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Title: Master Green Eyes
Author: [livejournal.com profile] fbowden
Betas: [livejournal.com profile] leela_catand [livejournal.com profile] brknhalo241
Characters: Harry/Snape
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: off screen mpreg, angst, romance.
Word Count: 33,000 total. (complete) This chapter 5,200.
Summary: 'The small face was haunting, the jaw length black hair hanging limply to frame it. With a shock, Harry realised exactly who the child bore a striking resemblance to.'
Author's notes: It's finally here!! This has been a WIP for nearly a year. The original idea was given to me by [livejournal.com profile] jennybliss, and it snowballed from there. It's been a labour of love, this fic, and I sincerely hope all the Snarry fen on my flist enjoy it. Also, don't let the mpreg warning put you off - it's non graphic and a past occurrence. I'll be posting a chapter of this length every day until complete.



Prologue

"I'm sorry, Gin, I've made up my mind."

"But you said we'd talk about this properly and we haven't, Harry!"

"We've talked about nothing else. I still want to take the job McGonagall's offering and I still want to get out of the Ministry. There's no challenge now that we've got all the Death Eaters. And I think I'll be good at teaching."

"Are you taking this job to get away from me, or the Aurors?"

Harry sighed. "The Aurors, of course. Living at Hogwarts won't be so bad, you can come and stay weekends and there are plenty of school holidays."

"How can we have a family if you're living away from home most of the year, Harry? I'm twenty-five; I want us to start a family."

"Christ, slow down, Gin! We're not even married yet. And, no, I'm not saying we'll never get married or - " Harry repressed a shudder, " - have a baby - just...not yet. I'm not ready."

Ginny stared at him before turning away and wiping an angry tear. "I don't think you'll ever be ready, Harry."

***

“They get younger every year, I swear they do,” Harry whispered, mumbling out of the corner of his mouth for fear of catching the Headmistress’ attention.

Hagrid gave a low chuckle and patted his shoulder.

Whilst McGonagall addressed the Hall, Harry tuned out and turned his attention to the first years; all wide eyed innocence and oversized robes. He played the usual game of guessing which house they’d join, and in most cases, the Sorting Hat vindicated him, but one solemn little boy near the back caught his attention.

The boy was oddly familiar. Harry stared hard until the child inclined his head under the weight of scrutiny, catching Harry’s gaze and returning an inquiring one of his own.

Harry glanced away, feeling oddly uncomfortable. The small face was haunting, the jaw length black hair hanging limply to frame it. With a shock, Harry realised exactly who he bore a striking resemblance to. The notion was faintly ridiculous, that Snape would have a son attending Hogwarts when Harry was a Professor. Although not ridiculous in the sense that it was unlikely, just that it would be highly ironic. No, he amended silently, it was unlikely; no one in their right mind would procreate with Severus Snape.

One by one the children were beckoned forth, nervous anticipation turning to delight at the Sorting Hat’s proclamation, each happily jumping off the stool to join their new houses whilst Harry waited with piqued interest to see what would become of the skinny boy at the back.

“Aurelius Prince,” McGonagall announced.

“Blimey, ‘arry,” Hagrid whispered, “Dun ‘e look like old Snape?”

Harry could only nod. There was no way it could be a coincidence that the boy shared a surname with Snape’s mother. The Half-Blood Prince was alive somewhere, and he had a son. As the Hat was lowered onto the small dark head, Harry unconsciously murmured, “Slytherin.”

“Right, well, let’s see, plenty of brain power here, certainly enough to be a valued student in Ravenclaw, but there’s cunning here too, hmm, very difficult. What about Gryffindor? Perhaps your true strengths are bravery and courage. Heroism too, I believe.”

Leaning forward in his seat, Harry could see the boy rapidly shaking his head, lips moving as though in prayer.

