Chapter 12 : Linger
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Haiden had a lot of time to think about the news he’d received just two nights ago. How was it possible that he was actually Harry Potter? His real father was James Potter, best friend of the traitorous Sirius Black, and his mother was Lily Potter, who had been a good student and married the prankster.
Still, he’d never really seen pictures of them, and he knew nothing of them, save for the information in yellowed newspaper clippings that supplemented Severus’s decades-old biases. It felt weird not having a true father. Haiden felt as though he deeply loved Severus, but he also felt as though he wanted to smash the man’s skull into a hard wall.
Severus had made a total fool out of Haiden, and what’s worse, now being around Draco was awkward. If Draco knew the true identity of Haiden, he’d never speak to Haiden again. That’s just the way Draco was. If his father knew, Haiden might die.
Death. That’s what had happened to his parents, his relatives, and to Voldemort, but not to him. Why hadn’t he died? He had the scar to prove it…so why wasn’t he dead with his parents?
That would have made things a lot easier.
Shaking his head, mad at himself for thinking such wretched, depressing thoughts, he turned to his new Slytherin friends and discussed, with anticipation, the coming of the first day of classes.
Severus paced the long aisles of desks in his classroom in the dungeon, well aware that in a few moments his son would walk through the door like he had so many other times. It was a proud moment for any father, yet trepidation clouded any sense of excitement.
He hadn’t spoken to the boy since they’d parted at the train station; Haiden wasn’t aware of how proud Severus was for his placement into Slytherin house, and Severus so badly wanted to let him know.
Clearing his throat, Severus shook his head and straightened the papers on his desk. It was unlike him to feel out of place before a lesson, and if any a class would feel his wrath, this class of first years would.
He heard their feet pad slowly outside the rickety door, and he readied himself for the influx of mediocre talent. On cue, the students walked in and quietly took their seat, a bit of chatter coming only from a few of the Gryffindors.
It was time to make the first impression, time for all the little brats to know who ran the show down in the dungeon. Professor Severus Snape rose slowly from his chair and then walked briskly up to the front of the class, letting his robes billow ominously behind him.
“You are here,” he began quietly, “To learn the art of potion making. I expect each and every one of you, by the time your years here are over, to be able to create all standardized potions, as well as some advanced work. It is difficult, and if you fall behind, rest assured you will be left to wither. I do not have patients for first years; however, it is with deepest regret that I inform you that it is in my contract to teach you. Therefore, I expect your best behavior at all times, and any deviances will be reported straight to your head of house, along with points deducted. Is that understood?”
His ebony eyes searched the room, pleased to see several students quivering in fear. The one face that bothered him the most, however, was that of Haiden. His eyes were lit with a bright fire, and his face was hardened into a deep frown. Severus stared deeply into his eyes, duplicating the countenance of the boy. It would be a cold day in hell before Severus ever broke character in front of the students.
“I believe I have made myself quite clear. Now, to begin today’s lesson…”
“Haiden…hey, Haiden! Wait!” Draco called after the potions lesson, trying to catch up with his best friend.
“What?” Haiden asked coldly, turning his head but continuing his stride.
“What is wrong with you?” Draco asked as he caught up. “You and your dad were about to have an evil staring contest in potions. It’s just weird! What happened?”
“My father is a prat,” he replied quietly. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Yeah, well my dad isn’t always the best either. Anyway…oh look, a Weasley!”
“I…wait, what? A Weasley?” Haiden asked, suddenly forgetting his problems.
“Yeah, a Weasley…don’t you know who they are? They’re the poorest pureblood wizard family, they had about ten kids, and all they wear are rags! Hey Weasley, those robes belong to your oldest brother or the family dog?”
“Lay off it, Malfoy, you twit,” the boy known as Weasley retorted. The girl beside him narrowed her eyebrows at the pair.
“Hey!” Haiden exclaimed. “You’re that girl, from the train.”
“Yes. I’m Hermione Granger, and this is Ron Weasley. We’re both Gryffindors,” she said proudly.
“That’s exactly why we’re leaving,” Draco said snottily, pushing Haiden away from the two.
“See you later, then,” Haiden said awkwardly, speeding up with Draco.
“Why were you being nice to them? They’re Gryffindors. Don’t tell me you like associating with mudbloods and blood traitors?”
“Oh, no way,” Haiden said quietly.
“Anyway, what’s next, charms?” Draco asked, changing the subject.
“Er…yeah, charms,” Haiden replied distractedly. It was shaping up to be the longest day of his entire life.
