Disclaimer: Jo's world, I just live there.
Summary: Just a strange idea I came up with last night at 3 in the morning (insomnia sucks). Harry has Multiple Personality Disorder; the person to find this out? Snape.
A/N: Here we go. Please remember, this first chapter was written at 1 in the morning, so it's not up to my usual standard.
Harry woke the first day of school sixth year feeling sore and achy, like he always did at the start of a new school term. He figured it was from sleeping on his old lumpy mattress at the Dursleys' that caused it. After all, what else could it be? His memories of summer breaks were never better than vague and sketchy, but he knew nothing bad had happened.
Breakfast was welcome, as the only meal he'd been allowed since last year was dinner, and then only when he finished his chores, but he had almost always finished, so it wasn't terrible. Not like it could have been.
Could have been? How could it have been worse? Was it ever worse?
He shook the confusing thoughts away and focused on the delicious smell of bacon that permeated the Great Hall. Not even the knowledge that Potions was first that day could ruin bacon.
Hermione and Ron both asked him if he was alright, as they had a tendency to do, but he assured them he was fine. After all, he was; he was great, he was happy, he had two good friends, and he was home. What could be better?
Maybe if your back didn't ache so badly. And why do your ribs hurt?
The trio sat in their usual spot in the back of the class and waited for Snape to swoop in, as he always did. The great bat of a man stalked to the front of the class and gave a short lecture on glamour revealing potions, before giving them instructions to brew a simple form geared toward cosmetic glamour charms.
"As this could be a potentially embarrassing situation," Snape said when they were done, complete with a distasteful expression that told them all that, had the headmaster not interfered, there would be nothing to save them from the humiliation, "I will be the one to test one of your potions. Potter! Bring me a vial from your cauldron."
"Yes sir," Harry sighed, ladling some into a glass. At least his looked pretty close to Hermione's, so he was almost sure he wouldn't be poisoning the man.
Snape looked at the liquid with clear distaste, but downed it quickly and without complaint. He looked around the room, eyes lingering on some of the vainer girls like Parkinson and Lavender before coming to rest on Harry himself. Almost imperceptibly the man's eyes widened, but then the expression was gone.
"Class dismissed," he growled. "Potter! You stay after."
Rolling his eyes, Harry motioned to Ron and Hermione that they should go on ahead, he'd be fine. Snape was just being childish, he was sure. As the door closed behind the last student, though, Snape whipped out his wand and cast a high level privacy charm.
"Mr. Potter, explain yourself," Snape demanded. Harry blinked.
"Excuse me? Sir?"
"Explain this…this," Snape sputtered motioning at Harry's body. "Explain yourself," he finished lamely. Harry was confused, had someone put a glamour on him without him knowing? But, he looked just like he always did, so what would it matter if the glamour was seen through? And why was he suddenly terrified?
"Sir, I don't understand," Harry admitted softly, hoping Snape wouldn't see this as reason to give him detention or take house points. No such luck.
"Ten points from Gryffindor!" Snape hissed, going alternately pale and flushed. "Now explain, boy!"
"Ten points from Gryffindor!" Severus shouted, half frantically. He couldn't comprehend what he had seen under the glamour – an underfed, practically half starved, badly bruised and beaten, malnourished and under-grown child. And now Potter was denying any knowledge? Couldn't the boy see that lying wouldn't help, as Severus could quite clearly see through the disguise? "Now explain, boy!"
Suddenly, the glamour fell and Potter hunched over, crossing his arms over his stomach and lowering his head to look at the floor. The Gryffindor backed away a few steps before standing there trembling.
"Boy doesn't want to tell, Boy can't tell," he was muttering in a voice more suited to a first year. "Boy gets hurt when he tells, don't tell, don't tell."
"Potter?" Severus gasped. The boy's head shot up and the glamour fell back into place.
"Yes sir?" he asked innocently. "I really don't understand what you want me to explain. I'm sorry. May I go now?"
Severus nodded dumbly, before catching himself just as Potter reached the door. "Detention tonight at 7, Potter. Don't be late."
