A/N: I do not own Harry Potter
Thanks for the patience. As promised in some replies to reviewers, this chapter has some plot information. Happy reading, guys.
I hope I got this finished as quickly as I thought when I started writing it, the same day as the last chapter was posted!
New Title: It's Bloody Better: Harry Snape and the Time Paradox
I wanted to keep the 'It's Bloody Better' as this is an overall title used to a bunch of one-shots too.
Harry followed his father through the Hogwarts halls. He was no longer concerned with James Potter or what he thought, instead, there was a cold dread that filled the pit of his stomach.
His father – Professor Snape – remained silent. Even when they reached his dark and gloomy office, he sat behind his desk, staring at all three of them. His eyes narrowed when he looked at Harry.
'Who's idea was this?' he asked.
'It was Harry's!' James said without hesitation.
'—No, it wasn't. James was giving Harry a hard time, so I set this up. I thought it would stop James from—' Harry glared at Draco, who quickly stopped speaking.
'It was my idea, I mean.' Draco suddenly seemed very interested in his shoes rather than Harry or the professor.
'Madam Hooch specifically told you not to fly unsupervised. How could you be so reckless? And, after you saw what happened to Neville? Don't you have anything to say for yourselves?'
Harry finally managed to look up; he wished he hadn't.
'I hadn't thought you would do something so stupid.' Professor Snape's eyes were fixed on Harry. 'I'm disappointed.'
'That would be a poor consolation if you had fallen fifty feet to your death.'
Harry felt hurt and disappointed because, of course, he wanted his dad to be proud of his talent. Severus Snape was not James Potter though, and Severus Snape didn't seem to notice or care how good Harry was on his broom. "Not much has changed there," he thought pitifully, nursing his pride, soothing the pain of being slighted. 'I'm good on a broom; very good. I knew I wouldn't fall or get hurt.'
Professor Snape scowled. He seemed to have forgotten about the other students, or even Draco's confession, all his ire was focused on Harry. 'Believe it or not, Harry Snape, you are not Merlin's gift to Quidditch. If a professional can fall and break their neck, so can you. Have you ever been left unsupervised?'
Draco and James remained silent. Watching was extremely awkward because, truth be told, it wasn't a Professor shouting at Harry. Parents telling of their children is an intensely private thing, something not to be seen by friends or enemies.
'No, but I thought you liked to watch me fly…' The realisation that he was supervised for safeties sake stung. He longed for the pride of his dad. His father didn't really enjoy the time they spent together when he flew. He wasn't watching out of admiration; he was just a parent, compelled to ensure his child was safe — a duty and nothing more.
'No. I like to ensure that you reach the ground… alive!' Severus — because that was who was here, not Professor Snape — took a deep breath. He closed his eyes, seemingly composing himself. 'All three of you will have detention on Friday evening. Twenty points from Ravenclaw and forty points from Gryffindor. Harry, you are grounded for the day.'
'You will come to this office during your breaks, lunch and will stay here this evening. You will be free to go to your dormitory tomorrow after classes. That's final.'
From that point on, the day had been rather dull. Harry had, in all honesty, been taken with the similarities of his first flying lesson before and now, and part of him had really believed that he would get on the Quidditch team.
He sat in the office during his break and was given a book to read. He had gone to the great hall for lunch, only to be summoned to the office, where he was given some sandwiches. He hadn't bothered going to the dinner, and when he got to the office, he was taken into his parents quarters.
Harry recalled the quarters from years gone by; he remembered spending a lot of time here as a child. It was warm and cosy, despite being in the dungeons. Harry had his own bedroom, where he was told to go the moment he arrived. In his room, there was now a desk with a lamp and supplies.
'You will do your homework while dinner is made.' His mother closed the door behind him.
She hadn't been as angry as his dad, but the level of disappointment that radiated was far worse. Harry felt compelled to make it; that was why he had spent the night researching the potion of the week for his homework. His plan had been to ignore all homework in protest. He was still angry with his father, who he felt was in the wrong.
Harry was stuck in his room all night. His parents had this big meeting that was strictly off-limits. Apparently, they didn't trust him to not leave their quarters while he was grounded, so he was relegated to his room while his parents and a bunch of adults talked.
"It's probably some stupid teachers meeting," he thought.
He finished the rest of his homework, ate his dinner, and took his plate to the kitchen. That was when he noticed who was there. None other than Rufus Scrimgeour. That piqued Harry's interest. He went straight to his bedroom and closed the door. He wrecked his brain for everything that he knew about Scrimgeour. Then he remembered what James had told his dad about the Paradox.
