May I make a point of saying that disclaimer's are highly overrated? I mean, the site is called Fanfiction.Net. Why, pray tell, do we need disclaimers? We all know I don't own this. I dearly wish I did but…I don't. And now that my rant is done, let the fic begin.

** Another fic for Severitus' challenge. **

And many thanks to my wonderful beta's!  Luna Rose/Phoenix Child, Aishiteru Duo, Jasmine-Softly-Spoken, Heather, Artemisu, Arabella Figg, and Laura (who I thank expressly for making this chapter better).

* * * Forgotten thoughts of yesterday

Through my eyes I see the past

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know why

I believe, I believe in the truth from the inside

Go away, go away, go away from me,

LEAVE ME ALONE

- Drift and Die, Puddle of Mudd -

* * *

Drift and Die Saerry Snape Chapter 1

…truth from the inside…

Pain!

Harry Potter rolled over on his bed as another streak of pain shot through him. It had been going on like this ever since his fifteenth birthday two weeks ago. As far as he could tell they were growing pains. And fearsome one's at that.

Biting back a groan, Harry rolled over and sat up, swinging his legs down to the floor. Pushing himself up, he staggered over to the desk in the room where Hedwig's cage sat. But now his cauldron sat on it as well, filled to the brim with a potion. He had brewed it the day after his birthday as making a potion didn't count as magic outside of school. He had been taking it ever since to try and keep the pains down enough so that he could move. Hedwig hooted softly at him from her cage as he picked up an old green mug with a hairline crack in it and dipped some of the potion out. He knocked it back quickly, grimacing at the taste. Setting the mug back down beside the cauldron, he let Hedwig out, and then hobbled back over to his bed. As he fell back down upon it on his back, Hedwig fluttered over and landed beside him, the feathery covering over her feet brushing against his hands.

Smiling weakly, Harry reached up and stroked his owl's soft feathers. Eventually he fell asleep.

* * * * * * * * *

Up! Up! Now!"

As usual, Harry awoke to the sound of Aunt Petunia banging on his door and shrieking at him. Not a preferable way to be awakened.

Turning over, he reached for his glasses and put them on. As he did he found everything was blurry. Blinking, he took them off and looked down at them in confusion. When he looked back up, he gasped.

He could see!

Harry blinked a few more times then got up and hobbled out of his room, down the hall, and into the bathroom. Leaning over the sink he splashed water on his face then grabbed a towel, straightening as he did so. When he put the towel down, he gasped at the reflection staring back at him from the mirror.

A tall, pale youth with lank black hair falling to his chin stared back at him. Dark eyebrows arched gracefully over the slightly slanted eyes and high cheekbones jutted sharply out from under the youth's skin, partially hidden by the hair. Harry's mouth dropped open and so did the youth's thin lipped one. His eyes widened. So did the reflections.

"Oh my God…"

That was him in the mirror!

Harry gaped silently at his reflection. How had it happened? Sure, there were the growing pains (which had miraculously vanished suddenly) but he didn't expect there to be this many changes!

Harry peered at his reflection, trying to see if it was a trick. But it wasn't. Through the hair on the reflection he could see the lightning bolt scar that made him so famous. It was his reflection. And it seemed vaguely familiar…

Breathing quickly, he tried to think of what could have happened. Maybe the potion? Had he gotten it wrong?  Could it have caused this?

No. He had gotten the potion right. At the end of fourth year he had become more adept at potions – despite Snape's constant snapping remarks each class. He knew he hadn't gotten the potion wrong.

So what was it?

"HARRY!!"

Wincing, Harry blinked at the mirror for a few more minutes, unwilling to leave until he figured this out. As he couldn't, he turned and threw open the bathroom door, getting downstairs quickly thanks to his newly acquired longer legs. When he arrived in the kitchen Aunt Petunia snapped, "It's about time! Go cook the bacon!"

Harry blinked. Does she not see it?

Apparently she didn't as she shoved him towards the stove and the pan of bacon. Harry turned his attention to it, still wondering what in heaven's name was going on.

* * * * * * * * *

Back upstairs in his room, Harry pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill, falling back onto his bed. Hedwig sat on one of the bedposts, her eyes half lidded so only a slim line of amber looked at him. Harry ran a hand through her snowy feathers, noting with a shudder that his hands were slimmer and paler, the fingers long and tapered. Still shivering, he sat his quill to the parchment and began to write.