The Gryffindor's shoulders hunched, but he answered with, "Yes, sir," as he left.
Severus leaned back in his chair to think about this strange new development. It was clear Potter was faking, that was what Potter did. The question was, why? The facts:
Potter had reacted to being called 'Boy' by panicking and withdrawing.
Upon being addressed as 'Potter' again, he returned to normal, apparently having no memory of what had occurred.
Potter's body shows signs of severe abuse and malnutrition. Self inflicted? That would be the clear 'cry for help' type of attention scam he wouldn't put past the boy.
So why the glamour? And even more confusing, why deny the glamour when it was clear he, Severus, had proof positive of the glamour's existence and Potter's condition underneath? It was confusing, a conundrum of the highest degree.
That night, at 7 on the dot, Severus' door opened and a head of messy black hair peaked in.
"Quit stalling and enter, Potter," Severus snapped. "I don't have all day."
The Gryffindor nodded and closed the door behind him, moving to stand in front of Snape's desk.
"Now, care to tell me what your little show was all about this morning?"
"I'm sorry for that, sir," Potter said, speaking more to the desk than to his professor. "We – that is to say I – had a hard time sleeping and w-I was just a little frazzled, that's all."
Severus leaned back, steepling his fingers in front of his chest. "Indeed," he deadpanned. "And what of the glamour, the wounds, the starvation?"
"I'm afraid you were mistaken, professor," said Potter. "We-I don't wear glamour, and I'm certainly not injured. You can check now, if you'd like; try and remove any spells I might have."
Thinking to take the boy by surprise, Severus immediately whipped his wand out and muttered, "Finite Incantatem." He blinked. Nothing had happened.
How was that possible? He knew Potter's potion had been nearly perfect – certainly good enough to let him effectively see through the glamour he knew must be there. But why didn't the counterspell remove it? Unless…
Perhaps Potter was reapplying the spell in the split second after the counterspell hit. Severus had blinked; maybe he had missed something crucial. He cursed himself mentally; he should know better, really.
"There, I hope that's proof enough for you, sir," Potter was saying, but Severus wasn't paying attention. He pulled out of his bottom drawer one of his most priceless possessions – a spell stone amulet – and cast the counterspell and a sticking spell onto it. Spell stone amulets had the ability to absorb spells and make them affect whoever was wearing them, regardless of countermeasures. "May I go now, sir?" Potter's voice cut into Severus' musings.
"Not yet, Mr. Potter," Severus sneered. "One last thing. Dumbledore has asked me to give this to you," he held up the amulet, "as an extra protective measure. Come here and put it on."
Potter nodded guilelessly and slipped the amulet over his head. Immediately, the spell disintegrated, leaving the true Potter – small, skinny, and badly wounded – standing there shocked.
"No! Dt, I knew James couldn't handle this!" Potter shouted, sounding much more like who he had been the previous year, gritting his teeth and clenching his hands into tight fists. "He hasn't had to be Harry since second year. You aren't supposed to know! Not even Harry knows! Why can't you leave us alone?" His voice changed suddenly into that of a tearful child. "Why do you have to be like him?"
"Like who?" Severus asked, startled and intrigued by this new turn. Who was James? And why was someone else impersonating Potter in second year? Or now, for that matter.
"Can't," the child-like Potter declared. "I'm no grasser; you won't catch me telling tales on Harry. I know! Let's play a game!"
"A game?" Severus balked.
"Yup. D'you know the story of Rumplestiltskin?" Potter asked, practically bouncing. Severus nodded, too confused to do anything but answer truthfully. "You get three guesses to guess my name and if you don't get it right by the third time I get a pudding! 'K, go!"
"But I already know your name, Potter," Severus drawled, eyes narrowed.
"Nope, there's one guess gone," the boy cried happily.
"So you are not Harry Potter?" Severus felt something like fear constrict in his gut. If this wasn't Potter, who was it, and were was the Golden Boy?
The man-child wrinkled his nose. "You're bad at this. Guess again!"
Perhaps the same trick would work twice. "Boy?" Severus hazarded.
