A/N: In this fic, Neville Longbottom is Albus Severus' godfather and Luna Lovegood is Lily Luna's godmother – hence they are called "Uncle" and "Aunt". This takes place somewhere around the 16th and the 17th of August 2017 – the year of the Epilogue of Deathly Hallows, and the year Albus Severus Potter starts at Hogwarts.
It was in the middle of a sunny afternoon when Albus Potter was, once again, quarreling with James Potter in the back yard. However, after throwing some insults and making fun of each other, James drew his wand. Albus, who would only start Hogwarts in two weeks, was no match for James, and therefore, he clenched his fists and made a move to punch James.
That was until he noticed his father standing between James and the house, with a far too serious expression on his face.
"Albus. Meet me in the parlor – now."
James snickered, thinking that Albus was in trouble, but Albus thought it was something different. Whenever James and he were fighting and his father interfered, his expression was usually half-amused – now it was serious. Therefore, he immediately pulled away from James and followed his father inside. That was strange, too – his father had left immediately, normally he stayed for at least a few seconds.
When Albus arrived in the parlor, his father was already sitting on a couch. Once Albus was inside, he gestured to a seat on the other side of the table and warded the door and ceiling with both Silencing Spells and Imperturbable Charms. This confused Albus only more – how paranoid his father might be, being Head of Auror Office, he rarely did this in his own house. Then he began to speak, and Albus listened intently.
"Albus. You'll be going to Hogwarts in two weeks, and I want you to know some things, lest you hear only rumors influenced by the people you hang out with. I want you to make up your opinion independently – and therefore I'll give you as many information as I can."
Albus didn't know what to think of is – this was definitely not 'The Talk'. He nodded. "Okay.."
"You know that you, James and Lily are all named after great people – your brother after my father and godfather, and your sister after my mother and a very dear friend of my and your mother. We have never been very clear about your name's history, though. It's a complicated tale. You may be too young to fully understand it, but you need to hear it before you go to Hogwarts."
Albus nodded again. "I know a bit, though. I'm named after Albus Dumbledore, who is considered one of the greatest wizards ever, and Severus Snape, whom I know barely anything about. I mean, Uncle Neville doesn't like him, Aunt Luna speaks only in riddles about him. You won't hear any wrong word about him, because you hex everyone who insults him. And –"
"True." Harry grinned. "Like I said, it's complicated. I'll start with Albus Dumbledore, though.
"His history – I won't tell you the specifics, but he was a very powerful wizard, who befriended another very powerful wizard. That wizards name was Gellert Grindewald." Albus' eyes flickered with recognition at the name. "They made great plans – it wasn't exactly pureblood superiority what they planned, more Wizarding domination of Muggles. When things got out of hand, Albus and his brother Aberforth dueled with Grindewald. In this duel, Albus' sister Ariana was lost. No one knows who cast the final blow, though. Grindewald fled, and years later, Albus defeated and imprisoned him.
"The plans Albus and Grindewald had made, were dark. They sought a way to defeat death – not for the concept of immortality, but for the power it held. There was a way. It isn't there anymore – I destroyed it myself. But that's a tale for another day. Albus decided he couldn't be trusted with power, and he became Transfiguration Professor at Hogwarts. He taught Tom Riddle, among many others. He was suspicious of him, because Tom had great control of his powers, even before he knew he was a wizard. Anyway, Albus influenced the decision from the current Headmaster, Armando Dippet, to employ Tom as Defence Agains the Dark Arts-Professor, and therefore Tom didn't get it.
"When Albus had become Headmaster, Tom applied again, and Albus refused him. From that year on, no Defence professor stayed longer than a year: the job was jinxed. But you already know that tale." Albus smiled, because his father had already told some funny stories about the reasons Defence professors had stopped teaching – James' favorite was the Professor from their grandparent's fifth year. Due to a prank from the Marauders, the professor had developed an extreme phobia for chocolate frogs. Because you can't just stop students from bringing them to school, and because students pranked him a lot by setting them loose in class, he had resigned. Albus's smile grew when he recalled this tale. Harry continued his story.
