Harry Potter had always, somewhere deep inside him, known it was a lie. Everyone looked at him like he was supposed to be a hero, just because of some stupid scar. He had never believed it, not really. But, and it's a very big but, he had thought he could pretend. Pretend to be the hero, just because other people really, really seemed to need one. Harry never needed a hero, and he wasn't quite sure what he'd do with one if Superman showed up, to be perfectly honest. Drop Draco Malfoy on his head? That seemed a bit ... undignified, not to mention rather dastardly. But, he thought, sitting alone in Dumbledore's office, it had seemed perfectly harmless to try. And he had managed to get rid of Voldemort [Don't say his name, Snape snapped in his memory] first year... After that, well, it had seemed perfectly... natural. And that was a bit of a problem, wasn't it? Because being a hero wasn't exactly a natural thing. If it was, all the Hufflepuffs would be doing it.
Sirius was dead, and for absolutely no reason. Harry Potter glumly thought. It's my fault. Me and my stupid heroism. I'm not a bloody hero!
And it was true. Harry remembered picking up that glass orb in the Hall of Prophecies. The one whose podium was inscribed H.P.? and Lord V. The orb had remained silent, troublingly so. Then chaos had erupted all around him, the Order and the Death Eaters fighting and killing, and he had dropped the ball, shattering it into a million pieces. What sort of a hero does that, I wonder? Harry asked himself scathingly. He hadn't time to answer the question, before the door slammed open, rattling every single object in Dumbledore's office.
Snape stalked in, seething and visibly restraining himself from throttling either the poor fool in front of him (Harry), or the poor fool behind him (Albus Dumbledore). As Dumbledore strolled in, his feet seemed leaden, his normally jovial face solemn.
Snape whirled in his accustomed shadowy corner (the man plainly liked shadows), and Dumbledore sat down, tenting his fingers gravely. "You heard the prophecy, my boy?"
Befuddled, Harry Potter blinked, and then blinked again, Dumbledore didn't know?
"No sir," he responded, finally. "The orb broke when I dropped it."
Dumbledore was a Gryffindor well used to tangling with the likes of Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape. He betrayed his shock only in a slight widening of his eyes.
Snape's drawling voice dripped venom that etched the floor where it pooled. "A pity that. We could have used the orb to see if the prophecy was about Neville Longbottom, hmmm?" Harry was horrified to see that Snape wasn't even bothering to be upset with him, his ire focused into a laserbeam towards the genial old wizard.
"You've been most vocal about how Harry Potter couldn't possibly be the person in the prophecy, Severus. I ought to have listened closer. You were right, and I was wrong." Dumbledore sighed, the very breath seeming to leave him.
Snape whirled towards Potter, and, looming over him, he smiled a sweet smile that reeked of the poisonous beauty of nightshade. "It's alright, Potter, you can cease perpetually training yourself fruitlessly to fight a Dark Lord, it's not your job." Potter hadn't even realized he had been waiting for the stiletto until the blade struck. "Oh, wait, you haven't been training at all, have you? Just acting like a useless gadabout, off on adventures rather than learning a single thing."
Infuriated, Harry Potter sat up straight, ready to give Snape a piece of his mind. He wasn't Crabbe or Goyle. Sure, he wasn't the most studious person ever, or even the most talented or hard-working soul... but still!
Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak, and Snape snarled softly, "Just remember, Potter, it's not all about you."
Pretending to not notice the comment (because surely Albus Dumbledore wasn't deaf...), the old man said, "I will have to give this matter more thought. I will talk to the both of you later..."
Harry Potter spoke up, his voice firm and angry both at once, "Sir, what is the prophecy?"
"What have we said about poking our noses into business that doesn't concern you?" Snape asked mildly, his reproof marked anyhow.
"Be still, Severus." Dumbledore said reproachfully, "He deserves to hear that which I allowed, foolishly, to guide his life."
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies...
"Now, leave us, Harry. I must speak to Severus on some other topics..." And Harry Potter stood and left, his thoughts swirling around the idea that Albus Dumbledore could be wrong.
[a/n: The prophecy isn't mine. The characters aren't mine.
Please, if you like this story, are curious where I'm going with this, Read and Review! I have this confounded tendency to start many fics - reviews help me gauge interest!
Also, I apologize if the word dastardly seems a bit above Harry Potter's normal vocabulary...]