Disclaimer: I don't, and never will, own Harry Potter. All plots and characters belong to J.K. Rowling and company.
A/N: This story is in response to the 'Lost Brother' challenge by Lilyflower5 on P & S. It is my first Snape/Harry specific story and the first time replying to a challenge. I hope you all enjoy the tale!
And again, no I have not abandoned Corvus, but I needed a break and this little bunny would not leave me alone!
(1) Meet Harry
Before Harry Potter was born, a Dark Lord, who named himself Voldemort, came to his family's home to kill his brother. No one but the mad man knew why he wanted to kill the fifteen month old boy. Fortunately the wizard failed. Somehow, the young child moved out of the way quickly and the Avada Kedavra, the killing curse, that was meant to end the child's life bounced off a mirror, instead hitting the caster.
From that night on, the Potter family was famous, especially the son who had avoided the curse, the Boy-Who-Lived.
But this story isn't about that child. After two years, the Potter family brought another child into the world. His name was Harry.
Child of James and Lily Potter.
Brother to the Boy-Who-Lived.
Thats all he was in the eyes of his family and the public. He knew this. It had been this way since he was born, since he was begrudgingly brought into the world.
Just because he was aware of it, didn't mean it didn't hurt.
When Harry received his letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he was surprised. Though not nearly as surprised as his family who thought him to be a squib (a child born to a magical family who had no magic). Truth was that Harry just kept his magic hidden from his family.
Hogwarts has four houses which students are sorted into at the decision of the ancient wizarding hat. The houses are Ravenclaw for the quick of wit, Slytherin for the sly and cunning, Hufflepuff for the loyal, and Gryffindor for the brave. In his first year, the sorting hat wanted to put Harry into Ravenclaw or Slytherin, but he fought the hat for Gryffindor, desperate to keep his family happy and proud.
"Potter, Harry," McGonagall called out. Harry, with a slight push from his best friend Ginny, stepped forward on his shaky legs. He already heard the whisperings through the hall.
"Harry? The boy-who-lived's brother?"
"I forgot he had a brother"
"People said he was a squib"
Harry winced at the last, as it was true. For the longest his family thought him a squib. But he always knew he wasn't, he just had better control of his magic. He was able to summon books to himself from his high book shelf when he was five. The house elves would read him to sleep as his parents coddled his older brother.
'Hello there, Mr. Potter. I must say you are quite different from any other Potter's that I have sorted. I see you are quite the cunning one, hiding your abilities for so long. You are also very intelligent and have a desire to learn. You are very much suited for Ravenclaw or Slytherin. But where shall I place you?'
'No! Please put me in Gryffindor. Please!'
'But there you will remain in your brother's shadow. Don't you wish-'
'Please. I need my parents proud of me!'
'Do you really believe anything will change if you continue to follow your brother?' Harry didn't answer, but the hat knew the truth. 'You would be greatest with the house of Ravens or Snakes-'
'Please' Harry nearly cried.
'Alright. Remember that resorting is a possibility should you ever desire it.'
'Remember anyway' the hat said sternly. Harry nodded his head and only then did the hat yell out "Gryffindor!"
Relieved, Harry hopped off the stool. He headed towards his brother, only to see the students close all the gaps. He really should have known better.
He needn't have bothered with the argument. The hat was right. His parents didn't care one way or another. He didn't even get a letter of congratulations.
He did receive the same weekly packages as his brother, granted it was half the size but that was because he was 2 years younger than Henry... at least that is what he told himself.
That's another thing. Harry HATED his name. Harry. The common form of Henry. They named him after his brother. You know, the boy-who-lived.
The fourth year Gryffindor remembered all of this as he followed behind his best friend, Ginny Weasley. The sights in the Great Hall were not new to them. It was now their fourth Samhain at Hogwarts and the floating jack-o-lanterns, while amusing, were tiring.
But, since it was Samhain, Harry was waiting for the ball to drop. Something always happened on Halloween. He theorized that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named cast some sort of curse on his family. EVERY year on Halloween something happened.
In Henry's first year, the boy was attacked by a troll, the next was a petrified cat and a wall painted with red paint. The latter ended up being a prank by some Slytherins and Mrs. Norris was set to rights by a simple 'finite'.
A sharp elbow to his ribs brought him from his thoughts.
"What?" he hissed at Ginny.
"You're lost in thought again," she said with a roll of her eyes. "I know it's Samhain, but stop thinking something will happen or something will!"
Before he could reply, the Headmaster stood from his spot at the table. Immediately the hall hushed and Harry rolled his eyes. He didn't like the old man. Hell he didn't like most people. On occasion he was even compared to Snape! He didn't mind the 'bat of the dungeons', much to his father's disgust. That of course didn't mean that Snape felt the same way. He constantly degraded Harry and made him feel an inch high, but his potions never suffered from it. Harry was quite happily the top student in the subject in Hogwarts. The Headmaster offered to skip him to sixth year with his brother, but he declined. He did not want to be in class with his brother where he would have to hold back his talents. He even suspected that was what the old man wanted.
