~ Better in the Dark ~
Summary: Harry is struggling after the loss of Sirius but discovering that he isn't a Potter pushes him over. Now that he knows the truth what should he fight for?
Pairing: Draco/Harry, Lucius/Charlie, Severus/Lily
Warning: Slash, Violence, Gore, Manipulative Dumbledore
Disclaimer: Do you see Severus Snape ALIVE at the end of Deathly Hallows? No? Then I do not own Harry Potter…
~ Chapter One ~
Like every year the countdown had begun.
Nope no sign of what was yet to transpire. Yet what was he expecting? A wonderful celebration from his family? A slap on the back or a hug from his friends? No nothing of the sort would ever happen. Not to him. Not during his lifetime at least and definitely not in the near future. Never for him… never.
9… 8… 7…
Emerald eyes surveyed the area of sky from his window. Still nothing. But maybe if you squinted enough the speck in the distance could count as something. Well when you were alone for weeks on end anything could be something if you thought about it long enough. No new mail. No packages of food. Not even the Daily Prophet. Wow that was a depressing thought.
6… 5… 4…
Raven hair was brushed from his face as he squinted. Yes there in the distance he could now spot several owls. No wondering who they were from. Thankfully he wouldn't get anything from those 'fans' who worshipped him… that would be just dreadful. And what would he do with millions of pictures of his fans anyway? Or useless trinkets? Gifts made by five year olds... he shuddered at the thought.
3… 2… 1…
The clock on the bed side table flashed 12:00am and with that bought the day to 31st of July.
Several owls swooped into the Second Bedroom of Number 4 Privet Drive, Surrey towards Harry Potter. Yes today would be a great day… surely nothing could go wrong on his birthday? Harry let out a bitter laugh at that thought… it was his birthday… what couldn't go wrong? Smiling to himself he moved from his desk to his bed so he could get a better grasp of the packages that the owls had delivered. As soon as he had untied the packages the owls left leaving only his trusted familiar Hedwig by his side.
"Hello girl did you have a nice flight?"
Hedwig nipped his fingers affectionately as if agreeing with him and flew towards her cage for a drink as Harry turned back towards his presents. Several packages were now lying innocently enough on his bed before him. He knew who had bothered to send him presents. He also knew that those who had sent him presents weren't always as innocent as he had believed they were. Friends… he could almost laugh at that thought… what friends?
Instantly he reached for the one he knew was sent by the Fred and George. That would positively be something worth opening. He knew that the twins were trustworthy. They didn't see him as a weapon or the Boy-Who-Lived. To them he was Harry, just Harry, the person who gave them 1000 galleons to start their joke shop Weasley Wizarding Wheezes. Sure enough as soon as he opened the box he was assaulted with numerous merchandise items from the joke shop many of which weren't available in stock yet. Harry grinned. He had always enjoyed the twin's jokes. They reminded him so much of the Marauders.
Placing the package down, he searched for Remus' package. Ever since the disaster at the Department of Mysteries, Remus had tried to fill the void left by Sirius. Harry believed that it was for the both of them though. It helped but it was nothing compared to Sirius himself though he greatly appreciated the gesture. Remus would always be his Godfather and Uncle in all but name. The package opened to reveal two books, one on the dark arts and the other on healing. After what happened in the Ministry he no longer desired a career as an Auror. He doubted that an Auror would ever be the correct job for him. Healing sounded like something he would at least enjoy doing. Smiling he placed both books on his pillow beside the box of jokes.
Neville and Luna had pooled together and bought him a Savannah kitten. He was told that it would grow to be larger than a normal cat but smaller than a tiger which didn't really calm him even though he thought it was adorable. It jumped playfully out of the box and onto his lap. Harry was relieved that it was a fluff ball; he didn't like hairless cats at all. The fur was pure black with light grey markings. Neville had written in his letter that the owner believed that the kittens he had were magical and with time would show some abilities, in what he had no idea. Luckily that wouldn't happen for another few months yet seeing as he was as small as an ordinary kitten though he noticed with slightly more intelligence. Harry went through a long list of names till he found one they both liked, Citren, since he seemed to take a liking to the citrus fruits that were sent with him.
