Evan sank heavily into the chair. He opened his mouth, but closed it before he could voice some stupid question. He shook his head, as though trying to negate it. Those two words ruined his dreams of finding his mother.
Potter stared at him gloomily for a moment and then reached into his inner pocket. He retrieved a messy picture – or rather, a part of it. The photo had to be a Wizarding one, because the woman pictured was moving, laughing at something beyond the torn side. Evan looked at the photo again. Some indistinct memories of his childhood were brought to his mind. His throat clenched when he realized the photo was of his mother. He followed Potter’s gaze and understood that the woman pictured was Lily Evans, too.
‚Do you remember your mother?’ Potter asked suddenly, staring at him intently.
‚No’ the Slytherin answered. ‚I remember her eyes… green… like yours… and her hair color, but not much more.’
‚You’d had three years to remember her’ Potter said, in a bitter and slightly accusing tone. ‚I did not have even those. I don’t remember Lily’
Evan lifted his eyebrow, hearing Potter refer to his mother in such a way, but did not push the matter.
‚How did she die?’ he asked suddenly. Every child knew how Lily Potter’d died, but he couldn’t associate this name with his mother.
The Auror did not reply, having turned to the window.
‚Avada Kedavra. Voldemort. She wouldn’t let him kill me… „Not Harry, please, not Harry…”‚
Potter’s voice sounded faraway in the sudden silence and Evan realized that the Auror had just quoted his own mother’s last words. A cold shiver ran down his back.
For a long while neither of them spoke, each one deep in his thoughts. Evan stood up for a while and noticed the Auror looking at him attentively. He didn’t even notice when the both of them sat back down.
‚No! Impossible!’ Potter shouted suddenly. His eyes blazed with fury, but then he calmed down with noticeable effort. He sank into his chair and touched his finger to the photo of Lily.
‚Did you know your father has been carrying it for a year?’ he asked finally.
‚My father?’ Evan wondered for a moment if Potter wasn’t a Seer by any chance.
‚Professor Severus Snape. I should have noticed it at once. It’s a rare name, both among the Muggles and the wizards.’ The Auror nodded his head sadly. ‚You look a bit like him’
The Slytherin was silent for a long while. Tears shone in his eyes.
‚The Professor had called me to his office unexpectedly, a few months before I finished school. He behaved like he’d wanted to tell me something, but the conversation turned to my future career. He was proud I’d chosen the Potions. I started suspecting something soon after I graduated from Hogwarts. That paper…’ Evan poked at the scrap from the orphanage ‚didn’t help me much. You think he’d known…? And how didya guess?’
Potter looked at him surprised and only then did Evan realize he’d addressed him informally. But he was not going to correct himself.
‚I knew what he’d felt for Lily’ he said finally. ‚But I don’t think he’d known about you. He’d left me his memories of her before he died’
There was a moment of silence again.
‚How did the Professor die?’ Evan did not dare to refer to him otherwise.
He quickly noticed it was not a good question to be asked. Potter turned a little green in the face and a shadow appeared in his eyes. It seemed he wouldn’t answer – he bent forward and he fixed his gaze on the table, as though trying to quell his nausea.
Evan rose to call for Potter’s wife, but the Auror stopped him with a wave of his hand. When he bent over the man, he croaked out ‚He’d bled to death. Nagini. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. He was staring at me… I think he was seeing Lily…’
The Slytherin raced to the door, staggering and ran outside, in desperate need of air. He very nearly stepped on the child he’d seen at the entrance earlier.
The talk with Potter brought Evan answers to his questions, but also presented new problems – ones he couldn’t confront. A week later he wandered to the Potters’ house in Godric’s Hollow again, this time stopping for a longer while by the monument showing Lily, James and their son.
Potter, this time in normal attire, opened the door. A weak smile showed on his face upon seeing Evan.
‚More questions, eh, Prince? They didn’t leave me in peace either…’ the Auror led him to his room.
At first glance nothing had changed. A broom still stood in the corner – a Firebolt II, the best on the market. Potter’s work robes hung from a hook, and a poster of Holyhead Harpies was glued to the wall. The Chaser’s face, posing on the poster, seemed familiar to Evan.
‚My wife’ Potter said proudly, noticing his gaze. ‚Just don’t call her Ginevra or she’ll kill you’
The Auror led Evan to his desk. They sat opposite of each other – they could see each other’s faces… each other’s eyes… like in a mirror. A Muggle board was placed on the nearest wall. The pieces of parchments covered in Potter’s messy script were pinned to it. Evan could read the headings: „Lily Evans”, „Severus Snape”, „Evan Prince”.