Through all his classes, even lunch, he just couldn’t get his father’s face out of his mind. The cold heartless look Haiden had received had chilled him to the bone. His faux father really didn’t love him anymore. He had no family, and nearly only one friend. He was popular enough, sure, but suddenly he felt so alone.
At eleven years old, Haiden James, no, Harry James had no friends, no family, and no happiness. It was strange, to have such a strong need to be loved at an age where love seemed to take a back burner to fun and games.
And it wasn’t necessarily that he wanted to be friends with the Gryffindors or anything, it was just that they were nicer than most of the Slytherins. The past few hours he’d spent as a Slytherin had seen Haiden sit in isolation with the occasional interruption from Draco. So far, from what he’d seen of the Gryffindors, they’d made fast friends with everyone, regardless of age or blood.
Had he made a mistake by asking for Slytherin? Is that really where he was destined?
The thoughts swirled around in his head like a tempest, using every ounce of his energy. He felt somewhat shaky and a little sick from everything. It was now evening, and he was settled into his dormitory, rubbing his temples. A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts, however.
“Is there an H. Snape in here?” It was a sixth year slytherin, presumably a prefect.
“Yeah, that’s me,” Haiden replied.
“You’ve had a summons from the headmaster. I’m to escort you to his office, and you’re to wait until he comes to get you.”
Haiden nodded, wrinkling his eyebrows in confusion. It was nearly ten o’clock, why would Professor Dumbledore need to see him?
“Well come on then, I haven’t got all day,” the prefect grumped, gesturing for Haiden to hurry.
Raising himself off the bed Haiden followed the frumpy prefect down the darkened corridors of Hogwarts. His shadow mocked his every move as they ascended the stairs from the dank dungeons.
Dumbledore’s office seemed miles away from his home, and it occurred to Haiden that he’d never actually been there before. Finally, at the start of a long corridor, the prefect stopped and pointed down the hall.
“It’s down there some where, I’m not entirely sure. But I’m tired of walking, so I’m sure you know your way. You’re Snape’s son, after all, aren’t you?”
“Yeah,” Haiden responded. He broke away from the boy and began a brisk walk down the straight hall. Towards the middle, there was a statue of a gargoyle, and seeing as there really was nothing else in the hall, Haiden assumed that this was his destination. Lowering himself down, he sat on the cold floor and stared into the stony eyes of the gargoyle.
A few minutes later, a sudden noise started Haiden, and his wide eyes witnessed the gargoyle transform magically into a spiraling staircase. At the top was the kind headmaster, Albus Dumbledore.
“Hello, Haiden. Would you please join me in my office for some tea?”
“I er…I suppose, Professor Dumbledore.” The old man chuckled softly, gesturing to his office.
“Well then, we mustn’t waste time. I fear the older I get, the earlier my bedtime becomes. I hope it isn’t too late for you.”
Haiden laughed at the offhand comment and shook his head. The two started up the stairs, and at the end, the large doors were ajar, revealing the expansive office of the headmaster.
Inside were odds and ends, but Haiden didn’t take the time to survey his surroundings. He took a seat in a chair facing Dumbledore’s expansive desk.
“Now, Haiden, I am assuming that you’ve no idea why I’ve invited you here tonight?” The old man began, conjuring up an antique porcelain tea kettle and two cups.
“No, sir,” Haiden replied, accepting the hot drink from the headmaster.
“Well, I’ve been told by your father of a recent conversation that took place between the two of you a few days ago.”
“And through the detailed description that he gave to me, am I to understand that it did not go so well?”
“No,” Haiden said coolly, setting the cup down on the ornate saucer. Dumbledore smiled warmly, not fazed by the boy’s change of demeanor.
“Well, since both of you have chosen to stay silent, I feel as though perhaps there are a few things that should be said. First of all, you of course already know that your name is not really Haiden Snape.”
“Harry James Potter is your birth name. Your birth date is not in late May as you have always believed, but in fact it is July 31.”
Haiden shook his head in shock. He hadn’t even thought of that; the news of not being the person he’d originally believed himself to be had overwhelmed him. How much more had his father lied about?
“Your father, of course, was James Potter. He was head boy here at Hogwarts, but don’t let that fool you. He always had an eye for trouble, and seemed to have a knack for finding it. Your mother was Lily Potter, and she was head girl. Always had a heart for others, but she was a very brave soul. Do you know the story of Lord Voldemort?”
“Mostly,” Haiden said quietly, staring down at the ridges in his fingers.
“Well, your parents were part of a secret organization against Voldemort. He sought them out and tried to murder your family, but miraculously you survived. You were immediately placed with your relatives, the Dursleys. Petunia Dursley was your mother’s sister. But, in just a few hours, it was apparent that the environment these muggles made for you was not appropriate for…well, any human being. So, I made the decision to move you. The only people who knew, of course, was Minerva and Poppy.”
