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Letters to my Father by LovlyRita
Chapter 22 : Epilogue
 
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Platform 9 ľ was alive with movement and excitement the day the Hogwarts express was due to leave for a new school year. Teary first years clung to their parents, nervous about leaving home for the first time, while older students hooted and hollered at being reunited with their fellow classmates. There was so much buzz and chatter that most people did not notice a boy with a long black cloak obscuring his face board the train.

The boy took an empty compartment towards the back of the train and shut the door, waiting for a special signal. Within minutes, there was a series of knocks, and the boy slowly opened the door. A red headed freckled boy came in first, followed by a girl with bushy brown hair who was grinning from ear to ear.

“Haiden!” Hermione Granger exclaimed, latching on to the boy in the cloak.

“Sssh, Hermione! Don’t call him that, you’ll give him away!” Ron Weasley said, taking a seat.

“Oh, I’m sorry, but, I’m so happy to see you!” She smiled at him, and finally, the boy pulled off his cloak to reveal his face.

“Hi, my name is Harry Potter, what’s yours?” he asked, looking at her blankly.

“What’s-what’s my name?” she stuttered, widening her eyes. “You mean, you don’t know?”

“I’m going to be a second year at Hogwarts, what about you?”

“Blimey, he doesn’t remember anything! My name is Ronald Weasley, and this is Hermione Granger,” Ron said slowly, as though talking to a small child.

The boy called Harry then dissolved into a fit of laughter, pointing at his two friends.

“You should…have seen…your faces! It was fantastic! Nah, I’m just fine, it’s me! I wish you could still call me Haiden, but unfortunately, Ron’s right, we have to keep that quiet.” His laughter was met with an angry side swipe to the shoulder.

“That wasn’t funny at all!” Hermione huffed, sitting down across from the two boys. “I was really worried!”

“It’s good to see you again, mate,” Ron said.

“You too. I’ve had a pretty crazy summer. I spent most of it at my father’s house on Spinner’s End, playing outside and such.”

“They let you outside, where you could possibly be seen?” Hermione asked skeptically.

“It’s not like I was a caged animal! Well, actually, there’s a twist to the story you don’t know yet.” Harry dug deep in his pocket and pulled out a photograph of Severus Snape smiling with his arm around his son, Haiden Snape.

“Who’s that?”

“Me, actually. To save you from the confusion, I’ll just say this- my mother hid my true identity before she died, and the man I’ve been calling Dad all my life is actually my biological father. I know. It blew my mind too. So, I was able to have a free summer, pretending to be a distant relative, though it didn’t matter much because no one came around to the house. Then, they had to put the magic back on me to look like Harry again.” The two listened intently to Harry’s tale, unable to believe the circumstances.

“So…you really are Snape’s son? That’s brilliant, your mother must have been a genius!” Ron said.

“That’s some intricate magic they performed on you. Does the potion make you sick anymore?” Hermione questioned quietly, clearly deep in thought as she tried to wrap her mind around the situation.

“A little, when I first take it. But it was the double doses I was receiving my whole life that actually started to poison me. Anyway, all is well, and I can’t wait to get back to the castle! It’s kind of mysterious, my return. Dad says it’ll be all over the papers, since no one knows that I’m back yet. That’s so weird to say, because I actually was never gone. Anyway, I plan to get off the train with everyone else and just blend in to the crowd.”

The train took off with a lurch then, and Harry smiled at his two friends. A loud noise sounded outside their compartment, and Ron jumped up, guarding the door, while Harry replaced the cloak over his head. The door slid open, and Ron sighed loudly.

“Neville, what on Earth are you doing?

“The other compartments are full, and the train taking off really startled me!” Neville Longbottom said, picking himself off the floor.

“Well…we’re full in here too!”

“You’re not though…there is only three of you!”

Hermione gave Ron a stern look, and he tried to dissuade Neville from choosing their compartment. But in the end, Ron allowed him to join them, unable to come up with excuses good enough to keep him from their empty seat. Neville grinned, sitting down next to Hermione.

“Thanks guys, I was getting worried there! Hey…who is that?”

“I don’t see anyone.”

“That’s ridiculous. There’s a person sitting right there, with the cloak over their face!” Neville’s countenance contorted into confusion. He crept closer to the figure and stuck out a grubby finger, shoving it briskly into the soft material of Haiden’s cloak. He then jumped back, as though something evil would burst from the cotton fibers.

“Neville…of course there is someone sitting there,” Hermione said, always the voice of reason. “Just show yourself. The sooner people know, the sooner the shock will be through.”

Harry complied, pulling the hood back from his face. Neville nearly choked on the saliva in his mouth.

“H-H-Harry Potter! It’s Harry Potter! What…what are you doing on the train to Hogwarts? How did you get here? Where have you been the last couple of years?”

“And so it begins,” Harry sighed loudly, and gave Neville the answer he’d been practicing for months at his father’s request. “I was sent somewhere safe, where no one could find me for years. I still can’t reveal the location, since I do not want to endanger the people I stayed with and have them end up like my poor aunt and uncle. After a while, I realized what I was missing out on, and I’ve received no real magical training. I figured it was probably time to hone my skills, and I finally accepted Professor Dumbledore’s request for me to join the student body at Hogwarts.”

