Chapter Five – The Changeling Appears
Harry sighed. He never seemed to get a break from his semi-celebrity lifestyle. He had thought that things were bad when he'd first come to the school. Now they were five times worse, what with Cedric spreading the tale of how he'd blown Voldemort off his feet and gotten them away from the Death Eaters with the Summoning Charm.
He was packing his stuff in Gryffindor tower when Ron appeared and said, "Harry, mate, Dumbledore wants to talk to you. He's in the Common Room."
Harry blinked and checked his hair. Recently it had been growing longer and flatter, part of the disappearance of his mother's charm and Harry didn't want his disguise to fall apart completely when he was talking to the Headmaster. Last night he'd gotten a major shock when the last of the charm had disappeared and he'd seen his real appearance.
He walked down into the common room and stopped suddenly. Sitting behind Dumbledore was the Potions Master and head of Slytherin House, Severus Snape.
Dumbledore smiled kindly at him and said, "Tomorrow all the students will be leaving and the Weasleys and Miss Granger will be going to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. You will be joining them."
"Thank you Professor." Harry said automatically, trying to remember anything his mother had said about the Order.
"Also, sources within Voldemort's inner circle have told us that he has mentioned having a son. Did he say anything like that to you?"
"I'm his son."
Harry was surprised to hear a short bark of laughter as Snape turned to Dumbledore and said, "I'll give Potter some credit that was amusing."
"Riddle." Harry acidly corrected Snape.
"What?" Snape snarled.
"My real name is Harry Salazar Rowan Riddle. Mum chose my second name and Father chose the first and third."
"Who told you this Harry?" Dumbledore asked.
"Mum wrote a letter and had Gringotts hold it until the day of the Third Task."
"Professor, you don't actually believe Potter, do you?" Snape snarled incredulously.
"I do. Harry has never lied to us. How did your father react Harry?"
"He took me to the home he shared with Mum when she'd visit him and asked me not to tell you until he'd spread rumors around. He wanted to check and see how you'd react to his having a son, if you'd turn me in or not."
"There is a spell around you, what is it?"
"A spell to protect my true appearance." Harry reached into his pocket, withdrew his wand and tapped his head very lightly.
There was a brief shimmer as the spell faded away, leaving a taller young man with neat black hair and bangs that fell across one eye, a slim frame that shimmered with magical power and long, thin fingers. He reached up and removed the glasses, tossing them onto a table. The most noticeable difference was the lack of his scar.
Severus' eyes widened. Up until now it had been easy to dismiss Potter's claim of relation to the Dark Lord but now that was impossible. They looked almost identical. He could see Lily in the more delicate curve of his jaw, but the rest was the Dark Lord.
"Headmaster," Harry added hesitantly, "I would like to enter as a new student."
"Why?" Dumbledore asked gently.
"Harry Potter is too well-known. This appearance will not be accepted by those who know me."
"What if you joined as Harry Riddle?"
"Under my real name? Doesn't the Ministry know Father's real name?" Harry said, startled.
"No. Tom was a complete stranger to the Ministry. None of them even know he was a student here."
"Okay," Harry answered. Dumbledore smiled. Harry acted so confident, but Albus could tell he was still getting used to this. So was he, for that matter. The idea that Tom had never wanted this magical war was a prospect that made him hopeful for the future.
"He's here," Harry said softly.