View Full Version : Snape's Saga
September 18th, 2003, 1:29 am
*Disclaimer* This story is meant for the enjoyment of those who choose to read it. I own none of the characters, places, or any other things in my story, they belong to the inspirational J.K. Rowling. This story will not be used for profit or anything else illegal. It's sole purpose is entertainment.
That said, welcome ladies, gentlemen, and fellow seveges! This story begins with an adult Severus Snape beginning his job with Dumbledore. It goes through his first year teaching and the events that led him to accept his current position and also the events that shape up his first year as Hogwart's Potions Master. So if you're ready, here we go....
A young man stood looking at a towering castle. Memories, most of them bad, came flooding back to him, and it was all he could do to make them stop. He'd never dreamed he would return here and he'd certainly had never had any desire to. But now he had returned to accept a teaching position, and he was extremely grateful for it. Without Dumbledore's help he would never have been able to begin to get his life back on track again.
He took one last, steadying breath, and began to pull his trunk up the huge staircase that led to the front doors. He eventually reached them, flung one open, and walked inside.
The huge entrance hall greeted him and he thought briefly of turning back. There was the marble staircase, where once James Potter had amused himself by unraveling Snape's robes until they barely reached his knees. There was the opening leading to the Great Hall, where Sirius Black had made Snape's spaghetti almost strangle him, just one of the countless humiliations he'd suffered in there.
But that was long ago, he reminded himself. You had no authority, no way to stop them. It's different now.
This made him feel more confident, and he was beginning to make his way down to the dungeons, his new home, when he heard a voice behind him.
"Severus Snape!" said the voice. "Is that really you?"
Snape steeled himself for the worst, fixed a smile on his face, and turned round.
"Professor McGonagall, it's nice to see you again," he said politely.
She hadn't changed a bit since he'd had her for a teacher just a few short years ago. Tall, thin, and stern, she wasn't one you could be disrespectful to and get away with it.
"It's good to see you, too," she said, looking him over. "I hear you've agreed to take over the new Potions job."
"Yes, that's right," he told her.
"It's such a shame, Professor Wheaton was such a good teacher, but I guess we'll all retire someday." She gave him one last glance and said, as she began to leave, "I'm sure you'll do fine though." Her tone implied that he'd better or he'd be in trouble. "If you need anything, be sure to let me know," she added, and then she rounded the corner and was out of sight.
Snape again started toward the dungeons, rapidly thinking. He wondered how many of his old teachers were still there. Probably all of them except for old Professor Wheaton, who'd retired the previous year, leaving the Potions spot vacant. And Snape wondered, as he had often before, how much Dumbledore had told the staff about his past and why he'd been hired, and, assuming Dumbledore had told them a great deal, how much they all loathed him.
His mind troubled and uneasy, he reached his new quarters in the dungeon and began to unpack. He'd check out his new office and classroom after dinner.
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September 19th, 2003, 12:04 am
Here's the next part, I really hope there aren't any spoilers, that wouldn't be good if I got a lifetime ban before I'd even really gotten going. Anyway, here's the next bit. Enjoy!
Dinner that night consisted of spaghetti (of course, thought Snpae, what else could it be?) and meatballs. Dumbledore had invited Snape to sit right beside him and Snape had obliged. Not only did Dumbledore's constant chatter keep him occupied, but he felt strangely protected sitting just inches from the headmaster. After all, the Dark Lord would never dare approach him now.
"This garlic bread is truly wonderful, don't you agree, Severus?" Dumbledore asked, his eyes twinkling as he took another bite of the bread.
"I haven't tried any yet, but it does smell good," Snape said, and, anxious to please Dumbledore, took a piece.
"That's the spirit!" Dumbledore said happily. "Keeps away the vampires, you know."
"There weren't any here when I was a student," Snape said, looking a little nervous. Some of the vampires had joined the Dark Lord, and Snape wasn't sure which ones to trust.
""I was only joking," Dumbledore said lightly, looking at Snape closely. Then he said quietly, "I hope you know that no danger will befall you here."
"Of course," Snape said, trying to look as though he feared nothing, and that the threat of danger was the furthest thing from his mind.
"Well, good then," Dumbledore said, looking cheerful again. "I'd like to talk to you after dinner, if that would be alright with you."
"I'd be happy to see you," Snape said, relieved that they were finally moving away from touchy subjects, though he was a bit suspicious about what this meeting would entail.
