(A/N: General Disclaimer- I do not own any of this, if I did, do you think I'd be writing crappy fanfiction? Sue me and get about 5 bucks and a carton of Ramen Noodles.
This is just another take on the Severitus Challenge as I do enjoy being able to use my three favorite characters like this.)
The sun shone gently down through the small window in the house of Privet Drive, giving the room more life than it normally would've had. Inside a rather undersized boy for his age, sat poring over a large Defense Against the Dark Arts tomb. His eyes were lined with exhaustion even though it was the holidays with no homework for the summer as the OWL scores had yet to be given out. Harry was thankful though, the Order had left his guardians in a rather afraid state of him and was allowed to have anything pertaining to the wizarding world in his possession instead of locked in the cupboard like it had been previously.
Hedwig hooted softly from the corner of his room, her drowsy gaze made him realize just how tired he was himself. It was still early though, a bit too much to go to sleep. Although, doing that he was afraid of. The nightmares still hadn't stopped after the accident at the Ministry last year, and there were times when he'd wake up to having the Cruciatus Curse on more occasions than he'd like to recall. The past few spells had landed him with intolerable pains in his scar as it burst open, for the first time he could remember, actually bleeding. He knew that he was going to have to do the unfortunate and request Professor Snape continue with the Occlumency lessons once the term started.
Harry's eyes gazed up into the ceiling for the moment, the book losing its appeal somewhat and contemplated the recent events. Sirius was gone, no matter how hard he tried to pass it off as a dream; he was finally coming to terms with the death. It was the way his godfather would've wanted to go, not hiding as he'd been told last year. The entire matter took a lot out of him, but he was determined to seek revenge instead of falling into a depressed state. When it'd first happened, his temper had flared in that famous fashion Dumbledore knew him for, but over the past couple of weeks he was able to simmer it down, finally coming to terms and accepted what Sirius had done. He might have lost his only family, but knowing that Sirius had come to protect him at all costs made him feel a bit better.
Letting out a huge yawn, he decided it might be more beneficial for him to sleep than look over that book. As much as he liked the subject matter, it kept reminding him of the prophecy that he was told last year. That blasted prophecy and the bane of his existence. It was the reason he'd lost his family to Voldemort and the nerve of Dumbledore to not tell him about it! He breathed in sharply, attempting to calm his nerves and relax his body. The tantrum he threw in the office had been bad but compared to Harry's occasional burst of rage it was nothing. All he could do was attempt to sedate the feelings, knowing that throwing items across his room would land him in a spot of trouble. Disgusted with himself for feeling so much hatred, he lowered his head on the lumpy pillow and hoped for a change that the pain wouldn't wake him so violently.
Unfortunately, Voldemort had been feeling rather violent that night and tortured a random muggle that his faithful Death Eaters had captured. Harry was horrified, hating seeing the abuse continue, and was jerked awake by a sudden pain wracking his body, forcing screams from his mouth that were loud enough to alert the entire household.
"Boy," Vernon started dangerously, "You had best get those ...people of yours to take you away. I've had all I can stand of this screaming at any hour of the day."
"Sorry Uncle Vernon, I can't help it," Harry muttered, grabbing a piece of parchment to explain what was going on. He knew it was early and that the Order might not feel ready to take him away, but he was hoping they'd take the hint. Although he'd never been physically abused, he wouldn't put it past Vernon to come after him if the screaming continued every night. Mentioning that in the letter, he gave it to Hedwig and asked her to please hurry. He ran a hand through his hair, wrinkling his nose in distaste as he felt it was rather greasy even though he'd washed it last night.
Harry settled back down on his bed, laying with his eyes wide open and wondering just how lethal it would be to ask Professor Snape for a Dreamless Sleep Potion. He dismissed the idea without a second thought, valuing his life more than that request.
A loud crack came from beside his bed a moment later, startling him out of a dream that most likely would have left him writhing in pain again. Grabbing his glasses and blinking a few times to regain focus, he turned his attention to the small witch now standing by his bed.
"Harry! So good to see you again. I do believe it's time to remove you from this dreadful place and back to where you belong. Dumbledore definitely wasn't too happy, but feared what your Uncle might have done, not to mention the effects on yourself personally from the curse. Well, no harm done yet so let's get you out of here."
The boy blinked a few more times, trying to figure out who was invading his room and already packing. She was fairly short and looked rather young, and then it hit him. Of course, Tonks! He hadn't recognized her with wavy black hair and a crooked nose not unlike Snape's. In a random muse, he assumed that the two had a row and she was now attempting to humiliate him. Harry suppressed the urge to snicker and grabbed on to her hand as she apparated them both back to Headquarters.
