Harry sighed after Severus had left and looked at the parchment he had given him. This was not how he wanted to spend his summertime. Deciding he might as well get it over with, he went downstairs. The first room he came to as he reached the bottom of the steps was obviously the potions lab. There was another room, but as Harry went to open it, it was locked. Shrugging his shoulders, he turned around.
In the middle of the room, there were several cauldrons. Why does he need that many? Harry thought to himself. The walls were shelves, lined with potions ingredients, and vials of various sizes. He looked at the parchment, which had very specific directions as to how to make the potion and where to find the ingredients. He gathered the ingredients, and slowly started making the potion as instructed.
Twenty minutes later, the potion was halfway completed. Severus' instructions said to let it simmer for fifteen minutes, before adding in the next few ingredients. Harry prepared the next section of ingredients, and then went and got something to drink before going back downstairs. He only had to wait a few minutes after that before it should be ready for the next step. Harry put the ingredients in as instructed, and then looked at the last step. It said to let it simmer for another ten minutes, and then to put a stasis spell on it until Severus got home.
Shrugging, Harry went upstairs again until he needed to put the stasis spell on. After that, he had no reason to go back downstairs. He wasted his time listening to music and looking at the new things he had. It was then that he heard something downstairs. He went downstairs and saw Severus had returned. He was putting some food in the refrigerator.
"Oh, hey, you're back," Harry said, by way of a greeting.
Severus nodded. "Indeed," he told him. "The Floo is set up. I also went by Hogwarts and spoke to Professor McGonagall. She has already spoken to Dumbledore. The week before Hogwarts, you are to take assessments for each class you are entering. They will be prepared and administered by the teacher to make sure that you are not behind since you went to a different school. I have to return the week before school starts as it is. You will accompany me, and then you take the tests."
Harry nodded. It all made sense, but the idea of taking seven - no, wait, eight - tests was a bit daunting.
"If you do satisfactory in your potions work with me over the summer, I will pass you, and you will not have to take that test," Severus continued. "As for your Defense Against the Dark Arts test, Dumbledore himself will be administering it to you."
That shouldn't be too bad, Harry thought to himself.
"Now, for the potion," Severus said, and not waiting for any word from Harry, he made for the basement door and walked down. Harry followed him, hoping that he had done his job and proved him wrong. He was not incompetent when it came to Potions; he was sure about that.
Harry watched as Severus removed the stasis spell and examined it. "It's satisfactory, but you could have done better," he said finally.
Harry's heart sank. "I did it just like you said!"
Severus scoffed. "I don't think so, or it would have turned out perfectly," he told him. "You didn't do as badly as I thought you would. I give you credit for that. Next time, you need to be more precise in your ingredients. When something says that an ingredient needs to be chopped a certain way or be of a certain length, then you need to do it precisely as it says. I can tell just by looking at it that you need to be more careful with the ingredients. "
Harry nodded, resigning himself to the fact that while at least he had proved he wasn't horrible, Severus still thought he could do better. "Okay, I'll do better next time."
"See that you do." Right then, there was a knock on the door. Severus frowned, and then headed upstairs. Harry followed him up. He was planning on going upstairs when he heard a familiar voice coming from the door.
It was Dumbledore, with a very confused Ron and Hermione behind him. Harry smiled and almost ran towards them until he realized how he looked. They wouldn't even recognize me, he thought sadly. Would things be the same between them? No, that was impossible. Things would never be the same.
Dumbledore escorted Ron and Hermione, and Harry looked over at Severus. He saw that his manner had stiffened. Of course, he wouldn't be happy about this. "Very nice, Severus," Dumbledore said, looking around. Severus just nodded. "Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger - there is he." The old man pointed right at him. "I trust Harry will explain everything."
They both shared a look before walking past Severus to stand in front of him. "Harry, is that really you?" Hermione said until she looked into his eyes. "Of course, your eyes are exactly the same!"
Ron frowned. "Really, mate? Why did they do this to you?"
"They didn't do anything," Harry said. Ron's frowned deepened as he spoke. "Look, come up to my room. I'll explain everything." Harry began to lead them up the stairs.
"I'll be downstairs," Severus called.
"Okay!" Harry called back as he made his way to his room. He gestured for both of them to sit on the bed.
"Harry, what's going on?" Hermione asked.
"Don't worry. I'll explain," Harry said, as he searched for the letters.
"Is Dumbledore doing this to hide you? But why with Snape? You sort of look like him, too," Ron said.
Harry groaned. "Yeah, because I'm his son."
That shut them both up. At least for a moment, as Harry found the letters. "Not funny," said Ron.