That left the dreadful excuse of presents sent by Ron and Hermione. Oh he knew that they didn't care for his wellbeing. If they did they would have sent regular letters so that he would at least have some human contact since he had left Hogwarts. Yet they had sent nothing. Probably too caught up in their own relationship which he had noticed began at the feast last year. Ripping open the cheap paper his guess had been accurate. The box was filled with nothing but lollies that appeared to have been rifled through before sending away. Not even the note was really worth it. Sure they asked how he was (like they didn't already know) and said that they were alright and enjoying the holidays (that he was sure of since they were together).
Annoyed Harry threw the box back onto the bed disgusted with them. He couldn't even muster up a smile or laugh when Citren pounced on the moving objects and began to devour a few of them. Surely that wasn't healthy for a kitten? However he no longer cared.
To his 'friends' he was nothing more than a way to get what they want. He was famous who wouldn't want to be friends with a famous person whom everyone knew? Of course that was what Ron and Hermione were. They were people using his fame for their goals. Hermione desired to enter the ministry when she graduated. However since she was a mudblood no one in the ministry desired to hire her since the ministry was built from pureblood aristocrats. But with the Boy-Who-Lived backing her anyone would beg her to work for them. Ron desired to be a famous Quidditch star. Even though he lacked in skill and experience any team would jump at the chance to have the Boy-Who-Lived best friend on their team.
Not only that but they were stealing his money with the permission of Albus Dumbeldore. That could be changed now thankfully. If not he would have told the papers and let them deal with the media attention on his own. He no longer desired to be friends with those betrayers. He should have listened to Draco when they first met. Some wizards were better than others and yet he hadn't even noticed until now.
To his teachers he was merely a student who accomplished an unimaginable feat when he was an infant. They couldn't look past that one day on Halloween when his mother's sacrifice saved him and defeated the Dark Lord. Then there were the other accomplishments during school. The Philospher's Stone. The Chamber of Secrets and the Basilisk. The Time Turner. The Triwizard Tournament. The Department of Mysteries. But that was simply to name a few. Where most students would get expelled for these feats he wouldn't because he was the blessed Boy-Who-Lived and he could do no wrong.
To the public he was the Boy-Who-Lived, the idol of the 'Light'. That was a laugh. He couldn't help but feel further from the light right now. Normally he sat on the fence. He couldn't see the light and dark of the world. He only saw knowledge and power much like a young Tom Riddle did. That didn't even bother him although many would think it did. Harry knew that all spells could have a light or dark purpose it was the person's actions that made them light or dark. He would be branded a traitor for that line of thought of course.
To the Order of the Phoenix he was a tool, a weapon, a way to defeat the Dark Lord… like he was ever going to do that. No one thought about what he desired to do. He didn't want to become a murderer simply to ease the thoughts of the wizarding world. Not that they cared. Most likely as soon as the job was done he would labelled a killer and a danger to the public. Again he would be thrown in Azkaban.
There was just no way around it. The only people who seemed to truly cared about him were Remus, Neville, Luna, Fred and George. Of course there had also been Sirius but he wasn't there any longer…
Citren nudged him distracting Harry from his thoughts. He had thought that he was finished with his presents but it appeared as if there was still one letter left. Cautiously he reached for it and slowly opened the letter only to almost drop it in shock.
My Dear Harry,
By the time you read this I shall be long gone and I am sorry for leaving you alone. Currently you are gurgling at James while he plays pranks with Padfoot. I've never seen either of them so full of life. If only these times shall last. Before I get into the main reason I am writing. I must tell you that whatever you do I am proud of whom you are and my love shall remain with you always.