Neville was balancing on the very edge of the bench he was sharing with Hermione, clinging to Harry’s every breath as he listened to the fabricated tale. When Harry finished, Neville slowly scooted back, wonder etched across his pale face, which contrasted with the confusion dancing upon the boy sitting across from him.

“Is it going to be like this when I get off the train?” Harry questioned, anxiety flooding his voice.

“We’ll do our best to help, mate,” Ron replied.

“I’m sure you understand what a national celebrity you are, Harry. Your return is going to cause quite a stir, and it might be like this for a while, but we’ll be there with you,” Hermione assured, smiling warmly at Harry.

Neville nodded vigorously in agreement, and as the conversation continued, Harry couldn’t help but smile at his future and his friends, who seemed ready to stick by him through thick and thin.

***

Harry stepped off the train quickly, taking care to assure that his face was concealed by the cloak. He had explicit directions to find Hagrid straight away. Because Harry Potter had not yet been introduced to the school, he was forced to ride the boats over with the first years, just as he had done the year previous.

Towering several feet over all the students, Harry easily spotted Hagrid next to train station. Acknowledging his presence, Hagrid nodded and smiled, pointing toward a gaggle of first years. Both his feet felt heavier than lead as Harry separated from his friends and made his way toward the nervous rumble of voices. Truth be told, Harry felt more nervous than he ever had in his life. Amongst the chatter about which house was the best, which part of the castle was the scariest, and other myths that older siblings had divulged as a cruel joke to their younger counterparts, all Harry could think about was whether or not he could keep the charade up for the rest of his time at Hogwarts.

How was he going to pretend that he’d never set foot into the massive expanse that was Hogwarts, let alone grown up inside its protective walls? Feigning ignorance as to where his common room was, though he’d spent hours inside each one and knew the extensive layout and secret passages that extended from the main castle.

His worries consumed all other discernable emotions, drilling an uncomfortable emptiness inside his stomach and keeping a firm stranglehold on the quickened pace of his heart. He was vaguely aware of Hagrid joining the first years and leading them toward the lake, but not enough to engage his fellow students in conversation.

The boat trip was short and sweet, and though the actual purpose of it was to instill wonder and awe into the hearts of first year students, it did little to impress Harry. After all, he had seen the castle lit up in all its spectacular glory for years, and he had made the exact same trip the year before. It wasn’t until he walked into the castle that all the familiar feelings hit, and his confidence began to build. It was in the moment when he stepped through the front doors into the entry way that he finally removed his cloak, allowing everyone around him to look.

He held his breath for ten seconds, waiting for all the students to turn in amazement and stare at him as though he had grown another head. What he didn’t expect, however, was that not one of the fidgety first years noticed. And when Professor McGonagall came out into the entrance hall to greet everyone, she did not blink twice at the prominent scar adorning his heavily perspiring forehead. She gave a small speech explaining the process of sorting, and then led them all into the great hall, to the scrutinizing eyes of four houses worth of students. Harry very nearly tripped over his own feet while marching in, and his heart skipped a beat when he saw his father sitting up at the staff table in his familiar spot. They made instant eye contact, and then Severus looked away. Harry expected this; after all, it was assumed that Severus Snape had never met Harry Potter. This would be the hardest lie of all to maintain. In fact, Severus had explicitly told Harry that they were not to be in contact at all throughout the school year, and if Harry had anything to tell him, to send it to him through owl post.

His eyes averted to the Gryffindor table where his friends Ron and Hermione sat. Ron looked somewhat grumpy but his expression brightened when he saw Harry, giving him an enthusiastic nod. This gesture elicited a shove from Hermione, along with some kind of verbal lashing. Harry smiled and shook his head, feeling his spirits lift. Sweeping the room with his eyes, his breath caught in his throat as his gaze fell on the table he called home during the last school year. There was Draco, elbowing Crabbe and laughing as he pointed at a small, chubby girl in line with the first years.

The sorting hat belted out its song for the year, and Harry had no problem ignoring it. Instead, he was intensely focused on his future. It was entirely possible that he could land back in the Slytherin house where he felt so very alone during his first year. He dreaded the possibility, opting instead to look at his other possibilities. Ravenclaw wouldn’t be too bad, but he couldn’t really see himself as a brain. Hufflepuff would be a fine house, but he wasn’t cut out to fulfill the ideals of a Hufflepuff. No, he was destined for something greater than either of those two houses could offer, and it would either be the Slytherin title he begged so desperately for the first go round, or Gryffindor, where his new friends resided.

The sorting began then, with names being called every few minutes. Harry’s eyes were still sweeping the Slytherin table and very unexpectedly, he caught the hardened gaze of Draco. His eyes widened, mirroring the action of his former friend as Draco realized who it was, waiting there in the sorting line. He elbowed Crabbe, who poked Goyle, who slapped Blaise Zabini on the back, who whispered to Pansy Parkinson. Pretty soon, half the table was staring at him. He ripped his eyes off the table and tried to concentrate on the sorting. But there was a sudden swell of whispers in the room, and he felt the stares borough into his consciousness.

