew was alive there was no doubt it had been Pettigrew that killed those Muggles, and Sirius had paid for it perhaps in the loss of his mind.

He felt infinitely tired. Sometimes he wished that he need not know such things. His son was safe from Voldemort but what about the Death Eaters still on the run, those along with Bellatrix LeStrange in Finum Mundus - The End of the World - in Siberia?

The story of the powerful Boy-Who-Lived facing off against Quirinus Quirrell and the spirit of the Dark Lord had spread like wildfire through the school and students had been tracked down by Rita Skeeter of the Daily Prophet to tell the whole sordid, exaggerated story.

Would his son really be safe at Hogwarts next year?

Standing and tucking the wrapped Invisibility Cloak under his arm Severus doused the fire burning in the fireplace, then all the lamps, and trudged up the stairs to drop, fully dressed, upon his bed.

31 July 1992 - Harry's 12th Birthday

"Harry, Draco go get your jumpers," Severus ordered as he glared at Ron who was sitting in a chair in the kitchen but doing his best to be obnoxious by thumping his trainers against the rungs.

"It's too hot for a jumper," complained Draco. Harry nodded. He wanted to do what his father said to do but it was hot.

"We are not shopping in Greece," Severus began with a huff. "It is 15.6 celsius." Neither boy moved. He glowered with dark menace. "Get your jumpers before I toss you each from the lighthouse. Without… your brooms. Go!"

Although Severus had not raised his voice his threat was clear: jumpers or death. Jumpers won, and so Harry and Draco ran up to their rooms.

Severus then turned back to the thumping and bored redheaded menace. He smiled but it was not a genial smile. "Mr. Weasley, if you do not cease that obnoxious noise I shall send you home to your mother."

It was enough of a threat. Ron stopped thumping his heels, slid off the chair, and slunk over to Hermione to stand by her.

Severus had a permanent portkey, a silver galleon on a length of black, waxed leather he wore around his neck, that would take himself and the children from Greece to any destination he dictated. He charmed the portkey for Diagon Alley, assembled everyone, and then they were gone.

Diagon Alley awaited children with purses clinking with galleons, sickles, and knuts to spend. Draco, Ron, and Hermione scattered as soon as the professor placed tracking spells on the three and let them go. Harry remained with him as they would pick up his supplies for second term, and a new wand.

Flourish & Blotts for Harry textbooks was first. The place was unusually crowded with witches, wizards, and press people from the Daily Prophet. The person they surrounded was the flamboyant adventurer Gilderoy Lockhart. On his very last adventure (hunting the Sambuca Devil in the Poconos) Lockhart had suffered an accident that had nearly removed his brain (his wand had backfired when he tried to cast a Memory Charm). No more adventures for Lockhart but after a time in St. Mungos he had returned to fame writing childrens books. He was at Flourish & Blotts to sign his latest bestseller titled, The Sapphire Butterfly.

Severus tried to shield Harry from the glory-seeking press, and had almost succeeded in doing so until Lockhart spied the 12 year old.

"Harry Potter!" cried Gilderoy. He stepped away from the signing table and yanked the boy from Severus's grasp. "You're nearly as famous as I am. Some photographs together?"

Harry struggled in the older wizard's grip as flashbulbs lit the dim shop as they went off.

"Dad!" Harry cried. Gilderoy had an iron grip on him and he could not wrest himself from the wizard's comradely embrace.

Gilderoy preened and smiled perfectly for all the cameras, never letting go of the Boy-Who-Lived.

"Expelliarmus!" shouted Severus. His strongly cast spell pushed aside the crowd and the reporters and knocked Lockhart onto his gold-trousered arse. Severus strode forward towards Harry and drew the boy close to his side. Harry wrapped his arms around his father's waist. The Potions Master stood over the fallen author, "Touch my son again, Lockhart, and I will force a Befuddlement Draught down your throat."

Harry peered out from under his father's arm, and glared, "Yeah, my dad will turn you into a worse idiot than you already are!"

Severus glanced down at his son and gave him a small smile. "Very good, Harry. That is precisely what that potion would do. Shall we acquire your textbooks, then leave?"

Harry let go of his father, smoothed his jumper, and smiled. "Yeah."

The assistant manager, Tamarind Gretl-Blotts, pushed through the crowd and gave a few of the press pointed glares. "Professor Severus!" she called out and waved.

"Ah, Miss Blotts," nodded the Potions Master.

"It's Gretl, sir. I'm married now. Could I help you with the young man's textbooks?"

"If you please, Mrs. Gretl."

Tamarind Gretl led them away from the book signing crowd and all three ignored that some folks were helping Gilderoy Lockhart to his feet.

"Second year, young Master?" Tamarind asked politely.

Harry nodded. Tamarind pointed. "This shelf hold all the textbooks for the second year student. Might I also suggest a copy of 'Second Year Potions - Additional Reading'?"

"Dad?" asked Harry warily.

"Miss Blotts, I mean… Mrs. Gretl makes an excellent suggestion, Harry." He then glanced at the assistant manager. "Do add a copy of that book, please."

With quick hands Tamarind picked out all the books and then Summoned the one she had suggested. She placed it on the stack of books, and then handed them to Harry. He looked at the books, and then balanced them as he lifted the top book, and read the name of the author.

"Second Year Potions - Additional Reading by Severus Snape," Harry beamed. "You wrote this, dad?"

"Indeed. It is a little bit of extra help that is suggested to all of my Slytherins by one of my own Snakes," Severus bowed in Tamarind Gretl's direction and she curtseyed back. Harry chuckled. He adored secrets!

a/n: This is the beginning to I Don't Want to be a Hero - Part II. Please follow if you are intrigued.