Brothers and Fathers
Summary: Harry gets some surprising news. He was adopted. His father is alive and he has a brother; named Severus Snape. No slash.
A/N: For the purposes of this story summer break is going to be three months long extending form June 1st to Aug. 31st
Disclaimer: I own nothing that looks familiar.
Most of the Order, as well as Ron, Hermione, and Harry, were gathered around the kitchen table at Grimmauld Place. Albus Dumbledore had received a letter the night before school was to end and upon reading it, he immediately called for an emergency meeting of the Order for the following night once all the students had left. Harry had been told not to worry about the Dursleys – a fact for which he was grateful. After the events of this past year, he wanted to put off seeing his uncle for as long as possible. Cedric's death was enough to deal with at the moment.
At the meeting, Dumbledore read the letter he had received and authenticated aloud to those present. The contents of the letter were shocking to say the least.
Albus Dumbledore or Minerva McGonagall,
As I write this letter, the subject of discussion is nestled in his crib down the hall Harry, my son in all but blood. I hesitated to write this for so long out of fear that it would fall into the wrong hands, but I suppose I should cease with pleasantries and pointless babbling and get to the point. Harry is not my biological son, nor James's. Many generations ago a vow was made between the Potters and the Princes, two very old families. Though the origins of the vow and its purpose have been lost a debt still remains. Did remain. This debt has now been repaid.
It has been over a year now since that fateful night that the last of the Princes knocked on the door of the last of the Potters Eileen Prince. She did not tell us much, but reminded James of the family debt, which he is bound to honor. The request was simple enough. She was with child, but did not want it, nor did she wish to terminate the pregnancy. She asked us to take the child in and raise it as our own. For reasons she would not divulge we were not suppose to tell anyone of the deception. Charms were cast on me to make me appear pregnant.
When Harry was born Eileen feed him a potion that has been used for centuries by pure-blood families to conceal a child's parentage. The potion, called dator hereditas, only last for a period of fifteen years. Not even that long, really Harry's true appearance will begin to show through when he turns fourteen. His black eyes, as an example, which for the brief time I saw them reminded me of someone, although I'm not sure who. The first few changes will hardly be noticeable for a teenage boy. He may grow quickly in height or his hair may begin to change texture or even color. It's within the month or two before his birthday that the most drastic changes will take place such as bone structure and eye color. This is why you are receiving this letter now.
As you probably noticed, I included Harry's birth certificate with this letter. His real birth certificate, with his biological mother's name on it. I wish I could tell you the name of his father, but Eileen refused to tell us. She said it was of no consequence. I don't even know her reasons for not wanting the precious baby boy safely asleep in his room. How could anyone not want their child? I suppose we will never know the answer. As soon as she had given birth and administered the potion to my sweat little boy she swallowed a few potions herself and took off, without so much as glancing back or a good-bye to her son.
Please take care of my son. For that is what he is and always shall be. James and I couldn't love him more if he were our own. If you are receiving this letter then James and I are dead and unable to tell Harry ourselves. Please let him know that we loved him and that he is very lucky to have two sets of parents instead of just one. If all is well Harry is now in Sirius's care, but regardless of who is caring for him, please find his biological father for him. I doubt that the man even knows he is a father, and please let Harry know that looking for his biological mother is pointless. She didn't want him. I've never seen anyone as cold hearted as the woman who gave us this child. As for Eileen, she doesn't deserve to know him or even to call him her son.
No one knew what to say. It was so silent the ticking of the clock in the other room could be heard. Finally, Harry ventured to speak. "What does this mean?"
Dumbledore sighed before answering in a sad voice that betrayed his age. "I'm not sure, Harry. First we need to find who your real parents are."
As everyone sat in stunned silence, each lost in his or her own thoughts, the opening and closing of a door was heard. Within seconds, Severus was in the kitchen doorway smelling of smoke and covered with dirt, soot, and ash.
"Severus! What happened?" Albus stood and hurried around the table to meet the younger wizard.
"I apologize for being late, but I returned to my home to find it occupied with Death Eaters. After… pleasantries and curses were exchanged, they set my house on fire. I got out what I could…but… I believe I will need to stay at Hogwarts for the time being." Severus's voice had lost some of its silky quality and it sounded as though he had inhaled quite a bit of smoke.
Albus was silent for a moment while he simply stared into the young wizard's eyes. To those who knew what was going on, it was obvious that one of them was performing Legilimency. Even to those who did know what was going on it was shocking. It took a very powerful wizard and a powerful mind to be able to show another person specific memories. After a couple of minutes both blinked, and Albus nodded slightly.
"We will deal with the consequences of your discovery in a few minutes. First, Severus, sit down, and read this," said Albus handing Severus the letter from Lily. Severus was slightly startled to see Albus's hands tremble just the slightest bit as he took the letter from the headmaster.
As he read the letter those watching carefully would have seen the brief flash of emotion pass over Severus's face before once again becoming impartial. After finishing the letter, he handed it back to Albus. "I suppose this is why you asked me to bring the relationship potion?"