The Gryffindor waved his wand and another scrap pinned itself to the board, on the far right. It was titled „Petunia Evans”. Between it and the others the pictures were hung – the same one of Lily that Potter had shown him earlier and one of Professor Snape from the times of his studying at Hogwarts.
A long scroll lay on the table in front of Potter – and from what Evan could see, every sentence ended in a question mark. It seemed Potter was as much tormented by his parents’ story as he was.
‚Why are you doing it?’ he asked finally.
The Auror shrugged his shoulders.
‚I don’t know myself. Because I want to learn something more about Lily? About Professor Snape? Because we’re brothers?’ a hesitant smile appeared on his face at the last question.
Evan said nothing. He walked closer to the board and started reading Potter’s notes.
Blood status: Muggle-born
Severus Snape – a childhood friend
Wife of James Potter since 1979?
Mother of Harry Potter 1980, Evan Prince ?
Died defending her son from Voldemort, Halloween 1981
Severus Snape alias Half-Blood Prince
Blood status: Half-blood
Potions Master & spy for the Order of Phoenix 1981-1998
DADA teacher 1997
Headmaster of Hogwarts 1998
Died in the Final Battle 2 May 1998
The only child of Eileen Prince and Tobias Snape
‚When were you born?’ Potter asked when the Slytherin sat back down.
‚In 1978, but I don’t know the exact date’ Evan shrugged.
‚In seventy-eight?’ the Auror jumped up in shock.
It seemed they’ve both thought of the same: if Evan was born in 1978, Lily had had to be pregnant when she graduated in June. Further thinking was interrupted by Ginny coming in. The Slytherin noticed that when she set the tea on the table, she glanced at the board. She furrowed her brows and looked at him intently.
‚I’d bet you’re to blame for Harry not sleeping at night, worrying about how little he knows about his mother. You’ve got Lily’s eyes. And in the light of the notes on this board, I’m sure it’s not just random’
‚No’ Evan sighed and glanced at her husband. ‚It seemed fate wanted to play games with me, if it sent me to Hogwarts when you were there. Your husband is sure he knows who my parents were…’
‚You’re kidding’ Ginny looked from him to Harry. ‚No. Lily Evans and Severus Snape? Harry, did you give him some of George’s sweets?’
‚Nah’ Potter shook his head and Evan didn’t understand what it was about.
‚When were you going to tell me you’ve got a brother? Whose father is Snape? It changes things, y’know’
She tried to lighten the mood, but the joke was so poor that neither man smiled. Ginny hesitated for a moment and then extended her hand.
‚Welcome to the family, Evan Prince’
Potter laughed out loud on hearing it.
‚Evan Prince. Lily really wasn’t looking far’
The Slytherin lifted his brow. The Auror waved his wand and two words in his notes bolded themselves – „Prince”, Eileen’s maiden name, and „Evans”, his mother’s name.
‚Of these Princes?’ when Potter nodded, the man paled at the thought how close he’d been to solving the mystery those few years back.
‚What is she doing here?’ Ginny asked suddenly, and the tone in which she said ‚she’ didn’t bide well.
Evan looked at the scrap of parchment she was pointing at… he didn’t know how to refer to her… his sister-in-law?…
Blood status: Muggle
Sister of Lily Evans
Wife to Vernon Dursley, mother to Dudley 1980
Raised Harry Potter 1981-1998
‚Mum had a sister?’ Evan asked before he could stop himself.
‚Unfortunately’ Ginny’s tone did nothing to hide she didn’t like the fact one bit. ‚And before you think you’ll learn something from her, notice how much Harry knows about his mum. She doesn’t like magic’
The Slytherin glanced at the board and noticed that indeed, the Auror knew more about Professor Snape than about his own mother.
‚”Doesn’t like magic”. Is it because Mum had it, and she didn’t?’
‚Pretty much’ Potter nodded. ‚And because Professor Snape… your father… dropped a branch on Petunia’s head when they first met.
‚They knew each other?’
‚Yes’ the Auror glanced at his notes. ‚Before Lily went to Hogwarts, the Evanses and Severus lived quite close to each other. Lily and Severus met, quite by accident, on a playground – and she was already showing signs of being a witch. Aunt didn’t like it. They had a fight when Lily started Hogwarts and never made up. Mostly because Lily and Severus stayed friends until 1976’
‚That’s when the Professor… father… joined the Death Eaters?’