"You really must try this pudding," said Dumbledore, as the main dishes were cleared from their platters and replaced with several desserts. "Best in England."
September 19th, 2003, 11:38 pm
Here's the next part, it's quite a bit longer than the last one I think, though I didn't get out a ruler to measure the parchment it took up....
After the evening meal was finished, Snape followed Dumbledore from the Great Hall. Dumbledore led him up a few flights of stairs and down a few corridors, until they reached a doorway, protected on either side by stone gargoyles.
"Orange Sherbert," said Dumbledore and the doorway opened, revealing a revolving staricase. He moved onto one of the steps, and Snape followed. The staricase spun around until they reached another door, which Dumbledore opened and then closed when Snape had stepped inside. Then he settled himself behind a desk while Snape looked around, his mouth slightly open.
He'd never been in here before; he'd never been in any real trouble, so as a student he'd only speculated about where the headmaster resided. The room was splendid, that was the only word for it. There were many things to look at, all covering different surfaces in the office. The most glorious thing in there, though, was the beautiful bird that sat on a perch by Dumbledore, and which Snape recognized to be a phoenix.
Dumbledore watched him look around, a faint smile on his face, until Snape finished.
"Please, take a seat," Dumbledore said, and he indicated a plush chair in front of his desk. Snape sat down and looked across at Dumbledore, who was now watching him intently.
"Severus," he began, "I've had an idea. Lord Voldemort will soon find out about your new position here, and while he's still at large he could be a potential problem. But we need to keep him thinking that you haven't left the dark side, that you're still loyal to him. You do know, I believe, about Pensieves?"
"Yes, though I've never used one before," said Snape, wondering where this was going.
"Well, I believe a Pensieve will work nicely," Dumbledore said. "And you're completely sure he has no idea that you've switched over, is that right?"
"I belive so," said Snape, a little anxiously.
"Then my plan will indeed work," Dumbledore said, looking satisfied. "However, I'm not sure you'll be keen on it, since you'll have to return to Voldemort."
Snape forgot to even flinch at the name, he was so aghast. He wondered what he could have possibly said or done that would make Dumbledore make him leave so quickly. Dumbledore must have interpreted his look correctly for he said kindly, "No, Severus, nothing like that. I think, though, that you could make a valuable spy to our side while pretending to spy on me."
Snape looked confused. What was all this about spying? He'd come here to start a quiet life away from the Dark Lord, not immediately go back to him.
"I'm not quite sure I understand," he said to Dumbledore, feeling a little panicky. "I don't want to return to the Dark Lord, his powers are so great he'd see right through me."
"That's where the Pensieve comes in," said Dumbledore patiently. "Let me explain. Voldemort knows that you didn't kill your mother, therefore disobeying him." Snape flinched as more unpleasant memories seeped into his mind, but Dumbledore continued to press on. "That's why he thinks you've failed to return to him. But eventually you must return or he'll become suspicious. Now, when you go back, you'll apologize for not completing the task he set you, but you'll make him happy by telling him of your new job here. You must make him think that you secured this job to help him, to get an in with me. Then you will keep him informed about things here while eliciting information from him about his plans. You'll store all your thoughts that reveal lies in the Pensieve until you return here. Do you see how it all works?"
"I think so," Snape said uncertainly. "But what if I still can't hide everything from him? I've never been able to lie to him when he's looking right at me."
"Have you ever tried?" Dumbledore asked.
"Well, no, but I might not be good at it," Snape said, somewhat desperately.
"All your contradicting thoughts will be in the Pensiever, he'll have no access to them," Dumbledore reminded him. "And by still being his servant, in a way, you'll be able to gather information that will be able to help us combat him. You could save innocent lives."
He'd have to say something like that, wouldn't he, Snape thought. I can't very well refuse now. Aloud he said, "I guess I could try. But I can't promise amazing results."
"I expect nothing more than your best," Dumbledore said, smiling. "Thank you for seeing me, Severus. I think you should see him no later than tomorrow. Term starts in just a few days, and you don't want to miss anything."
"Alright, Professor Dumbledore, I'll come see you after I've spoken to the Dark Lord," Snape said resignedly.
"Before you go come in and I'll loan you my Pensieve and teach you how to use it," Dumbledore said, and then got up from his chair to walk Snape to the door. He held it open and Snape walked onto the staircase.
"Good night, Severus," said Dumbledore.