“Only once before you has a student disagreed
However, the reasons that he gave were born entirely out of need
Your desire, yes I feel it, to be bound for Slytherin
Cannot thrive nor be of use when purely product of your kin”

Bloody hell, it was talking about him! Comparing Harry and this boy, mirror images of each other almost twenty years apart, both wishing to be placed in the house of their choice and not heeding the wisdom of the Sorting Hat. Unlike himself though, Aurelius did not get his wish, nor did he benefit from the discretion the Hat had shown Harry, whispering in his ear.

“Young man, you will thank me for this one day. Gryffindor!”

Harry stared in stunned shock as the boy slid off the stool and joined the Gryffindor table to muted applause from the rest of the house. His fervent passion not to be sorted there had been witnessed by the entire school. Harry instantly felt sorry for him, and couldn’t help wondering what would have become of him if the same thing had happened and he’d been sorted into Slytherin.

With the last student placed in Hufflepuff (right again) McGonagall announced the feast and everyone tucked in hungrily. All, he noticed, except Aurelius Prince.

***

“Minerva, I know he’s Snape’s son. Even apart from the fact he’s the spitting image of the man-”

“Will you please calm yourself, Potter.” McGonagall sat primly behind her desk, surrounded by piles of parchment and books with protective jackets fashioned from thick dust.

“Surely we must have contact details?”

McGonagall glared through her spectacles, summoning a house-elf and ordering tea with an impatient snap. Harry felt sorry for the creature, knowing her ire was really intended for him.

“Of course, as we do for all of the students. What I fail to understand is why you would need them? Has the boy done something wrong already?”

“What? No-that’s not why I-”

“Then I see no justifiable reason for bothering his parents.”

“So he does have two parents then?”

“Good gracious!” she exclaimed waspishly, “what are you trying to insinuate here? Even if he were Severus Snape’s son, I would sincerely hope it would not affect the way he is taught in your lessons.”

A loud crack delivered an elf bearing a tea tray. Harry eyed the steaming pot longingly.

“Of course not,” he said, “I’m just curious. The man disappeared off the face of the planet after the War.”

“You are well aware of his reasons. If you cannot contain your curiousity, perhaps you should ask around the staffroom, see if the wee lad shows an aptitude for Potions.”

Minerva was smirking at him now, and Harry let out a defeated breath.

“Okay, I get it. You’re not going to tell me, even though I’m bound to find out sooner or later. Parents evening, remember?”

Minerva pushed a bone china cup towards him, lifting her own to her lips and blowing on the scalding brown liquid.

“Then perhaps you might contain your curiosity until then? I trust there is no reason you cannot educate the boy without being apprised of his lineage beforehand?”

“No, but-”

“Excellent. Now, I understand you wished to discuss your curriculum?”

Harry sighed and gave a reluctant nod. Whatever her reasons, the Headmistress was not going to be persuaded into telling him anything.

***

“Right, well done everyone. I think that’s enough for today. You’ve all been lucky enough to escape with a full set of limbs.”

The class laughed and started to pack away. Harry, as he had been all lesson, was watching Aurelius. The boy was a loner; no doubt about that. He never sat with anyone, despite there being plenty of other students he could have paired up with. He studied hard though, dark hair falling over his book or parchment, always totally absorbed in his work. It would be just like Snape to produce a son as unsocial and studious as he was, Harry thought.

“Prince, stay behind please. Everyone else, you can go.”

A few sympathetic looks went to the startled boy, whose head jerked up in surprise at hearing his name called. Mostly though, quiet snickers could be heard as the other students filed out, not one of them stopping to offer words of consolation.

Harry instantly wished he’d thought of a better way to speak with the child; one that didn’t involve his classmates thinking he was in trouble.

“Sir? Did I do something wrong?” Aurelius moved warily towards him, head tilted back to gaze up at his Professor. His voice was quiet and soft; a stark contrast to the sharper features of his face, though by some genetic stroke of luck, he had managed to avoid inheriting Snape’s nose.

“No, of course not, nothing like that, I just wanted to have a chat with you.”

Harry sat at his desk and waved Aurelius into the chair opposite.

“How are you settling in?”