"Yes, some ways were pretty funny – others were not. When Voldemort reappeared after he was gone for a decade or two, and the Death Eather Rebellion started – also known as the First Wizarding War – Dumbledore founded the Order of the Phoenix. Around these times, your grandparents started their first year at Hogwarts." Harry's eyes grew sad when he thought of his parents. "When they graduated, they joined the Order. A prophecy was made. It said that I was the one to defeat the Dark Lord – well, it was either me or Uncle Neville, but Voldemort had to mark his defeater as his equal" Harry's hand unconsciously touched the scar on his forehead. "A Death Eater overheard a part of the Prophecy and brought it to Voldemort. Well, Voldemort thought it was me, so he tried to kill me." Now tears formed in Harry's eyes, and he took a moment to pull himself together. When he continued, his voice was strained. "Voldemort disappeared and the Order was set on non-active. Albus was offered the position as Minister of Magic, but he knew he couldn't be trusted with power, and remained at Hogwarts. He also knew Voldemort was not truly gone, and he continued to pay attention to his movements. In my first year, he trapped Voldemort into the school so I could delay his return, basically.
"I weakened Voldemort again. In my second year, a Basilisk was set loose in the school. Because it kept petrifying students and the source was not found, Albus was forced to step back, and Minerva McGonagall became temporarily Headmistress.. Your Aunt Hermione was one of the Petrified ones." Albus gasped. "Yes, it was –" Harry paused "A difficult time. Ron and I defeated the Basilisk, which had been set loose by Voldemort for the second time in sixty years – the first time was when Tom was at school. Albus returned to his position as Headmaster, and in the following year, he effectively denied the Ministry permission to send Dementors on the school grounds. The Ministry deemed it necessary because my godfather –" Harry paused again. " – Had escaped from Azkaban. You know that tale. Albus Dumbledore never really put an effort into having Sirius tried, because then he would, of course, become my Guardian. My Aunt Petunia, as the last living relative of my mother – her home was much safer, because there were Blood Wards there. These prevented Voldemort from killing me in first year.
Albus gaze darkened at this. "But he caused you to have an unhappy childhood!"
"It was a choice between either an unhappy childhood at the Durselys and a happy later life, or an unhappy childhood because I wouldn't be allowed to go outside and no later life at all, because I would be dead. And so would most of Wizarding Britain be," Harry snapped. Albus looked shocked. "Sorry. I shoudn't have snapped. But you're right, and so am I. Do you understand?"
Albus thought for a minute, and nodded. "If there really was no other option.."
"There wasn't. You have to understand that Albus did do many things for the Greater Good. This caused Sirius to be imprisoned wrongly for twelve years, it caused me to have an unhappy childhood, and it caused many other things. One of these things may sound shocking, but it's true: My upbringing made me vulnerable. Because I had no sense of self value, I put myself in danger all the time – but by doing so, I delayed and defeated Voldemort a few times. Well, Albus' motto had been 'For the Greater Good' for nearly hundred years by then.." He paused.
Albus' gaze had become very dark at this, and he closed his eyes. "Wait.." he murmured. Harry understood, and so he waited.
After a few minutes, Albus' eyes snapped open, and he blinked unshed tears away. He nodded for his father to continue.
"It helped the war, Albus. Remember that." And he continued his tale.
"You know the main parts of my fourth year, I believe. During the Third Task, Voldemort resurrected. The Ministry didn't believe me, and during the summer holidays, they tried to get me expelled by sending Dementors after Dudley and me, so I was forced to perform the Patronus Charm. Albus saw to it that I got a proper hearing – for the whole Wizengamot, mind you – and I wasn't expelled. Albus had already lost his seat on the Wizengamot by supporting my claim that Voldemort was back. He also had the Order reform.
"During fifth year, Albus was rendered powerless due to the Ministry's interferences. Somewhere during that year, Ron, Hermione and I formed Dumbledore's Army – a Defence club, because we weren't allowed to use spells anymore during Defence Against the Dark Arts. Dumbledore did what he could, but the DA was betrayed and Dumbledore interfered when the Ministry tried to have me expelled or imprisoned or both. You should really ask Kingsley about that one time – when even Phin Nigellus says that Albus has style, the escape must have been wonderful, don't you agree? Mind you, I was there, and it was pretty amazing.
Albus smiled, but it wasn't with full force.
"Anyway, Albus continued to work behind the scenes and with the Order. When I was baited and trapped in the Department of Mysteries, together with Uncle Ron, Uncle Neville, Aunt Luna, Aunt Hermione and your mother, Voldemort arrived and so did Albus. They dueled for a bit, and when Aurors arrived at the scene, Voldemort fled. Albus was reinstated as Headmaster, the Minister was replaced, and Voldemort's return was acknowledged. At a terrible loss, though." Harry's gaze grew sad, and tears formed in his eyes.
