So this is the same chapter as before just shorter...I haven't updated for ages on this story and just found the third chapter on my computer. Thought I should have a look at the previous chapters and change anything I don't like. Look forwards to hearing what you make of it. Mina

Chapter 1

An odd sort of morning:

The morning sun was shining in through a large curtain-less window, casting shadows onto peeling walls that seemed at least a century old.

Someone had been pulling bits of it off, as if starting the eviction process and then deciding they didn't have the energy to finish. A fresh new cream carpet covered the floor, hinting at the possibility of the room getting a new lease of life. But the old rickety furniture dressing the room, hinted that change happened bit by bit in this room.

The old cupboard standing in one corner had one of its doors hanging off the hinges and the large desk taking up one side of the room looked as if it had been used by wild animals as a scratching post.
The bed positioned under the window had lost its frame and the mattress was flat on the floor.
A young man was sleeping soundly under the crumpled sheets and seemed in no hurry to wake up.

Sneaking footsteps could be heard outside in the hallway, before stopping outside the closed bedroom door. The door opened slowly with a moan making the man in the bed shift ever so slightly before slipping back into deep sleep again. A figure, with blazing red hair, slowly slunk in through the door before shutting it as quietly as possible.

"Harry." The figure whispered softly.
"Harry are you awake?" It asked again, before sighing heavily. The figure bent over the sleeping Harry and shock him violently.
"Mate get up, I need to talk to you." The figure demanded, still whispering but this time more loudly. Harry came awake instantly with a gasp.

"Ron? What's wrong? Is anyone hurt? What happened?" Harry demanded putting his glasses on hurriedly before pulling out his wand from under the pillow. Ron hushed him quickly and listened intently for a moment but nothing broke the silence of the house and he exhaled with relief.

"Don't wake her you dolt!" Ron scolded in a half-whisper. Harry glared at him crossly as he slowly came to the conclusion that there was in fact no danger.

"I was sleeping Ron. What do you want?" Harry muttered laying down on the bed again. Ron on the other hand got up from his seated position on the edge of the bed and started to pace the length of the room. Harry eyed him in silence until the pacing started to make him dizzy and he closed his tired eyes.
"What time is it anyway?" He asked from the clutches of his duvet.

"Who cares?" Ron answered continuing his pacing. Harry heard him take a breath as if about to say something but he could only hear a quiet muttering from the other boy.

"Is anything wrong?" Harry asked again squinting at his red headed friend. Ron made a face before stepping closer to the bed.

"I'm asking Hermione to marry me." Ron said before collapsing into a heap at the end of the bed.
"You have to help me Harry or she'll say no for sure." He mumbled. Harry stared in shock at his best friend, hardly believing what he'd just heard.

"You're asking Hermione to marry you?" Harry asked quietly making Ron nod miserably.
"That's great!" Harry exclaimed making Ron pounce on him in his effort to make him quiet.

"Shut up or she'll wake up!" Ron hissed furiously eyeing the bedroom door with panic. Harry grinned under Ron's hands.

"Sh-sa-yum-fo-ure." Harry mumbled, making Ron remove his hands with a sheepish look on his face.

"Sorry." He muttered eyeing his hands nervously.
"I don't know what to do! Should I take her out or do it here in the house?" Ron asked looking around the shabby room. Harry eyed him teasingly.

"You should probably not do it here in my room and the house is slightly dreary." Harry said making Ron glare.

"See I have no clue whatsoever." Ron said gloomily. Harry patted his back gently.

"She loves you Ron. You're already halfway there, maybe you could make her a future plan or something. You know, show her what you see in your future together if you got married." Harry said making Ron's eyes light up.

"That's brilliant! Thanks mate." Ron exclaimed before exiting the room in a hurry. The bedroom door slammed against the outside wall with a deafening bang and he eyed Harry in terror. There was a small thump and then the sound of running footsteps.

"Is everything alright?" Hermione asked flustered with her wand out. She eyed the beetroot-red face of her boyfriend and the entertained one on the still bedridden Harry's and sighed.
"It's five thirty in the morning, what on earth are you guys doing?" She asked, eyeing them both intently.

