*Disclaimer: Harry Potter and his world belong to JK Rowling and Warner Brothers. I don't own them, though I might wish I did! This fanfic is purely for the entertainment of myself and whoever reads it; I'm not being paid to write it. That being said, enjoy!

*This fic is a response to Severitus' challenge.

(I've been enjoying Severitus' supremely well-written A Father's Sin so much that I just had to give a try at responding to the challenge. To those of you who haven't read A Father's Sin yet, I highly recommend it.)

*Author: Littletiger

*Rating: PG-13

*Summary: In Harry's fifth year, the young wizard discovers that the Dursleys are not, in fact, his only living relatives…

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1 Bellum Domesticum

"Oh, no!"

Harry Potter groaned as he read his new timetable, bright green eyes flashing with disgust behind his glasses. It was the first morning of Harry's fifth year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and timetables had just been passed out at the Gryffindor table.

"We've got double Potions with the Slytherins first thing!"

Harry's best friend, Ron Weasley, looked up from his porridge to stare at him in horrified disbelief.

"No way! Two hours of Snape and the slimy Slytherins first thing in the morning?!? That's pure torture, that is!"

"Oh, Ron, stop griping!" admonished Harry's other best friend, Hermione Granger.

"At least we'll have it over with at the beginning of the day, and we've got Professor Lupin for Defense Against the Dark Arts next class after Potions," she continued, scanning her timetable eagerly.

Harry hoped that Professor Snape was not in an especially vindictive mood this morning. Harry and his Potions professor had never gotten along well, and Severus Snape loved nothing better than to deduct points from Gryffindor House and Harry in particular. However, as he glanced at the staff table, he found that the hook-nosed teacher was scowling at him with his usual expression of utmost loathing.

Whereas Snape was quite possibly the most hated professor in the school, Professor Remus Lupin was quite popular. The latter had taught Harry and his classmates Defense Against the Dark Arts during their third year. To Harry's great disappointment, Lupin had resigned when Snape "accidentally" let slip that he was a werewolf. Headmaster Albus Dumbledore had insisted that Lupin return to teaching at Hogwarts, as the werewolf was the best Defense Against the Dark Arts professor that the school had ever had. Despite grumbles from some of the Slytherins, most of the school was rather pleased to have him back.

Harry grinned as Lupin surreptitiously jerked his head towards Snape, rolling his eyes heavenward in mock exasperation at Snape's dour demeanor. From across the hall, Dumbledore's blue eyes twinkled as he watched the scene.

"I see Snape's still as cheerful as ever," muttered Ron.

A frown crossed Harry's face as he reflected upon how Snape had singled him out for ridicule ever since his first Potions class. Dumbledore had once told Harry that Snape had hated Harry's father, James Potter. For the past four years, Harry had assumed that Snape hated him because he was James Potter's son and looked so much like him. But the more the young wizard reflected upon this, the more convinced he became that Snape's hatred of James Potter was not much of a reason for hating Harry. There had to be a deeper reason.

While it was certainly true that Snape constantly made insulting references to Harry's father, he had never mentioned Harry's mother. Lily Evans Potter had been in the same year as Snape; they must have known each other. Did Snape hate my mother too? Harry asked himself.

Despite having been given a photo album containing pictures of his parents, Harry realized that he still knew very little about them. Maybe he could ask Lupin about his parents sometime. He longed to know what they were like, but at the same time, Harry worried that the topic of his parents might be a rather painful subject for Lupin, who had been close friends with James and Lily Potter.


Hermione caught Harry's attention by sharply nudging his elbow (causing Harry to wince) and saying, "C'mon, Harry, or we'll be late for Potions!" Hastily cramming the last of his toast into his mouth, Harry snatched up his bag and hurried to follow Ron and Hermione towards the dungeons.

As they entered the gloomy classroom where Potions lessons took place, Ron scowled. Draco Malfoy was slouching arrogantly against a desk, flanked by his massive cronies, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle.

"Well, if it isn't Potty, the Weasel, and the Mudblood," sneered the blond- haired Slytherin. Beside him, Crabbe and Goyle chuckled inanely.

Ron's face turned as red as his hair, and he barked, "Sod off, Malfoy!"

Unfortunately for Ron, Professor Snape had just entered the classroom.

"Ten points from Gryffindor, Weasley!"

"But Professor, Malfoy-"

"Another five points for talking back to a professor. And Weasley," added Snape in a soft but dangerous voice. "Unless you wish to start the year off with negative house points, I suggest you remain silent for the duration of class."

The Gryffindors exchanged mutinous looks, but did not say anything as Snape began writing the ingredients they would need on the board. Malfoy and the rest of the Slytherins appeared quite smug at seeing their Head of House bully the Gryffindors.

"Doubtless you've all forgotten most everything you know about Potions over the summer. If such is the case, you'll have to revise on your own. Class this year will be geared primarily towards preparing you for the OWLs; I refuse to waste class time revising material you should already know. Though some of you, I fear, are incapable of ever understanding Potions."

This last remark was directed towards Neville Longbottom, who habitually managed to melt several cauldrons a year. Neville cowered as Snape directed his glare towards him.

With a minimal amount of noise, the class began slicing ingredients and preparing their potions. Halfway through the class, a loud BOOM filled the classroom as Neville Longbottom's cauldron emitted a cloud of smoke and began to melt all over the dungeon floor. Several students shrieked and panicked as they frantically moved away to avoid being covered with the botched potion.

In the ensuing confusion, several students accidentally bumped into Harry, who had been working alongside Neville. Everyone was too distracted to notice the grimace of pain that flickered across Harry's thin face. Except, that is, for Professor Snape. His dark eyes caught Harry's brilliant green ones for a brief moment with an unreadable expression. Snape quickly restored order to the class, and the students returned to work.

After an unbearably long two hours, the class had finished making their potions (Snape had taken twenty points from Gryffindor for Neville's melted cauldron). Not wanting Snape to be able to find another excuse for deducting points, Harry had been meticulous with his potion. Watching his classmates struggle with the assignment, Harry tried to figure out what they were doing wrong. Consequently, he was the last student to finish his potion. Miraculously, Snape made no scathing comment about how long Harry had taken. Hermione looked at Harry's cauldron in approval.

"Oh, well done, Harry! Your potion looks perfect!"

Snape, overhearing Hermione's remark, glided swiftly over to where Harry was working, his black robes billowing out behind him. Leaning over Harry's shoulder, he peered into the cauldron.

"So you are capable of brewing a potion correctly, Potter. I never would have dreamed it possible."

Harry sneered in response to the professor's backhanded compliment. The potion had been a particularly complex and difficult one to brew. Even Hermione had had difficulty with it.

"Very well. Class dismissed as soon as you finish clearing up. Potter, stay behind, I want a word with you."

Wondering what on earth he was supposed to have done wrong now, Harry quietly bottled a vial full of his potion, cleared up his ingredients, and put his books back into his bag.

Ron and Hermione looked at Harry apprehensively.

"Go on to Defense Against the Dark Arts. I'll catch up with you later."

Reluctantly, Ron and Hermione turned and left the classroom.

* * * * * * * *

To be continued…

Please read and review! This is my first attempt at a Harry Potter fanfic. Flames will be used to toast marshmallows over a campfire. (In other words, they're not welcome.) Constructive criticism, however, is appreciated.