A stranger in the mirror...

A face he did not recognize.

Gone were the cute 'boyish' features, the short unruly hair. Over the start of summer, Harry had noticed the freakish changes that had been happening to him. A delicate, gently sharp-featured face stared back at him in the mirror. He also noticed the high cheekbones. Thin, silky hair was casually tied back while the bangs covered the all too noticeable scar. Bright, luminescent emerald colored eyes stared at the mirror only to moved to the small window staring at the blue sky dotted with an occasional cloud or two.

Flocks of starlings flew by as a stray warm wind ruffled pages and parchment. It had scared the living life out Harry that he now strongly resembled Snape. Shuddering, he moved away from the mirror and went back to the desk.

A quill tip busily scratched away as a pale, slender finger traveled across the textbook. Harry Potter had decided to do his homework. Despite the attention he gave to his homework, Harry was pondering about his new looks. He still was skinny, but much taller which came to a surprise to him since he was normally deprived of anything that would contribute to his growth. In fact he was a towering 6'2 another factor that strangely tied him to Snape. If Snape was well known for something it was certainly his cold demeanor and towering height.

Yet in all of the light about the disturbing revelations, Harry couldn't help but feel that this was how he was supposed to look. He also couldn't help but speculate that his father wasn't James Potter.

His musings once again stopped. Now he had to pay attention to his homework.

Ron probably would have been calling for medics if he ever found out. Though it was unlikely now with Harry's little transformation. All the more reason for the Dursleys to call him a freak.

The quill dotted the last period of his potions essay and Harry capped the ink well, placed the quill down gently so not to disturb the drying ink on the parchment, and pushed himself away from the desk. He did a series of stretches before shuffling to his trunk and pull out more books and parchment. At least Moody's threat held true because Vernon had allowed him to do his homework. Heck, even Aunt Petunia decided to get him decent clothes, new glasses and contacts perhaps out of fear that Moody would give her a one way ticket to limbo for neglecting Harry for so many years.

Harry smiled a bit. It was amusing to see the Dursleys shrink back in fear from him as they tried to look for the invisible watchers. The smile disappeared as he remembered the tomes and parchment in his hands. He sat back down, pouring into the books and scribbled furiously. It was amazing how interesting knowledge could be.

No wonder why Hermione found it rather addictive. Harry also was determined to train himself now that Voldemort showed up.

It disturbed him greatly that the Dark Lord had been lying quiet for some time. Whatever the ugly brute had up his sleeve wouldn't be very pretty. Harry made sure that he kept his mind free from any emotion or unnecessary thoughts that could strengthen the link between them. Sirius's death was still raw and fresh on Harry's mind. The pain overwhelmed him many times for a few minutes before Harry remembered that the emotion could once again send signals to Voldemort. Much of Harry's concentration and control was used up to suppress the grief. Slowly, it was ebbing down to a dull throb in his heart.

If he wanted to avenge Sirius and the deaths of others, he would first have to overcome his grief and move on. Which he was doing wonderfully.

Snape glared at his empty classroom. There better not be any unpleasant surprises. He checked it before going in. Foolish students and their petty revenges.

They were nothing compared to Lord Voldemort. As of late, Lord Voldemort had been restless but very quiet about his final plans on the attack that is sure to come. Without any final details on the plan, the information that Snape had wouldn't be of any use. Lord Voldemort was a fickle man who changed his mind easily when it came to muggle attacks. No of the late his 'lord' had been occupied with his obsession in catching Potter and killing him.

Why, Severus didn't know. Though the thought of Voldemort chasing a child was in itself a very stupid and pathetic thing to do, especially for a Dark Lord. Goodness sake Harry Potter wasn't invincible, let alone powerful enough to make Voldemort twitch an eyebrow. Perhaps it was a psychological thing. Maybe it was because how Potter defeated him and managed to foil every single one of the Dark Lord's plans.

Then again when it came to Golden Boy Potter, no plan ever worked. The boy was a walking bomb, utterly unpredictable and ignorant of what he did. Snape sneered at the thought of Potter making Voldemort twitch. Not in a million years.

A knock interrupted the sneering Potions Master's thoughts. Mentally sighing Snape sat up.

"Yes?"

