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Hogwarts staff room

An hour before the Hogwarts Express arrives:

 
“In addition to our new staff member, Alastor Moody, who has come out of retirement at my request to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, we will also be hosting the Triwizard Tournament, for the first time in over three hundred years.  Representatives from Durmstrang and Beauxbatons will be arriving here in the beginning of November. In the meantime, students eligible for the tournament shall be permitted to put their names in the Goblet of Fire.  I am sure whoever represents Hogwarts will do so to the best of his or her ability.” Dumbledore said, his sapphire eyes twinkling. 

All the staff members nodded.  Then the old man stood and gestured to Severus, who had been waiting silently for the entire meeting, his hands fisted in his black robes to still a faint tremor of nervousness, though what in Merlin’s name he had to be nervous about was incomprehensible.  Everyone here already knew of his former undercover activities as a spy, that had gone public with the Malfoy trial.  They also knew of his guardianship of Draco. The one thing they did not know and which he was about to reveal to them was the fact that Harry Potter was really his son, Harry Albus Snape.

Severus rose, clasped his hands before him, and said quietly, “You all know how I was once a spy for the Order of the Phoenix, and due to several circumstances, am now quit of that profession.  I have assumed guardianship of both Draco Malfoy, who is my godson, and another young man whom you once knew as Harry Potter.” Gasps followed that statement.  Severus continued calmly.  “What I did not know until this summer, when Harry’s aunt, Petunia Dursley, revealed to me a secret she has kept for thirteen years, was that Harry was in truth my son and not James Potter’s.  I have since done a paternity test to confirm her revelation and it has come back positive.”

MCGonagall’s jaw hung open.  “What are you saying, Severus? That Lily broke her marriage vows?”

“No.  She was carrying Harry before she ever married James.”

“Then why did she marry him and not you?” asked the Head of Gryffindor, confused.

“Do you remember the events of the spring and summer of 1980?” queried the Potions Master.  “If not, let me refresh your memories. I was, at that time, just turned twenty, and recently begun my spying duties for the Order a year previously.  I was engaged to marry Lily, but had not yet proposed formally.  I did not know she was pregnant.  Before we could go any further in our relationship Albus asked me to set a trap for some of the Dark Lord’s most influential members, like Bellatrix Lestrange, Barty Crouch Jr., and others.  We staged a battle between them and some Order members, and during that battle, Albus pretended to “kill” me.  This was because we were very close to finding He-Who_Must-Not-Be-Named’s secret base and Albus did not want me to be forced to fight against my real allies in that battle, so he had me fake my own death.  I was forbidden to reveal the truth to anyone, especially Lily.  I hid myself away in a safe place, and was supposed to return when Albus deemed it safe, and then he would clear me of whatever charges the Ministry accused me of.  No one knew that Lily was carrying my child, or that she would take my death so hard that she decided to marry James in order to give her baby a father.”

“She never told him, I take it?” McGonagall asked sharply.

“No.  She never told the truth of Harry’s parentage to anyone save Petunia.  By the time I returned to the world, Harry was born and recognized as James Potter’s son. I refused to let Lily know that I was alive once I discovered she had married James and a year after that she was dead by Voldemort’s hand and Harry sent to live with her sister and her family.  Petunia revealed the truth to me when I sought sanctuary in her home over the summer, she too had presumed me dead.”

“Bet that was a shock, Snape,” Moody said gruffly, sipping from his hip flask.

“In more ways than one.  I took Harry with me when I left for my ancestral home for the rest of the summer and we have managed to get along quite tolerably.  Draco joined us soon after and the two boys will be raised as brothers by me.  My son will also be known now by his rightful name, Harry Albus Snape. He was wearing a glamour Lily placed upon him when he was born.  I have since removed it, though my son put it back for the train ride and the feast.  Once you have revealed his identity to Gryffindor, Minerva, he will remove it for good.  You will then see that he resembles me a great deal.” Severus said that last with a hint of pride.