"HARRY!" A loud voice came a moment later, finding himself staring directly into the warm gaze of Remus Lupin. The man looked rather tired, although, it had only been the full moon a couple days ago so Harry dismissed it.
"It's good to see you too, Remus," Harry replied, having given up on calling the man professor. It just felt right now since he'd been like another godfather to Harry. It was getting late out now, the excitement dying down as he saw that the only other person there was Kingsley Shacklebolt. He couldn't deny himself a loud yawn and looked around to hope someone would take the hint and show him to his room. Remus smiled, catching on fast and placed a hand on the boy's shoulder as he took him upstairs to one of the recently redecorated rooms.
"Oh, Harry, Severus left these in my possession incase you were brought back here. No doubt he was concerned about the transference of pain through your scar. One is for the pain in the morning and the other is Dreamless Sleep Potion."
Harry glanced at the bottles appreciatively, knowing that he might finally be able to get a decent night of sleep for a change, and tucking a reminder in the back of his mind to thank Snape for the potions. He didn't doubt that the Headmaster had been responsible for the potions, but it was a nice thought that Snape had conceded and brewed the precious liquids.
The sun spilled into the room, each ray dancing and lighting up the maroon and gold décor. Harry smiled slightly and was pleased that he was able to have finally gotten a full night of sleep without waking up without pain. Thank Merlin for small miracles, he thought to himself. Sleep without pain, to him, was more precious than gold and more difficult to come by. Snape would hate himself if he knew just how much he'd helped the son of his sworn childhood enemy.
Strolling down into the kitchen, he caught site of Tonks, Shacklebolt, and Remus sitting at the table with breakfast already served. To his surprise, there were two others in the room, much to his pleasure and annoyance. Dumbledore was sitting in the one chair, looking as if he was in his own world and Severus Snape glaring with those beetle black eyes of his. He ignored the Potions Master for the moment, not really caring what he was doing there, but his eyes glowered when he saw Dumbledore with an expression on his face that showed he thought nothing was out of the ordinary from last year. Harry focused his growing rage and swallowed, hoping to keep a mask over his expressions.
"Headmaster, Professor," He acknowledged before sitting down and helping himself to a large piece of toast.
"Ahh, Harry, so good to see you again," Albus said with a twinkle in his eye. "I'm rather afraid I must take your friends from you today on a special meeting for the Order."
"Do what suits you," Was the boy's reply, struggling not to let his temper get the better of him.
"I don't plan on leaving you here alone, especially since Kretcher has decided to remove himself from the Black's home. Severus has been kind enough to offer staying with you here today. But, we must be off now." The four popped off in an instant then, leaving only the two black haired people sitting there.
Harry glanced at his professor; quite well aware of the fact that Snape neither was kind nor had he offered to spend his time at Grimmauld Place. Although, he was fine with this since he knew Snape would stay out of his face and let him work reading without being badgered about past events. He did have to remember to thank the man for the potions though, and a second thought came to him. Perhaps it'd be a good time to mention the incident with the Pensieve last year and request the Occlumency lessons continue. Well, might as well get it over, he thought.
"Sir?" Snape snapped his gaze towards the boy. "I just wanted to thank you for the potions you left. It was the first time I was able to sleep since holidays started. And I, umm, wanted to apologize again for last year. I know I shouldn't have intruded on your memories."
The professor raised an eyebrow at this. Since when does Potter apologize? But he remembered from the Pensieve last year that the boy had indeed been horrified about what he'd done and apologized then as well. Perhaps Potter wasn't exactly like his father in every way.
"I was, well, wondering if you'd be willing to continue on with the Occlumency lessons, but I'd understand if you refuse," Came the soft voice again.
This had Severus surprised, he'd never seen the boy act so polite, well, maybe he had but didn't want to admit it. Harry wasn't like his father at all in respect to attitude. James had thrived on it while the boy seemed almost to loathe it, and he did study and was now even asking to continue on with extra work. Snape did recognize the main difference though, James always enjoyed pulling pranks on people and humiliating them and well, Harry didn't. He rubbed his forehead, knowing he'd been wrong and it was finally time to admit that Harry wasn't the bastard his father was and to get over it.
"I will continue the lessons if you wish, but you will practice this time or you'll get no where," the professor replied a moment later, but the malice lingering in his eyes seemed to have cooled down a bit. He strolled out of the room, robes billowing behind as usual and left the boy to his own devices for the time being.
Harry sighed inwardly; it'd gone better than he'd expected. Perhaps Snape wasn't as bad as he seemed all the time. Either that or he could finally see past Harry's carbon copy body of James. It did annoy him at times that he did look exactly like his father, with the exception of the eyes, and expected him to be exactly the same. At first he'd thought it good, but after the memory of the Pensieve, it hurt to even think about how awful his father had been back in school to his classmates.
