Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Deceptive Appearances

Not What He Seems

by ShadeDancer 1 review

Chapter 1

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Harry, Snape - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2005-10-21 - Updated: 2005-10-22 - 5695 words

Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter

The summer holidays had just begun and Severus Snape couldn't have been happier. It meant months of quiet, student free time. Well almost. One student had been allowed to stay over the summer holidays though he couldn't bring himself to care. It actually pleased him that he would get to see more of this student, not that he would ever admit it. Not that he would ever reveal that behind the façade of a Death Eater lurked-a snuffling sound made him pause. Drawing his wand Severus warily snuck into the corridor the noise was coming from.

It was Fluffy. No not fluffy as in soft, but Fluffy as in Hagrid's three headed dog, the dog that had once tasted the flesh of his leg causing him to limp for a week. The Fluffy that had just caught a whiff of his fresh scent and began to drool in hunger. The damn thing had once tasted his flesh and now wanted more. Severus dropped his wand with a clatter as three heads swung his way and ran, Fluffy letting loose a deep baying sound that let the world know that he had found his quarry and was giving chase. They ran.

Severus was tiring and was coming upon a part of the dungeons from which there would be no escape from the dog. In his panic he had allowed himself to be trapped. How to stop the mad beast now that he didn't have his wand? What did that brute Hagrid do to calm the Cerberus. Severus scoffed despite the danger, the simpleton probably rocked it and sang it lullabies. His eyes widened. That was it! Music! But he had no instruments and was finally cornered. There was no choice then. Severus opened his mouth and began to sing, his dark and silky voice luring the overgrown dog into slumber. The problem now, there was no way past the dog that filled the corridor with its bulk. The only way would be to climb over it and the beast would surely wake. Damn it but he had to drop his wand. Severus sung on and prayed someone would find him soon.

What makes me think that it'll all work out in the end.
Afraid to feel bad, better off to try and pretend.
I'm Immortal, immune to all that is wrong.
Just keep on wishing, crossing my fingers so long.
Is this helping, I'm growing weaker each day.
Can't stop whining still afraid of what I might say
Or reactions, that control us one and all.

He was wandering around the dungeons. Sure he didn't have many fond memories of being down there but he felt at home in the dungeons, something his friends wouldn't understand. They never seemed to feel the urge to seek solitude like he did, they despised the dungeons which was perhaps why he loved them. A familiar song sung in a seductive voice drew his attention and he followed it, allowed it to pull him in.

It's mine, it's pure, and as decent as I can make myself.
Inside, we all know, only the strong survive.

So now I'm bleeding on myself, yes once again.
Seems I trusted another deceitful friend.
My fault, I should've known the deal.
Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer for real.
Seems easy, but nothing could be so hard.
Trying to guess life's dealing, what's the next card?
I'm surely folding, I don't like this hand at all.

The sight he came upon was shocking. A cornered Severus Snape crooning to Fluffy to keep the dog asleep. And by the sound of the professor's voice it wasn't the first song he had gone through and he wouldn't last much longer. Softly he added his own voice to the mix as he stepped forward, the familiar lyrics rolling off his tongue as he bravely stroked the head nearest to him.

It's mine, it's pure, and as decent as I can make myself.
Inside, we all know, only the strong survive.

Maybe things happen for a reason, and wherein lies the answer.
To overcome the grieving, of life's unruly lessons.
I'm handed in succession, it builds my pain which makes me strong.

It's mine, it's pure, and as decent as I can make myself.
Inside, we all know, only the strong survive.

Severus' voice faltered and he stopped singing, allowing the pure yet sorrowful notes of his companion's voice to keep the song going.

It's mine, it's pure, and as decent as I can make myself.
Inside, we all know, only the strong survive.
It's mine, it's pure, and as decent as I can make myself.
Inside, we all know, only the strong survive.
Who will survive? I will survive. We will survive.

He let the last note fade out but instead of picking up with another song he kept rubbing one of Fluffy's heads.

"Hey boy" he whispered softly as the three heads awoke "what are you doing here, huh? Hagrid's been looking for you."

He locked his vivid eyes with those on the head he was currently petting, attracting all of the dog's attention.

"Go Fluffy" he said sternly, pointing down the corridor "go to Hagrid and leave Professor Snape alone."

