Who Is The Half-Blood Prince?

Summary: Harry has a crush on the Half-Blood Prince, without knowing his true identity. Severus catches him with his Potions book. Will Harry find out the truth?

Warning: Suggested Pre-Snarry. 6th year. Slightly AU (Harry is caught with book before he has the chance to use Sectumsempra).

Note: All thoughts (in italics) belong to Severus Snape.

~ HPSS HPSS HPSS ~

"Harry, you've got to get rid of it!"

Severus' ears perked up. He was in the restricted section of the library, unseen by the Gryffindors whispering.

"No, Hermione. The Prince is brilliant! I'm finally doing well in Potions! There is no way that I'm giving it up!"

The Prince…? Potions…?

"But Harry, you don't know who it is. Those are dark spells in there."

Severus' eyes narrowed. What in the-?

"Look, Hermione, I promise I won't try out any more of the spells without talking to you first. That way you can tell me if you think they're safe or not."

"No, Harry! None of them have been safe! They are cruel and not at all funny. What if the next spell you use really hurts somebody or kills them?"

Severus quietly put his book away and made his way out of the restricted section, towards the whispering Gryffindors, keeping his ears carefully trained on them.

"Oh, Hermione, that won't happen!"

"Mate, listen to her," Ron piped up. "It's not safe. Just because you have a crush on him doesn't mean he's a good guy-"

A crush?

"Or a girl. I think the Prince is a girl," Hermione insisted.

"Uh-uh!" exclaimed Harry and Ron, disagreeing with Hermione at the same time. "He's definitely a bloke," Harry finished. "But I'm not in love with him."

"Oh, c'mon, Harry, yes you are!" Ron chortled. "You constantly talk about how wonderful he is and you sleep with the book every night. I bet if you ever met your Prince face-to-face you would jump up and snog him silly!"

Oh, really?

"Ron!" exclaimed Harry, face flushing with embarrassment.

"Mr. Potter, don't you think it's a bit…foolish…to invest your feelings in someone whom you do not know?" He smirked as all three were startled to find their DADA professor, formerly their Potions professor, suddenly hovering over them.

Harry gulped and looked down guiltily, face still flushed from earlier.

"Hand me the book."

Harry handed it over reluctantly and Severus flipped through the pages lazily.

"Not to mention foolish to follow the advice of scribbles in the margin of a book. Did it not occur to you that the alterations in the recipes could be disastrous or fatal?" Severus continued silkily.

"Perhaps it was foolish, sir, but the Half-Blood Prince is brilliant! He's the reason that I am doing so well in Potions this year! The Half-Blood Prince is incredibly intelligent and inventive; so much more than the book's author," Harry gushed enthusiastically.

Severus fought the corners of his mouth from twitching into a smile. He does sound like a love-sick puppy. But only because he doesn't know the Prince is me!

"He is truly a master. He should be the one writing textbooks and teaching classes," Harry finished.

Ouch. Severus didn't know whether to feel complimented or insulted. Well, both I suppose. Potter is unknowingly complimenting my abilities and yet is suggesting that I am not a good enough instructor. Oh, if he only knew!

"Potter, didn't it occur to you that perhaps this book could have belonged to the Dark Lord when he was a student?"

"Uh…" stammered Harry, panicking.

Severus smirked. "Well…?"

"No, sir, I didn't consider that." Harry hung his head.

"Of course you didn't," Severus said flatly.

"Do you know whose book it is, sir?"

"The Half-Blood Prince was once a student here. This was their book. And yes, Potter, I know whose it is."

"And can I ask, sir?" Harry looked up hopefully.

"Of course, you may ask, but I may or may not tell you." Severus closed the book, crossed his arms, and looked more smug than a gossip with the juiciest news of the year.

"Why not?" Harry asked, clearly put out.

"Why does it matter?"

Ron laughed. "Because he has a big crush on the Prince, that's why!"

"Shut up, Ron!"

Severus smirked. "On someone you don't even know Potter? That is very unwise. You really should be more careful with whom you trust Potter. And more careful in where you direct your affections. Otherwise you might be…" He paused and gave him The Look. "Disappointed."

"Well, sir, since you know who the Prince is, what do you think? Do you think I would be disappointed?"

Severus just stared, without expression. Finally he raised an eyebrow, then turned to walk away.

"Wait, sir, professor." Harry stumbled out of his chair. "Can I – may I have my book back?"

"Ah, but it's not your book, is it, Potter? Is it? It's the Half-Blood Prince's!"

"But, sir, it was a spare book in the Potions Room cabinet. Professor Slughorn told Ron and I that we could each get a spare book from the cabinet."

"And why did you not already have your own, Potter?" Severus asked, eyes narrowing.

"Ron and I didn't think that we would be allowed to take the NEWTS Potions class. But Professor McGonagall and Professor Slughorn okayed it."

"Did they?"

"Yes, sir. May I please have it back?"

"No, Potter. And if you bring it up again, I will take points from Gryffindor and give you detention."

Harry hung his head.

"Forget the Prince, Potter," Severus warned dangerously.

Harry looked up.

"Trust me." Then Severus turned and left the library.

~ HPSS HPSS HPSS ~

Months later Hermione discovered newspaper articles about Eileen Prince, a student of Hogwarts. As she was a student many years before the book's edition, it didn't make sense for the book to have been hers. Additionally, she appeared to be full-blood. The three Gryffindors continued their research. Then they discovered that she married a muggle by the name of Tobias Snape. They were shocked. Could they possibly be Snape's parents? Could Snape be the Half-Blood Prince? Ron was horrified, Hermione was amused, and Harry was strangely... not surprised nor bothered at all. He actually had started to become an aware of an attraction to his professor, in spite of (perhaps because of) his snarkiness. Further research confirmed that Eileen and Tobias had a child, Severus Snape. He's a half-blood, and his mother's name was Prince. While Ron and Hermione were not 100% convinced, it made sense. Harry, on the other hand, now had no doubt in his mind and he didn't mind one bit.

~ HPSS HPSS HPSS ~

Harry knocked on the door.

"Enter."

"Professor?"

"Mr. Potter. What is so important for you to interrupt me while I mark essays?"

"I don't mean to disturb you, it's just that –"

"Spit it out Potter."

"Iknowyou'rethehalfbloodprince!"

Silence.

Fin.

AN: This is a one-shot. I do not plan on any sequels, unless there is a really high demand and I am inspired. : ) (Any suggestions for a sequel are welcome.) But I kind of like that the ending is left for interpretation, so the reader can imagine what comes next. Please review and feel free to help yourself to sherbet lemons, licorice snaps, or chocolate frogs from my desk when you do! Thanks!