‚You’re very close’ Potter glanced at the board and returned to the matter-of-fact tone. ‚I know nothing about the period between 1976 and 1979. When Lily married James, all ties were severed, if any remained.’
‚You know no people you could ask? Petunia?’
‚Petunia will tell me nothing. For ten years before I started Hogwarts, I didn’t know what my parents were called or what they looked like. She didn’t change one bit. There’s no one else who’s known them well aside from her. Sirius and Remus are dead. Correct me if I’m wrong, but your father… the Professor… did not seem to have friends…’
There was a moment of silence.
‚Professor Snape? Aside from the other teachers? No. Professor Dumbledore was said to know a lot, but he’s dead. The people that taught them are gone too’ Evan said.
‚No! Two of them are still teaching. Professor Horace Slughorn and Headmistress McGonagall. Slughorn has even once mentioned that Lily and Severus were his best students in Potions. He’d liked them a lot…’ Potter jumped up literally and the next scroll with notes flew to the board.
The following day Evan found himself once again in Hogwarts, that time at Harry Potter’s side. The name of the Boy-Who-Lived really did seem to open all the doors, although the Headmistress was noticeably surprised by their wish to meet Professor Slughorn.
‚Lily and Severus? Geniuses, I tell you, geniuses in Potions! I sent their Potion for a contest once – and they won! But you probably not about this… Harry, m’boy, what do I owe this visit to?’
‚I know so little about her…’ Harry did what he could to look the poor orphan’s part that Slughorn expected. ‚I’d hoped you can tell me what she was like at school?’
Evan rolled his eyes, hearing the question. ‚I think Potter is most interested in her final years at Hogwarts…’ he added.
‚Oh, those were the most crazy years! She’d had a fight with Severus, I think it was about the differences between the ideals of Slytherin and Gryffindor… Then James Potter started chasing her… sorry, m’boy… but it wasn’t the best! She dumped him, time and time again, but in her final year she had a mystery admirer…’
Harry and Evan exchanged glances. ‚Who was it?’
‚Ah, who didn’t want to know it… Lily answered no questions about him. James was furious, of course, but she didn’t tell him anything either, not that they were especially close back then…’
‚Professor, maybe you have some photos of Mum from this time?’
Evan rolled his eyes again. Potter again in the role of a hurt child, but he had to admit there was a bit of truth in it.
‚I’d taken a liberty to bring the photos of the 1971/72 year when you were talking with Horace’ Headmistress McGonagall said from behind them.
The Slytherin and the Gryffindor went immediately to the priceless photo album, nearly colliding with each other. The former Transfiguration teacher looked at them sternly.
‚Please try not to destroy it in your rush to gain knowledge, misters’
Evan moved aside, leaving some space for Potter. The man quickly found a photo. It showed Lily and Severus on graduation day. They were laughing at the camera and had their arms around each other.
‚True friends’ Slughorn commented.
The Auror shook his head and started examining the photo intently. He muttered something under his breath and started counting on his fingers. Evan realized Potter was counting the months. Then the man turned around.
‚I think we can exclude the summer. It seems you were born in autumn, Evan.’
The Slytherin threw him a murderous glance. The teachers made all sorts of shocked sounds. It was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
‚Says the Boy-Who-Lived! You’re the reason they’re dead and I’ve got to stumble around blind! You were the child the mother loved so much that she gave her own life for! I don’t count! I’d never counted, because I’m only a bastard! That’s what you meant, Potter?’
‚Evan…’ the Auror began, but the man did not wait. He ran for the exit, shoving the surprised teachers aside. The door slammed.
‚You’ve got Mum’s temper’ Potter commented bitterly, casting a duplicating spell on the photo and putting the copy in his pocket.
When he calmed down, after a few days, Evan realized there were many questions without answers still. So he came yet again to Potter’s, realizing that he is slowly starting to think about the man as his own brother.
‚You were three when Lily died. Maybe that’s why you were left in the orphanage? There was a war going on. Your father was on one side, Lily on the other’ the Auror said when he’d heard the first question.
The Slytherin sighed heavily.
‚Why did Father become the spy at all?’
‚Because of Lily. You know, sometimes I think everything he did was because of her. It was him who heard the prophecy concerning me and passed it on to Voldemort. Not even in his darkest dreams did he imagine that it meant Lily’s child. He tried to beg Voldemort, he’d changed sides – everything to save her. In vain. Have you ever seen his Patronus?’
‚A doe’ Evan said, remembering the feelings he’d experienced when he’d seen it. The feelings he hadn’t understood at the time.