“Um, fine sir,” he mumbled, eyes firmly fixed on the grain of the desk, hair once again hanging around his face and obscuring most of it.

“Quite a shock isn’t it? Leaving home for the first time and having to board. I hope you aren’t missing your parents too much.”

“A little, but I like school, sir,” he replied, voice still gentle but with a hint of defensiveness.

“Oh, I wasn’t suggesting for a moment that you didn’t, I was just trying to reassure you that it’s perfectly normal for the first few weeks to be a bit bumpy. I’m sure you’ll settle down and make some friends soon.”

Aurelius glanced up then; this was the first time Harry had been this close to him and he was startled to see eyes as green as his own staring back.

Swallowing his surprise, Harry said, “Playing Quidditch is a good way to get involved socially. After you’ve started your flying lessons with Madam Hooch, you might like to join the practice sessions I run on Saturday mornings.”

“I’m not supposed to play Quidditch, sir. My father-well, he believes study is more beneficial.”

Unable to contain himself any longer, Harry resolved to find out once and for all.

“And your mother? What does she have to say about that?”

The boy's eyes dropped like stones and the black curtains drew across his face once more.

“I don’t have a mother, sir,” he whispered, so softly that Harry almost didn’t catch it, “please, may I go now? I don’t want to be late for my next lesson.”

Harry sat back in his chair, thoroughly amazed and more intrigued than ever.
“Yes, of course, I hope I haven’t made you late.”

Aurelius jumped up and started towards the door.

“By the way, what your father doesn’t know, won’t hurt him,” Harry called after the retreating child, “and Quidditch really is great fun.”

The boy nodded slowly and disappeared out of the door, leaving Harry with more questions than he’d originally had.

***

“Oh no, look who’s coming,” one of the Gryffindors gathered at the back muttered.

Harry looked up to see Aurelius approaching, his pace not exactly slow, but definitely reluctant. He waited until the boy reached the assembled students and then made the introductions. “Great, looks like we have another player so that’ll make seven aside, just what we need for a game. Everyone, this is Aurelius Prince. I hope you’ll make him welcome.”

“Prince? Shouldn’t that be princess?”

“...looks too skinny to even hold a broom, let alone ride one!”

“...wanted to be a snake, didn’t he?”

“Quiet!” Harry shouted, glaring at the group, “if you want to play, get a broom and start practising because that’s what we’re here to do. Anyone not interested in doing so can leave now.”

Suitably chastised, the students wandered off to the supplies shed, but Aurelius didn’t follow.

“Well, are you playing or not?” Harry snapped, immediately regretting it when the boy visibly blanched.

“I-I was going to but...“ His eyes moistened as they followed the direction of the other students.

“You shouldn’t let that lot worry you. Besides, Madam Hooch tells me you fly extremely well.”

Another trait the boy apparently didn’t get from his father, Harry crowed internally.

“Okay.” Aurelius gave Harry a weak smile and began to walk towards the supplies shed, the boisterous yells and whoops of excited children loud enough to echo around the pitch.

“Prince,” Harry called, waiting until the boy turned around, “why don’t you borrow my broom? I was going to make up the numbers, but since you’re here, well it might as well get a run out.”

Aurelius’ eyes lit up as he took the broom from Harry, small hands cradling the wood with nothing short of tenderness. Evidently he’d had the chance to observe Quality Quidditch Supplies’ newest model in Diagon Alley. Harry just couldn’t imagine Snape taking him there to buy his school supplies.

“It’s a BlueStreak2, you will be careful won’t you? I mean I’m not worried about the broom, but what would your father say if you ended up in the Infirmary?”

Harry was slightly amused to see the green orbs widen and bottom lip tremble slightly.

“He wouldn’t like it at all, sir.”

No, Harry thought, I just bet he wouldn’t. “I’m sure. Right, let’s get started.”

Harry shouted at the others, hurrying them up until they were all gathered around the heavy trunk.

“Usual positions everyone, except Yardsley, you can try out for Beater today.”