Sirius,

Are wizards supposed to change drastically at some point? Because I have. It started as soon as my fifteenth birthday came around. I thought it was just growing pains but when I looked in the mirror this morning there was a completely different person looking back! I don't know what's going on. I suppose it could be a potion I made for the pains but I really don't believe that. Please help.

-Harry

Harry rolled the letter up quickly and tied it to Hedwig's leg. The snowy owl was awake in a moment, her amber eyes blinking at him. Walking over to the window, Harry opened it and said, "Go to Sirius, girl." Hedwig hooted softly and nipped his fingers before soaring off out his window. Harry stood staring after her for a long while, even when he couldn't see her anymore.

He just hoped Sirius knew what was going on.

* * * * * * * * *

"Padfoot! You've got a letter!"

"From who?"

"Harry!"

Sirius bounded out of the kitchen and into Remus' living room where the werewolf was untying a letter from Harry's owl. He handed it to Sirius, who opened it and read it quickly.

"Well?" said Remus with an arched eyebrow.

"Patience, Moony."

"Padfoot, what does it say?" Werewolves, and especially Remus, were not known for their patience.

Sirius gave his friend a worried look and replied; "He's asking if wizards change drastically at some point in life."

"Everyone changes drastically at some point in life."

"Not like this. He says he looked in the mirror this morning and there was a different person looking back."

Remus' eyebrows shot up into his hair. "Now, that's a new one."

"Tell me about it. I'm going over there."

"Padfoot!"

"He's my godson, damnit! I have to help him!"

"Do you want to get caught? You can't help him if you're back in Azkaban!"

Sirius growled, "Then what the hell can I do?"

"Write him back," replied Remus. "I'll head over there tomorrow and see what's going on. If the problem is serious, I'll go talk to Albus."

"I'm Sirius." Sirius replied with a smirk.

Remus cuffed his friend's shoulder. "Silly."

Sirius simply grinned and went in search of a quill and a piece of parchment.

* * * * * * * * *

Harry,

I can't say I've ever heard of that before but it could happen. Remus is going to come over there tomorrow. Maybe he can figure out something. I'd come myself but Moony refuses to let me.

And for good reason!

Hush, Moony. I'll be seeing you.

-Sirius

Harry smiled at his godfather's letter then stored it under the loose floorboard, pulling out the copy of Quidditch Through the Ages that Hermione had given him for his birthday. Hedwig hooted softly from her perch at the end of the bed as he read, wishing that the next day would come quickly so he could figure out what was going on.



* * *

Unwanted, live my life in shame, who's to blame for my mistakes

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know why

I believe, I believe in the truth from inside

Go away, go away, go away from me, and LEAVE ME ALONE

- Drift and Die, Puddle of Mudd -

* * *

Chapter 2 …who's to blame…

Remus Apparated in a few blocks down from the Dursley's house at one o'clock the next day. He passed easily through the wards set up around the house and the surrounding blocks (the protection wards had been lengthened and strengthened after the Tri-Wizard Tournament) to keep out those who had bad intentions towards those inside.  He walked up to the front door and began rapping quickly on it.

A bony, horse-faced woman answered the door and he presumed this was Lily's sister, Petunia.

I wouldn't think they were related, thought Remus.

Petunia looked him up and down, frowning at his dusty blue jeans, worn shirt, and slightly patched jacket, before she said, "If you're selling something, we don't want it." As she started to close the door, Remus said, "I'm here to see Harry."

Petunia's eyes went wide and she snapped, "There's no one here by that name."

The door started to close again but Remus grabbed the door in one hand and held it still. On the other side Petunia heaved all her weight against it.

"There's no one named Harry here! Go away!"

"I know Harry is here, Mrs. Dursley. He sent me a letter."

Petunia's voice rose in pitch as she shrieked, "Your one of them!"

Remus rolled his eyes and pushed the door open by force. Being a werewolf had its perks at times. Petunia ran for the kitchen as soon as he was inside. Sighing and shaking his head, he closed the door behind him then looked around the room. Spotting the staircase, he started towards it but stopped when he heard a hiss of metal behind him. Turning he threw himself aside just in time as there was a loud bang and something hot shot past him, grazing his shoulder before it slammed into the wall. Remus turned his eyes towards the kitchen doorway where Vernon stood; a heavy barreled .45 shotgun in his beefy hands.