The door opened to reveal Dumbledore holding a small box in his hands. Snape silently glared at the Headmaster silently and waited to see what in the seven hells the older wizard wanted.

"Hello Severus." Dumbledore said cheerfully. Apparently not noticing the glare of loathing pointing directly at him from Snape. In fact the old man acted as if Severus was wearing the warmest smile on the planet. As if the cold Potions master was capable of such act.

"Hello Albus." Snape drawled mockingly.

The sudden hostility made Dumbledore look curiously at Snape. All cheerfulness left his blue eyes as they bore into Snape's onyx ones seriously. With a swift movement, Dumbledore slammed the box down on the desk. Snape only blinked at the sudden movement. He had never seen the Headmaster this irritated or serious. What was in the box that made the man loose some of his emotional control?

"There has been a secret that I've been keeping from you because Lily requested that I did so."

"Secrets? What secrets? Lily TOLD you to keep a secret from me? Why are you telling this to me now?" Snape asked as his mind wheeled in utter confusion. Lily, how he hadn't heard that word in a long time. But what had she been keeping from him?

"I'll leave you to your own thoughts."

Without another word the Headmaster left the dungeons and a shocked Head of Slytherin behind him.

Bracing himself, Snape stared at the maple box with a heavy sigh. Lily. She had brought back so many memories back to him. Her kindness, her love. He had thrown it all away to protect her. Yet what was it that she wanted to keep from him until today? Surely it was a mistake and meant for Harry, her son. But the name on the box proved otherwise.

It had pained him when he found out that she had married James Potter, but it was for her own good. Yeah, as if. She died despite his efforts protecting Potter's son none the less. Every time he saw that boy, Snape was filled with utter loathing. Yes the boy was just like his father who didn't deserve his mother's eyes that tormented him.

Sucking a breath, he opened the box.

Inside were various items and a stack of papers. Ever curious, Snape pulled the papers out. One was a birth certificate. His eyes nearly bulged when he saw the name of the child. No this must be a mistake!

Name: Daren Larius Snape

Born July 31, 1980

Sex: Male

Time of Birth: 12:00am

Weight: 7lbs

The paper stated those words in black bold words.

'But how?' Snape thought desperately as he tried to rack his brain how it was even possible.

Lily had married James before that! Then a cold dread came up his spine. No it couldn't be. Good Lord no! Snape looked at the date and felt the blood drain his face rapidly. The world played very cruel jokes on him, but this was utterly the cruelest. July 31, 1980. Snape held back a moan.

This must be a joke! An utterly stupid joke that James Potter had come up with to torment him with.

He was about to chuck the contents of the box into the fire when he found an envelope. It had Lily's handwriting on it. He slowly opened the envelope to find a letter.

Dear Severus,

I understand why you did what you had to. Severus please don't blame yourself for it, you were only trying to protect me. Understand that I'll always love you no matter what. Also understand that the child that I have isn't James's, it's yours. Yours and mine. I have placed extensive charms and glamouries on the child so that he would be protected. He will eventually turn back to his real self on his sixteenth birthday. James also knows that Daren isn't his son, but he has accepted him as his own.

Severus if you are reading this, then you know that I'm already dead and wished to keep this knowledge from you until you saw your son for the first time. It will be hard for both of you but I have my complete faith in both of you. Please Severus do not hate him because he resembled James for the past fifteen years, and don't make excuses about his behavior, I'm sure that he's inherited my kindness and your quietness. Take care of our son and treat him well or else I will hunt you down Severus and mark my words on it!

Love,
Lily Evens Potter

No matter how much he wanted to deny it, the facts were there in front of his eyes and written by Lily herself. The Golden Boy was his son. Hell was about to break loose.

At number four Private Drive, Harry stepped outside wearing a black T-shirt and jeans that fit nicely on his slender body. His disturbingly long hair was tied back into a loose ponytail with a silver colored tie. His skin was stark white (still) despite his constant strolls outdoors. It would seem that he would never get a tan or sunburn. Must be something to do with being a wizard. It was still the beginning of summer and Harry decided to go over to the park and relax.

Sitting on a bench, he gazed up at the metallic blue sky that promised future days of sun. Even the Divination Professor could predict that. He smiled at the thought of the old bat ranting about the future.