Albus' knew what it was about. "Sirius.."
"Yes," Harry whispered so low that Albus could barely hear him. Then he collected himself and continued, though his voice still wavered.
"The next year, Albus gave me private lessons – essentially in how to defeat Voldemort. You see, he had given himself a status of semi-immortality. He could be defeated, but just killing him wouldn't work. There were other things that tethered him to life, and those things had to be destroyed. Albus gave me clues how to find these things. But there was a major interference. Albus Dumbledore was dying." Albus gasped. "I didn't know – he was cursed while looking for one of these Objects. Someone had slowed the curse down, but Albus would die within the year. I didn't know this by then – there was just one person who knew. Another person in Hogwarts was assigned with the task of killing Albus, otherwise his own family would be killed. This person was Draco Malfoy.
"A third person was bound with an Unbreakable Vow to help Draco Malfoy to the best of his ability with killing Albus, and to kill Albus himself if Draco wouldn't be able to – perform the task. This was the same person as the one who knew Albus was dying. This person was –"
He was interrupted by Albus, whose mouth was now forming a perfect 'O'. "Severus Snape," he said softly.
"Yes. And when Albus and I returned from a mission to collect one of these Objects, Draco went to the top of the Astronomy Tower. He had cast the Dark Mark there as bait to Dumbledore, and it worked – Albus and I also went there. We arrived first – Mr. Malfoy was busy allowing Death Eaters to enter the school, so he was a bit delayed. Aunt Luna and Hermione, Uncle Ron and Neville, and, of course, your mother, had each had a luck potion and were patrolling the corridors at my request. Regardless, when Death Eaters arrived on top of the Tower, where Draco was hestitating to kill Albus, they were fighting other Death Eaters on the stairs. Along with Order members, that is. They couldn't reach the top of the Tower – only those with the Dark Mark could. During all this, I was put in a Full Body Bind by Albus. I was also covered in my Invisiblity Cloak, so no one knew I was there. When Albus put me in the Body Bind, he threw away his only change at survival – he couldn't defend himself anymore and was already Disarmed when Snape reached the Top.
"To make a long story short: Dumbledore pleaded Severus to kill him, although it appeared that he pleaded him not to kill him. Albus was killed and fell of the Astronomy Tower and the Death Eaters retreated. None of my friends were harmed – due to the Luck potion, all curses had missed them. Your Uncle Bill, however, was attacked by a werewolf. That's why he has these scars and likes spicy food.
"I followed Severus out and cursed him with a lot of spells. He appeared to be insulting me – and he was. But he was also giving me hints about the importance of closing my mind and performing nonverbal spells, for example. I continued trying to curse him and he continued deflecting – yet never cursing back, and even preventing Bellatrix Lestrange from kidnapping or cursing me – and giving hints, of course, until he reached the border of the Anti-Apparation Jinx and Disapparated.
"Albus had his funeral, the summer holidays came and I was rescued from 4. Privet Drive. Alastor Moody lost his live in this Battle. The Ministry fell during Bill's and Fleur's wedding party, and everyone was just Disapparating when Death Eaters arrived at the Burrow. Ron, 'Mione and I went on the run, hunting the Objects that needed to be destroyed before Voldemort could die. We had inherited some things from Albus, though. Ron had an object that could dim any light, but could also provide light in the utmost dark. Hermione got a book. I got my first-caught Snitch and the sword of Godric Gryffindor. Of course, it wasn't given to me, because it was not Albus' property. Regardless, I knew it was important, and that was probably the hint Albus had wanted to give me.
"Severus Snape was made Headmaster of Hogwarts. Hogwarts was in Death Eater hands, and Snape had to maintain his cover. But he helped us a great deal. For example, he sent the Sword of Godric Gryffindor to us – anonymously, of course, but by then we knew it was needed for destroying the Objects.
"Albus Dumbledore.. He had many flaws. One of them was that favored Gryffindors. He rather liked the Marauders, for example. The Marauders had one enemy: Severus Snape. Severus was a childhood friend of my mother, though. They had lived together in Spinner's End." Albus looked surprised. "The Marauders were four boys. Snape was one. Of course he was at a disadvantage. When my father terribly humiliated him in front of the entire school, he snapped at my mother. Snape was a Slytherin, and a whole lot of Slytherin were Death Eater-wannabe's. But when at the end of fifth year, my mother and his friendship broke, he was – " Harry paused.