"Get out," growled Vernon.

Remus frowned at the weapon then looked up at Vernon.

"All I want to do is talk to Harry."

"There is no Harry here!" Vernon boomed!

Remus quickly thought, Then why have you pulled a gun on me?

There was another roar of the gun and Remus threw himself across the room, rolling behind the couch. He quickly pulled out his wand and peered around the side to take aim. As soon as he had it, he hissed, "Congelo[1]!"

Vernon froze in mid-step, his eyes widening in fear as he found he couldn't move. Remus stood up and walked around the couch, wrenching the gun from the man's fingers and tucked it into the pocket of his jacket after flicking the safety on. He then turned to see Petunia flee into the kitchen. Following her, he growled, "Where's Harry?"

After giving a tiny shriek of terror she pointed out of the room towards the cupboard under the stairs.

Remus quickly left the kitchen and stormed over to the stairs, unlocking the cupboard and throwing the door open. The site that met Remus' eyes was truly horrific.

"Merlin…Harry?" Remus gasped.

Harry staggered to his feet and fell out of the cupboard into Remus' arms. He managed a weak, "Help," before he fell unconscious.

* * * * * * * * *

Remus laid Harry out on the couch, surveying his injuries. It looked as though his wand arm was broken in three places, his left wrist in two, and his nose as well. He had bruises running all up and down his arms and legs and most likely on his torso as well. Added to the half-healed scars and dried blood he looked as bad as Snape had when Sirius had beaten him up in their second year.

Remus healed what he could of Harry's injuries and bandaged his wrist and arm. Then he returned to the kitchen for Petunia. Hauling her up by her arm, he growled, "Where are his things?"

She shrieked, "Upstairs!"

Remus narrowed his eyes and spat, "Who did this to him?"

Petunia shook her head at him and Remus let part of the wolf out. His gray eyes turned a brilliant shade of amber, short claws sprang from his fingertips, and his teeth grew into sharp fangs. As Petunia quivered in his grasp, he snarled, "Who did this to him?"

"V-V-V-Vernon."

Remus released her and stalked out of the room, purposefully snarling at Vernon as he breezed by the man. As he stormed upstairs, he smelt the distinctive scent of urine.

Forcing the wolf back under control, he searched through the upstairs rooms until he found the one that was definitely Harry's from the trunk sitting over in the corner and the empty owl cage on the desk. Remus found the loose floorboard, dug all of the stuff out of it and threw it into the trunk along with the Quidditch Through the Ages book he found on the bed.

He then noticed the limp body of snowy feathers that lay on the bed. Gently, he picked the owl up, feeling for a heartbeat. Finding none, he sighed deeply and carefully placed her body in the cage then shrunk it and the trunk, tucking them into his other pocket, heart heavy.

Heading back downstairs, he conjured a stretcher and levitated Harry onto it. Turning to Vernon, he growled, "I suggest you take a long trip. As soon as his godfather finds out what you did to him, you won't be alive long enough to tell about it." Softly, he added, "And if I wouldn't get killed for it, I'd kill you myself."

Vernon's eyes were wide in terror as Remus said this because his eyes were involuntarily glowing amber. Turning on his heels, the werewolf left the house, Harry gently floating behind him.  Before he broke the Ministry law that stated any werewolf that killed a person – be they wizard or Muggle – would be put to death.

* * * * * * * * *

"'Bella! 'Bella, open the damned door!"

Arabella Figg opened the door and gasped when she saw Remus standing on her doorstep, Harry floating behind him.

"Remus! What happened?"

"Dursley happened, that's what," growled Remus as he moved inside past her. Harry floated in after him and Arabella immediately began to fuss over him after she closed the door, taking off the Illusion Charm from herself. The Muggle's of Privet Drive thought she was a slightly batty, nosy old woman, but in reality she was the same age as Remus, with long brown hair and opaque blue eyes.

"Merlin's beard, what did they do to him?"

"It was worse. I healed what I could and bandaged the rest."

Arabella looked up at him and asked, "What are you going to do?"

"Take him to Hogwarts," replied Remus. "Then go get tell Sirius."