"Ask Ron." Harry said smiling brightly.
"Well if you guys don't mind I'm going to go back to sleep." Harry proclaimed before rolling over and burying his face in his pillow. His door was slammed shut by an ever redder Ron and Harry sighed with pleasure at being allowed to resume his sleep. He heard Hermione demand an answer before she stormed of in the direction of hers and Ron's bedroom, when non was forthcoming. He then heard Ron descending the stairs before sleep once again beckoned him into its sweet embrace.

Being awoken so early on in the morning and then falling asleep again was not a good idea, Harry decided as he entered the kitchen much later in the day. He found Hermione buried under a tower of books but there was no sign of Ron anywhere.

"I'm looking into taking my NEWT's today, you should as well." Hermione said to his horror.

Did they not deserve a holiday after all that had happened? They had only just ended the war and buried the dead.
He needed a bit of time before starting to think of NEWT's. He got a cup out of the kitchen cabinet and poured himself a cup of tea from the ready-made pot on the counter.

"Er, I'm going to wait awhile I think." Harry mumbled, ignoring the chastening look Hermione cast his way.

"Time will fly by if you don't watch it Harry and then you'll be left with no education and no job prospects. You don't want that do you?" She challenged, making him shrug.

"My vault at Gringotts isn't exactly small, a job can wait." He answered sipping his tea leisurely, making her frown.

"Harry you can't just sit around…" She stopped at the sound of the floo next door being used. Harry got up to see who it was and was surprised to see a very sombre looking Ginny stepping out of the fire.

"Are you alright? What has happened?" Harry asked hurrying towards her. She shook her head and put her hands out to stop him from getting any closer.

"Harry I…I can't do this! I thought I was ready for a real relationship but I'm only sixteen! Mum's talking about wedding dresses and I still have a year left at Hogwarts and it's not like you'll be there!" Ginny rambled, as Harry stared her shell-shocked.
"Maybe we could try again when I finish but I just don't think it's a good idea right now!" Ginny exclaimed before she burst into tears and stepped back into the floo and disappeared from sight. Hermione and Ron, who'd reappeared, eyed him uncomfortably from the doorway.

"I should go and see that she's alright." Hermione mumbled before giving Ron a push towards Harry. She quickly made her way to the fireplace and followed Ginny.

"Girls eh, mate." Ron mumbled. Harry mutely agreed girls were weird, confusing, evil creatures. He would just do best to stay away from them, from now on.
" I'm sure she'll come round." Ron mumbled before patting Harry's shoulder awkwardly.

"I'm not so sure." Harry mumbled thinking back to the last couple of weeks. Ginny had been acting strange, turning her head away when he'd bent down to kiss her. Looking uncomfortable at the beaming smiles, Mrs Weasley had sent their way every time she saw them.
He'd just figured she needed some space or had a girl-thing going on. Giving her some space had seemed like the best idea at the time, now he wondered if it hadn't in fact been a very bad idea.

Harry's morning had just taken a very bad turn in the wrong direction.
Ron tried to cheer him up, by telling him the ideas he'd had so far this morning in regards to his proposal to Hermione but Harry just couldn't bring himself to feel excited.
Ron soon let him escape up to his room where he spent some time staring at the peeling walls. What was happening, Harry thought, to the perfect ending he'd been envisioning ever since old Voldemort had kicked the bucket?

The day didn't progress any better after that.
Mrs Tonks had sent a letter refusing to let Teddy come over for his first weekend stay, even though it had been sorted weeks earlier. Harry had even fixed up a nursery just for the occasion and felt more sad and disappointed than angry.
Teddy was his last link to the Marauders and his only godson, he deserved to get to know the baby too.

Getting a letter from Gringotts demanding his presence within an hour, due to coming of age issues regarding his vault, had just put the icing on top. He'd not even had lunch yet! They could at least have given him a few days to sort himself out, not demand a meeting the very same day! Now he had to hurry to be able to make it on time.

The Goblin that met him told him he was a bit late in coming, seeing as he should have been here on his seventeenth birthday, Harry was not going to make a fuss about not having received a letter earlier.
He didn't think arguing with the goblins after the whole dragon thing was a good idea. The letter had said to come and meet the goblins or else face terrible consequences. Harry was not going to anger the goblins anymore than he already had.