"I wasn't joking," Harry said, sliding both letters to them and sitting on the edge of the bed. They leaned together to read them. "Severus and I received those at midnight on my birthday."
Hermione gasped, putting a hand over her mouth. Ron's expression was unreadable. "This is… I can't believe this," she said. "How could your mother do that to you?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Ron said as he finished. "Snape's a Death Eater." Hermione elbowed him.
"No, he's right," Harry said. "That probably is the reason why. That and she cheated on James. It's obvious that she was going to say something, but died before it could happen."
"How, though?" Hermione asked. "I mean, no glamour can do what you had on before."
Harry shrugged. "Dumbledore isn't sure, either," he admitted. "He said it was impressive that she managed to do one that aged with me and had a time delay. It removed itself at midnight on my birthday, the same time I got my letter."
"Of course!" Hermione said as if a light switch had been clicked on. "That's why those changes happened, around the third task, and before we left school!" Harry nodded, glad that she had picked up on it. Ron, on the other hand, just looked confused. "Really, you didn't notice?" Ron shook his head, and Hermione just groaned. "Honestly, you are so dim sometimes… He was getting taller, his hair was changing, his fingers were getting longer, he was paler… It all fits, because I can see them in you now."
Ron nodded. "If you say so," he said.
"Even I noticed," Harry couldn't help but saying. Ron didn't say anything to that.
"So, what are you going to do?" Hermione asked. "You've been staying here with him?"
Harry nodded. "Yeah, ever since my birthday," he told them. "Thanks for ignoring that, by the way."
They shared a look. "We wanted to write, mate, really, we did," Ron said. "Only…"
"Dumbledore said not to," Harry said. "Yeah, I know."
Hermione looked surprised, and Harry didn't blame her for that. "Really? How?"
"I pretty much got that from Dumbledore," Harry explained. "When he came over to sort out my new identity, I asked about you two, and that was pretty much what he said. It was infuriating."
"I'm so sorry, Harry, but he made us swear!" Hermione said.
Harry nodded. "I know. It's okay."
"So, how are you going to be dealing with this?" Hermione asked. "You said something about a new identity?"
"What's wrong with Harry Potter?" Ron asked, and he almost sounded annoyed.
Harry narrowed his eyes at Ron for a moment before turning to Hermione. "Well, I can't be Harry Potter any more, obviously," he said, "so we came up with a new person. I am now Jacob Snape. I am a transfer student from the school up in Ireland, despite the fact that I am obviously British. I didn't know that Severus was my father, and likewise, he didn't know about me. I was the product of a one night stand between my parents. My mother died when I was young, and I was raised by a distant elderly cousin, who recently passed. Before she died, she told me the truth and sent for my father." He shrugged his shoulders. "Here I am. I will be taking assessments to make sure that I am up to par, so to speak."
Hermione nodded, following along on what he was trying to say. "I see, so take part of the truth and blend it with the lie," she said. "It makes sense, considering the circumstances."
"Considering the circumstances?" Ron said as if she had said something wrong. "They're trying to erase who he is!" The redhead turned to Harry. "I'm sure Dumbledore can find a way to put you back, mate. You don't have to deal with this."
Harry was starting to get more and more annoyed as time went on. "Deal with what? The truth?"
"You can't be happy with this," Ron said, almost imploringly. "I mean, Snape is a right bastard!" Hermione looked upset with him, and gave him a slap on the shoulder. "What he is! Harry, are you just going to forget about how he's treated us, you most of all. He's a right bastard, and you know it."
"Of course, I haven't forgotten!" Harry asked, his anger rising. "But he's trying, at least!"
"Oh, he's trying so everything is okay then?!"
Harry's eyes narrowed dangerously, and he gripped the comforter of the bed in an effort not to punch Ron in his freckled face. "No, of course not! I'm being ripped away from my entire life. I'm losing my identity and probably all of my friends, because other than Severus and I, only Dumbledore, Sirius, Remus, and you two are allowed to know," Harry said. "I haven't been able to look straight in the mirror since the change. No, it is not okay. But he's trying, that might not mean anything to you, but it means something to me."
Ron's eyes narrowed then. Hermione looked between, and it was clear that she was wondering what to do. "How can you trust that slimy, Slytherin git, Harry!" Ron yelled. Hermione reached out to him, but he shoved her way. "He's taking you away from everything you know, and you're just going to sit back and allow that! How do you know that he didn't arrange this somehow, that he hasn't put something in some potion he gave you!"
"Because I'm not an idiot, you bloody moron!" Harry said, standing to his feet. Ron quickly did the same, leaving Hermione on the bed, looking between them. "You weren't there; you didn't see how he reacted when he first saw me!"