"What? When he finds out, he's going to kill them!"

"That's the general idea, 'Bella."

Arabella frowned and looked at him with sympathetic eyes. "Remus…"

"Yes, I know, it's not right, but God, 'Bella, what they did to him wasn't right either! Don't you want to do something to them? Lily was your best friend. I almost killed them myself for what they did to Harry."

"Of course I want to do something, Remus! And – yes – to them! But I can't! And neither can you or Sirius."

"I know. But that doesn't take away the desire to throttle them until they are a nice shade of blue.

Arabella placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, turning her blue eyes up into his. She softly said, "I know but we can't."

Remus nodded solemnly then asked, "Do you have a Portkey to Hogwarts?"

"Of course."

"Can I borrow it? I'd make one myself but I want to get Harry up there as quickly as I can."

Arabella reached over onto a nearby table and picked up a heavy cat-shaped paperweight. She handed it to Remus and said, "Just tap it twice with your wand and you'll end up in the entrance hall."

"Thanks, 'Bella."

"No trouble, Remus." Her eyes drifted to Harry and she added softly, "Anything for Harry."

Remus patted her shoulder reassuringly then pulled out his wand, tapping the cat statue twice. He grabbed the end of Harry's stretcher as the Portkey whooshed them away.

* * * * * * * * *

As soon as Remus and Harry reappeared in the entrance hall, the werewolf jumped as though he had been shocked. When he had arrived at the Dursley's, he had seen, under all the bruises and injuries, the Harry Potter he had remembered. Now the boy lying on the stretcher floating beside him could be mistaken for nothing but a Snape.

Remus blinked several times then jumped again when the pale youth vanished, replaced by the Harry he knew. He shook his head, eyes wide in wonder, and then pushed the stretcher through the air towards the Hospital Wing.

* * * * * * * * *

After settling Harry in with Madam Pomfrey, Remus ran down to Dumbledore's office. When the stone gargoyle guarding the entrance was in sight, he yelled out the password.

"Peppermint toad!"

The gargoyle slid aside quicker than normal and Remus leapt up the moving staircase three steps at a time. He was slightly out of breath by the time he got to the door at the top and threw it open.

Behind his desk Dumbledore blinked.

"Remus?!"

"Albus… Harry…"

Dumbledore waved a hand and a chair appeared in front of his desk. Remus collapsed into it after he had closed the door.

The older wizard looked at the winded werewolf with concern in his eyes. "Now, what about Harry?"

"Firstly, the Dursley's – mainly Vernon – beat him and threw him in the cupboard under the stairs again, I don't know what would have happened to him if I hadn't found him. Then, that excuse for a man nearly shot me. And finally, Harry's appearance keeps changing!"

This all came out very fast and Remus' voice slowly rose in pitch as he spoke until he was close to screaming as he said the last words. Dumbledore muttered something and instantly the wild look in Remus' eyes died down. He shook his head for a moment then looked up at Dumbledore with a vague smile.

"Thank you, Albus."

Dumbledore nodded then reached into his desk for something. He slid a yellowed roll of parchment across it towards Remus and said, "You might want to read this."

Remus frowned then reached out and took the document.

Albus,

If you are reading this, it means Voldemort has found us and James and I are dead. I know I shouldn't be saying this, but being the Slytherin that I am; kill Peter for me. James switched from Sirius to him at the last second and if you are reading this, it means we have been betrayed. I never did truly trust Peter you know. Must have been my Slytherin instincts. We rarely trust anything, you know.

I also have something else to tell you.

Harry isn't James' son.

He's Severus'.

I placed several charms on Harry after he was born. He looks so much like Severus it's uncanny. The only difference between them is he has my eyes and nose.

The charms will begin to wear off after his fifteenth birthday (which will be when you receive this letter). If we were still alive, I would have told him. But as we are not, I leave that to you.

Please look after them both for me and give them both my love. Especially Severus.

He thinks I left him for James. Tell him I didn't. The reasons why are too many to write here. Please, Albus tell him. I wish I had before but now I can't. Tell him he was the one I loved, not James.

Help him to love Harry. He doesn't think he's cut out to be a father. He will be. Make him see. Make them both see. I ask you this as my last wish.

Sincerely, Lily Potter

Remus looked up from the letter and breathed, "My God…"

Dumbledore nodded. "That is what I said."