The dog whimpered as if cowed by some great force and left, not sparing Severus a glance.

Severus straightened himself and gathered his disheveled robes about himself.

"Thanks Potter" he said sincerely before sweeping off through the dungeons in search of his wand and a stiff drink.

Harry could only stare after the man. The masculine scent of his professor teased at his nose and the memory of the silky voice singing still echoed through his head. A small smile quirked across Harry Potter's lips as he decided to head for the lake to meditate. Staying at Hogwarts for the summer had just gotten even better and it seemed that the potions master wasn't such a greasy git after all. In fact his hair wasn't greasy at all but rather silky like his voice. Harry didn't even realize the path his thoughts were following as he sat down upon a rock at the edge of the lake staring out at the beauty around him as he allowed his thoughts to wander and then become blank.

Harry was still sitting like that when Hagrid found him as he made his way toward the castle for dinner.

"'ello Harry" he boomed and Harry drew himself from the depths of him mind to smile back at the half-giant.

"Hey Hagrid" Harry said softly "what are you doing?"

"Thanks fer findin' Fluffy earlier. I'm headin' ter dinner o' course" Hagrid said, hauling Harry to his feet "an' that's where yeh should be, not starin' at nothin' like a ruddy Centaur."

Harry followed Hagrid to the castle but did not bother to correct the half-giant; he hadn't been staring at nothing but had instead been basking in the waves of magic that undulated about him as he studied their vibrant colors. Ever since this ability had manifested Harry had studied it to discover what the different streams meant and through understanding them his knowledge and ability in magic had grown phenomenally. It made learning how to cast a spell much easier after he had seen it performed correctly, he could more easily block curses now as he knew what type of magic was being sent at him, and he was even beginning to figure out how to deconstruct the spells into harmless energy. He had also been able to harness wild magic, or accidental magic as the Ministry called it, into wandless magic. You just had to realize that magic was all around you as well as inside you and a wand was merely a manipulative tool for those who did not have firm control over magic.

Magic was limitless Harry had realized, it was only the mind that set the limits and perhaps, in the case of some witches and wizards, the wand that hampers their potential. Such had been the case for Harry until he learned to balance the magic in and around him with the fiery phoenix core of his wand. He had almost burnt his wand out a few times by pouring too much magic into it. Harry smirked slightly, it also hadn't hurt that he had infused his wand with a second core and bound it with his own blood. Not that anyone realized that he had been up to these things; there was one advantage to acting like the Gryffindor Golden Boy, no one suspected that he would ever be up to anything. Harry started guiltily as he realized that they had reached the castle and he hadn't heard a word that Hagrid had said.

"Nice talking to you Hagrid" Harry told the half-giant, already walking away from his supposed first friend in the wizarding world "I'll see you later, maybe come visit tomorrow if I don't get caught up in my work."

Hagrid made a motion as if to stop Harry and have him go to the Great Hall for dinner, but Harry was already heading around the corner. He didn't feel like going to the Great Hall to eat where he would be the center of the teacher's attention. It also drove him insane how someone would start a conversation, realize he was there, and then change the subject abruptly as if they couldn't openly converse about anything in front of him. He had had enough of that and decided that the kitchens would be a better place to eat and would allow him to avoid any prying questions sent his way.

With the ease of long practice Harry found himself in front of the portrait of a bowl of fruit and was tickling the squirming pear. The pear turned into a door knob and Harry opened the door to the lovely aromas of the food prepared by the house-elves and found his legs being compressed by the battiest of them all.

"Hey Dobby, how have you been?" Harry asked casually as he always did.

Dobby's ears perked and the tennis ball eyes widened "fine Harry Potter, sir. Dobby is fine. Harry Potter sir is such a great wizard, he is, asking how poor Dobby is. What can Dobby do for the Great Harry Potter sir?"

Expertly Harry detangled himself from Dobby "could you get me some food please? I'm a bit hungry but I don't want to go to the Hall to eat."

Almost immediately Harry was pushed into a chair and a laden table was set before him as bowing house-elves backed away to give him space to eat.

"Thank you" Harry called after them and noticed that the table was filled with his favorite foods.