The sandy haired third year’s face fell, “But, sir! I’m always Seeker!” he protested.

“Not today you aren’t. Mr Prince here is Team A’s Seeker for this session. Anyone got a problem with that?”

Yardsley and a few others evidently did have, but they weren’t about to risk points or being sent off for verbalising it, and everyone knew Professor Potter wasn’t above taking points from his former house if he had to.

“Excellent, in that case, let’s fly.”

Harry watched the fourteen airborne students. Hooch had been right; Aurelius was a talented flyer and he proved it within minutes; the fastest catch of the Snitch Harry had ever seen, and that was saying something.

As he landed, Harry ran over grinning, “That was amazing! You’re a natural!”

Aurelius beamed up at him, his usually sombre face glowing from the praise, “Thanks, sir, but I think it was your broom that made all the difference,” he said, offering it back.

Harry held his hands up, refusing it, “Listen, it takes a lot of talent to be a Seeker. You need sharp reflexes and a keen sense of your surroundings. A good broom will only get you so far, but it does help. So with that dynamic combination, I think perhaps you should borrow it, just until you get one of your own.”

The boy’s smile widened, and then faltered back to nothing as he stared morosely at the grass.

“What’s the matter?” Harry asked, confused.

“Nothing really, sir. It's just that-I don’t think Father will let me have one.”

Harry’s chest tightened. Bloody Snape. Didn’t he realise that all work and no play would make his son as dull as he must be these days?

“Well then,” Harry smiled, leaning closer and whispering conspiratorially, “you’ll just have to keep mine, won’t you?”

Aurelius glanced up, his small mouth working. Sensing a polite refusal forming, Harry quickly continued, “When I was in my first year, I didn’t have a broom either. One of my teachers very kindly brought me one and it made me very happy. I’d like to do the same for you.”

He had no idea why he felt so protective towards the boy; why it should bother him if he had no friends and spent all his time with his distinctly un-Snape-like nose stuck in a book. If anything, the fact that his father was a man who loathed Harry and had made his life a misery at school should have made Harry act much the same way as Snape had done, with his prejudices based solely on whom the boy's father was. But, Harry mused, that was the difference between them. He even wondered how pleasant a father Snape might be. Aurelius wasn’t exactly withdrawn, but he was very quiet and Harry knew from personal experience how sharp Snape’s tongue could be.

“Hey, Prince, great catch!” One of the second years yelled as he sped past.

Aurelius gave a shy smile and drew Harry’s broom back towards his chest, clutching it tightly. “If you’re sure it’s okay then, sir, I’ll just borrow it. I promise to look after it for you.”

“Of course you will, I don’t doubt it. Now, how about another go at the Snitch? Just to prove it wasn’t a lucky fluke?”

Harry grinned and the boy returned it, mounting his broomstick and heading for the sky, his lithe frame noticeably more relaxed than when he’d arrived.

Oh yeah, Harry thought to himself with a smug smile, he wasn’t like Snape at all; neither of them were.

***

Aurelius attended the next four Quidditch practices in a row; Harry’s broom gripped solidly as he pursued the Snitch. If he got close and it escaped, Harry would smirk to see the boy’s lips curl into a very Snape-like sneer, before they hardened in determination, and he would take off again, flying faster and working harder than ever, eyes focused purely on one thing. And in every single one of those practices, he eventually caught the little golden ball, much to the delight of his teammates, and Harry.

So it was with some surprise when the following week, Aurelius didn’t turn up. None of the other students seemed to know where he was, and Harry didn’t have the time to track him down, though his presence was sorely felt when Team A were trounced for the first time in over a month.

Leaving the group to pack away, Harry went to the Hall for his lunch, opting to sit next to the Headmistress instead of his normal spot at one end with Hagrid.

“Minerva, do you know where Aurelius Prince is?” Harry asked through a mouthful of food, when she’d stopped chatting to Pomona on her other side.