"He's not James' son."

"No. I have seen pieces of Severus in him through the years. They have the same scowl, you know."

"And his appearance?"

Dumbledore held up another roll of yellowed parchment and said, "This also came with the letter. It is a list of all the charms Lily used. Just incase, I suppose."

Remus looked at the list and blinked several times.

"She used the Verto Potion[2]?"

"She was almost as good as Severus in Potions."

Remus nodded. "The only thing she didn't get the top grade in. Merlin's beard, she used the Latere Veritas[3] Spell as well! I thought that and the Verto Potion didn't mix…"

"Which is why she used the Presso[4] Charm as well. It enables them to act together."

Remus gaped at the list then breathed, "Merlin, she did a lot to hide the truth from everyone."

Dumbledore nodded and said, "She had good reason to."

Remus looked up in surprise. "What? Why?"

"I am afraid I cannot tell you that, Remus."

"Does it have something to do with Severus?"

"Yes."

"Is it because he was a Death Eater?"

"Partially," replied Dumbledore cryptically. "But there is something else in his past that caused her to keep the truth hidden for."

"And you won't tell me?"

"That is for Severus to tell."

Remus sighed then asked, "What are we going to do about Harry?"

"Take these spells off firstly. The Verto Potion will have to wear off by itself."

"Won't the charms as well?"

"Eventually they would. She timed them to begin breaking down on his fifteenth birthday." Dumbledore looked at Remus over his half moon glasses and continued, "I presume Harry contacted you about his new appearance?"

Remus nodded.

"But I didn't even see it until we got here. He looked….normal."

"Naturally."

"I don't follow."

"As the spells are breaking down, his appearance flickers, like a candle in the wind. But only when magic is at work. Such as with the Portkey."

"Then how could he see it?"

"Some magic is so powerful that only the most powerful of mage's can see it. Before the spells began to break down, no one could see it. As they have now, a powerful wizard could look at him and see the truth under the spells. A Muggle, per say, could not."

"I think I understand now."

"Very good. Now, let us go see how Harry is doing."

Remus nodded and both men rose and left the office.

* * * * * * * * *

"Let me go!"

"You have to stay in bed!"

"No!"

"Mr. Potter!"

Harry sprinted out of the Hospital Wing and tumbled as he tripped over Mrs. Norris, who had dashed between his legs. He pin wheeled his arms trying not to fall and ended up being caught. Looking up into the worried gray eyes of Remus, he managed a very meek "Hi." Remus straightened the wavering teen onto his feet, watching as the boy's appearance flickered and once again the tall, pale youth appeared, his knuckles standing out sharply against his skin from where he clutched at the hospital pajamas. A second later, Harry was back, eyes wide and frightened. He looked up at Remus and breathed, "You saw…"

Remus nodded and Harry asked, "What's going on? Why do I look different? And why has no one else noticed?"

"I have noticed, Harry."

Harry pivoted around, staring wide-eyed at Dumbledore. He gasped, "You can see?" When Dumbledore nodded, he turned back on Remus and continued, "You both can see?"

Remus shook his head. "I just saw it for a moment."

Harry looked back at Dumbledore and said quickly, "Professor, what's going on?

"Let us go inside. Simply to keep Poppy happy, mind you."

Dumbledore gently led Harry inside the Hospital Wing, gesturing for Remus to follow him.

* * * * * * * * *

Madam Pomfrey seemed placated by the Headmaster's presence but pointed Harry at a bed and shoved a vial into his hand.

"Bed and drink that!"

She then rounded on Dumbledore and Remus.

"And you two, don't keep him up. He needs rest!!"

With that she vanished into her office, muttering to herself, leaving the three to stare after her. Harry blinked then climbed into the bed and sat the vial down on the table beside it. He then turned to Dumbledore and said, "Now can you tell me what's going on?"

Dumbledore and Remus shared a look and Harry instantly thought, Oh no…

Dumbledore pulled a roll of yellowed parchment from his robes and handed it to Harry, who took it cautiously and unrolled it. A smile broke over his face as he read the first few lines. Then all color vanished from it and his appearance flickered again, becoming that of the pale youth once more, who's already, pale skin had turned a pasty white.

He looked up at Remus and Dumbledore, eyes wide.