"Harry, he's a bloody spy, you don't think he's going to be a fucking good liar?"
It took every ounce of self-control Harry had then not to grab his wand and hex Ron into next week. "You know what? I am getting bloody sick and tired of you."
Ron looked taken aback. "What is that supposed to mean?"
"You are supposed to be my best friend, but you sure as bloody hell aren't acting like it," Harry told him. "Last year, when you should have believed me above everyone, instead you acted like a jealous git because I was getting all the attention! Now, when I need your support more than ever, you again can't accept what's really going on because it inconveniences you, and it would require you to deal with change. Well, too bloody bad. If that's how you want it, the Floo is downstairs, first room after you enter across from the study. Feel free to leave of your own accord." Harry crossed his arms over his chest.
Ron was seething in anger by now. "Fine. Hermione, let's go." He made for the door, but Hermione just crossed her arms. She looked away from both of them and stayed right where she was. Ron realized she wasn't following him once he reached the door and looked back. "Hermione, come on."
Hermione turned her head towards Ron. "No, Ron," she told him. "I tried to understand what you were doing last year because I felt bad for you. But I don't understand this. Harry needs us, and if you can't accept the change that's going on right now, then fine. Go. But I won't turn back on my best friend."
Ron just glared at her. "Fine, side with him. I knew you would." With that, he turned and left.
"It's not like that, you dolt!" Hermione yelled after him. She rolled her eyes, but Ron was gone. "I'm so sorry about him."
Harry sighed and sat back down on the bed. "It's not your fault."
"He'll come around."
"I'm not sure I want him to," Harry said, surprising himself by his honesty. He didn't want to deal with someone who didn't trust him. He couldn't deal with that. This hadn't been easy for either him or Severus, so he couldn't just sit by while Ron tried to undermine everything they were doing.
Hermione smiled at him. "You still have me."
Harry smiled back at her. "I know, and I appreciate that. Really."
Hermione cleared her throat. "So, any thought about your scar?"
Harry looked up at her, a confused look on his face. "Oh, right, that, er… I don't know."
"Do you mind?" Hermione asked, before pushing his hair away from his face. She seemed to be analyzing it. "I think I have an idea. I have some makeup. It might work, and with a bit of magic to help it along, I think it can be almost completely unnoticeable. I'll be right back!"
Hermione quickly left, but to her credit, she was back very quickly. "Okay, here we go. You might be a bit paler now than I am," she said.
"I didn't think you wore makeup."
"I don't," she said plainly. "My parents got it for me. They think since I'm almost sixteen that I need it." She shrugged. "At least it'll have some use." She pushed back his hair. "Hold that."
"Yes, ma'am," he said, putting his hand up to hold back his hair from his forehead.
She gave him a friendly glare. She opened up the makeup container, and put some on her finger. She spread it over his scar and then made a noise of disapproval. "Yes, you are paler than me, but not by much," she told him. "Now, let's go find your father so he can finish this up for us since we can't do magic."
Harry nodded and then led her downstairs. Dumbledore was gone. For that matter, so was Severus. He held up a hand to silence her and then walked to the door to the basement. He knocked on the door, and a few moments later, Severus appeared there.
"Yes?" he deadpanned.
"Professor, I was wondering if you could do something for us," Hermione said. "I'm working on hiding his scar." She reached up and pushed back his hair. "See? But the makeup only does so much, and it's not the right color. It's all I had. I thought maybe you could-"
Severus held up a hand to silence her. "Yes, I understand what you are getting at." He drew his wand from his robes and pointed it at Harry's hand. "Miss Granger, please step away. Harry, hold back your hair." They both nodded and did as they were told. He muttered a few spells before putting his wand back in his robes.
Hermione moved in front of him and looked up. "Excellent, of course, sir."
Severus nodded. "Naturally."
"I can't even see it any more."
Harry just looked between them. "I'll have to take your word for it."
"Or go and look in the mirror," Hermione said.
Harry got what she was saying, and shared a look with Severus. He knew that he needed to. He had only done it once, looked himself full in the face. He needed to do it again and get used to doing so. He nodded and then motioned for Hermione to follow him. He led her to the bathroom. Steeling himself, he took a deep breath before looking himself full in the face.
Harry didn't feel shock or disbelief this time, because he had been expecting to see the face that looked back at him. Well, at least partially, anyway.
"You know, it's not a bad look, Harry," Hermione said from the doorway behind him. Harry turned his head for a moment and looked at her before looking back in the mirror. "Well, it's not. It's just different. A bit more… well, a bit longer and more angular than how your face used to be, but not quite as sharp as Snape's is." He looked over at her again and saw her shrugging her shoulders. "It's just different. It'll take some getting used to, that's all."