“Oh yes, the poor boy. Very unfortunate accident in the dormitory last night. He’s in the Infirmary. Poppy says his arm is broken in two places and apparently the bones are proving tricky to heal.”

“What? How did he manage to break his arm?” Harry demanded.

“Says he fell out of bed. Most clumsy!” she pronounced, sipping her pumpkin juice.

“And you believed him?!”

“Is there a reason I shouldn’t?”

Harry leant back in his chair, annoyed. “I just think it’s highly unlikely he broke an arm falling out of bed. So does that mean his parents are here?”

“Not yet. An owl was sent last night. As I understand it, his father is a very busy man,” she said pointedly, Harry’s underlying reason for asking failing to escape her attention.

“Too busy to visit his own son in the hospital?” Disgusted, Harry shoved his chair back from the table and stood up.

“That is hardly your concern, Potter – where are you going?”

“To see if there’s anything he needs,” Harry shot back, “since his own father can’t be bothered.”

***

When Harry arrived at the Infirmary, Aurelius was sitting up in bed, and despite his right arm being plastered and resting on a pillow, he otherwise looked healthy enough.

“You realise this is not an acceptable excuse to miss Quidditch?” Harry joked as he approached the bed.

Aurelius glanced up and gave a timid smile, “Yeah, I’m really sorry, sir.”

“So were your team. They got thrashed today.”

Harry sat in the visitor’s chair, noting a complete lack of anything resembling get well cards or sweets and made a mental note to pick something up from Honeydukes.

“What happened?”

Aurelius’ eyes flickered down towards his feet, “I fell out of bed.”

“Really? Because I’ve done that loads of times, and the worst injury I’ve ever sustained was a bruised hip.”

“Well, I landed awkwardly.”

“If you say so. But you do realise that if that’s not what happened, keeping it a secret will only make it worse in the long run, and this is nasty enough.”

Harry gestured to his arm. The small, thin hand poked out of a plaster cast that was almost as white as the starched pillow. Aurelius bit his lip and pretended to examine the plain, blue curtain around his bed. Harry sighed, not sure that he was going the right way about inviting the boy’s confidence.

“Have you heard from your father yet?”

“He – can’t come right now. He’s working. He sent me a letter, though. Madam Pomfrey says she’ll probably have me fixed up before class starts on Monday, and he can’t take time off before then.”

Harry felt his blood begin to boil; what on earth could be more important than visiting his own son? God, Snape was a hard bastard.

“Ah well, at least you won’t miss Defence then, eh?” he said, trying to sound enthusiastic.

Aurelius rewarded him with a grin, “It’s my favourite class.”

Harry pretended to be shocked. “Not Potions?”

“No! Potions is boring. My father does that for a living. I’ve been stirring cauldrons since I was old enough to hold a rod.”

Harry chuckled. Aurelius looked startled by his reaction, but then quietly joined in.

“Don’t you ever see your mother?” Harry asked gently when their laughter had died away.

Aurelius looked confused by the question, “I told you, I don’t have a mother.”

“Yes, I know that’s what you said, but – sorry, I shouldn’t ask – it’s just, well, if she left, I’m sure your father wouldn’t mind if you visited her sometimes. It must be difficult just living with him.”

“My father is great. He takes good care of me. He’s strict about studying because he wants the best for me, that’s all. And it’s always just been the two of us. My mother didn’t leave or die. I haven’t got one. My father had me.”

“He what?” Harry said in utter disbelief.

“My father gave birth to me. Powerful wizards can do that. Didn’t you know?” Aurelius said, staring at Harry like he was either insane or just very, very stupid.

“Er, no, I didn’t know that. That’s –” Lost for words, Harry’s mouth gaped.

“Well, it’s not very common, Father says. He says I’m very special because of it.”

“You certainly are,” Harry agreed, mind still boggling at the idea of Snape carrying a baby. Snape feeding a baby. Snape doing anything at all with a small child that didn’t involve reducing it to tears.

“Professor Potter, what are you doing here?” Poppy said warmly as she bustled into the cubicle.