"Good night, headmaster," Snape said, looking at the comforting eyes of Professor Dumbledore until the staircase spun him around, whipping Dumbledore out of sight.
September 22nd, 2003, 1:39 am
Snape woke up the next morning and wished he hadn't. The day ahead promised to be unpleasant and he was not looking forward to it in the least.
He got dressed quickly, deciding to pass up a shower. Maybe if he smelled bad the Dark Lord wouldn't come near him. Anyway, he was pretty sure he still reeked of garlic bread; that should be enough to keep anyone away.
He passed his new office and classroom as he headed toward the Great Hall for breakfast. Both were almost completely bare, as were his sleeping quarters. Most of his possessions were in his home in London, and he didn't dare go back to get them. The Dark Lord could have it staked out.
He reached the Great Hall and slouched over to the staff table, trying not to attract any attention to himself. Only a few of the other teachers were around and were all either intent on their food or reading the Daily Prophet, so that they didn't seem to notice him.
Snape pulled a large plate of toast toward himself and but only ended up taking one piece. His stomach felt queasy and he didn't think it would go over well if he threw up on the Dark Lord.
He'd finished the piece and was wondering if he should go to Dumbledore now when one of the teachers looked up from the Daily Prophet, gave a start at the sight of Snape, and then began to talk.
"Oh, Severus," said little Professor Flitwick. "Good morning! And I guess it would be Professor Snape now. Anyway, I've got a message from Professor Dumbledore to give you."
"Really?" asked Snape, dreading what was surely coming.
"He'd like you to meet him in his office when you've finished eating," Flitwick recited. "I trust you know where his office is located?" he added.
"Yes, thank you," said Snape, getting up from his chair. He noticed his legs were shaky, and this discovery angered him. He was with Dumbledore now, what could the Dark Lord possibly do?
Don't think about that, Snape though hastily, as nasty images flashed in his mind.
"Well, good day," Flitwick said cheerfully as Snape made to leave.
"Er...yeah, good day," Snape replied, wondering whether any day had ever been worse.
September 22nd, 2003, 1:52 am
I know I just posted a minute ago, but I've got some more time, so I figured I'd just put on the next part as well, so here it is....
Dumbledore was waiting for him when he reached the office. In front of him, lying on the desk, was an empty bowl with runes inscribed on the sides.
Dumbledore smiled reassuringly at him and motioned him over. Snape walked over to the desk and looked down into the bowl. It looked ordinary enough.
"This," said Dumbledore, looking at the bowl fondly, "is a Pensieve. It can be your best friend when your thoughts are tangled or become unbearable. In your case, it will be perfect for storing the thoughts that would otherwise contradict the lies you're about to tell Lord Voldemort. What I need you to do first is think of one of those contradicting thoughts."
Snape thought and finally remembered the meeting he'd had with Dumbledore, the one where he'd asked the headmaster for help.
"Now, once you've found a thought, concentrate hard on it, picture it in full detail. Then, put your wand to your temple and withdraw your thought," came Dumbledore's voice.
Snape followed these instructions, thinking of how stupid he must look, and he was surprised when he looked down and saw a thin silvery string attached to the tip of his wand. As he pulled it farther away, the string broke gently.
"Now deposit in into the Pensieve," finished Dumbledore, indicating the bowl.
Snape did so, and immediately the bowl was filled with a swirling white mass.
"All you have to do is repeat the process until you've cleared everything out. That way, you'll still remember these things, but not like you normally would, and this will fool Voldemort. When you've finished you can place the bowl in my cabinet. We'll return them to your head when you've spoken to the Dark Lord."
Snape nodded, wishing silently that he could just drown himself in the Pensieve, but strangely, the contents didn't look like liquid.
"Good luck, Severus," Dumbledore said, patting him on the shoulder. "I'd stay with you, but I have to stop Peeves from ruining the school before term even starts."
He smiled calmly and then stepped out of the office, leaving Snape alone.
Maybe I could just remove all my thoughts and claim memory loss, he thought dejectedly, as he returned to the Pensieve and continued removing thoughts.
September 23rd, 2003, 1:29 am
Snape approached the house warily. It was a gray, rundown affair and shutters dangling from the windows posed a threat to anyone who walked beneath them. This had been the Dark Lord's hideout for many years, and it was only visible to Death Eaters. To anyone else, the spot appeared to be a field full of weeds, and if any Muggle got too close, they would be disintegrated. The Dark Lord didn't do things in pieces.