“Congratulations, professor!” said Hagrid, smiling at the tall man.  “You couldn’t ask for a better son than Harry.  And even Draco oughta shape up with you as his guardian now.”

“Thank you, Hagrid,” said Severus sincerely.  “I wished to inform all of you first so that you may tell the members of your House during the beginning of term meeting.  I think it best if you do so then, rather than making an announcement in the Great Hall.  Like me, Harry prefers to be out of the limelight.”

The other three Heads of House agreed, then it was time to go to the hall and wait for the students to arrive.  All were quite surprised by their colleague’s unexpected revelation, but their emotions were nothing to what the students’ reactions would be.

 

* * * * * *

 

All during the feast, Harry kept pausing in eating his supper and casting furtive glances over at the Slytherin table, where Draco was seated with Crabbe and Goyle, the staff table, where his father was sitting next to Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, and occasionally over his shoulder as well.  He could not shake the odd feeling that he was being watched. 

His uneasiness transmitted itself to the shimmerling hidden within the folds of his hood, and Smidgen hissed into his mind, :Is there something amiss, Harry? You’re as jumpy as a darkhound with fleas.:

No.  It’s just . . .I feel like people are staring at me.  Stupid, right? I haven’t even removed the glamour yet.  I guess Dad must have told McGonagall and the rest of them by now.  Wonder how they took it? Guess I’ll find out once we have the House meeting.  Dad said McGonagall would tell everyone in Gryffindor then.

:Do not worry, Harry.  Your lineage as a Prince is illustrious enough to satisfy even the most prejudiced pureblood of your race.  And if not, then they are stupider than a pixie.: the shimmerling sniffed. 

Harry grinned and took a bite of his fried chicken.  It tasted wonderful, though his pumpkin juice was only adequate. He sighed, wishing he had merlinna juice instead.  He had become quite addicted to the fae fruit while staying at Prince Manor for the summer, and the sweet-tart juice was like nectar of the gods.  He wouldn’t be able to have merlinnas until he returned to the manor, so he would have to learn to ignore the craving for the heart-shaped fruit.

Around him, his Housemates were discussing their new Defense teacher, and also the upcoming Triwizard Tournament.  Dumbledore had not yet summoned the Goblet of Fire into the room, he had said he would do so after the feast, and Harry was eager to get a look at the magical object. 

“Who do you think the cup will pick for the tournament?” asked Lavender Brown.

“We wish it were us,” said Fred longingly.  “It’s dumb that you have to be of age—”

“—to compete,” finished George, frowning.  “Maybe we could manufacture an Aging potion? I mean, we’re only shy of seventeen by a few months.”

“The Goblet could only pick one of you,” Hermione reminded them bossily.  “And if you think you can hoodwink Dumbledore, think again.  There’s a reason why you have to be of age to compete in the tournament.  People have died before.”

“That’s half the fun of it! The risk!” chorused the twins.

Hermione rolled her eyes in disgust, as did half the girls at the table.  Boys! The more dangerous it was, the better they liked it.  They were all idiots, without the sense God gave an insect.

“I’m sure your mother wouldn’t agree,” put in Katie Bell.

“Well, of course not.  She’s our mum!” Ron said.  He exchanged glances with his brothers and half the boys at the table.  Girls! Mention danger and they were all shivery and wimpy.  They were so boring, always thinking about safety and dying.  No fun whatsoever.

“Who’s going to put their name in the Goblet from Gryffindor?” asked Dean.

Several seventh years and a few sixth years who had just turned seventeen raised their hands. 

“Hope the Goblet picks one of us,” said Angelina Johnson.

“You have as good a chance as any of the other candidates,” said Hermione.  “But Dumbledore said he wouldn’t let the Goblet become active until after the students from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arrived.  He just wants us to get a look at it beforehand.  I think the tournament sounds barbaric, but exciting.”

“How can it be both?” asked Ron.

“Because it means we get to meet students from other schools and see what they know magically and if we know more than they do, and it’s barbaric because the tournament is dangerous and very risky.” Hermione explained.