Dumbledore paused and recollected his thoughts.
“I chose your father because I knew he’d do a good job. If you give him a task, he will do it no matter the consequences unless it truly conflicts with his…ah…values. He was a reluctant father, and desperately tried to have someone else raise you because he didn’t think he could do the job. However, after a few days with you in his care, he quickly realized that all the complications he believed his life currently held were irrelevant when you were in the room.”
Haiden’s face remained stony as he nodded curtly.
“As you grew, he desperately wanted to tell you, for he feared that when you grew older, it would be a much more difficult task. The reason he didn’t divulge, I’m afraid, was due to my concerns. But you must understand, Haiden, that your father, as I’m sure you realize, has an interesting reputation in our world. If the information became public that Severus Snape was the man who raised Harry Potter, well, let’s just say there could be a public outcry. Not to mention that your friend Draco would have a hard time grasping it as well.
So, he was supposed to tell you on your tenth birthday. But as you know, that came and went. Then it was to be your eleventh birthday, and then any time after that. But just a few days ago, Severus realized that he had to tell you or else the sorting hat would in front of the entire school. He handled it very poorly, and for that I am deeply sorry.”
Haiden bit his bottom lip and traced the rough underside of Dumbledore’s desk with his sweaty index finger. He was so uncomfortable, and extremely anxious.
“What must be remembered here, Haiden, is that your father loves you very much, even though he may have only told you a few times in your life, when it really mattered. He would give his life for you, because he loves fiercely, and there are few people in this world who he loves. So far as I can remember, from the child I knew at Hogwarts, your father has never loved anyone…ever. It was assumed the man didn’t know how to love. But your entrance into his life changed something in him, and quite quickly you became his first priority.
Now that you’ve begun to rebel, he has folded inward, and cracking his shell has been difficult. His demeanor of late is impenetrable. I’ve always trusted him deeply, and the changes over just the last twelve hours are very alarming. I am not telling you this to unload on you, or to make you feel guilty for the events that transpired a few days ago. All I am suggesting is merely that you take the time to empathize his situation and perhaps talk to him on your own.”
If anything, Haiden was more upset. The frown lines etched deeply around his mouth ached, and his muscles were tense. And, quite honestly, he hadn’t really understood half of what Dumbledore had just said. What in the heck did impenetrable mean?
“Ah, I’m afraid once again I’ve over estimated your age. You’re very mature, Haiden, and it is easy for me to forget that I am talking to an eleven year old rather than a fourteen or fifteen year old. And, as a small excuse for myself, I’m a little tired! What I mean to say is that your father is very sad and upset at your response, and that you should think about how he feels and why he feels that way. You should think about how difficult it was for him to tell you who you were.”
“I should think about how difficult it was for him?” Haiden spoke finally, the icy words breaking the short silence. “What about me? What about what happened to me? I mean, I’m not even Haiden! And I have to…keep pretending that I am this person! Haiden Snape doesn’t even exist. And my dad was such a loser that no one ever loved him? I want my real mum and dad! I want my real mum and dad now!”
For the first time since he’d heard the news, the dam holding his tears shattered. He was only eleven years old. He’d tried to be so strong; he didn’t want his friends to see him cry, and he certainly didn’t want Severus Snape to see him cry.
What he wanted more than anything, was someone who truly loved him. He knew his real parents, James and Lily Potter, would love him more purely than anyone else.
“I want my mum,” he wailed, tears streaking down his face. “She’d love me…so would my dad…”
Dumbledore comforted the child by rising from his seat and patting his back.
“There there,” he said calmly. “You’ve been so strong, Haiden. This has been a horrible ordeal for you, and it’s alright to cry. I wish more than anything in this world that your parents could still be here to love you and to raise you. I can’t bring them back for you, but I do have a picture of them that you might want to see.” Reaching to his desk, he picked up and old, tattered photograph and handed it to Haiden.
“This is the Order of the Phoenix. Do you see, just there? That’s your father, James, and next to him is your mother, Lily.” The two waved merrily out to him, and his crying ceased immediately.
“That’s…that’s really my parents?” he asked quietly.
“That’s really them.”
Haiden stared down at the two. He’d only seen his actualappearance for a short amount of time, but instantly he realized that he looked like the man waving to him. The hair, the facial features…everything.
“Oh…” Haiden breathed, brushing a finger over his true father’s form. “I look…just like him.”