“Potter, Harry!”

Complete and total silence. Every single person in the room seemed to freeze, their unblinking eyes focused on his every movement. Harry felt muscles move somewhere in his body, and though he desperately desired to have his father come to his rescue on this one, he looked straight ahead, bending his stiff knees to sit on the tall wooden stool. The hat was placed on his head, and all Harry could do was wait.

“I have already sorted you.” The sorting hat said simply.

“I know, but I have to be resorted. I’m Harry Potter now,” Harry thought intensely.

“I’m never wrong. I stand by my original judgement.”

“But you sorted Haiden Snape! I am not Haiden Snape!” Harry squinted his eyes, hoping this small action would be enough to shut out the rest of the room.

“You are. You are exactly that. You are not, in fact, Harry Potter. You are Haiden Snape, born of Severus Snape and Lily Potter. As I said during your sorting last year, you are not who you say you are. I sorted you last year.”

“Please! Please consider me, just one last time. I don’t want to be a Slytherin!”

“Not Slytherin? But I put you there because you are talented, and you can do amazing things in Slytherin. You requested it. Why have you changed your mind?”

“Please, I’m not cut out for Slytherin. I don’t possess any of those qualities, the cunning ones. I’m brave, I’m smart, and I am loyal. I have friends in Gryffindor, I like red better than green! My father raised me to love Slytherin, and while I respect them, I really think I’m more cut out for Gryffindor. Please, I’m begging you to reconsider. If you really think I belong in Slytherin, then I’ll trust your judgement.”

The sorting hat was quiet for a moment, and out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw a flash of worry across Professor McGonagall’s face. His hands dripped with sweat.

“I am never wrong. However, it takes a brave soul to challenge my decision. You will be equally as successful in Gryffindor as Slytherin. I have yet to meet a soul who would do so wonderfully in both houses. Therefore, I take great pleasure in announcing—GRYFFINDOR!”

There was a massive intake of air in the room, and a wide smile stretched across Harry’s face. Professor McGonagall beamed at him, and the cheers at the Gryffindor table resounded throughout the entire hall. Harry jumped off the stool and joined Hermione and Ron at the table. He received several pats on the back as people he already knew well introduced themselves to him.

“Brilliant, mate,” Ron said. “That took a long time, I was almost annoyed. I’m absolutely starving.”

“Oh Ron, how can you think of food at a time like this? Harry is in Gryffindor now! I can’t wait to show you the common room, oh this is going to be so wonderful!” Hermione exclaimed, wrapping her arms around him.

Harry smiled, feeling complete surrounded by so much love, and he glanced up at the staff table once more. He saw a quick smile on his father’s face, followed by a slight nod. All was finally right with Haiden “Harry Potter” Snape.

***
Dear Father,
I am so beyond excited to be in Gryffindor! I know you always wanted me to be in Slytherin growing up, and I was for a while, but I think I really belong here in Gryffindor! Hermione was so nice to me today, and Ron showed me to my new dorm! We stayed up and talked for a while, so I’m kind of tired. I never stayed up in the Slytherin common room. I’m kind of nervous about lessons this year, but I know it will be good. The only thing I’m sad about is that I can’t come down to your quarters whenever I have a question, or just want to talk to my Dad. But then, I guess that puts me on equal playing field with everyone else here at Hogwarts. So I’ll see you at Christmas, Dad…but I’ll really see you in class tomorrow! I love you. Thank you for letting me come back to Hogwarts. I gotta go, we’re getting ready to play some game. Will I ever get to sleep in this house? Only time will tell.

Love, Haiden


***

A/N
Well, here I am, 2 and a half years after I started this story, and it’s all finished! I want to thank ChoS_sista_girl and Babycakes93 for their help in figuring out a few details for this chapter. I want to thank all of the amazing readers who have made this my most successful story to date. When it first came out, it was definitely a popular story on here, and now that I let it fall by the wayside, it’s sad that it isn’t finishing on top. But I’ve met some amazing people through the writing of this story, and I’m truly blessed with it. I want to thank the banner maker, Dim At Best, wherever he or she may be at this juncture. Also, I’d like to thank my husband for encouraging me to finish it. And I’m dedicating this chapter to everyone who helped me, including the staff, and stargazer, in hopes that if I dedicate something to her she will finally finish reading this story!

I started this story with the idea that I would do something fresh and new, something no one has done before. I feel like this is an overdone plot line now, but a few years ago, it was new! So thanks to all of you out there who indulged me over the years!

Is this the end of Haiden’s journey? I’m not sure. For now, yes. This story was set up so that at the end of it, it would play out exactly like the Harry Potter books do. The only thing that would be different is that Severus wouldn’t be so awful to the character of Harry. Everything else should proceed mostly the way that canon does. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a review or go to my meet the author thread on the forums, and I’ll try to give you an answer. Thanks so much for you time :) I love you all!!

-Ash



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