So here he was, at Gringotts, with the scariest looking goblin he'd ever seen. Harry figured they were taking no chances with him now that they knew what he was capable of.

The goblin led him into a room, and closed the door with an ominous snick. Harry had a bad feeling about the whole situation and when the goblin told him the reason for the summon to Gringotts he could hardly believe his ears.

"I'm adopted?" Harry asked, staring at the goblin seated behind the large granite desk. Wow, he felt as if he'd just taken a bludger to the head. "I'm adopted?" Harry asked again, the goblin eyed him stony faced, clearly not impressed with Harry's ability to process information.

"As I was saying Mr Potter, you are now of age in the wizardry world and as such, of age to finalise or end the blood adoption by the Potter family." The goblin said, with what Harry thought might be a slightly spiteful look in his eyes.
"This potion will finalise the adoption and make you a pure-blooded Potter." The goblin said and indicated at a blood red potion held within an ornate glass flask on his desk.
"If you should choose however to restore yourself to your birth line, we at Gringotts offer the Purifitas Potion which will strip your body from any blood interference. It does of course come at a small cost but as it is sold at a better rate than out on the market it would benefit you to purchase it from the bank." The goblin said with a toothy grin before opening one of the desk drawers and producing a small flask containing an electric blue liquid.

"I'm adopted?" Harry asked for a third time, still staring gobsmacked at the goblin.

"Yes." The goblin answered with finality giving him a glare, which made Harry blink and draw a shuddered breath.

"Who am I? If I'm not a Potter I mean. And who are my parents? Are they alive?" Harry asked, suddenly trembling. The goblin eyed him for a moment in silence.

"That was not disclosed to Gringotts bank and I can therefore not answer your questions." The goblin answered. Harry felt like the world had tilted on its axis.
" There is of course the birthright potion, very hard to brew though. Gringotts could offer you a blood test to see if you hold a family account here, for a small fee of course." The goblin continued as if just remembering this option.

"Yes I'll do that. You take some of my blood and then I'll know, right?" Harry asked, holding his shaking hand out towards the goblin.

"To be able to get a reading you will first have to relinquish your Potter status and take the Purifitas Potion. You will of course not be able to reinstate yourself as a Potter again after taking the Purifitas potion." The goblin said, watching as Harry quickly pulled his hand back and placed it in a pocket.

Harry just couldn't get his head around this. He, Harry Potter was not in fact a Potter at all.
What did that mean to the prophecy, had it been invalid all this time? No, the goblin must be mistaken, Dumbledore would have told him otherwise.

"How come nobody ever told me any of this?" Harry asked, eyeing the goblin closely. He wasn't that sure he could tell when a goblin lied or told the truth but it was worth a shot trying to.

The goblin eyed him, not even blinking.
"A blood adoption is a very private thing, I doubt the Potter's went about telling anyone about it. I have it noted here that the adoption was a closed one. Meaning it was handled under the table so to speak." The goblin paused and gave Harry a sharp-toothed grin, managing somehow to look even scarier than before.
"The notes say that Mister Potter appeared on the 31st of July 1981, claiming he was adopting his wife's godson who'd just been born and was in need of a blood adoption potion so the child would be heir of Potter." The goblin continued.

Harry felt chilled to the bone. He believed the goblin, oh it didn't feel right to, but he believed him. Why would he lie after all?

"Why do I look so much like my…like him?" Harry asked, suspecting he might already know.

"A side effect of the potion, the intended heir gets most of its traits from the family head. In this case the late Mr Potter." The goblin said drumming his fingers on the table.
"I have a letter from the Potter's which you are to read before taking any potion." The goblin said making Harry's head snap up. He'd been watching the long nails on the goblins fingers as they tapped the desktop.

"From my parents?" Harry asked feeling his breath catch. The goblin pulled out a drawer and collected a small crème envelope, which he handed over to Harry, who accepted the letter with shaking hands.
"You may take the letter with you and come back at a later date, when your decision has been made, regarding which potion you are taking." The goblin said standing up, clearly wanting Harry out of his office.

"Why can't I take the potions with me?" Harry asked quickly. The goblin sneered at him.

