Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of J.K. Rowling's wonderful characters. This is only my second attempt at fan fiction and my first got such bad reviews that I couldn't make myself finish it. Hopefully this one will be better received… (cross my fingers)…

Also let me go ahead and say that eventually this will be a Harry/Severus fiction so if you're not into that don't read this! I'll try to keep the characters true to themselves but just in case I fail I'm calling this AU and OOC. Thanks!

Italics denote thoughts

Here and Now

Chapter One: Past and Present

Severus Snape, acting Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was once again in a foul mood. It had recently come to his attention that for the last few years some young wizards and witches had not received their invitations to enter the school. No one was quite sure how these children had been neglected but Severus had decided it was totally unacceptable for any child to be denied an education, even though the situation did mean more work for him.

And more brats to teach…even Potter got his invite and he lived in a cupboard under some stairs…

Severus shook his head in an attempt to remove the enigma and distraction known as Harry Potter from his thoughts.

No such luck. Damn that boy!

Snape frowned at his own denial of the passing of time. Potter would be no boy these days. He would be about twenty-seven by now. That is, if he was even still alive.

It had been ten years since the fall of the Dark Lord and the disappearance of The-Boy-Who-Lived-To-Be-a-Pain-in-His-Ass. Potter had not come back to Hogwarts after the death of his beloved Dumbledore in his sixth year. He had instead begun intense training with the members of the Order to prepare for his inevitable battle with Voldemort. To everyone's horror and surprise Potter had been abducted one day during one of his training sessions and never seen or heard from again. The Order and Potter's closest friends had gone in for a rescue but didn't find the Golden Boy. When the beaten and bloodied remains of You-Know-Who were found the wizarding community accredited his death to Harry Potter, but no one know exactly what had happened between the two.

The wizarding world mourned the death of their supposed savior, of course, but the grief was quickly overshadowed by the celebrations of Voldemort's defeat. Not for the first time Snape wondered how it could be that no one had found at least the remains of the boy, if not the alive and well man, in ten years. It almost seemed as if people wanted to forget everything attached to that time in history, and in turn, the boy who had brought them the current peace.

Severus sighed and leaned back in his leather chair.

So many things have changed since then…

The dark haired man took a moment to glance around his office.

Myself as Headmaster, who ever would have thought? I'd be willing to bet not even you, you meddling old coot.

His dark eyes fell on the portrait of Albus Dumbledore, the man who had believed in him for so long, the man he had been forced to kill.

Better not to follow that line of thought…

After he had killed the former Headmaster Severus had gone on the run and into hiding. He did all he could to help the Light without giving himself away. He continued to spy on the Death Eaters from afar and sent encoded messages to the Order as often as possible. Once Voldemort was out of the picture he had turned himself in and stood trial for his actions during the war.

It had gone surprisingly well. The Potions Master had expected the Wizengomot to focus solely on the murder of Dumbledore and throw him to the dementors, but alas, they had given him a chance to make his case. Members of the Order were summoned to testify. Severus had been nervous about their statements since most of the members still hated him for Albus' death. He had been greatly relieved to see that they would be given veritaserum. The Order collectively testified that Snape had been a spy for many years and that the information he had given the secret sect had played a large part in the efforts to curb Death Eater activities. McGonagall had also told the Wizengomot Albus had been slowly dying all year prior to the attack on the Astronomy Tower.

The deciding factor, however, had been the testimony of his godson, Draco Malfoy. Draco had told the jury, while under the effects of veritaserum, that Severus was bound to protect him by the Unbreakable Vow and had killed Dumbledore only to keep himself from being forced to as Voldemort had ordered. In the end Snape had been spared the horrors of Azkaban and resumed his teaching duties at Hogwarts.

I can't blame them for having been suspicious; they would have been fools not to be. I was still closely watched for years until time could heal old wounds…and they had to find a quick replacement for Headmaster McGonagall.

McGonagall had become Headmaster effective immediately after Dumbledore's death. She lived only two years longer than Albus and many said she had willingly gone to join him, her secret love for decades. Many of the experienced teachers had died in the war or since retired leaving few choices for a new Headmaster of Hogwarts. The title had begrudgingly been given to Severus Snape. It was a logical choice since the Potions Master had more experience than most of the current staff in teaching and fighting, but the announcement shocked many and made the front page of The Daily Prophet.

Severus stretched and stood up. A small smirk appeared on his face as he thought about the headlines he had made and the wizards who had been outraged because of them

At least I got that bit of satisfaction from the whole ordeal. Well, enough of this pointless reminiscing about the past. Time to focus on the present…

He picked up the manila folder from his desk and opened it to the first page. It contained a picture of a fourteen-year-old boy with red hair and freckles.

Like a Weasley…

The boy had missed his first three years of Hogwarts somehow. He was one of the young wizards who had not received his invitation and Snape had decided to personally ask the young boy to enter the school. He had done this many times in the past few months and had realized that he enjoyed the one on one interaction with the children and the chance to inform them of their hidden capabilities. Of course he would never admit that to anyone…

Severus closed the file and adjusted his robes. Wizardry school didn't begin for a month still but muggle school had been in session for a month already. He spared yet another glance at the portrait of Albus Dumbledore before he apparated to the boy's hometown.