‚Exactly. Just like Lily’s’
The Slytherin said nothing.
‚I’d like to see Petunia’ he mentioned finally.
‚You’d better do it without me. You’ll manage more. I’ll take you there, but I’m not coming inside. Too many memories…’
Evan nodded after a short hesitation. The Auror grabbed his arm. The next moment they found themselves on an English street, among rows of identical houses. Potter wrapped himself in his Invisibility Cloak – the same Evan had heard so much about – before he led him to the number four.
The man knocked nervously on the door, wondering what does his mother’s sister look like. The door was opened by a slim woman with a horse-like face and small eyes.
‚We’re not buying…’ she began, but she noticed Evan. Her face changed. ‚Get out of here, you awful boy! After you took my sister away! How dare you show up here!’
‚Are you Petunia Evans by any chance?’ the Slytherin asked calmly. ‚Do you mean Lily, ma’am?’
‚Don’t tell me you’ve forgotten my sister’s name, Severus Snape! You were always head over heels in love with her!’ Petunia lifted her arm with a dangerous expression. ‚And don’t you dare remind me of you-know-what!’
In another situation Evan would burst out laughing.
‚My name is Evan Prince’ he said, before she could start shouting anew. ‚You said „Severus Snape”, ma’am? That name is not unfamiliar to me, I think I have seen him in London. Long dark hair, black eyes, thin face?’
‚Yeah, it’s him. He’s bound to have gotten into some shady dealings, the rotten boy! He’s always been like that, rotten to the core. The apple does not fall far from the tree!’
The Slytherin decided not to push the issue – the woman was practically spitting venom.
‚Had you seen your sister after she’d finished school? I’m trying to learn what had she been doing before her wedding…’
Petunia pursed her lips.
‚I hadn’t seen that freak. Not even once. She had her freakish friends, she wasn’t interested in a normal life. She criticized Vernon, too. I had no reason to invite her.’
Evan sighed deeply and thanked the woman for the conversation. Potter was waiting for him on the corner, having divested himself of the Cloak.
‚How it’d gone?’ he asked.
Before the Slytherin could answer, he heard fast footsteps and someone’s voice.
‚Mr. Prince! Please wait!’ a blonde man called, apparently having dashed from the door of the house the wizard had just vacated.
‚Dudley?’ the Auror’s jaw fell open at the sight of the man.
‚Harry? Nice seeing you.’ The blonde smiled a bit and returned his attention to the Auror’s companion. ‚Mr. … Evan Prince, isn’t it? You’ve described a man very similar in appearance to the man seen in London, in the Spinner’s End vicinity. We need every bit of information you can divulge, sir.’
The muggle extracted something that looked similar to the Auror badge of Potter’s.
‚You became a policeman?’ disbelief could be clearly heard in Potter’s voice.
‚Mhm. Recently. I can see you’ve managed something too’ the man pointed at Auror robes and shook Potter’s hand. The wizard blinked, staring at the ring on the blonde’s right hand.
‚You’re engaged, Dudley?’
‚Mhm.’ The muggle nodded his head. He lowered his voice. ‚She’s one of your kind. Back on topic – whatcha doing here, Potter?’
‚We are looking for information on a certain man’s past. Aunt Petunia used to know him as a child…’ the Auror sighed. ‚If you heard Evan’s conversation, then I’d bet she said nothing.’
‚That she did’ the blonde shook his head. ‚Who is Severus Snape?’
‚Who was, you wanted to say. He’s dead. For a year. He was my teacher.’
‚It was the man Evan described? Kinda curious for Mum to mistake Evan for the guy. Maybe you’ve got a photo of this Snape?’
There was a moment of uneasy silence. Finally Potter reached into his pocket and passed a photo, one of Severus as a teacher, to his cousin. The man looked at the photo and then at the wizards.
‚Something stinks here. Your mate looks a lot like him. And he’s got your eyes. That is, Aunt Lily’s eyes. You sure the guy’s dead?’ the policeman called Dudley asked finally.
The Auror sighed heavily.
‚It seems Snape’s his father.’ He said finally ‚And yeah, I’m pretty sure. I saw the Professor’s death with my own eyes, Dud, it was not something easily forgotten’
‚Then you’re mistaken. The guy from Spinner’s End occupies the house that has been long empty, that’s why the police became interested, but was unable to learn anything about him. Quite understandable, if he’s one of your kind. That’s a photo of him. The guy is your Snape. I’ve got no doubts. And he’s most certainly alive.’