"They are blood potions." He said, sneering again when Harry clearly didn't comprehend.
"They are illegal Mr Potter." He answered finally. Harry eyed the potions on the goblins desk, his father had given him illegal potions when he was a newborn.

"What if I didn't take either of the potions?" He asked suddenly out of interest.

"You will keep your appearance but loose the Potter name and all that goes with it. You have until your eighteenth birthday to come to a decision." The goblin answered looking bored with the question. Harry swallowed hard. That was an option he thought.

"Thanks." He muttered as the goblin held the office door open for him to leave. He noticed that two other goblins followed him through the hall and only stopped when he was outside of the bank. He gave a weak snort, did they expect him to free another of their dragons or something, he wondered.

He hurried past all the shops in the alley, past the still boarded over Weasleys wizard Wheezes.
How he was ever going to be able to come to terms with seeing one twin without the other, was still beyond him.
The new George was very different from the previous one, he was just too quiet without Fred.
Harry was glad that Mrs Weasley had been successful in convincing George to move back home for the time being.

He nodded to the people in the leaky Cauldron as he moved over to the floo point. He was still getting used to the even more avid looks he was getting now, whenever he left home.
Some people had even taken to hugging him when they saw him, which was creepy, he had to stop himself from cursing them out of habit.
Luckily things were slowly settling down. Slowly…

Sometimes he just hated being Harry Potter. He wouldn't mind just being someone else for a while, he thought, as he stepped out of the fireplace at Grimmauld place. Then he froze. Of course he didn't, he quickly corrected himself.

"That you Harry?" Ron called out from upstairs.

"Yes it's me." Harry called back, he'd been hoping for an empty house.

He knew that Hermione was at the Ministry looking into how to get her NEWT's sorted. Harry had hoped that she would have dragged Ron with her, so that he would have a chance to read the letter on his own.

"So, what did the goblins want mate?" Ron shouted from upstairs.

"Just stuff to do with me coming of age." Harry called back, making sure the letter was safely in his pocket.

Ron suddenly thundered down the stairs.
"Merlin I forgot the time, Hermione's going to kill me! I was supposed to meet her at the ministry so we can go out for lunch. I totally forgot." He said making Harry roll his eyes.
"I've been working on my wedding plan you see. She might say no if I don't get it right you know." Ron mumbled looking worried before stuffing a biscuit into his mouth.

"I'm sure she'll forgive you for planning the wedding when you should have been meeting her for lunch." Harry said, watching as Ron stormed around looking for his money pouch.

"'orry mate, 'otta go." Ron mumbled, mouth full. Harry nodded trying to not look too relieved. A moment later and he was alone in the house.

He slowly climbed the stairs and entered his room. Closing his eyes he let himself fall backwards onto the bed. He lay there for a moment before patting his pocket and slowly pulled the letter out.

Harry Potter

His name on the envelope made him take a deep breath.
So they saw him as a Potter. They must have loved him, he thought. Why else would they have adopted him? And they'd given their lives for him.
And had they not said as much when he had held the resurrection stone at the end. Or had that just been what he'd wanted to hear at a very hard time?

He slid his finger under the seal on the front and broke it. He took a breath before folding the letter out. His hands were shaking and after taking yet another steadying breath he let his eyes roam over the paper.

Our dearest son

We are so sorry that you have to be told about your birth in this manner as it means that we have not been there to do so ourselves.
Know that we love you more than anything on this earth. Our love for you would be no different had you in fact been born of us.

On the night of your birth we had a child, a son. He was perfect in all ways.
We had him at home in Godrics Hollow as we had decided on a muggle midwife, we wanted the birth to be at home and natural. The midwife was late in coming and our baby sadly didn't make it. by the time we were going to contact St Mungos it was too late, he came so quickly.

Just moments after our baby's birth one of your mothers old friends came over in distress, we had not seen her for years.
She had just given birth to a son as well, but as she was worried about your safety she asked us to care for you. We didn't even know she had been expecting.

She was so frightened Harry, your birth father made some bad choices and she didn't want you to suffer for them.

She asked us to take you.
Maybe we should have tried to convince her of making another choice but we felt so blessed to have you. It was like a miracle. We had truly been blessed.

We still feel the same now, you are our son in all ways that matter.
We did some bad things Harry, most of all to your mother. We made the choice to Obliviate her and we also made sure to give you a blood adoption.
The midwife arrived and we confounded her into believing she'd been there for the birth.