“Girls!” muttered Ron in disgust.  “There’s no understanding them.  Mention danger and fighting and it’s like you insulted their mother.”

Except Sarai,  Harry thought wryly.  She’s not afraid of either of those things.

:There are not many women, fae or human, like Sarai Kinsalari Valinek,: Smidgen declared proudly, purring softly into Harry’s ear.

That’s for sure, Harry thought in admiration, recalling how the half-fae warrior had fought like a dervish to save him and Draco from the Unseelie fae in the Deepwood.  He hoped that he would see more of Sarai when he returned to Prince Manor, he had really enjoyed sparring and talking with her, and he knew his dad missed her too, if for a different reason entirely.

Thinking of the manor made Harry place a hand upon his amulet, which he always wore beneath his shirt.  Just clasping it made his ever-present longing for the cool lawns and melinna-filled orchard subside a bit.  He could feel the pulse of the manor through the amulet, the magic that bound him to it was strong enough to transcend distance and time as well.  He was one with the land and the land was one with him.  If anything breached the wards about the manor, he would know. But of course that had never happened, the manor was too well hidden, both by the Evermist and other wards of protection. 

All he had to do was get through the first term and then he could go home to the manor for break.  He just hoped the term would go swiftly and be free of mishaps, though he knew that was wishful thinking.  Mishaps seem to occur about him without him needing to do anything, and just because he was the heir to Prince Manor and Severus’s son now didn’t mean that would change.

I just hope whatever trouble finds me doesn’t make Dad have a heart attack.

At last the feast ended, and Dumbledore raised his hands for silence. Everyone hushed and the old wizard made a beckoning motion with a hand and a plain wooden box appeared in the room with a sharp pop.

It floated over to the podium where the Headmaster was now standing and Dumbledore reverently removed the large golden cup inlaid with opals and sapphires from its box and held it up for everyone in the hall to see. 

“This is what you will be placing your names into a few months from now,” Dumbledore announced.  “Is it not a splendid piece of craftsmanship?”

Gasps of awe and longing swept through the hall as the students gazed upon the priceless treasure. 

Only two in the hall did not fall under the goblet’s spell.

Phillip, who was standing beside a pillar, cloaked in a vampiric spell of non-detection, stared at the goblet in the old archmagus’s hands in shock and anger.  “That is not yours to use! It was stolen from the fae centuries ago!” he muttered, too low to be heard by human ears.  “Your Goblet of Fire is the Cup of Wonders!”

Smidgen too was furious at seeing the stolen object displayed like a prize trophy at a fair, without regard for its sacred lineage.  She hissed and lashed her tail, fluttering off Harry’s shoulder and glaring at Dumbledore. Our sacred chalice, stolen from us by a thief of the Roundtable, who tricked his way through the Maidens of the Cup by charm and glamourie taught to him by his half-fae sire, Lancelot, will now be used as a mere vessel to choose champions for a tournament?

“Titania would be furious if she knew,” Phil whispered to himself.

Smidgen’s ears pricked.  :What? Who said that?: She swiveled her ears about and flew towards the source of the voice.  :Who knows of the fae queen, my mistress? Show yourself!:

Phillip stiffened upon hearing the voice in his head.  Come closer, and I shall let down my veils a bit.

Smidgen did so, and when she was closer, sent , :I am about four pawlengths away from you.:

Phillip dropped his veils for a moment, and Smidgen wrinkled her nose at him.  :Who are you? Do you work for the queen? You are no fae.  You are a Nightwalker.:

Yes.  Titania spoke of a danger to Harry Snape, the heir to Prince Manor.  I am here to guard him from harm.  He is my descendant.  I am Phillip Anthony Snape.  What are you called, shimmerling?