"I can't be his son."

"Harry…"

"No! I can't be! I can't!!"

Remus took a step forward and said again, "Harry…"

Harry snarled and pushed himself backwards teeth bared and eyes wide. He growled, "Go away. Go away! I'm not his son! I'M NOT!!"

Dumbledore touched Remus' arm and softly said, "Leave him alone for a while, Remus."

With a nod the werewolf let the headmaster lead him out of the Hospital Wing, looking back only once to see Harry's appearance flicker once more.



* * *

I can't find my way back home, lost my head down there somewhere

Could we just be gone alone, lived in doubt and fear I've shown

Gazing down a long grey road, I see the stop sign way up ahead

Sun is burning on my face, the sun is setting me on fire

- Nobody Told Me, Puddle of Mudd -

* * *

Chapter 3

…doubt and fear…

I'm not his son.

I'm not his son.

I AM NOT HIS SON!

Harry twisted on the hospital bed; not even close to getting the rest Madam Pomfrey wanted him to. She had mended most of his broken bones and bruises except for a few of the deeper ones and his wrist, which was now bandaged tightly. Looking across the room he saw himself in a mirror that was hanging on the wall. Or, he saw through the illusion that he thought was himself and saw the real him.

The pale youth in the mirror grimaced at the same time he did and Harry closed his eyes tightly, rolling over so his back was to the mirror. He did not want to see those features again.

He knew now why they had seemed so familiar when he had first seen them. He saw them every time he went to Potions class on the face of Severus Snape.

* * * * * * * * *

"So we're just going to let him lie there?"

"Remus, he must get through this on his own."

"How can you say that, Albus! You just told a boy that all he knew about himself isn't true because the man he has known as his father for entire life wasn't really his father!"

Dumbledore fixed Remus with a firm look and said, "It had to be done. Would you have wanted him to continue believing what was not true?"

Remus opened his mouth to reply. And closed it.

"No."

"That is why I let him read the letter."

The two men looked at each other across the desk for a moment before Remus stood and picked up the Portkey.

"I had better return this to 'Bella. Then…Merlin's beard, what am I going to tell Sirius?"

"That, Remus, is up to you," replied Dumbledore kindly.

Remus groaned then made to leave.

"Remus."

"Professor?"

"Good luck."

Remus nodded, "Trust me I'll need it." With that he left.

* * * * * * * * *

"THEY DID WHAT!!"

Remus winced as Sirius let loose a string of insults as he heard what had happened.

"Sirius."

Sirius whirled to face Remus, a mad glint in his eyes. Remus took an involuntary step back. Sirius looked every inch the murderer he was supposed to be with that look in his blue eyes and his lips drawn back from his teeth in a feral grin.

"I'm going to go and curse them into oblivion. I'll…I'll…. Damnit, I don't know what I'll do but it's going to be child's play compared to what they did to Harry!"

"Sirius!" Remus grabbed his friend's arm and continued quickly, "Hurting them won't help Harry."

"It'll make me feel better," replied Sirius in a low growl.

"Think of Harry, Sirius! Would he want you to do this?"

Remus saw the doubt pass across the blue eyes and then the other man relaxed.

Slightly.

"Right as always, Moony. Right as always."

Remus breathed a sigh of relief. Then grabbed Sirius by the tail as he turned into his Animagus form and tried to run for the door.

"Sirius!"

Sirius popped back into human form, looking like he'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He grumbled, "Alright, alright. I won't go turn those bastards into toads." A fierce light came into his eyes and he growled, "But Albus had better not let him go back to them! I will kill them if they try something like that again."

Remus nodded in agreement.

* * * * * * * * *

Tap, tap.

"Come in."

Severus Snape looked up from reading a book and blinked at Dumbledore.

"Albus?"

"Good evening, Severus."

"Mmm. What are you down here for?"

Dumbledore pulled a yellowed piece of parchment out of his robes and handed it to the Potions Master. Severus took it tentatively, his dark eyes watching the older wizard's face as he did so. He unrolled the letter, his eyes widening as the words written in by a hand he had tried to forget blossomed from the paper.

The letter floated to the floor a few moments later. Dumbledore reached out a hand and touched the younger wizard's shoulder.

"Severus?"

Silence. Then…

"Get out."