I am going to move straight to the point since I don't have a lot of time left. James Potter is not your biological father. Your father is Severus Snape. We had been dating during the last few years of Hogwarts. But when I discovered that I was pregnant I went into hiding with James who even though was annoyed at the father decided that a mother and her child couldn't protect themselves alone. How everyone came to the decision that we were married I'm not sure but it worked in keeping us safe.
It broke my heart to lie and betray Severus like that but it had to be done to keep you and I safe. I am not positive if Severus is still alive but I have also sent a letter to him. Regardless of what James thinks he needs to know that he has a son.
I am unaware of any other relatives that may be alive for I discovered that I was adopted by the Evans family when I received your birth certificate. I am sorry I can't tell you more. I can only hope that you weren't left with my sister like I stated in my will. If not know that you are now sixteen and can legally move out in the muggle world that is if you need to get away as soon as possible which is more than likely considering Petunia's temper.
There is one more thing I must tell you. Do not trust Dumbledore! My feelings are screaming at me to make sure you never are placed in that man's hands regardless of the situation and I shall allow that feeling to rule my decisions for you my son.
I wish I could write more however I feel that time is short. I will always love you and your father, never forget.
Your mother, Lily.
Breathing deeply, he reread the letter taking in every little detail. To say he was shocked was an understatement though it did explain several things like his current appearance. Harry reached for the other slip of paper which he guessed was his birth certificate. He needed to make sure that this wasn't a simply hoax in an attempt to make him forget about the blood wards and wonder outside where he wasn't protected. However if it were true he wasn't safe in the house anyway not with this 'family'.
Name: Ciaran Marvolo Snape
Birth Date: 31st July
Father: Severus Tobias Snape
Mother: Lilith Merope Riddle
Godfather: Rabastan Lestrange
Godmother: Narcissa Malfoy
It all came as a shock to him though he should have begun to guess. His appearance had slowly shifted throughout the holidays. No longer did he have his James' uncontrollable tangle of hair. His raven locks were now straight and slick reaching to his shoulder blades so that he had to tie it back with a leather strap. His complexion which usually tanned during the summer was still pale a fact that annoyed him to no end. His face had taken on more of an aristocratic look though he didn't have Snape's nose. Thankfully he had kept his mother's eyes, the only part of his features which he truly loved. Unfortunately with his change he kept his unimaginable small stature which he blamed on the malnourishment provided by the Dursley's.
But now he no longer had a reason to remain in his 'home' any longer. His mother had given him a way out and now he was going to take it. Making a decision, Harry threw open his trunk and dumped everything he owned in it including the new clothes that he had recently bought. No way was he going to continue to wear those hideous rags that were his cousin's hand-me-downs. Though his style was defiantly darker including shades of deep green, blue, blood red, silver and black.
"Hedwig you can go and hunt until I find a place to stay, right?"
Hedwig nipped is fingers as a warning to stay safe and flew out the window into the early morning. Shrinking the cage he added it to the list of items already in his trunk. He picked up his gifts and depending on their worth to him he either dumped them in (with Ron and Hermione's) or placed them in (Remus, Fred and George). Citren climbed up onto his back and sat on his shoulder with easy balance, his tail flicking in excitement.
Once everything was packed he wandlessly shrunk his trunk and placed it carefully in his pocket now that he had all his possessions, Harry moved towards the door which was miraculously unlocked for the first time during his stay at 'home'. Walking silently down the stairs he listened for a disturbance before opening the door and walking out. He knew that he wouldn't get caught; the idiot Order had left Mundungus Fletcher on duty alone again. Honestly would they were learn?
Without a second glance back, Harry Potter left Private Drive for good.
Potions. Severus Snape lived for potions. He could do anything with potions. If anyone needed to be cured of a poison, he was the one to turn to. Any problems with one's love life, he was the one to turn to. Not that he would bother with such trivial things as love potions but he could make them. He was a professor after all.
Severus Tobias Snape was not only a Potions Professor but a Potions Master. He had spent only a few short years on his mastery something no normal witch or wizard could do. No he was by far the best Potions Master in Wizarding Britain something few others could claim. Not that he was cocky.