It was a bit gratifying to know that even though their were hundreds of students at Hogwarts the house-elves still knew what foods he liked, or maybe it was just Dobby that knew. What ever the reason Harry dug hungrily into the food and lost himself in the book he had pulled from his pocket and enlarged.

Harry was just starting on his dessert when the door to the kitchens opened behind him and he heard the house-elves fall into the routine given to anyone visiting the kitchens. He also didn't have to hear the house-elves address the person to know that it was professor Snape. After all, what other teacher would Dumbledore send after him?

"Enjoying yourself Potter" the voice was a silken draw that revealed none of the emotions the Potions Master was feeling.

"Good evening professor" Harry returned cordially "I am finding my meal most enjoyable, would you care to join me for dessert as it seems the Headmaster is making you miss yours to come find me?"

Severus raised an eyebrow but did indeed join Harry at the table and accepted a dessert from one of the numerous house-elves. He had noticed that over this past year the boy had been acting more Slytherin-like than Gryffindor, but then the boy had thrown his theories out the window by going to the Department of Mysteries at the end of this last school year to chase down his mutt of a godfather. That act had been pure Gryffindor. And yet here the boy was reading a heavy tome written in what appeared to be an ancient runic language and had immediately recognized that he had been sent to look for him by the Headmaster. The boy had also issued a very Slytherin-like invitation when he had asked him to join him for dessert. Such an enigma.

"Something wrong professor?"

Harry's voice broke through the man's revive and Harry found himself on the receiving end of a pointed look.

Surprisingly Harry was answered.

"For someone who is supposed to be Gryffindor's Golden Boy you sure are acting like a Slytherin. You managed to lose Hagrid earlier when he was to bring you to dinner and then you realize that I was sent to look for you. A Gryffindor wouldn't have noted such things; they would have only reacted and most likely done what they were expected to do even if they didn't know the expectations were there."

Harry smirked "that's pretty blunt coming from the Head of Slytherin house. Yet there is no reason not to tell you since I doubt you would reveal this to Dumbledore. Dumbledore may have you set up as a pawn, neatly tucked away on his side of the field to be used as he sees fit, but there is still that spark of sly rebellion in you, a spark he doesn't see. Did you ever think that perhaps I am truly Slytherin at heart but merely use the Gryffindor Golden Boy facade as an act because it is what everyone expects and it allows me more freedom than I would get if I was to show my true colors?"

Harry gave Severus time to mull over what he had just said. What he had told the man was true, he had always been a Slytherin but had realized on that trip to Diagon Alley with Hagrid that he was expected to be a Gryffindor and problems would arise if he wasn't. He hadn't needed the suspicion being Sorted into Slytherin would bring upon him and so had 'begged' the hat to put him in Gryffindor. It had worked and here he was, sitting over dessert with the one professor in the entire school that gave most every student nightmares, and they were discussing Slytherin tactics versus Gryffindor nature. There must be a slight bit of irony in there somewhere. Finally the silence was broken.

"Be that as it may it is a good thing you were not placed in Slytherin even if you hadn't been expected to go to Gryffindor. The Slytherins would have murdered you in your sleep first year."

Harry couldn't help it; he threw his head back and laughed. Surely Snape couldn't be that blind; for it was either that or they were just too damn good. This next was going to blow Snape a new asshole.

"Why would my friends even want to try and murder me?"

Well, there wasn't any sign of a new asshole that he could see but Harry was now sitting across from one very shocked professor. Alas, if only he had a camera, he would make millions! He didn't think he had ever seen Snape so shocked, not even the time he had discovered his hair was on fire, courtesy of Crabbe and Goyle. Now that was a pair of friends, they had been willing to set Snape's hair on fire after the professor had pissed him off during class one day. Harry couldn't believe they had done that for him, he had only been joking after all. It had been worth it though when the backstabbing Ronald Weasley had been blamed for the whole fiasco. Severus regained his composure quickly; years of spying taught a person a few handy tricks.


There went the raised eyebrow again.

"You are friends with the Slytherins that insult and hex you as well as your two tagalongs? Friends with the children whose parents try and kill you as often as possible in the name of the Dark Lord?"

Harry stood and gathered his book then, it was time to end this conversation and give the professor a chance to really think on what he had learned without giving away anything else that he didn't have to "appearances can be deceiving."