Shaking it off, he wandered off towards the library deciding that there wasn't much else to do around here without Sirius or the other Order members. Without having any homework to do, he had free choice of the books he wished to read over. Most of the DADA books lost their interest within moments of pulling them off the shelves and there wasn't too much else he was curious of getting a head start on. Sighing, he closed his eyes and walked along the shelves and finally just grabbed a book. It'd turned out to be a large volume of rarely heard of potions. Shrugging, he slumped in a squishy chair and began reading the first few pages expecting to be turned off. Surprisingly, he found it rather intriguing and continued on, losing all sense of time and space.
Snape was surveying the house, making sure all necessary wards were in place if the boy was going to be staying here from the remained of the summer. Finally satisfied with the wards, he continued down to the library, which was his favorite place to be left alone. To his surprise, he found Potter sitting in there already and reading a potions book no less.
"What are you reading?" He asked, curious as to what the boy actually was reading in there.
Harry snapped his gaze to the newcomer, "Some rather interesting sounding potions that could be useful. One being a complex healing potion that can also double as a sleeping draught to cut down on the amount someone would need to take. I found another that would give the user a vision on their Animagus form, although it could be rather painful if done wrong."
Snape had to shake his head to collect his thoughts. Since when did Potter enjoy reading about potions?
"Dinner is in ten minutes and I expect to see you down there as I'm not one to wait to eat." He snapped, stalking out of the room. Snape grumbled to himself, hoping he wasn't going to walk in on Potter attempting to brew one of these next time. Although he knew the boy's potion skills weren't as abysmal as he made them out to be. In fact, the potions he did were generally right when he didn't have someone sneering at him. Snape shrugged it off, sitting down at the table and conjured a roast chicken and a few extra side dishes. A few minutes later, the scraggly boy came strolling in, nose still inside the book.
Snape coughed, "Excuse me Mister Potter, but I do expect you to set that down while eating." Harry blushed and shoved the book down the table and grabbed the food put in front of him. He wasn't one to not eat when there was food placed for him.
"I must ask, since when have you been interested in potions?"
Harry looked rather flustered from the question, "I uh, don't really know. Pretty much just picked the book up and started reading and well, it was fairly captivating..." He trailed off, shoving more food in his mouth so he could get back to reading. He'd just come to a potion on lineage and looked like one simple enough to try.
The boy placed himself on a chair in the living room, curling his legs up underneath and continued reading. As he turned the page, a rather old letter fell out and seemed to be addressed to himself. It was rather odd, he thought, finding an old letter in one of the Black's books. But he dismissed it and opened the letter.
My darling Harry.
If you're reading this letter, then the inevitable must have happened and I am no longer with you. I charmed the letter to appear when you were ready to understand and be able to accept what I am about to tell you. James is not your father, although believe me, he would've wanted you all the same. I would tell you who is, but I think that it might be more easily accepted with the Lineage Potion. I will tell you this though, you have been charmed to look like an exact replica of James, but that will only last so long. I'd expect that around your 16th birthday they will begin to fade and you will take on your true appearance. You'll need something of mine to brew the potion and therefore you'll find a small silver ring enclosed within. Please don't be angry, son, it was a difficult situation and we did what he had to, to keep you safe. Just know that we love you and are proud of who you are.
Your mother, Lily
Harry gaped at the letter and the ring that had fallen into his hand. Who else had known this and kept yet another thing from him? His anger rose and he threw the book as hard as he could behind him and it just narrowly missed conking Snape in the head.
"POTTER!!!!" The potions master snapped, his own anger welling inside from almost being hit with the book. He watched the boy sneer impressively and had a letter thrust into his face.
"Here, read this. Did you know anything about this?" The boy scowled, his face contorted into such a fury that it could rival Snape's.
Severus read it quickly, being startled by what Lily had to say. It couldn't be true, it couldn't. But then again, he remembered back 17 years ago to that fateful night and sighed deeply.
"Yes, Harry. I knew, but I didn't think it was true until reading this." Was all he could say and walked out of the room.
Harry scowled again, snatching the book from the floor and decided he might as well brew the damned potion and find out who he was related to. Luckily he'd already had all the potion ingredients that it called for and started work right there. A few hours later, the sun having disappeared long ago, it was ready. He placed the ring into the brew for a moment until it turned a deep green color and dipped the needed parchment to revel his fate. His eyes flew over the paper, looking where his father's name would be.
A loud crash came as he collapsed into the dresser.
"It's not true...It can't be..."
He mumbled, falling into the pitch-black night, parchment still clutched tightly into a hand.