"No, you've met him!" the child denied. Then giggled with delight. "You lost, I won, where's my pudding?"
"I never consented to give you a pudding," Severus sneered
"That's not fair!" Potter wailed, stomping one foot petulantly. "You're mean. I'm telling Mike!" The boy's face went blank for a moment, then changed dramatically to a glare. He folded his arms over his chest defiantly and stared down a particularly offensive stone on his left.
"Mike, I presume?" Severus asked sarcastically, wondering when and why his night had taken such a turn for the strange.
"Yeah, like you fg care," the boy muttered. "You even treat the kid like st. His name's Foster, by the way, if he tries to play that stupid game with you again. And I know he's a bit of a pest sometimes, but you're not exactly sunshine and daisies either, you greasy git."
"I will not be spoken to in such a way!" Severus hissed. "Twenty points from Gryffindor for language and insolence."
"You're a bd, you know that?" 'Mike' answered, glaring directly at him. "I don't want to deal with you any more."
Potter's face suddenly went blank again. Terrifyingly blank. Severus waited with bated breath for some new, half familiar face to pop out at him, and was slightly disappointed when the familiar – if slightly confused – unharmed visage of Harry Potter came into view.
"Professor?" he asked timidly, sounding confused. He shook his head and seemed to orient himself, though he clearly had no memory of what had transpired. "Sorry, sir, did you want me to scrub cauldrons for detention?"
"Spacing out again, Potter?" Severus sneered. "Detention is over for tonight, but you will return every Monday night until you stop having these unfortunate lapses in attention. Dismissed."
Harry didn't waste a moment, practically running out of the classroom. He didn't like the idea of more detentions, especially not with Snape, but if the man could cure him of his faulty memory, he'd forever be grateful. For as long as he could, well, remember, Harry had been having what he called 'blank-outs', where he'd lose completely a few minutes, an hour, sometimes even days at a time. One moment he'd be somewhere, the next, somewhere else, doing something else, and he could only rely on his watch to tell him how much he'd missed. It was frightening sometimes, especially because it wasn't like he fainted or anything, people would be talking to or working with him as if he'd been his normal self.
Sometimes he wondered if Voldemort was possessing him.
But, he'd been having Blank-Outs since he was little, he was sure of that at least, and that was when Voldemort had still been in Albania or wherever. That was mildly reassuring, but still left him with the problem that someone or something was controlling his body while he wasn't there. He hated it, it scared him and left him feeling helpless and Harry would even suffer working with Severus Snape, Potions Master of Hogwarts and Greasy Git extraordinaire, if it meant getting rid of them.
Severus watched the boy leave as if the hounds of Hades were after him, a smirk settling easily on his face. He pulled out the notes he had made so far and added to them:
Mike – sulky, brooding, angsty teen. Potter from 5th year? Foul mouth.
Foster – child, 7-8? Likes games, fairness. Seems happy, but quick to tears. Obsessed with 'grassing'.
James – ? Apparently 'played' Potter in 2nd year.
Faking – still possible, Potter is quite the accomplished actor. Powerful as well, reapplied glamour over a counterspell amulet unconsciously.
Does Potter have MPD? Implies unhappy home life, but Potter is pampered, is he not? Too many questions, further research required.
The next Monday, Severus waited patiently at his desk. At 7:05 his door opened authoritatively and Harry Potter stepped in, an unfamiliar swagger in his walk and an almost familiar smirk on his lips.
"So glad you finally saw fit to join me, Mr. Potter," he sneered. Potter didn't respond. "Take a seat."
The boy pulled one of the stools from behind the tables and perched on it unconcernedly. He gave Severus a calculating, appraising look before slouching back and relaxing slightly.
"Where shall we begin tonight, Mr. Potter?" Severus drawled. "The bruises? The scars? The starvation?" He leaned closer, lowering his voice. "How long has it been going on, Harry?"
"I'm not 'Potter' or 'Harry'," the boy sneered, "so kindly stop referring to me as such."
"I apologize," Severus said silkily, making clear there was nothing further from his emotions at the time. "Who are you?"