Dumbledore nodded and left, leaving the letter where it lay on the floor. As soon as the older wizard's footsteps had stopped echoing down the hall, Severus bent over and picked up the parchment, reading it once more. When he was done his eyes moved to a picture of a red-haired woman and a younger version of himself sitting on his nearby desk.

"I have a son."



* * *

Everythings so blurry and everyone's so fake everbody's empty and

Everything is so messed up preoccupied without you I cannot live at all

My whole surrounds you I stumble and I crawl and

You could be someone you can be my scene you know that I'll protect

You from all of the obscene I wonder what you're being imagine where you are

There's oceans in between us but that's not very far

- Blurry, Puddle of Mudd -

* * *

Chapter 4

…everythings so blurry…

Harry,

Are you okay? I haven't heard from you in a week! Is something wrong? Harry, please tell me if something is wrong. You know I'll help you anyway I can. Please, Harry write back soon.

Love, Mione

Harry sighed as he looked down at the letter. It was the last letter Hedwig had brought him from either one of his friends.

Where was Hedwig anyway?

He could ask Remus…

No!

Harry shook his head at the thought. He couldn't talk to Remus. Not now. Not when he knew…

No, don't think about it. Don't think about it…

He couldn't help it. He couldn't help but think about his…father.

His father.

That was a laugh.

His father was the most hated professor at Hogwarts. The same professor who had raked Harry from arse to ears in Potions class time after time then had saved his life.

Sighing, Harry leaned over the side of the bed to his trunk. Someone had brought it in when he had finally gotten to sleep. He ignored the long fingers that wrapped around his quill as he scribbled a reply to Hermione on a sheet of parchment.

He could ask Madam Pomfrey to take it up to the Owlery for him, maybe. But he had to write Mione. Had to. He had to tell someone. Not Sirius. No, his godfather would never understand. Not with the hate between him and Sn – Harry's father.

Harry signed the letter and chucked his quill back into his trunk.

"Madam Pomfrey?"

* * * * * * * * *

"Mione, you have a letter!"

Hermione looked up from doing her Transfiguration homework and called, "Just a second, Dad!" Quickly, she completed her sentence then sprinted out of the kitchen to where her father stood in the living room, an owl perched on his shoulder.

That's one of the school owls… thought Hermione, wondering why she would be getting a letter carried by a school owl. She'd already gotten her Hogwarts letter (she had been made a prefect), so who would be sending her another letter?

Quickly she took the letter from the owl, which flew out a window a moment later. Mr. Granger relaxed and ran a hand through his thinning brown hair before turning to his daughter.

"Who is that one from?"

Hermione peered at the writing on the front of the letter and recognized it as Harry's, who she hadn't heard from in a week.

"Harry."

Mr. Granger nodded then, humming a tune, vanished into the kitchen. He and his wife tended to do that when their daughter got a letter from one of her school friends. Hermione sat down on the couch, ripping open Harry's letter. Somehow she had the feeling that there was something dearly wrong with her courageous friend.

And she was right…

Mione,

I'm sorry I didn't write you back sooner. And I'm sorry I worried you. ("Just like Harry," murmured Hermione with a smile) But something really big has happened to me. I-I feel like you're the only person I can really talk to. Ron wouldn't understand. Neither would Sirius. They both hate – a scratched out name - too much.

I suppose I should start from the beginning, aye? I've always heard that's a good place to start.

Anyway, it started on my birthday. I started having amazing growing pains. Well, not really amazing. Killer growing pains, is more like it. Seemed pretty normal. Till two weeks ago when I woke up and found I didn't need my glasses anymore.

Now if that's not enough to show that something's up, listen to this. I look in the mirror and there's a different person staring back at me!

So, I wrote to Sirius and he wrote back, saying Remus would be coming by the next day.

Of course, by then my uncle had gotten into a drunken rage and had decided to take it out one me. (Hermione gasped) Don't worry, I'm fine. Remus came and got me and I'm at Hogwarts now. I don't know where Hedwig is, which is why a school owl brought this. I also can't get out of bed, so Madam Pomfrey took the letter up to the Owlery for me.

But, this isn't really the subject of my letter. I-I found out something about myself. Here goes, it turns out I'm not who I thought I was.

I'm…

I'm…

Oh hell, I'll just say it and damn the consequences.