:My mother called me Smidgen, Phillip.: replied the shimmerling.  She cast another glance at the chalice in Dumbledore’s hands.  :The nerve of these wizards, using the sacred Cup of Wonders thus!  It makes my fur stand on end.:

Phil nodded.  They don’t know what they have.  So few of them study the old legends of the fae anymore.  Only the Prince line would understand the gravity of them using the Cup in such a fashion, as a mere vessel for a tournament. They do not know what the Cup is capable of doing.

:I should say not, else they would never treat it so cavalierly: sniffed Smidgen.

Together the two emissaries from the Seelie Court watched as Dumbledore displayed the goblet for a few more minutes then returned it to its box and sent it back to his office.  “And now, I am pleased to announce the beginning of a new year and hope that you will all make it a memorable one. Remember, celebrate the differences as well as the similarities between yourselves and those of the other schools and even those in your own school. Diversity is the spice of life.” He waved his hands at the students.  “Go on then, I believe your Heads of House have a meeting for you to go to before you can relax for the rest of the day.  But don’t stay up too late, as classes begin tomorrow!”

At that, a collective groan went up from over four hundred throats, and everyone rose to their feet and filed out of the hall.

Smidgen flew after Harry, still steamed over the sudden appearance of the Cup of Wonders. 

Noiselessly, the vampire lord followed a few feet behind.

 

* * * * * *

 

 Gryffindor common room:

 

“ . . .and now, there is one more announcement I have to make,” McGonagall said, and she motioned for Harry to come and stand beside her in front of the hearth. The rest of their House were gathered on the couches and tables or sprawled on the floor.  “Most of you here know that Harry was made an orphan when You-Know-Who killed his parents.  But recently, he has learned that was not so.  He lost only his mother that night.  His father is still alive and well.”

“How?”

“Harry?” she gestured for him to proceed.

He swallowed hard and said, “Because, Neville, my father wasn’t James Potter. My dad is Severus Snape.”

And with that he released the glamour over himself and his features became those of his true self.  His cheekbones narrowed, he became taller, his hair was sleek and dark, no longer a messy mop, and his hands lengthened.  He still had green eyes and glasses, but now one could see that he was indeed Snape’s biological son. 

“This is my real appearance.  The way I looked before was a glamour my mother put on me as a baby.” Harry explained.

Gasps and exclamations erupted in the room.

“Merlin! He looks like Snape!”

“Poor thing!”

“Why? I think he looks sexy!” cooed a fifth year girl, eyeing Harry appreciatively.

Harry felt himself blush.

“Does Snape know?”

“Does that mean your mum cheated on your other dad?”

“No!” shouted Harry, anxious to nip that rumor in the bud.  “My dad never even knew I was born.  Mum didn’t know she was pregnant till after she married James, she was engaged to my real dad and thought he’d died.  Only it was a cover for his role as a spy.”

“Sure, that’s what they all say!” sneered a sixth-year boy.

“It’s true!” Harry cried, incensed.

“Enough, Mr. Tibbs!” McGonagall ordered sharply.  “What Mr. Snape says is correct, and you will accept that fact and keep your mouth shut.  Slander about Professor Snape or Harry’s conception will not be tolerated, am I understood? Anyone I find circulating lewd rumors will find themselves in detention with me for two weeks, writing apologies and essays until their hand is ready to fall off.”

Tibbs blanched.  “Yes, ma’am.  Sorry, professor.”

“Good.  Now, I expect all of you to treat Harry as you did before, after all he is still a Gryffindor, even though his father is your potions professor and Head of Slytherin.” McGonagall finished.  “Good night.  Get some sleep, you’ll want to be rested and alert for your first day back.”

She swept from the common room, retiring up the stairs to her quarters on the opposite end of the tower.

Harry glanced around, feeling like the main attraction at a freak show.

Neville was eying Harry warily, as if he expected Harry to suddenly start glaring and issuing detentions and taking points.  It would have been amusing had it been anyone else, but instead Harry only found it disheartening.

Some of his Housemates were giving him looks of horror or sympathy, others were staring at him as if he was a stranger, and still others were glaring and looking as though they wished he would drop dead. 