"Good evening students!" Dumbledore said with a beaming smile, breaking Harry out of his thoughts again. He didn't know what was wrong with himself tonight. "Happy Samhain, or Halloween to all of our Muggle raised." Harry caught the sneers on the Slytherin's faces and smirked. They really needed to work on their cunning. "I have an announcement to make! I feel it is the perfect night as many use this night to contact long lost ancestors. The Goblins have gone through their list of vaults as they do every century or so and have many unclaimed vaults that they believe should have been claimed. They believe that many muggleborns may have originated from squibs who left the wizarding world. For this reason, all students will be performing the Ancestry Potion. This will happen just before Christmas break, giving students and their families a chance to confirm the results with the Goblins."
Now there was an excited chatter through the hall. Even Harry was excited. He never really learned about his ancestry. His brother was Heir and head of the family, so his father said he didn't need to learn anything. This annoyed him greatly. While he didn't need to learn anything, he wanted to. What if something happened to Henry? Who would take over then?
He of course didn't say that to his family. James had never hit him, but Harry thought that might be what would tip the scale.
No, his parents never abused him, but he knew he wasn't raised with as much care as his brother. He was so jealous of the hugs and pats on the shoulder that Henry got for bringing home A's in most classes. Harry brought home O's and got a smile and 'get washed for dinner'
Growing up, Harry saw more of the house elves than he did his own family. Even his birthday was a rare occasion, only being celebrated if the family did not have some ministry event or other gala to attend.
When he did have a birthday party, it was a simple dinner with his parents, brother, and friends of his brother including Henry's godfather Sirius Black and his best friend Ronald Weasley. He didn't know what happened to his own godfather, Remus Lupin. The man just never came back one day. Harry did receive a letter every now and then, but he had not seen the man since he was about seven.
Harry was walking past his father's study when he hear his godfather's angry voice. It was not something he had ever heard before. "What have you done?"
"What are you talking about?" his father's voice asked, sounding confused.
"Harry. I can smell it. He is not-"
"You don't know what you are talking about." James hissed in reply.
'No, don't. I'm not what...' Harry thought desperately
"I have never been around him so close to the change. You know my senses. I am not mistaken. Where did he-"
"Do not finish that question, Lupin!" Harry could hear the anger in his father's voice. Something was wrong here and it surrounded him. What was going on?
The rest of the sentence was drowned out by his brother charging down the hall loudly, followed by a large black dog.
Damnit, he thought to himself, breaking through his thoughts again. Why am I reliving my life tonight?
Trying to keep his mind in the present, the youngest Potter looked around the hall at the various reactions to Dumbledore's announcement. The old man himself did not look very happy, while Severus Snape looked around the hall, seemingly searching for something.
Breaking his eyes from the Head Table, Harry looked at the students. Hermione Granger was chattering on excitedly in his brother's ears as always, while other muggleborns looked excited yet nervous at the same time. Even Ronald Weasley seemed excited, hoping that his family might find some long lost vault that will bring them up in society. Glancing at Ginny, he only hoped it was true.
After checking the reactions of the Purebloods who seemed particularly put out with this news, Harry caught the eye of his brother who looked back nervously. Why would his brother be nervous? He already knew their family history after all.
Shrugging his shoulders, Harry turned to Ginny and began speaking about their classes.
A week later, Harry received a letter from the Headmaster to meet in his office. Unsure about the reason, he told Ginny and his brother where he was going. Ginny watched him confused while his brother smiled nervously. Again.
He was even more confused as he entered and saw his parents sitting across from the Headmaster.
"Mother, Father," he greeted. Henry called them Mom and Dad, but Harry had never been able to be that informal with them. After receiving a nod in greeting, he turned to the man who called him. "Headmaster, you called for me?" he asked respectfully
"I did indeed, young Harry. Come, have a seat," he did as directed and sat across from the Headmaster. He declined the tea and snacks that were offered and waited for the reason he was there.
"Harry, we know that you are wishing to be a Potions Master. For this reason, we have decided to have you exempted from the Ancestry Potion," his father spoke.
Bollocks, he thought to himself. He had never told his parents anything like that. It was another attempt to hide his history from him.
"That does not make sense. To be a Potions Master, I should have experience in all potions, no matter how obscure. You should know I take every grade seriously and this is no different. I must decline the offer, Father."
"Professor Snape will be made aware of the exemption. He himself has never had to brew the potion and is working on it for the first time as we speak," the Headmaster added.
"That is only adding to the reason for me to complete it at this time. I should have a heads up instead of being caught by surprise as Professor Snape has. Plus, you know the problems Professor Snape causes me. I don't want to give him another reason to attack me. Thank you for your concern, but again I must decline." Harry stood to leave only to be stopped by his father's harsh voice.
"Sit. Down. Boy. We are not done talking." James said angrily. Harry sat down, pushing himself into his seat. "This is not a question, you insolent child!," his father said sternly.