"Rufus Scrimgeour, when he was a young Auror, he was tasked with collecting evidence for an appeal, and he found it—touched it—in Abraxas' files."
The meeting was about Tom Riddle. Once the penny dropped, Harry was at the door, listening to every word they said.
'Rufus, I would like a run-down of what we know? Not now, but if you could get the information to me or even if we could meet sometime?' Harry recognised his mother's voice, but she sounded too serious. His mother was always fun, happy and lighthearted, so this told Harry that things were as bad as he had been thinking.
'We don't put anything in writing.' The gruff, husky voice of Mr Scrimgeour was quite distinctive amongst the rest of the chatter.
"That's Dad," thought Harry.
'I would like to know, is this paradox secure now?' Harry's father continued.
'Yes,' Rufus said. 'I had boxes removed from Abraxas Malfoy's keeping as they contained evidence, not just official paperwork. There was enough there to disguise the fact that we wanted the Paradox, or even knew what it was. I have since removed the letter from evidence and replaced it with a forgery.'
'We don't need to rehash all of this old information!' The voice that spoke was agitated but familiar. Harry felt elated as soon as he heard it. 'I think we'd all like some new intelligence.'
'Sirius,' another voice said, 'at least let Lily and Severus catch up.'
'James, we could all do with knowing what happened at the end of the war. Severus was there, and as a Death Eater, he has a unique perspective. This isn't the time to beat around the bush.'
The happy buzz Harry got from hearing Sirius' voice was suddenly flattened. The mocking tone he used when he said 'Death Eater' made a few things clear; Sirius and his dad would never get on. Sirius may dislike Harry, just because he's a Snape too. In fact, Harry wondered if that was where James Potter Jr got the nickname "Snivellus".
'Death Eater?' his father asked, he sounded confused, which was so unlike him.
Harry was used to his dad, knowing everything. He knew that he lacked information now because of him, and the promise he made his father make. He felt a little guilty for being so angry at his father today; it must have taken a lot for his dad to keep that promise, especially with everything going on.
'You didn't touch the paradox?' another voice joined the chatter.
'Harry asked me not to. I have suspicions why, but I promised.'
'Sev,' the new voice continued, 'this isn't the time to be keeping promises. It's more important you have the information. You could really settle Harry's concerns if you knew everything.'
'Remus, I promised. Surely, if you were around at the end of the war, you would know everything?'
'Not really,' Remus replied. 'I held out hope that you were acting on Albus' orders, but we hadn't spoken in years, not amicably anyway. For all I knew, you had joined him.'
There was a tense silence. Harry pushed his ear further into the crack, longing for one of Fred and Georges extendable ears, though he wondered if they would even be invented now.
'What could possibly make me join this man. He sounds—'
'—that would be my fault, Sev.' Remus paused. Harry imagined him fumbling and fidgeting because his voice sounded more nervous and unsure than he could ever recall. 'I… I altered your memory, like really altered it.'
He paused again, but the entire room was silent. Everyone seemed to want to hear what Remus had done, and more likely Severus' reaction. Harry was eager to hear what happened too. He longed for answers that had nothing to do with the future and everything to with his past. It seemed like they were just a sentence away. He would finally know; finally, understand why he wasn't with his dad. He would know why his dad had hated him for all those years.
'Lupin,' Severus spat, 'i'm not known for my patience!'
'Sev.' That was his mother, he recognised the warning tone. Harry had heard it that very evening.
Harry imagined her hand gently placed over his. He could practically see his father's clenched fists and jaw, his eyes narrowed at Remus.
'Your skill at Occlumency... well, it made it difficult. Your mind seemed to pull apart the reconstructed memories and figure out the truth. For you to forget, which is what you wanted, I had to make it believable. I had to make you believe that he wasn't yours, that Lily had never even been yours, that we were never friends. I had to change your entire reality. It was the only way to make it stick.'
'What did you take?'
'First, Lily. I took her around fifth year. As far as you were aware, you had done something unforgivable, and she refused to forgive you. I removed my apology and our subsequent friendship after the Whomping Willow incident. I told you that you'd joined the Death Eater's right from leaving Hogwarts.'
'So, you turned me into the villain? And how exactly did you convince me that I didn't work for this dark wizard?'