“You do. You look nearly exactly like him. A few years ago, it took my breath away. That, of course, was the last time I saw you. You eyes are as deep green as your mother’s as well.”
It was odd for him to discuss his appearance, for he had only viewed himself the one time.
“I want to know…how you did this to me. How did you turn me into this?” Haiden asked.
Sitting back down at his desk, Dumbledore sighed.
“It’s a very ancient magic. Basically, it’s a combination of a spell and a potion. The potion had a bit of Severus’ DNA, usually from hair. It’s very similar to a polyjuice potion, except longer lasting. The spell itself helps the longevity of the potion and also helps to transform so that the person does not look identical. It’s very complicated, but the spell was called the inflecto.”
“I don’t want to look like him anymore. I want to look like me,” Haiden said, pushing his long dark locks from his eyes.
“I know, Haiden, and I also know what risk it would pose for you to be revealed. I daresay it would incite mass media attention and many people would want to get their hands on you. I promise you that someday you will be able to live as you truly are. But right now, you must stay. And now, it is getting late, so I should send you back to your dormitory. Haiden, if you ever have any questions, please ask me or your father ─”
“─He’s not my father,” Haiden interjected.
“Ask me or Professor Snape. Oh, and there is one other thing you should consider doing. If you don’t want to ask a question and you’re lost and confused, put your feelings down on paper, in the form of a letter. You can address them to whoever you like, but just write it all down. It will help, I promise. Now, off to bed with you.”
Thanking the old man, Haiden rose and walked slowly down the darkened corridors of Hogwarts. He had many things to think about, and many decisions to consider.
“Hello, students, a-and welcome t-to your f-first D-defense against the D-d-dark Arts lesson ever!”
After taking one look at him, Haiden had decided that there was definitely something wrong with Professor Quirrell. For one thing, he wore a weird looking turban over his head and smelled slightly like garlic at any given point of any day. Secondly, he stuttered atrociously, and it made him very difficult to listen to.
“What do you think is wrong with him?” Draco whispered to Haiden. The two were seated in the back of the classroom, not paying a bit of attention.
“I don’t know, and I don’t really care. I’m ready for lunch,” Haiden whispered back, doodling mindlessly on a bit of parchment.
Suddenly, two rows ahead of them, a hand cut through the air. It belonged to the girl with the bushy hair who, Haiden had learned, was a bit of a know-it-all, and never paled at a chance to be able to answer a question. He figured that was what had just happened, that is Quirrell had just stuttered out some stupid question and the girl was about to rattle off the stupid answer.
How positively annoying.
The class Haiden was most looking forward to, however, was transfiguration. He’d always loved Minerva McGonagall, even if she was the head of his opposing house. She’d always listened to his dumb little kid stories and commented on them, and Haiden had always viewed her as a grandmother of sorts.
So when he took his seat in her classroom, he spotted her immediately as a small tabby cat on the floor. He didn’t say anything as he was sure that she was about to make a dramatic, unexpected entrance, but he’d seen her in her animagus form many times.
Just as he’d suspected, a few short minutes later, she’d transformed back into her usual self, and she began teaching the very basic fundamentals of beginners transfiguration.
“Did you know she could do that?” Draco whispered.
“Yeah, this one time, when I was six, she scared me so bad while I was walking in the hallway! And then, on my birthday, she─”
“─ Mr. Snape and Mr. Malfoy, I think you’ll learn very quickly that conversational chatting is not something I allow during my lessons. Ten points from Slytherin.”
Haiden’s jaw dropped in surprise and his eyes widened.
“And if you continue to press the matter, it will soon be twenty points, have I made myself clear?” Professor McGonagall stated plainly.
Haiden was crushed by the rejection of Minerva. He’d called her that his whole life, and suddenly everything was so formal. His entire life had changed for the absolute worst in two days.
If only he could be five again. He’d be blissfully ignorant of his true identity, the Hogwarts staff would still be enamored with his sweetness, and Severus Snape would still be the center of his universe.
How shockingly different his life had become.
That evening, Haiden decided to take Dumbledore’s advice. Right before bedtime, he sat down with a quill an a bit of parchment and began to write his first letter to his “father.”
I hate you
A/N: Well, I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from you all about the house I put Haiden in, and it’s about a 50/50 split between Gryffindor and Slytherin. I guess the one thing I can tell all of you out there who were hoping for Gryffindor is…don’t worry yet. I’ve still got some tricks up my sleeve! You need to trust your author ;) She knows what to do (haha). Oh, and I know this was depressing, and there wasn’t much Snape in it, but you must understand that Haiden has kind of hit…rock bottom here, as it were. But don’t worry…I promise things will be looking up soon!
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