“Actually, I was just off, Poppy. Thought I’d make sure young Mr Prince here will have recovered sufficiently to rejoin class on Monday.”

“A fine lad, Professor, strong as an ox. I’m sure he’ll be back with you in no time,” Poppy said, patting Aurelius on the head.

Aurelius rolled his eyes at Harry through the black curtains of his hair.

Stifling a chuckle, Harry said, “Great. See you in class, then.”

He stepped away from the bed and walked out of the infirmary, mind still going over the boy’s revelation.

***

“But how is that even possible?” Harry exclaimed

“Harry, please don’t shout. I’m not deaf. I’m sure I’ve read about it somewhere. It’s only possible when the wizard involved is extremely powerful, and it takes a number of complex spells, usually over a period of time. Is there a personal reason you’re asking?” she said wryly.

“God, no! I didn’t want Ginny to have my kids, and I certainly don’t want to give birth to one myself,” Harry replied, feeling quite nauseated by the idea.

“Well? Are you going to tell me why you’re so interested then?”

“Hermione, you wouldn’t believe me if I did.”

“There’ve been a lot of things you’ve said in the past that I probably wouldn’t have believed hearing from anyone else, but this is you we’re talking about, Harry. I doubt you could say anything that would shock me.”

Harry smirked, “There’s this boy, a first year. He says he doesn’t have a mother, that his father gave birth to him.”

“Yes, we’ve already established it’s possible. What else?”

“His name is Aurelius Prince.”

“I’ve never heard of him, should I have?”

“Prince, Hermione. How many wizarding families do you know with the surname Prince?”

The Floo crackled quietly whilst Harry waited for the realisation to sink in. Being Hermione, it didn’t take very long.

“Only – no! Professor Snape? His mother was Eileen Prince and that wretched Potions book-“

“Half Blood Prince,” Harry finished with a smug grin. “It’s got to be him. Everything the boy says fits. I’ve asked McGonagall, but she won’t tell me.”

“Well of course she won’t, Harry, Snape was pardoned after the War, but there are still plenty of people out there who only think of him as a Death Eater. If the other children or their parents found out, it could make life very difficult for the child.”

“I’m not just anyone,” Harry said in annoyance, “I’m a teacher here, and I’d hardly gossip about it, would I?”

“Oh Harry,” she chided, “I didn’t say you would, and I’m sure Professor McGonagall doesn’t think that either, but Snape was hardly your favourite person.”

“Yeah, well I’m not like him. I wouldn’t take my prejudices out on an innocent kid. A nice one at that. He’s really good at Quidditch, Hermione, and his grades in Defence are brilliant.”

“Don’t tell me you’ve been giving points to Slytherin!”

“He’s not a Slytherin! He was sorted into Gryffindor,” Harry answered.

“I don’t believe it! Snape’s son a Gryffindor? He’ll be disowned for sure.” She chuckled.

“Don’t joke about it,” Harry said seriously. “The boy is in the Infirmary, and Snape hasn’t even bothered to visit. He received a letter instead! Can you imagine?”

Logical as ever, Hermione said, “You’re jumping to conclusions again. I’m sure Snape would have visited if he could, but then again, perhaps he didn’t want to draw attention to himself by turning up.”

“Maybe. I still think it’s out of order. Listen, could you do me a favour and find out more about this fertility spell?”

“Of course, but I still don’t know why you’re so fascinated by it. Are you sure you’re not planning to use it?”

Harry shuddered, “Oh yeah, I really want to look fat and have morning sickness for nine months. God, Hermione, can you imagine Snape pregnant?”

“I think it’s quite sweet, actually,” she said, looking thoughtful, “he’s never been particularly social so I suppose it must be nice for him to have company.”

“Yeah, but what’s in it for Aurelius?” Harry chuckled, though he sobered quickly when he remembered the boy's adamant defence of his father.

They chatted until they ran out of news to exchange, and Harry sent his love to everyone before ending the connection, once again grateful to have such a smart friend.