Harry wasn't seen the next day at all until near evening when he came in for dinner. This time it was McGonagall that met him at the door. Evidently Dumbledore had realized that Hagrid just wasn't enough.

"There you are Potter" she said briskly "where have you been all day? You can't just wander off; precautions must be taken even if you are safe here."

Harry cast his eyes downward as if he was just realizing that he had done something wrong. He half-heartedly gestured to the broom in his hand and the book in his other.

"I was flying for a bit but decided to read instead. I didn't mean to cause anyone worry."

His voice held the exact tone McGonagall wanted to hear, one that was slightly repentant and sheepish; a well practiced tone in his case.

"Well come along then Potter" McGonagall continued, a slight smile on her face now "it's time for dinner in the Hall."

The stress on the word Hall wasn't lost on Harry and to buy himself a bit more time he gestured to the things in his hand again "is it okay if I run these up to my rooms first?"

Receiving the go ahead, Harry left McGonagall and headed towards the suite of rooms that were his to use during the summer; he had a feeling the rooms brought him closer under the watchful eyes of some of the teachers instead of leaving him in the isolated Gryffindor Tower. He waited until after he had hissed the password to the Firewinder King Cobra that guarded his rooms and had shut the portrait firmly before allowing a smirk to cross his face. The Defense book in his hand stayed the same unless you counted the pages turning into correspondence sheets from his true friends, but the broom had melted into a wicked-sharp sword.

It was graceful and well balanced, the long and thin silver blade honed to a sharp edge. Runes of power were engraved along the blade in a language few could recognize and almost none could read in this day unless they were given the privilege to learn the art. The hilt was also a thing of beauty. It was wrapped in expensively cured black Dragon hide that was soft to the touch and allowed for a comfortable grip and serpents twined out from the hilt to form an enchanted guard that kept others from using the personalized blade. At the very end of the hilt one of the serpent's head formed a pommel and an emerald stone shot through with black onyx rested in the open mouth. It was Slytherin's sword and he had magically reforged it himself under the watchful eyes of his fencing master whom he had just come back from having a lesson with in the Forbidden Forest; it was a feat only another Parselmouth could have accomplished.

Harry had never felt as alive as he did when he fenced and Lucius Malfoy was a Master of the Art. He was teaching both Harry and Draco all he knew in hopes that they would be able to carry along the pureblood tradition that few honored anymore. To Harry's disappointment Draco hadn't been able to come that day with his father to meet Harry in the forest for a lesson, but Lucius had brought the charmed book for him. While to others it looked to merely be a book on Defense Against the Dark Arts, to the eyes of Harry and those privileged to own one of the linked copies the pages were correspondence parchments. Inside was a piece of parchment for each of Harry's Slytherin friends and other people he needed to stay in contact with but it would seem suspicious if he wrote to them by owl post or was seen contacting them in any way.

Seeing that he could linger at least a moment longer Harry open the 'Defense book' to the page with an archaic symbol inscribed on top with a dragon curled under it. In an elegant hand Harry scrawled '/I missed kicking your ass in fencing Dray. I will write more later when I have time. Take care and tell Narcissa I will write her as well/.' Satisfied that the message would have to do for now Harry tapped the archaic symbol and watched the writing fade away into the parchment before shrinking the book and slipping it into his pocket where it rested against some other odds and ends. One last look around the rooms and a wave of his hand had the sword once again looking like a broom and neatly stored away, he had to hurry down to dinner now before another watchdog was sent after him. It wouldn't do to make Dumbledore suspicious when he still needed to manipulate the man and manipulations worked better when you had a persons' trust.

Dinner was a silent affair and Harry felt as if once again all eyes were on him. By now he was almost wishing that he had defied the veiled hints and took his meal elsewhere once again. It would have been more comfortable than this even if he didn't really want to deal with the repercussions. Giving up on pretending to eat but knowing he couldn't make an exit quite yet Harry pulled a shrunken potion's text out of his pocket and used his wand to enlarge it. At least while he was in Hogwarts he was able to use his wand without fear of another mockery of a Ministry trial, Dumbledore had told him this the day summer term started as if he was handing Harry a great and magnanimous gift he should be grateful for. He also knew that he was expected to use this 'privilege' to prepare for the upcoming war against Voldemort where he was the hope of the wizarding world. A few of the teachers spared a glance at him at the most, not really caring what he was up to but keeping a watchful eye on him nonetheless.