Potions were a way out from life. They calmed him and created a focus that pulled him from everyday life. Potions were always useful no matter what the situation and mostly used to heal a person of serious injury. They could regrow bones, cease pain and even allow a dreamless sleep.
Not this time however. No matter how much he tried he couldn't get even a first year potions correct. His mind just wouldn't focus. Only one thought crossed his mind. Harry Potter was his son.
Lily's letter had been a curse in disguise. Severus could still see it resting ever so innocently on his desk.
My love if you are reading this then I am no longer on this Earth. How I wish we could have had more time together.
Straight to the point my love, we had a son! I apologise for not telling you sooner but James and I agreed that with your position as a spy we couldn't risk him. Never fear my love I remain faithful to you and our son. James is merely a friend keeping us safe from the horrors of the wizarding world at the current point in time.
I have named him Ciaran Marvolo Snape. Marvolo was my father's middle name or so I'm told and I think that it fits him very well but enough about that. When you meet him you will not be told this name. You will be given the name Harry James Potter.
I am sorry for deceiving you my love however it was necessary to keep us safe. You and Ci are my world, Severus, and I would do anything to keep you both alive. Do not feel guilty for my death for you must live for Ciaran now. He will need his father now more than ever.
Severus didn't know what to do now. He had always thought of Harry… Ciaran… as a copy of James and hated the boy on principle. Never had he thought that he could actually think of the boy as his own person let alone his son. However if he truly wasn't a Potter but a Snape, then there might be away to rid the boy of that dreadful appearance that reminded him some much of his childhood. Potions were a possibility… but he was certain that Lily had used Charms as she was highly gifted in that field.
He may have accepted the information that Lily had given him but that didn't explain how he was going to settle this. The question was what was he going to do with this information on the boy?
One obvious choice was tell the headmaster… but he didn't trust the headmaster. He was a manipulative person who hid it beneath his grandfather facade. No, he couldn't trust the headmaster with this information especially when he wanted nothing more than to see Ciaran for who he truly was. If he could hide the boy from the headmaster then he would gladly do it even if he never saw the boy again.
Another choice was Lupin. Though he was loath to admit it the werewolf was now a part of Ciaran's life not that the werewolf was aware of it currently. He knew that the Ministry wouldn't allow the werewolf custody of his son. Werewolves were after all too unfit to even take care of themselves during their time of the month. So there wasn't much point in that option.
Then there was the choice of going to his master, the Dark Lord. Lily had mentioned in her letter that her biological father's middle name had been Marvolo. Since the name was decidedly pureblood there was the chance that Tom Marvolo Riddle was indeed Lily's father and in that case his son's grandfather. If that was the truth then he had to tell the Dark Lord for fear of punishment if someone else reported it first.
The option on the top of his list though was the thought of his son living with him. Though if the boy still had that curse scar there wouldn't be a hope in the world. The Ministry wouldn't allow an ex-Death Eater to take custody of the Boy-Who-Lived father or not.
Any of these options was disastrous at best. There were also so many questions that he didn't have any answers to. Where was the boy currently? Was he safe and well? Who were his godparents? Would they look after him? He didn't have any of these answers and he was tempted to enquire about the address of the boy from the headmaster to get them. Though from the Occlumency lessons he remembered a place called Privet Drive, Surrey. Maybe if he remained around there in disguise of course he would be able to find his son and get his answers.
That was it. He would just have to approach Ciaran himself and hope that Lily had thought to inform the boy of his heritage. If not he would have to sit through a terribly uncomfortable talk for the both of them.
"Severus, come quickly we need your help."
Severus exhaled in annoyance. The headmaster would just have happened to need his assistance as he decided what to do with his son.
"What is it this time, Headmaster?" he snarled.
"Harry Potter has gone missing."
Yoyo! My first Harry Potter fanfic hope you enjoy...