"Lost," said Albus softly. Harry nodded shortly.
"You know what I told you about the Prophecy. Severus didn't know my mother was pregnant. He was the one that went to Voldemort." Albus gasped. He opened his mouth, but Harry continued at the same pace, determined to make his point before he let Albus react. "The moment he learned it concerned my mother, he betrayed the Dark Lord to Dumbledore and begged Dumbledore to save my mother – at any price. And you should know by now that Albus can ask a lot. You should also know, that Albus had never done anything for Severus when he was bullied – not even when a prank of the Marauders very nearly killed him, and he was only saved by a happy coincidence. Even when Albus had Severus' loyality, he continued to insult Slytherin House." Now Harry paused.
Albus didn't know what to think about all this, and therefore he closed his eyes again. After a few minutes, he decided he wanted to hear more – it was not really clear yet, although he saw where his father was going with his tale. "Continue, please."
Harry nodded. "My parents were betrayed. Well, you know the tale of that Halloween. Severus turned to Dumbledore and told him off for not protecting my mother enough. Dumbledore trapped Severus into accepting a position as spy. When I started Hogwarts, he saved my ar- life at least twice a year. You should know some things about that, too.
"In looks, I am a replica of my father, but with my mother's eyes. In his opinion, I basically was my father, but I have stolen the eyes of my mother. He loathed my father – and with a reason. I believe he held himself responsible for my mother's death. And my eyes – your eyes – reminded him of her, every time." Harry paused, because he saw Albus wanted to say something.
"He.. He loved her?" Albus asked hestitantly.
Harry decided to answer with a question. "Albus, how much do you know about Patronus magic?"
"You need a happy memory and the animal represents something or someone you really love. It's different for everyone. It can change, though, for example, when you meet your husband or wife."
Harry nodded. "My mother's Patronus was a doe. Severus' was too, until his death – nearly seventeen years after my mother's." When he said this, a tear rolled down his cheeks.
Albus had to blink some tears away. "Merlin.." he replied very softly.
"He died as a spy, murdered by Voldemort, but not because he was discovered. He never revealed his true allegiance to Voldemort or anybody, until the moment of his death. His last words were 'Look at me' – he wanted to see my eyes. My mother's eyes.
"He gave me memories during these last seconds – memories of him and my mother and memories of conversations between him and Dumbledore, which were necessary for Voldemort's defeat. He defended me when Albus wanted me to sacrifice myself. He became angry at the only wizard he could rely a tiny bit on, on behalf of my mother's son." Harry chose his words very carefully here.
Albus didn't know what to say anymore. Tears were now freely rolling down his cheeks, and also down his father's.
After a few minutes of silence, Harry spoke up again. "Make your own decision, Albus Severus. I won't tell you what to think of him. He was horrible to me, and any other Gryffindor, but especially to me. He insulted me and my father all the time and gave me failing marks for average potions, even in Defence when he taught that for a year." Now Harry's voice grew slightly bitter and a tiny bit venomous. "He mistreated me, and not just in public. He ridiculed me and my paternal family." Harry paused and stood up.
When he was standing by the door, he spoke up again, so softly Albus nearly couldn't catch the words. "Yet he never insulted my mother."
Harry flicked his wand and the wards around the parlor dropped. He went through the door and closed it softly behind him, leaving Albus at his own.
Albus sat for a long time, after that. He didn't know exactly what he thought of either Albus Dumbledore or Severus Snape. His father had been right: it was complicated. Nor did he know what his father exactly thought of these two persons. Had his father admired the way Dumbledore sacrificed people left and right for the Greater Good, because 'that was war'? Was his father just grateful for how Snape had always protected him and did he think it was exceptional love that he had shown for Albus' own grandma?
Albus didn't know. The thought that had crossed his mind for the last few weeks, ever since James began bullying him with it – that had also been the original reason for their fight that day –, that his parents wouldn't want him in Slytherin. Albus was not stupid. He knew what his father had meant when he had referred to Dumbledore insulting Slytherin; he overheard his parents talking about it someday. Dumbledore had once said to Severus 'Sometimes I think we Sort too soon,' and perhaps he was only named after Snape because he was like a Gryffindor in the end.
A/N: Please review!
And tell me whether you think the scene at Platform Nine and Three Quarters still fits after this conversation. I think it does, because Harry doesn't say anything about Slytherin – except that reference at Dumbledore's words to Severus, and Harry doesn't know Albus know what he means by that. And Albus is very insecure.