Author's Note: The challenge was to provide an explanation for that behind-the-scenes photo of Rickman, Grint, and Radcliffe laughing on set in the Great Hall. Check the profile page for a link. Ignore the director dude. He is the Invisible Man. That is all.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
The Rapture of Canon
"Unh!" Harry and Ron groaned in unison as Snape gave both their heads a hard shove from behind. Harry was hardly surprised at being caught — while their agreement to procure dates for the Yule Ball had been made in little more than a whisper, Snape seemed to employ some special kind of bat radar when it came to catching him breaking the rules.
Harry ruefully rubbed the back of his head as Snape leaned threateningly over the two of them. "For the benefit of those who are actually trying to learn something, I insist that you refrain from disturbing their work," the Potions master hissed. "Unless, of course, you'd rather finish your assignments in detention?"
"No, sir," Harry murmured, dimly echoed by Ron. Snape glowered at them for a long moment before sweeping haughtily away from the table.
"Git," Ron muttered once Snape had moved a few paces away. "Like anyone can concentrate with him jumping out at them all the time."
Harry nodded absently and tried to focus on his Transfiguration text. But Ron's complaint about being harassed reminded him of a question that had been nagging at his brain for some time, and he found he had trouble concentrating. He'd kept meaning to ask Dumbledore or McGonagall, but could never seem to remember just when he was in their presence. Harry looked over his shoulder; Snape was still within earshot. "Professor?" he called softly, trying to keep his voice low enough not to disturb the others.
Snape spun around, leering at him, and Harry almost told him not to mind, after all. But the darkly-clad professor was already advancing upon them, wearing a malevolent expression, so there really wasn't any turning back . . . he'd be lucky if Snape didn't give him detention just for spite. Harry flinched as Snape walked straight up to him, leaning in uncomfortably close to his shoulder. "What is it now, Potter?" he spat.
"I was just, er . . . I haven't seen Colin Creevey at all this term, sir. Is he ever coming back to school?" It was funny — prior to this, Harry had always been rather annoyed by Colin's shadowing of him, wishing for nothing more than to be left alone. But . . . he was actually starting to miss the little bloke.
Snape's eyes narrowed. "Don't be foolish, Potter. He's right over there," he said, pointing across the Hall at a table of third years bent industriously over their textbooks.
Harry frowned. The boy Snape was pointing to was a Gryffindor — he'd seen him in the common room more than once. And he was a third year, if his seatmates and table assignment were any indication. But there the resemblance to Colin Creevey ended. "That's not Colin," Harry protested. "That's . . ." he searched his memory, knowing he must have heard the name somewhere. "That's Nigel, isn't it?"
"Really, Potter? You remember a Nigel being Sorted, do you?" Snape inquired, an odd expression twisting his features. "Spent a great deal of time together, perhaps?"
Is he about to laugh? Harry wondered incredulously. Had he ever seen Snape laugh? Smirk, yes; grimace, often. Smile? Hardly. But the moment had passed, and the Potions master's countenance was as stony as ever. Nope, false alarm. "I don't, actually," Harry replied patiently. "But considering I've only seen one Sorting other than my own . . ."
"And considering that I am a faculty member and interact with each and every student in this school, unfortunately on a daily basis, let us assume that I know slightly better than you do in this matter," Snape snarled.
"Look, I don't know what kind of game you're playing at, but I know Colin Creevey, Professor. And that . . ." Harry said, pointing at Nigel, "is not Colin."
Snape sighed, looking suddenly very tired, and rubbed at his forehead. "This really isn't something I ought to be discussing with a student," he began, drumming his fingers against the notebook in his hands, "but I can hardly have you poking around for information and stirring up trouble. As it happens," he continued, lowering his voice to a murmur, "Mr. Creevey — Colin's father, that is — was placed in protective custody over the summer after he agreed to testify against certain Dark wizards for the Ministry."
Ron stared, mouth agape. "But — but Colin's father is a Muggle milkman!" he protested loudly, causing several neighbouring students to pause in their studying and stare curiously in his direction. Snape's eyes narrowed menacingly as he placed a finger to his lips. Ron reluctantly lowered his voice an octave. "What could he possibly have to do with the Ministry?"
"Mr. Creevey became aware of certain nefarious activities when those involved began using the milk delivery system to exchange clandestine correspondence," Snape informed him. "He contacted Ministry officials, feeling it was his duty toward his son to help keep the Wizarding world safe."
"Look, even if that's all true . . . where did this Nigel come from all of a sudden? Where's Colin?" Harry hissed.
Snape gave Harry's head an impatient smack with his notebook. "I told you, you half-wit," he enunciated slowly, "that is Colin."
"Right . . ."
"Any criminal knows that the fastest way to discourage those who bear witness against them is through their family," Snape explained. "Mrs. Creevey was placed into custody with her husband, but what were they supposed to do with Colin? He needs to finish his education."
"That's Colin, then . . . in disguise?" Harry whispered incredulously.
Snape nodded. "Precisely. A simple glamour was used to completely change his appearance, and the identity of 'Nigel Endyear' was forged in order to make it appear, to an outsider, that we simply had one student withdraw and a new one enroll in his place."
"Well . . . where's this 'Nigel' character supposed to have come from? In his third year?" Ron asked, dubious.