"My name is Tom," he said, then laughed at Severus' shocked expression. "I know, quite the coincidence, isn't it? Not to worry, I'm not out to harm your precious Boy-Who-Lived. After all, if he dies, I die."
"What do you do, Tom?" Severus asked, observing how this boy held himself so much different than the one he knew, or the other 'alternates' he had already observed. Tom leaned back in his chair gracefully, looking totally relaxed, his eyes half closed in a way that made him seem vaguely dangerous. His fingers hovering always near his wand pocket.
"I do the bad stuff, the dark stuff," Tom answered casually. "I'm the Parselmouth, you know. Harry can't speak to snakes, he wouldn't dare. He's only done it once, and that was because I couldn't take over. I can never take over when someone's in trouble. James doesn't trust me to save them."
"James?" Severus asked quickly.
"No," Tom answered, smirking. "We're talking about me. I never get to talk about me. You can talk with James about James later. Anyway, Harry's got a strong will, when it comes to saving people. It's probably the only thing he can do without feeling inadequate. Or it was, until-" Suddenly the voice and posture changed to that of the little boy, Foster, "No, no, no; no telling, no grassing, Harry wouldn't want us to grass on him," then back to Tom. "Yes, yes. Fine. Suffice it to say, Harry won't be doing any heroics anymore. You'll have to trust Potter for that, I suppose. Or me. Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants for ol' Voldie? Being defeated by Tom. After all, I'm almost exactly like the younger Tom Riddle, whom Voldemort got rid of. Sort of ironic, don't you think? You appreciate irony, don't you, Professor?"
Severus tipped his head in agreement. "Irony is a fine art, generally only appreciated by Slytherins and Ravenclaws."
"Good thing I'm Slytherin then, isn't it?" Tom smirked again. "Oh, I know Harry and the others are Gryffindor, but I'd have been much happier in your house. Harry probably would have too, for that matter. Might have gotten a chance to take care of the Dursleys already. But don't worry, James has promised to give me free range once we come of age."
"You seem rather talkative, compared to the others," Severus noted. "Why is that?"
"Because I'm smarter than them," Tom said simply. "James comes close, but he's too stubborn. He still resents you for acting like him and being a bd to Harry. I, however, can see into your soul and know you aren't going to do anything to hurt us. Besides, better to talk about present and future than past."
"Why, what has happened in your past? Who are you, to Harry?" Severus asked.
Tom got a distant look in his eyes and said, in a sort of strained voice, "I'm the one who hates." Then suddenly he was gone, and Foster was back.
"You aren't gonna tell, are you Mr. Snape?" he asked fearfully. "Tom wasn't supposed to say that. He grassed on us. James'll be mad. I gotta go, you won't tell, right?"
"I won't tell, Foster," Severus promised. "May I ask who's coming out now?"
"Harry's coming back," Foster said, grinning. "We're hungry, it's time for dinner." The boy blinked, yawned, and shifted into the familiar half-slouched figure. "I'm sorry, professor, I must have fallen asleep. May I go now?"
"Yes, Harry," Severus said, knowing it was odd to call the boy by his first name, but also knowing that saying 'Potter' might call out someone else. "Go on and get to dinner."
Harry left, looking at him oddly, but Severus just pulled out his notebook and added more to the list:
Harry – host, polite (unfailingly, unnervingly so)
Potter – the hero now? Why did Harry lose that status?
Boy – quivering mass of despair, age unknown
Tom – Slytherin, Parseltongue, dark, 'the one who hates'. Foul mouth as well.
James – Who is James? Disciplinarian? Older brother? Father figure?
One reference to 'taking care of the Dursleys', sinister, revenge? For what?
One more reference to 'him', who I apparently act like. Who?
Too many questions still.
He wanted to meet this mysterious James. Tom, he found more than a little disturbing. He had heard from Dumbledore that Harry had attempted to cast the Cruciatus on Bellatrix Lestrange at the Ministry last year.
Had that perhaps been Tom's doing?
A/N: Yeah, I know treatment for MPD takes longer in real life, but it's magical MPD, so who knows?