Author notes:

Officially, this story should be canon through Order of the Phoenix but AU after that. As far as Half-Blood Prince is concerned, it's probably best to assume that the characters, etc. exist, but I'll be ignoring the plot almost entirely.

All rights to the world of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling and a number of very large corporations, and I am neither Jo nor am I in anyway affiliated with any of said companies: ergo, I in no way, shape, or form own the creative entities with which I am playing. In addition, I have not made nor do I intend to make any money whatsoever from this endeavour.

I must also acknowledge debts to Aspen in the Sunlight, Beren, Vorabiza, and – most particularly – GatewayGirl for their treatment for the different aspects of the Snape/Harry/Draco dynamics. Their stories have become so ingrained in my subconscious that I am not certain I could completely eliminate their influence.

Particular thanks must be given to Tithenai, Malefi, and Phoenix Writing, who are making this a much better story in both style and content. Thanks also to Múirn for taking several years of Latin and being willing to share her knowledge. Any mistakes which remain are, indubitably, my own.

Regarding this story specifically – for reasons which will become obvious, I have had to make Draco younger than Harry and move Draco's birthday to the winter holidays. Initially, I chose December 13th specifically because it is the same as the lovely Tithenai's, though there were additional benefits which presented themselves afterwards. This change will, of course, create conflict with Hermione's age as well. Unless I am required to solve this in the future, you are welcome to assume that Draco was enrolled early because he is exceptionally gifted or because his father demanded it or that Hermione is a year younger than she is in canon.

A couple of warnings - this story is driven by character rather than plot, so the action is slow moving, and I have no plans to explore romantic relationships in the story as I have plotted it. Should that change, I can guarantee that if and when I do so, there will be slash. If that bothers you, feel free to turn around now. I am, regrettably, an undisciplined writer and a procrastinator (both of which I am trying to change!), so updates will be infrequent.

What follows is more of a teaser than anything else; the subsequent chapters are much longer, I promise! Any reviews, particularly constructive criticism, are much appreciated.

Originally posted 29 Nov. '05; edited version posted 17 Mar. '06

Choosing Family


When he heard the knock on his office door, Severus Snape closed his eyes and wasted precious seconds entertaining the futile hope that the headmaster had decided to descend the multiple staircases and walk the long halls to the dungeons – for the exercise, perhaps? – rather than simply sending a message to his Potions master.


When the door opened to reveal that Snape's visitor was indeed Draco Malfoy, he had the fleeting thought that he would rather a lifetime of attempting to teach Neville Longbottom the subtleties of potion-making than have the conversation to follow and deal with the consequences thereof.

"Good afternoon, Professor." Malfoy's voice was even despite the fact that the youth was nearly vibrating with tension. To most observers, however, it would be unclear whether the tension was caused by nervousness, excitement, or fear.

"Mr. Malfoy."

Snape waited until Malfoy had entered the room and closed the door before securing his office, casting locking and silencing spells on the door, the portraits, and the fireplace and then general incantations which would reveal any spells or objects which could be used for eavesdropping or recording. Both sneak-o-scope and foe-glass were clearly visible on the desk.

"Mother met me in Hogsmeade this morning. She wanted to speak privately. "

"I told the old man it was too dangerous. Ministry aurors may be sufficient protection for Gryffindor recklessness, but they will do little for Slytherin self-preservation. While – preventable," he continued with a glare that would have been extraordinarily painful for its target, had it been able to pass through walls, "it is not unanticipated. We can –" He stopped when Draco began shaking his head.

"No, we can't. There's a... complication."

"Complication?" Not a word one wants to hear when one is attempting to circumvent the machinations of Lucius Malfoy.

"He... It wasn't... there was a portkey. It's begun"

He crossed the room quickly. "Are you alright?" Draco attempted to avoid his professor's scrutiny, but Snape raised his chin and met his eyes. The boy nodded, though the lie was betrayed by his obvious fear.

"My father... didn't perform the incantation... himself. It was..."

As the Malfoy heir, Draco was too well-trained to stammer without extreme provocation, and Severus inhaled sharply. "The Dark Lord."

Another nod, resigned. "And he accepted Prīncipium in Parseltongue."