"Why? The reasons you are saying are beyond lies. I don't understand why you are hiding my history from me. You refuse to tell me about the Potter line, why can't I learn something this way? It is my right. I may not be your Heir, but I am still a Potter. How can you deny me my ancestry?"
"You will not talk back to me," his father said in a cold tone. "You will not make the potion and that is it. My word is final," the man stood, pulling Lily with him and left through the floo.
"They only want the best for you," the Headmaster said in the silence following their departure.
Harry snorted, "No, what they want is an invisible boy who doesn't interrupt their day to day lives." He stood from the chair and brushed off his robes. "If that is all, Headmaster."
Fighting the tears, he left the room, entering the first bathroom he found and hiding in a stall.
He knew he was right. Though he was their son, he was a surprise. They didn't care that they had him now, but they would rather have not. They would rather he be invisible, hiding behind his brother.
Harry wiped his tears away angrily. It wasn't fair. He was tired of being in the shadow. He was tired of being invisible.
He straightened his shoulders, left the stall and washed his face with cool water. After casting a minor glamour to hide his red eyes, he went to his dorm room and pulled out his journal. It was a gift from Remus for getting into Hogwarts.
Opening it, he saw the first page with his godfather's writing.
I knew you would get into Hogwarts. Just because you hid your magic does not mean that you were not worthy of it. Actually it made you that much stronger.
I am so proud of you and I hope you contact me often and tell me how you are doing. I don't care what house you get into, I am proud of you no matter what.
Severus Snape looked over his fourth year Slytherin/Gryffindor class as they made the Ancestry Potion. It was an exciting time and he himself had taken to brewing the potion since he had never tested this one on himself. It was a rather simple brew and not a commonly needed one. He didn't even need to do it for his mastery!
As he looked across the class, he watched as the youngest Potter child meticulously cut his ingredients and stirred his cauldron carefully. The boy was a prodigy if he ever saw one. Severus was severely upset when he refused to be pushed up a couple of grades. He truly wondered why the boy would rather study in such a lower level than he deserved to be in.
Unless he didn't want to have to fight for the spotlight with his brother? Severus shook his head. No. This Potter was so different from the others. He was not a bully. He studied. He didn't act as if the world belonged to him on a silver platter. Still, knowing the Potters, this boy would end up there someday. He walked around the room, stopping at the boy that confused him so much.
"Perfect Potter," Severus Snape sneered as he looked in Harry's potion. The boy made no reaction and just continued to brew. From this close he could see a slight tremble to the boy's hands. He narrowed his eyes slightly. That was very unusual for the boy. His little Weasley friend sat stiff by his side. "Hoping to get even more money for your family?"
"No sir. Just completing the assignment," the boy answered with a deceivingly calm voice.
"Weren't you exempt from this assignment, Mr. Potter?" he asked annoyed. He was really angry when Dumbledore told him that the Potter brats were to be giving a free period for this day. Even with the exemption, he was not going to fight with a boy who obviously wanted to brew.
The boy finished the last stir, his hands trembling a little more. He clenched the desk with white knuckles and answered while looking into his cauldron, "I was, sir, but not by my request. My parents demanded it of me, but I would rather have the experience."
Severus was surprised by the boy's reaction. The normally stoic Potter was very emotional. Perhaps even nervous? Knowing James Potter, the demands he had placed on his youngest boy were not gentle ones. Uncomfortable with this change in the boy, he nodded and stepped away.
Looking around the class he saw most were done with their potions and had them cooling. "If you are complete, raise your hand."
As the hands were raised, he had students with potions that would be graded below an O fill a single glass vial and put their name on it for grading. Those with Outstanding potions filled multiple vials- one for grading, one for themselves, and the rest for their classmates to use.
Once all the vials were collected for grading, he began calling students forward for testing. He was halfway through the class and about to test Potter when the bane of his existence, James Potter, came through the door.
"I told you not to make this Potion, boy!" the man said angrily and he stormed through the room.
Severus watched the boy shrink into himself before standing tall. He cast a surprising Petrificus Totalus at his father before turning back to his teacher. The boy pricked his finger in the vial and allowed the drops to mix with his perfect potion.
After recapping and shaking for five-seconds, he upended the potion onto the parchment and smiled widely as the lines began spreading through the page.
But as the names spread out, his smile faded. Severus watched as eyebrows furrowed in confusion before his face took on the look of pain.
The boy looked at James Potter with anger and hurt. "This is what he meant, isn't it? What Remus meant? I heard your argument during his last visit!" There was no pain in the Elder Potter's eyes, only anger. "Why?" the boy whispered, brokenly. "Why!?" He said with more anger.
Before the man could get out of the hex, the youngest Potter turned on his heel and ran. Severus nodded towards the Weasley girl and allowed her to grab the boy's bag to chase after him.
Severus stood and looked at the page the boy was pointing to, and immediately fell back into his chair, pale.
"Class dismissed," he called when he realized his fourth years were still standing around. "We will finish your potions next class."
Within seconds the classroom was clear of all except James Potter and Severus Snape.
With a piece of parchment that read Alexander Hadrian Snape.
A/N: So... thoughts?