The shortest Severitus story ever

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury, Scholastic, and Raincoast Books, and Warner Brothers Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter or anything related to Harry Potter.

Harry was sitting in a cart driven by his new friend Griphook, rushing through the never ending underground tunnels beneath Gringotts. Only a few hours ago he had gotten over his godfather's death and decided to turn a new leaf in his life. He would stop whining, train himself and bring the fight back to Voldemort. He had stopped by Gringotts only to lift a few galleons from his account, but during his first unsupervised visit to the goblin's bank, he learned much more than he had bargained for.

It turned out that his vault was nothing more than a meager trust fund, supplied by the huge accumulated wealth of the Most Noble and Ancient House of Potter's ancestral vault. Harry was shocked when he found out that the Headmaster has been intentionally keeping the truth about his wealth from him.

Probably trying to keep me from gaining any measure of independence from him, Harry fumed. That old fool has been keeping me in the dark for far too long. But no more. Today, I cut my ties with that bastard.

"We are here", Griphook interrupted Harry's musings. On his face were still visible traces of happy tears, from when Harry had recognized him on his way in and had spoken to him like an equal.

Harry got out of the cart and approached a huge vault door, with dragons, phoenixes and unicorns engraved in its gold surface. On the center was a platinum plate and stylized writing above it:

Place your palms on the plate,

Drip your blood, tempt your fate.

If you are ours, you shall pass,

If not, this breath may be your last.

Harry took a ceremonial dagger, cut his hand and placed it on the platinum plate, as indicated.

Back at Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore was lost deep in his thoughts, his famous twinkle almost diminished. He wasn't looking forward to the upcoming conversation, but there was no other choice. Harry needed his help and he would not fail him again.

Albus cast his mind back to that faithful day, when Lilly Evans had confined with him and asked him for his help. Even though the product of her brief affair with Severus Snape was clearly visible in form of her bloated belly, she was honestly in love with James and planned on marrying him. She was deathly afraid that James would reject his enemy's child.

After much pleading and arguing, Albus had finally relented and agreed to go along with her plan. He would cast a very powerful glamour charm on the young Harry and keep renewing it each year. The glamour was to make sure that Harry looked like a carbon copy of James, thus securing his belief that the boy was indeed his son. Lilly had intended to gradually weaken the charm over the years, in hope that James's love for the boy would win over his hatred towards Snape. But all these plans had gone to hell on that fateful night, 15 years ago.

No more, mused Albus firmly. No more hiding and lying. The truth shall set us all free.

Harry had just lost his beloved godfather and he needed a new father figure. And what better choice there is, than the real father himself. Albus just hoped that both young men would eventually forgive him for his meddling.

"Ah, Severus, come in my boy", he said jovially.

"Albus", nodded Snape, as he refused the offered lemon drop and took his seat in front of the headmaster.

Albus was just about to start with his long overdue explanation, when the instrument tied up with Harry's tracking spell started whirling, indicating large amounts of pain. Dumbledore just stared at it, astonishment and fear written all over his face. He had just gotten his bearings and was about to jump and mount a rescue operation, when the instrument stopped whirling and went completely numb, all the magic leaving it. Albus poked it a few times with his wand, in vain hope that it was some sort of mistake, but the instrument remained dead silent.

"Albus? Albus? Albus!"

Dumbledore vaguely registered it was Severus calling his name. "Huh?" was his undignified answer.

"You wanted to talk to me about something?"

"Err... Never mind."

Old story. Spell-checked and smoothed over Sep2007.