Chapter 6

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Afternoon Potions had just finished and the class was emptying fast, many students anxious to get away from the imposing figure of Severus Snape. Harry was sorting through a few sheets of parchment, arranging them into order so that he wouldn't have to do it later. Unlike the other students, he didn't fear the Potions Master. As he flipped a sheet the right way up, he could feel Snape's eyes on him from the front of the classroom.

The room was now empty except for the two of them. Harry heard his teacher approaching as he continued to sort his things. Snape stopped in front of him, on the other side of his desk. Harry finished what he was doing and slipped the parchment into his bag, before looking up and meeting Snape's cold eyes.

'Professor?' Harry asked, his voice perfectly innocent sounding.

'How are you finding things in Slytherin House Potter?'

Harry thought for moment. This was highly unusual. Aside from asking him questions during class, Snape had never spoken to him. 'It's fine,' he finally replied.

'No trouble with the other students?'

Harry could detect no sense of emotion in Snape's icy drawling voice. 'Should there be?'

It was Snape turn to pause, but only for a moment. 'Very well. I expect three pages of parchment from you on the uses of the rhylin root in potions.' With those final words, Snape turned abruptly and strode into the back room. The door slammed shut behind him.

Harry narrowed his eyes. Three pages? The rest of the class only needed two pages. Snape was pushing him again, but why?

'Alright,' Harry said softly to himself. Playtime was over. It was time to do some research, and Harry knew exactly where to start. Pulling up the map of Hogwarts in his head, he left the classroom and dungeons behind.

Harry found what he was looking for on the third floor, across from the trophy room. Inside this room, decorating the walls like some strange mural was a list of every single student of Hogwarts down through the ages, sorted into years and houses. Harry began by scanning the nearest tiles, his eyes flickering over the names as he speedily read them all. He stopped when he found the name he was looking for – Severus Snape. Year 1971 to 1978. Slytherin.

Harry took a mental picture of the tablet, fixing the dates in his mind so that he could cross reference them with the school newspaper archive later. Satisfied he had all he needed, he went to leave, but out of the corner of his eye he caught something he had not anticipated - another name, further up the tablet in the Gryffindor column. James Potter. His eyes widened, then darted quickly over the rest of the Gryffindor section. Yes, there. Lily Evans. His mother.

Harry took a step back. So his parents had been in the same year as Severus Snape. That couldn't just be a coincidence. He had to check those old newspaper, and quickly. Luckily, the archive was open to all students of Hogwarts. He ran all the way to the library. Madam Pince shushed him when he arrived, but he ignored her and went straight to the archives.

Harry found the years he wanted and began to flick through the pages as fast as he could, looking for anything that might shed light on the mysterious Severus Snape. He spent the next few days scouring the records, but finding nothing of any importance regarding Snape.

Harry did, however, learn a lot about his parents. His mother Lily was top of her class nearly every year, well liked and respected amongst her peers. His father James was a top class Quidditch player, being a star Chaser and Seeker, depending on the teams needs. He also found lots of photographs of them, which he spent hours staring at, wondering.

Wondering, if they hadn't died, what his life might have been like. Where would they have lived? How would they have treated him? Would he be the same person he was now if they hadn't died? He found himself imagining another life for himself, until one day he realised he was wasting his actual life sitting at the table and staring at old photographs of dead people. He put the papers away and didn't come back. It was pointless to imagine. This was his life, and he had to live it.

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