Harry nodded as he turned towards Hermione. "Yeah, I know. It's just weird because it still doesn't feel like my face. At least I'm getting used to the voice."
"Yeah, the voice is going to take some getting used to, as well," she told him as they headed back towards his room. They both sat down on his bed. "So, how is the whole transfer student thing going to work? How are you going to be sorted?"
"Yeah, we discussed that already," Harry told her. "It's going to be a public sorting, either before or after the first years, I'm not sure." Either way, it was bound to be really embarrassing standing there in front of the entire student body and being sorted alone. "The assessments are going to be taken the week before school starts. Severus has to be there a week early anyway, so I'll take it after we go there."
"So, you're not going to take the train then?" Harry shook his head. Hermione then brightened up instantly. "Oh, I was made Prefect!"
"No one deserves it more than you," Harry told her.
"Ron was, too, by the way…" Hermione put a hand on his arm. "It would have been you. I know it."
Harry shrugged her hand off. "It doesn't matter," he told her. "Oh, and I'm not taking Divination any more," he told her. "Severus insisted. My schedule will actually be exactly the same as yours."
Hermione smiled. "Great! If you need help, I'll be happy to help, of course."
Harry smirked at her. "Oh? And how is Hermione Granger going to be friends with Professor Snape's son?"
Hermione paused for a second. "Good point," she told him. "At the very least, I can help you get caught up. How are you going to get caught up?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know," he told her. "Severus said it would be a crash course as soon as we buy the books. He's also going to be teaching me Occlumency and advanced dueling and defense."
Hermione moaned. "Oh, that is so fascinating. I wish I could join in. Wait, maybe I can!" With that, she practically jumped on the bed and ran off. Confused, Harry followed her. She had headed straight for the basement door and knocked on it.
Severus answered the door a moment later, not looking amused at being interrupted again. "What is it this time, Miss Granger?"
"I was wondering if I could join you and Harry for the advanced lessons?" Hermione asked.
Hermione looked shocked. "Please, sir. I promise I'll keep up."
Harry looked at Severus from over Hermione's head. Severus looked at him before looking down at her. "Fine, but only a couple days a week, and you formally meet 'Jacob' in a few days," he told her.
Hermione brightened. "Thank you! You won't regret it!" She said the same time as Harry said, "What's in a few days?"
"See that I don't," Severus said before looking at Harry. "That's right. I have not explained it to you yet." He then quickly explained about the Order.
Harry nodded. "That explained why Ron said you were a spy. I didn't question it, because it made sense."
Severus nodded. "Indeed, now if you don't mind." With that, he shut the door in their faces.
Harry and Hermione made their way back up to his room. They talked for a bit more before he gave her a tour of the house. He explained when she expressed surprise that it was Muggle that Severus was, in fact, a half-blood with a Muggle father and a Pure-blood mother. She was also quite shocked that the color palette wasn't all black. He didn't blame her for that one.
"Yeah, I was a bit shocked at first, too," he told her as he led her around. In fact, the palette was pretty well rounded, well, for Severus. The walls were kept in mostly ivories, off-whites and creams in most of the house. The furniture was mostly black or dark brown, with tables and such being a dark wood. In his room, Severus had changed the wall color to a light blue with his wand.
After that, he gave her his old Firebolt, knowing that to have it as Jacob Snape would be suspicious. Hermione nodded, knowing what it meant to him, but he just couldn't keep it. It wouldn't make sense. He also gave her Hedwig, which was even more heartbreaking than losing the Firebolt. He loved Hedwig, but she was too unique. He told Hermione to take good care of her. Before she left, Hermione gave him a hug, saying it would be okay, that he would see. He said thanks before he saw her off from the Floo.
Severus came up soon after that and asked how everything was. Harry explained what happened to Ron. "So, that explains why I didn't see him," he said. "Are you…?"
Harry shrugged. "Yeah, I mean… There's nothing that can be done. It's like you said, he must not have ever truly been my friend," he said. They had lunch after that, and then played a game of chess before Severus informed him that they would be having dinner at the Malfoys'. "Wait, what, why?"
"Lucius Malfoy is an old friend of mine," Severus said. "Besides, he needs to know first thing. If you wish, you may call it Death Eater Politics."
Harry nodded. It made sense because it would be suspicious if he didn't tell his so-called friends and Voldemort. Severus went back to work in the lab for a bit, giving Harry a book on Occlumency and telling him to read until they had to leave. He was not looking forward to dinner with the Malfoys.