“How did the Hat ever put you in Gryffindor, Snape?” hissed a seventh-year after McGonagall was safely out of earshot.

“Yeah, why didn’t it put you where you belonged . . .with the scummy snakes in the dungeons?” taunted another.

“Because he belonged here, Knowles!” snapped Hermione, coming to stand next to Harry, her small chin lifted defiantly.  “The Hat doesn’t always sort family members into the same House. Look at the Patil twins!”

“Hermione’s right,” Parvati spoke up.  “I am a Gryffindor, but my identical twin is a Ravenclaw.  There is no shame in this.”

“No, because your sister’s not a greasy git,” shouted someone in the back of the room.

Harry felt his temper start to ignite.  “My father is not a greasy git! Most of how he behaved towards all of us was an act, a cover for his activities as an agent. Over the summer, I learned who my dad really was, and it wasn’t the professor you all know.”

“Yeah, right! Snake lover! Maybe you ought to get Dumbledore to Re-Sort you!”

“Shut up, Stark!” ordered Ron angrily.  “The Hat put him here and here is where Harry stays.  I don’t care what his last name is or who his dad is.  He’s still my best mate.  Now put up or shut up!”

He too came to stand beside Harry and Hermione. 

Harry lifted his head and said quietly, “I’m the same person I was before, I just know my real identity now and have a father instead of a grave to talk to.  I’m descended from the Prince line through my grandmother and I’m proud of that and proud of my father.  He risked his life so we could all be safe.”

“But then he went and adopted Malfoy, ugh!” Dean groaned.

“That’s right.  Because Malfoy, like me, needed a father, and he’s my dad’s godson.”

“Too bad.”

“Yeah, who’d want to be related to Malfoy, the Death Eater spawn?”

“How you can stand being related to any Slytherin is beyond me, Potter.”

“It’s Snape now, Dougal,” Harry reminded him sharply. “Not all Slytherins are dark, just like not all Gryffindors are brave.  I’ve learned to live with Malfoy and anyhow, it’s none of your business.”

Abruptly, he was sick and tired of all the fuss and irritable and all he wanted was some peace and quiet.  He turned to his friends and said softly, “I’m going to pretend to go to bed and use my cloak to slip out of the tower.  Meet me near the humpbacked witch statue, I need to get out of here for a bit.  Before I go postal and start hexing people.”

Hermione looked like she wanted to protest, but then she just nodded and so did Ron.

Harry then announced he was going to bed and went upstairs.

He dug through his trunk till he found James’s cloak and slipped it on. Then he drew the curtains round his bed and set a swift glamour on it of himself sleeping, just in case anyone checked.

After that he slipped out of the tower on silent feet, using his kin-sa-dor techniques to move like a ghost down the corridor.

Smidgen fluttered over to him and perched on his shoulder.  :Ought you not to be in your common room, Harry? It’s not quite safe for you to be wandering about at night.:

“I’ll be fine, Smidgen.  I just needed to get out of there for a few minutes.  My friends will be along soon.” Harry said aloud.

:You are troubled, young Snape.  Did your meeting not go well?:

Harry exhaled sharply. Then he opened his mind and shared his thoughts with the dreamweaver, who purred soothingly at him.  :I know it is difficult, Harry, to endure the taunts of those you thought were your friends, but the truth is always better than a lie, and if they cannot handle the truth of who you really are, then perhaps they were not your friends to begin with.  I think you will find out soon who you can trust and who you can’t.  But don’t lose heart, child.  You will always have me and your family.  We shall never abandon you and we love you always.:

The shimmerling’s heartfelt sending touched him and he stroked the fae cat gently and whispered, “Thanks, Smidgen.”    

A real family and a home.  He had at last what he had always wanted, he reminded himself, clutching the amulet beneath his shirt. And he wasn’t going to give it up, not for anything. Smidgen was right, and he knew that his father would tell him the same thing if he were here.  If a person couldn’t accept you for who you were, then that person was not a real friend, just an acquaintance.   He was grateful that Ron and Hermione were true friends, and the twins, and some of the others as well.  And in the end it was better to have a few real friends than two dozen acquaintances, he decided, leaning back against the statue. 