***

On a rare day of sunshine for October in Scotland, Harry took lunch down to the lake. He was surprised to see Aurelius there, laying on his stomach, deeply engrossed in an ancient looking book, legs swinging in the air.

“Hi, mind if I join you?”

Aurelius scrambled to sit up, glancing around before answering, “Er...I suppose so.”

“If it’s too embarrassing to be seen eating lunch with your teacher, I’ll understand.”

“No, it’s fine. Thanks for the sweets, by the way. Well, apart from the ones that tasted like sick.”

Harry laughed, “Ah, the Bertie Botts, yeah there’s always one or two unpleasant ones in there. How’s your arm?”

Aurelius poked the plaster idly. “It’s fine. I asked Madam Pomfrey to take the cast off, but she said it needs another couple of days. I’ll have to miss Quidditch on Saturday.”

“Oh, that’s not good. You could still come though, watch the others. It would be a good tactic to observe your opponent from the ground, gives you ideas on how to dodge the other Seeker when you’re both in pursuit. Not that you need it, of course.”

The boy’s small cheeks flamed from the compliment, “Thanks, sir,” he mumbled.

“No problem. And I think I owe you an apology. The other day, in the Infirmary, I wasn’t trying to pry, I just honestly hadn’t heard of male pregnancy. A friend of mine has though, a very clever witch I went to school with here. She agrees with you, that a wizard has to be very powerful indeed to create and carry a baby. Your father is obviously exceptionally talented.”

Aurelius’ cheeks deepened to crimson, “He is. He reads a lot. He used to read to me too, every night before I came here. I – I kind of miss that. And there are potions he can make that no one else can,” he said with evident pride.

“Better than my old Potions Master?” Harry said carefully, “Professor Snape was one of a kind.”

Aurelius just shrugged, “Don’t know about him, but my father makes Wolfsbane and he provides the Ministry with Veritaserum. That’s a wicked good potion that forces people to tell the truth.”

Harry smiled, “I know what Veritaserum does. Your father threatened to use it on me more than once.”

Aurelius looked up. “My father? You know him?”

Harry swore in his head. “No, of course not. Sorry, I meant to say Professor Snape.”

Frown lines ironing out, the boy just looked bemused, “He doesn’t sound like a very nice man.”

“No,” Harry said thoughtfully, “he wasn’t. Now, tell me why you didn’t want to be sorted into Gryffindor.”

Aurelius hugged his knees to his chest and watched the ripples on the lake, “My father was in Slytherin. He didn’t say he would mind if I wasn’t, but I really wanted to be.”

“You remember the Sorting Hat telling you about another boy desperate to be sorted somewhere else? That was me.”

Two wide green eyes looked at Harry in amazement, “You?”

Harry chuckled, “Yes, me. It wanted to put me in Slytherin, but I was desperate to be a Gryffindor.”

“Why?”

“Well, for one thing my parents were Gryffindors, and back then, Slytherin had a bad reputation. A lot of the children’s families were Death Eaters; it was considered a house heavily involved in the Dark Arts.”

“How come the hat let you choose and not me?” Aurelius said, his petulance causing Harry to smirk.

“There will be a good reason, you wait and see.”

Aurelius blew out a puff of air that disturbed his dark locks, “I’m not brave, I don’t have courage, and I’m certainly no hero.”

“Oh, I can’t agree with that. Lots of kids would have turned around and walked away from that first Quidditch session. You stayed. I’d say that was pretty brave.”

Aurelius blushed and began to pack his lunch things away, “You’re not like the other teachers. I think you’re cool.”

Harry grinned, “Pretty cool yourself. Go on, get to class. I hate to think what your father would say if you were late.”

Picking up his bags, the boy snickered softly, “I’d get points taken if I repeated it, sir. See you at Quidditch.”

Watching him walk away, Harry wondered if he was wrong. He couldn’t imagine how the severe ex Potions Master ever produced such a personable child as Aurelius.

Part Two

***

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