We feel very bad about the choice we made. She never remembered you, never got to see you after the birth. As parents we know what a terrible thing we have done.
But we kept you safe, which is what she would have wanted. You are now six months old and a real joy to us. We are grateful for your presence everyday and just love you more every moment that passes.

Whatever choice you decide to make regarding the adoption, know that we love you and that you will never be anything else but our beloved son.

Your loving parents

James and Lily Potter

Harry read the letter over and over. It was true!
He felt as if something had taken hold of his heart and squeezed it to bits. He just lay there on his bed taking gulping breaths. He couldn't believe that it was true. Everything the goblin had told him was real.
He was adopted and his whole life was a lie. He honestly didn't know what to feel.
Was he angry, sad or grateful? He didn't know. All the emotions were twisting around in his chest making it hard to breath.

His eyes were stinging and then it all just burst open. He couldn't contain the sobs that shock his body. He curled up on the bed clutching the letter in his hand. How could this happen to him? Why him? Why was it always him?

He didn't know how long it took before he stopped crying, before his body stopped shaking and his heart went numb. He wiped his face on the sheet and took a couple of calming breaths.

Who was he? The real him? He looked at the crumpled letter in his hand and tried to smooth it out with his hand. They hadn't written who his birth mother was. He looked for the envelope and found a separate sheet and another small envelope still contained within.

Dear Harry

These are the names of your birth parents should you make the decision to not proceed with the adoption.

Your mother is Octavia Moon. She attended Hogwarts and was sorted into Slytherin, she was a good friend of Lily's during our time at school. She always followed her heart and was one of the brightest of her year.

Your Father is Severus Snape, he too Attended Hogwarts and was a Slytherin as well. He was a dear friend of Lily's until he made some very bad choices.
He was never informed of your existence.
And we feel that we should advice you not to approach him. He is a Deatheaters, a member of a group of wizards following the Dark Lord.

We have inserted a photo taken of your parents before their graduation.
We are proud to call you our son whatever you choose to do.

James and Lily Potter

Harry was seeing dark spots before his eyes and he leaned forwards putting his head between his knees. It was all too much. He concentrated on his breathing trying to put everything he'd read to the back of his mind.

Snape was his father.
Severus Snape, the man that had spent his years earning Harry's hate, who'd hated him for being James Potters son, was his father.

Merlin, he had watched his father die, looked into his eyes as he drew his last breath.
Harry bolted out of the bedroom and into the bathroom where he emptied his stomach contents into the toilet. How could this happen, why now when it was too late.

He'd had a father, his mind whispered making him shake his head.
James Potter was his father not Snape.
He'd had a father, his mind whispered again making him choke on a sob before managing to get a hold of himself.

He made it back to the bedroom where the two sheets of paper lay on the bed. He could see the envelope, the one which he knew contained a picture of his birth parents. He knew what Snape looked like but what about her.

He slowly opened the envelope and pulled the photograph out.

There they were, Snape with his arms around a smiling girl.

She had his eyes, they were the same emerald green as his and Lily Potters. She had long black hair curling down from her head to her waist. The picture Snape, had a lock of it curled around his fingers. Every now and then they would gaze at each other almost shyly before once again looking into the camera. They looked happy, not at all what Harry had expected.

He wondered if Snape had taken the mark yet at the time of the picture being taken, did his mother know what he was about to do? Had she not cared at first but then gotten frightened, Harry wondered.

He'd had parents, he'd known his father all this time. He pulled a hand over his face remembering every sneer he'd received, every hateful comment he'd made about the man. To know that Snape had protected him all his life because of his friendship with Lily, Lily who'd stolen his son without his nowledge, was hard.

Snape had changed. Maybe it was the end of the relationship with his birth mother, maybe it was his friendship ending with Lily.
But he'd changed.
He could have taken care of Harry.
Harry could have had a father growing up, maybe even a mother.
It was strange though, strange to know that his whole life could have been different. Would he have been a Slytherin as the hat had wanted, not because of Voldemort, but because of who his parents were?

Merlin he was confused. He just didn't know what to feel anymore.
He didn't know what to do.