In a few minutes, Ron and Hermione could be heard coming down the corridor, Harry had to suppress a giggle at how loud they sounded.  They need some lessons on the art of being a shadow.  Too bad only those with fae blood can learn kin-sa-dor.

He tossed off the Invisibility Cloak when they came around the corner.

“Hey, Harry.  Guess you just needed to get away, huh?” Hermione said sympathetically.  “Just ignore those other dimwits.  They haven’t the brains God gave an amoeba.”

Harry chuckled.  “Got that right, ‘Mione. I just needed some space, I was feeling smothered in there.”

“I know what you mean.” Ron said feelingly. “Good thing you left, I was tempted to punch some of them out after, but Hermione dragged me out the door.”

“The last thing you need, Ron, is detention with McGonagall for causing a brawl,” Hermione said disapprovingly. “Besides, hitting an idiot doesn’t change their mind, it just knocks the rest of what brains he had out of his head.” She scowled.  “I never knew just how bigoted some people in Gryffindor were until tonight.”

“Prejudice knows no boundaries,” Harry quoted softly, though he couldn’t for the life of him remember who had said that. He sighed softly.  “But better I know who my real friends are now than get a nasty shock a month later when they turn on me.”

“Right.  Get all the arseholes out in the open,” Ron agreed.  “And whatever happens, mate, me and my brothers will stand by you.”

“And me.”

“Thanks.” Harry said sincerely.

Feeling much better than he had previously, he remained talking with his two best friends for awhile longer, telling them more amusing stories about Prince Manor and describing Dragon’s Wild, the wizard version of five card draw poker, and how Draco and he had once knocked Severus down while running a race to the kitchen.

Ron’s eyes nearly bugged out. “No way! Was he like ready to tear you into pieces?”

“No, not really. He gave me a smack on the bum but it didn’t really hurt.  I think he was sort of relieved that we were finally getting along, so all we had to do was apologize and make him lunch.”

Ron whistled.  “I would have loved to see that.  Snape on the floor and you two knocked on top of him!”

“Was he hurt?” Hermione wanted to know.

Harry shook his head, laughing. “No.  Only his pride.”

Then Ron started discussing the Quidditch World Cup and how he had gotten to see Viktor Krum play, who was the youngest and best professional Seeker ever, and how Ireland had beaten Bulgaria. 

“But after that, the Death Eaters came,” reminded Hermione.  “And they started tormenting Muggles that were camping nearby.  It was awful.”

“I’ll bet Lucius Malfoy was in that bunch,” Ron said darkly.

“No doubt,” Harry agreed. 

“But he wasn’t caught when they rounded up the others after the Dark mark was shot off into the sky,” Ron finished.  “My dad and some of the other Ministry officials never did find the wand that made the Mark appear. Maybe that was Lucius too.”

“Well, I’m glad he’s in Azkaban, and so is his wife!” Hermione declared hotly. “That’s where all of them belong.”

Harry checked his watch.  “It’s getting late and I’m going to bed. Coming?”

They followed him back to the common room.

As he was getting into bed, Harry wondered how Draco and Severus had fared with the Slytherins.  If my own House was this bad, what must have theirs been like, who have Death Eater supporters? Oh, well, maybe I can find a way to ask him tomorrow.  We have potions together.

He felt his eyes start to drift shut and he sank into sleep, while above him on the pillow, a black dreamweaver kept watch for a portion of the night, then slipped away to explore the castle, eager to discover what secrets it held beyond the Cup of Wonders.

A/N: So what did you think of all of the reactions and the surprise with the Goblet? More on that to be revealed later!

Thanks to all who returned to read the sequel and don't forget to review!

Also, I have a new story up Where Shadows Go, so check it out!

Next: Draco and Severus have to deal with a nest of angry Slytherins, plus the first potions class.

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