Snape is my father. (Hermione's eyes widened and she clasped her free hand over her mouth)

Surprising, isn't it? My father. That slimy git. Y'know, if you really think about it, its kind of funny in a totally-depressing-want-to-kill-yourself-way. Though I'm certain you don't think it is.

Please don't tell Ron. Like I said, he won't understand and now you know why. He hates Snape almost as much as he hates Malfoy.

And please write back. I-I don't think I know who I am anymore.

Harry

Hermione let the letter fall to her lap, both her hands covering her mouth. Oh God… she thought. Her friend – her courageous, gentle friend – was the most hated professor's son. The very thought of it was ludicrous.

But she had known Harry for four years. He wouldn't have done something like this. He couldn't do something like this as a joke. It wasn't in Harry to pull things like this on his friends.

Slowly, she picked up the letter and reread the last line.

I-I don't think I know who I am anymore.

Hermione felt a tear slid down her cheek as she reread this line.

She had to get to her friend.

And she had to get there now.



* * *

Everyone is changing there's no one left that's real

Make up your own ending and let me know just how you feel

Cause I am lost without you I cannot live at all

My whole world surrounds you I stumble then I crawl and

You could be my someone you can be my scene you know that

I will save you from all of the unclean

- Blurry, Puddle of Mudd -

* * *

Chapter 5

…no one left that's real…

Dear Professor Dumbledore,

Harry wrote me and told me what happened. He-he sounds so lost, professor. I want to help him but I don't think I can do it from here.

Could I possibly come up to Hogwarts early? You could say I need to be drilled on my duties as a prefect. Please, I am just so worried about him.

Hermione Granger

Dumbledore chuckled and laid the letter down on his desk. He then picked up his quill and a clean sheet of parchment and began to write.

* * * * * * * * *

Miss Granger,

Arrangements have been made and someone will come to bring you here at two o'clock tomorrow. You will be staying in Gryffindor Tower. Harry will be staying there as well as soon as he is released from the Hospital Wing.

I trust you can do what we cannot.

Albus Dumbledore

"'I trust you can do what we cannot'," murmured Hermione as she stared at the letter from the Headmaster.

"Mum! Dad!"

Hermione sprinted downstairs from her room, letter in hand.

* * * * * * * * *

The next day Hermione stood in her living room with her trunk. She paced nervously, glancing at her watch from time to time. At the exact moment two o'clock came around, a silky voice spoke from behind Hermione.

"Miss Granger."

Hermione whirled around to see Snape standing in the middle of the living room, looking very unlike the Potions Master she remembered. He was dressed in dark blue jeans and a white t-shirt with a black leather jacket thrown over his shoulder, his long hair tied back in a ponytail. If she hadn't known him already, she would have suspected he was an ordinary Muggle.

"Professor?"

Snape sneered.

"Yes, Miss Granger. Now, hurry up. I have other business to attend to before we return to Hogwarts."

Hermione nodded numbly and bent to pick up her trunk.

"Never mind."

Snape pulled his wand out of the sleeve of his jacket and waved it at her trunk. A swirl of golden sparkles flowed out and enveloped her trunk. Seconds later, it was the size of a Snitch. Hermione quickly picked it up and tucked it into the pocket of her jeans. Snape suddenly held out his hand and growled, "Let's go."

Hermione hesitated and the older wizard's scowl deepened.

"We don't have all day. Grab my hand. We are Apparating."

Hermione didn't hesitate after that snapping voice. She took Snape's larger, calloused hand, which enveloped her smaller one. A moment later they appeared in a part of Muggle London. Hermione staggered in surprise and nearly fell. A surprisingly gentle hand grabbed her arm and hauled her back up. After she got her balance back, she looked up into Snape's opaque black eyes.

"I trust there will no more accidents while we are here?"

Hermione nodded numbly.

"Good. Follow me then and don't get lost. I will not make an attempt to find you."

Snape then released her arm and stalked off. Hermione followed, wondering how on earth this man could be Harry's real father.

a/n: a note to Arabella Figg – Lily is Gryffindor in the books but her being Slytherin fits my story much better.  Especially to that note she left to Dumbledore.



[1] congelo – freeze

[2] verto – transform

[3] latere veritas – truth lie hidden

[4] presso – to conceal