They probably assumed he was reading a text on Defense for he imagined that they would show more shock if they realized it was a tome on Potions, a class he normally showed no interest in and was reputed to fail dismally at. Yet unlike what most thought Harry was very good at Potions, not quite High-Master material, but he could brew many complicated potions without any outside aide. So far it had just been to his advantage to only hand in mediocre work and not show his true potential, the same went for most of his other classes as well. Of course there were a few potions that were determined to elude his comprehension and the Nevestigo Draught was one of them. There must be some trick to it that he was missing, something simple, something that the author didn't mention in the book. Perhaps if he actually tried to brew it he would be able to spot the problem, he hadn't gotten beyond analyzing the text yet for a solution, or perhaps-it was worth a shot after all.

Leaning around Professor McGonagall Harry spoke "Excuse me Professor Snape, I was wondering if I could ask you about a potion. I'm reading about it in this text here but it seems as if the author missed something and to brew the potion this way would result in an explosion."

The other professors had gone silent and a few even leaned forward with interest to see what would happen. Whether this was a reaction to the fact that Harry was speaking in a somewhat knowledgeable tone on the subject of potions, was discussing potions at all, or the fact that he had dared to address the one Professor that held a personal vendetta against him for the simple reason that he was his father's son. Harry sat calmly as the Professor's dark gaze rose from his plate to meet his own emerald stare.

"Bring the text here Potter" Snape said calmly as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening and motioned for Harry to take the empty seat next to him that the Defense teacher would normally occupy.

Harry gracefully complied and sat silently as conversation slowly resumed at the table around him and Snape, courtesy of one of Snape's patented glares. Severus meanwhile was quickly running his eyes over the ingredients and brewing instructions, not showing any reaction to the name of the potion or the fact that it was supposed to make the drinker unable to be traced by tracking spells, before flipping to the book's cover to read the title. When he spoke it was softly so that even Dumbledore would be hard pressed to discover what they were talking about without being obvious in his spying.

"This is a decent tome you have on potions here Potter though there are many inconsistencies within its pages" Snape began "and you are correct in realizing that following the instructions would result in a ruined potion as well as an explosion. You will find many of the Potions in this book seem incorrect. It is not sure whether the author did this on purpose to separate the incompetent from the Masters and to make those brewing the potion's think about their actions and the consequences or whether the author did not know the subject matter. For this potion to be brewed correctly you must add two shredded Jabberknoll feathers after the flobberworm mucus and stir counter clockwise for an even minute."

Harry found himself absorbing the knowledge the professor was giving him but to be on the safe side he fished a quill out of his pocket and penned the instructions in with an elegant hand that was not usually present in his school work. He did not notice the slightly appraising, and perhaps dare we say approving, glance Snape gave him. The moment he finished inscribing the instructions Harry found that the Potions Master had once again taken possession of his book and then his quill. Turning to the contents page Snape began to mark asterisks next to the names of most of the potions, occasionally flipping the pages and reading through the instructions before flipping back and marking a few more potions. A few minutes later Snape nodded in satisfaction and closed the book before handing it and the quill back to Harry.

"I have marked all the incorrect potions in the book and believe you would find it in your best interests to research them. We will discuss the first ten after dinner in a week's time."

Snape turned back to his dinner then and Harry knew a dismissal when it was given. Harry loitered long enough after that to indulge in a bowl of chocolate pudding before standing and excusing himself from the Great Hall. That had went better than he ever could have expected.

It cheered Harry immensely when he got back to his rooms to find that Draco had written back and a few others had initiated conversations with him. Blaise was as knowledgeable as ever; Crabbe and Goyle were being their witty selves, the stupidity act was just that; and Draco knew what to say to cheer him up even if he hadn't let the blond know he was depressed.