"Yes, I know the letter to be authentic, but as you've noticed, the place for the father's name is empty. By determining your exact relationship to Harry we can at least eliminate one person from the list."
Severus nodded and stood up, extracting a large vial from a pocket in his dark robes. Opening it, he placed one of his own hairs in it, watching it dissolve and turn the originally clear potion blue. He then reached across the table and yanked a hair out of Harry's head, who gave a slight yelp. Adding the hair, he once again waited for the potion to change colors, expecting it to change to green. Once the hair was fully dissolved, the potion only turned a slightly darker shade of blue and Severus nearly collapsed back into his chair. Nevertheless, he managed to save some of his dignity and instead sat down slowly, his eyes slightly wide as he continued to stare at the vial.
"What does that mean?" demanded Harry, startled; not only about the reaction of his potion's master but also by the gasp heard from the headmaster. Turning his head to look at Dumbledore Harry near panic asked. "What does he have to do with any of this? He is not… No… he can't be. Please tell me he isn't my father."
Harry and everyone one else was startled as Severus let out a laugh. Not the kind of laugh you hear once you've heard a joke, but the kind that conveys disgust and disbelief; definitely not humor. "No you daft, child. I'm not your father. The relationship potion determines what relationship two individuals have. Eileen Prince is my mother. I have not seen her since I was nine. Had the potion turned green, it would have meant you were my half brother and more searching would have to be done to find your father. The headmaster wished to eliminate my father from the list of possible sperm donors responsible for your conception while confirming once more that the letter was authentic…"
"But it didn't turn green – it didn't change at all! It stayed blue. What does blue mean?" asked Harry interrupting Severus.
"If you would stop interrupting I could tell you, you dim-witted brat," snapped Severus, visibly out of patience.
"Sorry," mumbled Harry not sorry at all, but wanting answers.
Severus glared, obviously not believing the boy's apology, but continued with his explanation. "Blue means that we are not half-brothers but brothers. Not only do we share the same mother, but the same father at well."
While Severus's focus was on the young boy sitting across the table from him he plainly heard the gasps of disbelief form the rest of the Order as well. Harry's face and eyes were filled with emotion. Although disbelief and fear were prominent, Severus could feel more than see the boy's anger rising – a fact that startled him slightly. Not that he showed it.
Eventually, the room settled down again and Dumbledore spoke. "Children, why don't you go into the living room to discuss this development while we carry on with the rest of the meeting." Reluctantly, amongst grumbles and muttering, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and the Twins got up from the table and made their way to the living room. They could sense the adults putting up various silencing and repelling charms as they left and knew there was no point in trying to eavesdrop. Sitting down in the living room, they remained silent for several minutes.
It was Ron who finally broke the silence. "So are you going to live with Snape now, Harry?"
"NO! I'm not going to live with that greasy, oily bat."
"Well I don't think you're going back to the Dursley's," commented Hermione. "Maybe you'll go live with your real mum or dad."
Harry shrugged and once again the room lapsed into silence. After a few minutes the twins started discussing one of their new inventions and explaining its effects to everyone else. This lightened the mood slightly and soon small conversations broke out.
About an hour or so after the teenagers were asked to leave the kitchen, the door opened and the adults began filing out of the room. Sirius and Severus had looks of pure fury on their faces. Albus approached the children and explained what was going to happen now.
"Since, you are safest with a blood relative, Harry, you're going to go with Severus for the summer. He has agreed to take you to meet your father; hopefully, you will use the opportunity to get to know your new family. Once you're back at Hogwarts, we'll discuss who your permanent guardian will be. Also, since both you and Severus are in danger you will not be allowed to contact your friends or do any sort of magic."
"What? You can't…" began Harry.
"He can," spoke Severus in a voice that demanded obedience. "This is not your decision to make, boy. You know nothing of the current situation and therefore cannot make informed decisions. As a result, you will do as you're told."
Harry glared at the potions master and swore he heard Sirius growl in the background. Stubbornly blinking back tears of frustration, Harry once again turned his attention back to the headmaster.
"I realize, Harry, that the circumstances are not ideal and you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, but for the time being you must believe it is for the best." The headmaster peered at him from over the rim of his glasses, his tone was firm, but not harsh, and there was a bit of sympathy laced in for good measure.
Harry didn't reply; instead, he just stood glaring at the ground. Sighing, the headmaster left and most of the Order members followed.
"Don't just stand there, boy, get your things and say goodbye," commanded Severus.
Harry didn't bother replying. He just made his way upstairs to where his trunk was, followed closely by his friends and after retrieving his things and saying goodbye to his friends, the Weasley's, and Sirius he silently followed Severus out of the house and into an ally. Once in the ally, Severus placed a hand on the boy's shoulder and apperated them both to a small town in the West County.
AN: Alright I know I said I'd work on a prequel to 'Ups and Downs' but this little story line popped into my head and I had to write it down. Please let me know what you think of it or if there's something particular you'd like to see happen.
Okay this chapter has now been beta'd by the fanstasic breanatala. If you read the orginal its worth rereading this chapter as there are significant changes.