"From the States, of course," the Potions master replied with a smirk. "As you know, we are quite the receptacle for displaced American students here at Hogwarts. Particularly those who have been expelled for illicit — yet, for all that, quite endearing — behaviour."
"Of course," Ron concurred, rolling his eyes.
"How can this glamour thing last so long, though?" Harry wanted to know. "Even Polyjuice wears off every hour."
"Potter, glamours can last as long as necessary. At the time of their implementation, the decision is made as to how long that will be — any sooner, and only the witch or wizard who placed the glamour may remove it." Snape grinned, baring slightly yellowed teeth. "You could be under one yourself and not even know it."
"Right," Harry agreed. "I'm sure that my looks are just a front. Maybe I'm actually Voldemort, spying on you all while pretending to be a student." Harry expected Snape to smack him again, but the man only shot him an aggravated look.
"Certain information that I am privy to makes me certain that you are not Voldemort, Potter," he replied sarcastically. "However, that doesn't mean you were never magically disguised — without your knowledge or consent, of course," Snape added.
"What for, though? Why would anyone bother?" Harry wanted to know. How did I even get into this ridiculous conversation in the first place? he thought angrily. He wished he'd never even asked about Colin, instead simply counting his blessings that he wasn't having his photo snapped every five minutes.
"Why, indeed?" Snape rejoined. "Well, let's hypothesize, shall we? Perhaps you've been made aware of the fact that, while you primarily resemble your father, your eyes are exactly like your mother's?"
"So I've been told," Harry replied warily. If Snape was about to give him more grief about his father . . .
"Would it surprise you, then, to know that her eyes were green?"
Harry's brow furrowed as he pondered this piece of information. "How can I have her eyes, then? Mine are blue."
"Which begs the obvious question: How did a green-eyed woman and a brown-eyed man produce a blue-eyed son?" Snape wondered aloud.
"It happens," Ron offered defensively. "Mum's eyes are green, but both my grandparents' were brown."
"Thank you, Mr. Weasley," Snape drawled, sending Ron a scathing look. "I assure you I will treasure that piece of information. However," he continued, turning his attention back to Harry, "the question at hand is whether you believe such a union could have possibly resulted in a progeny with your . . . features."
"I've seen photos of my father, though," Harry argued. "I look exactly like he did. Even you said so."
"As I explained, that could easily be a glamour. You could be my son, for all we know," Snape returned.
Ron gave a derisive snort. "Not bloody likely," he muttered.
"It could very well be that your appearance, as you are familiar with it, is . . . merely temporary," the Potions master continued. "And that one day, perhaps on your sixteenth birthday, you will look in the mirror and notice a change being wrought."
"What kind of change?" Harry asked suspiciously.
"Your hair, for one thing, would darken and lengthen, perhaps take on a bit more . . . shine." Snape was clearly enjoying Harry's discomfort. "Your nose, not unlike the lying Pinocchio's — apropos — would grow as well. In fact, you might find yourself quite a bit taller than you ever dreamed of being. Your father," Snape added, drawing himself up to his full height, "was rather . . . short in stature."
Ron was obviously having trouble following Snape's train of thought. "What would happen — I mean, what would have been the point of disguising him in the first place?" he asked.
"I imagine that would all be explained," Snape mused, "perhaps in a letter from your mother, Potter, written before her death and held in magical escrow all these years, arriving at the exact moment of transformation, or just before."
"A letter saying what, exactly?" Harry snapped. This was getting beyond ridiculous.
"Explaining, simply, that James Potter was not, in fact, your father, and that your appearance was magically altered in order to keep him ignorant of the fact." Snape was having far too much fun for Harry's liking — his smile was starting to become eerie.
Harry shook his head vigorously to purge it of the disturbing images Snape's theory had called to mind. "Look, all I wanted to know was why Colin Creevey had disappeared, and where this bloke Nigel Endyear came from," he snapped. "How we suddenly decided that you were actually my . . ." He shuddered. ". . . my father is beyond me."
Snape met his gaze squarely, bemused. "You find this theory undesirable, I take it?" he queried.
"You don't?" Harry asked, surprised, twisting slightly in his chair so he could meet his teacher's eyes. If he found the idea of being related to Snape so repulsive, he couldn't imagine how Snape himself could possibly feel any different.
"Not particularly. Not that I want it to be true, mind you, although were I to find out it was, I am sure I would adapt very quickly," Snape speculated, toying absently with a piece of paper that had slipped out of his notebook. "I would not particularly enjoy spending holidays together or dressing alike, however." He sighed. "But I can hardly twist myself into knots over the idea as you apparently have, not when there are so many worse situations to contemplate."
"Such as?" Harry wanted to know. What could be worse than finding out he and Snape were father and son?
"Such as, well . . ." Snape suddenly looked uncertain. Slowly, he leaned in over Harry's shoulder, one hand resting on the table to support his weight. The professor's voice inexplicably dropped to a low murmur, a note of apprehension creeping into his tone. "Potter, if I were to tell you something, something no one else currently knows . . . could you swear to keep the information secret?"
Harry was taken aback. Snape was about to trust him with a secret? "Erm, sure, I guess," he stammered. "What is it?"
"I'm . . ." Snape took a deep breath. "I'm pregnant."