It was then that he felt silent stares. He turned around to find several girls blush and look away giggling. Harry scowled, they were just as bad as the girls back in Hogwarts with the Yule ball. He wasn't that cute. Frustrated, he got up and left, much to the girls' dismay. Once he arrived back in number four Private Drive, he found Hedwig and a couple of odd owls sitting on his bed with letters or parcels tied onto their legs. Harry decided to go for the letters first. One was from Hermione and Ron. He decided to keep them for last. Instead he opened the letter from Hogwarts and to his dread his OWLS results. Taking a deep breath, he opened the OWLS results.

Dear Mr. Harry Potter,

The following listed are the results to your OWLS testing and determine if you are ready for NEWTS level classes for the next year. For more information on the class ranking and such please contact the Ministry of Magic's Education Division.

History of Magic: P

Potions: O

Transfiguration: O

Charms: O

Divination: D

Defense Against Dark Arts: O

Care of Magical Creatures: O

Astronomy: A

Herbology: E

From,
Cornelius Fudge
Minister of Magic UK

Harry could only goggled at the results. He didn't expect to do THAT well on the OWLS. It wasn't possible, there must have been a mistake in the Potions department! He wasn't that good with potions! His head spun on how in the bloody world he had managed O's in the practical and theory part of the test. Finally, he settled with the idea that he was able to concentrate better without having the snarky git breathing down his back. Hermione would have been jumping for joy that he achieved such high marks. No doubt all those hours of her hounding up his rear end were worth it. Every single one of them.

He smiled as he opened the letter from Hogwarts. Actually there were two of them. One from Albus and the other was for his school supplies. Harry opened the Hogwarts supply list and checked his things to make sure that he had most of the required items. Well, his robes needed to be lengthened and he needed to get new potions supplies and books now that he was going onto many NEWTS level classes. He put the supply list with the OWLS results before picking up the letter from Dumbledore. Another piece of paper was with the letter.

The letter was flung away from him as he stared at it with revulsion and disgust. The other piece of paper that came with the letter was lying face up on the floor. It was a birth certificate. Harry slowly slid to the floor and brought his face in between his knees. All these years he had been living a lie. A lie that he had believed. He knew somehow when the changes began that James wasn't his father, but to be told by Dumbledore and his mother was harder for him to take. He wasn't Harry Potter he was Daren Larius Snape.

His previous life wasn't real, but it didn't change that fact that Voldemort was still after him and the whole weight of the wizarding world rested upon his shoulders. No! He couldn't let emotion cloud his mind or else Voldemort would know! Sucking in a breath with a hiss, Harry got up and pushed himself towards the bed where the other owls sat giving him looks of concern.

Harry took the parcels and letters off of the owls, apologizing about not relieving their burden so soon. They understood in some quiet way and gave him little nips of affection as he fed them owl treats and let them drink out of a bowl of water he carried from the kitchens. He watched as they all took flight out of his window, into the blue sky of early summer. Hedwig hooted softly as Harry stroked her soft white feathers. He smiled at the owl that had always been his companion for years. Although a silent one, she was always there and gave him comfort when he petted her.

Casting a glance at the parcels and letters, Harry knew that they were for his birthday. His sweet sixteen. All of the letters from Hermione, Ron and Lupin were on the same vein asking if he was okay, tell Dumbledore if he had anymore dreams, not to get into trouble and to have a happy birthday. They also informed him that they were going to pick him up at Diagon Alley within a week. Harry flinched.

Instead, he focused on the parcels from his friends. Hermione sent him a necklace in the shape of a phoenix. It was a communicator, like a cell phone, except magical. Harry chuckled. She didn't get him a book this year, how strange. He turned to Ron's to find a small chest filled with Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes and sweets from every possible rack in every sweet store in Diagon Alley. The Weasley twins sent him a box of prototype joke items and 'toys' if one could call them that. They told him to use them to cause havoc on his relatives. Harry chuckled a bit as he put them all away and put on the necklace. He opened the parcel that Lupin sent him.

The chuckle left. It was a will from Sirius. Harry's throat tightened as he looked at it. He closed his eyes. No, he will not look at it now. Instead, Harry put it in his trunk, away from sight.

He then went back to his text books and immersed himself into them, unaware of the world and numb from the pain throbbing in his heart.