At this point, Severus seemed more curious than angry, but that didn't ease the tension. The silence was sp tense that it seemed to Harry as if Remus were building up to the worst part.
'As far as you were aware, Harry was Lily and James' child, and worst of all, I made it so that you were the one that delivered the intelligence that cost Lily her life. The guilt you felt, and your love for Lily was enough to keep you on the right path. You dedicated your life to keeping Harry safe, but as far as you were concerned—'
'—He was James'. Was I as bad as I am imagining?'
'Worse,' said Sirius.
'Really? Do you think that's helping?' Remus said. He was angry, Harry could tell that much. What shocked him was the amount of venom that Remus had for Sirius, it was far more than a reprimand for rudeness.
'Why is it, back then you could forgive me, but here I'm still unworthy of the great Lupin's friendship?'
Harry wondered why they weren't friends himself, why Remus was, in fact, his dad's friend.
'I was selling the lie, Sirius. Nothing more.'
'As much as I have loved this drama,' another new voice intervened, 'we do have some important matters to discuss. We have always said, it's up to each person if they want to touch a paradox. We can't force anyone into reliving that kind of pain.'
'Thank you, Aberforth,' Harry's dad said. 'I'll think about it, but I know I need to earn Harry's trust. I understand that now more than ever.'
'Anyway, back on track.' It was Rufus Scrimgeour again. 'Albus isn't coming today, he has been called to the Ministry. Which brings the first piece of information. It would seem unrelated, but I think it speaks to what Abraxas and Lucius Malfoy are attempting to do politically in preparation for Tom's return. This note will concern you most of all, Remus. '
There is a law that seems to be being pushed through, it's about werewolf work permits. They want to take the Werewolf registry and ensure that no one on it can work in certain areas.
'We think it's a two-prong plan; the main goal is to get Remus out of Hogwarts and get one of their people in. This was always a big part of Tom's plans, mainly because of the threat he saw in Albus Dumbledore. The other aspect of the plan is to introduce a prejudice to the wizarding world that will be easily accepted. We wondered if there will be a more political aspect to this coming war. If they can make Tom's action's legal, what can we do to fight it?'
Harry hated the idea of the law, and he hated the idea that Tom Riddle might be trying to ruin Remus' life. But worse, he hated the idea of getting another teacher in Hogwarts that was out to get Harry because he knew that's the way that it would go.
'We can only fight that politically,' said his mum. 'Is there anything practical we can do to stand in the way of that law?'
'What about more work on a cure?' Severus said.
'That won't work, in fact, it would be counter-productive. There are many in the werewolf community that take pride in Lycanthropy. When you made the Wolfsbane potion and then all the work we did to make it readily accessible, the werewolf is no longer a monster they are afflicted with, it's part of who they are. Suggesting you have to cure a part of what someone is... well, it's like asking if we can cure someone of their 'muggleness'.'
'So, we just have to protest for Werewolves rights,' said Sirius glibly. 'We'll look like idiots while the opposing side will everyone that they're just trying to keep their children safe.'
'Like I said,' Rufus interrupted, 'it's the easiest form of prejudice to introduce.'
'But it's still prejudiced,' said Remus bitterly.
'There's more. Tom Riddle Jr has officially petitioned the Department of Magical Education to take his O.W.L's. This, of course, is so he can legally hold a wand.'
'Rufus, isn't this a non-issue?' James Potter asked. 'I mean, if he were to lose, he would just get a wand anyway, right?'
'True, but if he were to get the privilege, he would have his old wand, which Albus has assured me is significant.'
Harry heard a mumble of assent around the table. He knew that at least some of them knew about the connection between his and Tom Riddle's wand. It sounded like they were sharing all their information this time. This was either very wise or very stupid, Harry couldn't decide which.
'There is also the fact that if he carries and uses a wand, even for something minor, and this has been rejected, he will go back to Azkaban. There are benefits to getting this denied, particularly for Harry.'
'Why for Harry?' Lily asked, her voice rising an octave.
Harry listened to Remus assure her that he would fill her in on as much as possible later. They then had a long and tedious conversation about what they would be able to do about this petition. Harry only half listened, he was too focused on his own wand. The wand that he knew was a brother to Tom Riddle's own wand. They were connected... again.
A/N: Thanks guys - please review, I do love hearing from you guys. I will be focusing on the next chapter as soon as I manage to finish Chapter 6 of Locked in a Vault. I hope this is more plot satisfying for you.