'There is no way you could kick my ass as you so uncouthly put it scar-head' Dray wrote 'Father says the muggle lover has you on as short a leash as he can put you without actually chaining you to his bed. What do they think you are, a mutt like that so called godfather of yours? Though given your animagus forms--Sit boy! Beg! I'll be there for the next lesson though and you could always disappear for a few hours and conveniently find your way to Malfoy Manor. I'm sure mother would be all too delighted to fuss over her 'dark-haired son' and we could have the others over for Quidditch. At the very least they will have to let you out to go to Diagon Alley for you school things, they can't dare deny you that. And if they do deny you and will not allow you to go shopping for your own school things blow this damn cover you have assumed and show your true colors, the beautiful silver and green of Slytherin, to the wizarding world. It's time someone shoved their pompous heads out of their asses and made them realize what is really going on around them. Kick Mrs. Norris for me, Filch too if you think you can get away with it.'

Harry smiled a true smile as he wrote back to his friends and then turned to the rolls of parchment that Hedwig had left for him while he was out. It seemed Hermione and Ron had written to him as well. Their letters were full of condolences and sympathy on his loss of 'Snuffles' and yet even while saying she was deeply sorry and knew how he was feeling about losing Sirius Hermione was still badgering him about doing his homework. At least Hermione's letters had something behind them, a purpose; Ron's were simply empty and meant nothing to him. Wouldn't it shock his two supposedly best friends if they knew he wasn't grieving for Sirius, only pretending to? Wouldn't it shock them to know that he hadn't gone to the Department of Mysteries for Sirius but to get a hold of the prophecy and had used the Sirius reason as an excuse when they had badgered him about it? His saving people reputation had come in handy, but then most everything he had ever done since coming to Hogwarts had a purpose even if it did label him as the epitome of Gryffindor; he had a mask to keep intact after all. As for Sirius, he hadn't really known the man after all and from what he had seen realized that there was nothing dependable about him. And then there was the way he had treated Snape and the other Slytherins while he was at Hogwarts. Sirius had been a petty man that did not deserved to be idolized.

Harry could never forgive the juvenile man for acting as he had towards the very people who had cared for Harry when his family and the people that were supposed to be there for him weren't. Harry had been livid when he found out about Sirius endangering Snape during the one full moon but it had been nothing compared to his rage when he found out that Sirius had almost managed to kill Lucius when the Malfoy scion had come to Sirius under a banner of truce the very night Harry himself was being born to warn of Voldemort targeting the Potters; not that Sirius had known it was Lucius, but that was no excuse either. A banner of truce was sacred and not to be reneged on. Funny how the Gryffindors were flaunted as the true and just people of the wizarding world when Harry found more to despise in them than he did in the Slytherins who were reputed to be Dark Lords and Dark Lord followers in the making.

Calming himself before he allowed his internal emotions to get the best of him Harry strode to the window and launched his lithe body out of it, changing as he went into a black falcon with reddish highlights across the feathers of his powerful wings and a lightening-like slash of gold across his chest. He soared high above the ramparts, reveling in the feeling of freedom as his sharp emerald green eyes scoured the world about him, glowing unnaturally. There was a power behind his eyes, one that unconsciously came to him and even though the falcon was not necessarily a night creature his eyes easily pierced the darkness with an uncanny sight. One powerful sweep of his wings was followed by another and soon he was flying high above everything, soaring off into the night and past the wards surrounding Hogwarts without being detected. An hour or perhaps more passed with nothing on Harry's mind except the joy of flight and his destination that was fast approaching in a blur of warm and welcoming lights. With a well focused thought one of the windows opened for him and he tucked in his massive wings to dive through the opening, his sharp talons uncurling so that he could land on the owl perch inside the room.

For a moment Harry teetered there, the swift force of such a landing unbalancing him before he gave a small hop up and out to enable himself to transform. Harry sighed happily as he looked around himself, a pair of black silken pajama bottoms were already laid out for him in welcome. Gratefully he slipped out of his robe and clothes and pulled on the loose trousers, reveling in the feel of silk against his flesh before he climbed into the turned back bed. The house-elves sure were efficient even when he wasn't expected. He was tempted to tell the others that he had arrived to stay the night but it was late and they would probably have all retired by now. At least they would get a surprise when he joined them the next morning for breakfast; he had a long-standing agreement with the house-elves which ensured that the little creatures wouldn't let the others know when he was here so that he could surprise them, they could be mischievous little buggers when it suited them.
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