Snape crept stealthily to the front door and reached it undetected. He slowly eased it open and slunk inside, quietly closing it behind him. He was about to breathe a sigh of relief when a cold voice spoke behind him.
"You know you can't fool your master. I can't believe you even tried."
Snape turned slowly around and met the Dark Lord's red eyes without flinching.
"I'm sorry, master," he said, hoping the Dark Lord couldn't tell he was lying, but he was disappointed.
"Again you lie to me, Severus," Voldemort said coldy. "I'll have to teach you some respect. Crucio!"
The force of the spell hit Snape and he was knocked to the floor. His whole body burned and cruel laughter filled his head. This continued for less than a minute, but to Snape the torture seemed to last an eternity. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the pain stopped, and he lay shuddering on the floor, his body aching terribly.
"Hopefully that has done you some good, it's not right for you to have such an ego," Voldemort said, as he lowered his wand. "Now, we need to get down to business. I know that you haven't completed the task I assigned you. I expected better from you, my friend."
Snape had dragged himself off of the floor and was now gripping a small table for support. He looked at the floor when he answered. "I really meant to kill her, but I saw her looking through one of our photo albums and....she was always so kind to me...."
"Your father was a true Death Eater, he would have had no qualms," Voldemort said disdainfully.
Snape shivered. This statement was true and it made him feel ashamed for following in the footsteps of his father.
"She was a good woman," he repeated lamely.
"If she was truly a good woman, she would have joined my ranks, instead of encouraging you not to," Voldemort said, and he fingered his wand again, though he did not lift it.
"I'm very sorry, my lord, it won't happen again," Snape said, hating how powerless he truly was but successfully hiding his emotions. "However," he continued, "I have some news that might make you happy."
"Do you now?" Voldemort asked, smiling cruelly. "And what news could you possibly have that would make me happy?"
"I've obtained a job from Dumbledore at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry," Snape said, now daring to lift his eyes to see the Dark Lord's reaction. To his relief and satisfaction, the Dark Lord was now looking at him intently, curiosity marring his features.
"Tell me more of this position," he demanded, his cold eyes glinting with the slightest signs of interest.
September 23rd, 2003, 11:46 pm
"Very well," Snape said, and the pains in his body now seemed to dissolve. "I was lucky enough to meet Dumbledore on my way back to see you. He was in Diagon Alley, at one of those diners. He saw and recognized me and asked me to join him for dinner."
"You sat and ate with an enemy?" Voldemort asked. "Do you not know the rules? What if you'd given something away?"
"No, master, believe me, I did no such thing," Snape said hurriedly. It was important that the Dark Lord believe him. "He just wanted to chat about my time as a student and what I'd done after graduation. I told him that I'd found nothing but misfortune, had been shuffled from job to job." Snape had now begun to look at his feet again; he was afraid his expression might give him away. He continued boldly. "Dumbledore took pity on me, and told me the Potions teaching spot was vacant because the last teacher had retired just before the end of last term. He offered it to me."
"So you met Dumbledore early in August, about the time I set you your mission?" questioned Voldemort.
"Yes, master," Snape said.
"And he straightaway offered it to you? I'm sure there would have been other applicants, and I doubt whether Dumbledore would have put off hiring someone new for so long," said Voldemort, with a calculating look.
Snape thought fast. "Well, no one else had seemed to be interested in the job," he said. "As it entails so little wand-waving, it's hardly considered to be very magical. Most people consider it to be very boring, and though he'd practically given it away even to unqualified people, he couldn't fill the position."
Voldemort thought for a while. Snape supposed he was trying to figure out whether it all added up or not, and he truly hoped that it did. He'd done some quick thinking and hadn't had time to make sure it all fit. But he supposed it must have, because when Voldemort spoke again, it was in a tone of immense satisfaction.
"Well done, my friend," he said. "You have done me a great favor. With you in Hogwarts I can learn of all the happenings there and I can be ahead of Dumbledore every step of the way. I want you to return there and come to me immediately when you hear of any news that can help me. Go now, and do not fail."
"Yes, master," Snape said, relieved to be leaving at last. He made himself walk to the door instead of run to it, walked outside, and Disapparated to Hogsmeade. He had the rest of the day in front of him now, and what a truly beautiful day it was.
September 24th, 2003, 11:48 pm
Snape had eaten a leisurely brunch at a small cafe to celebrate the fact that he was still alive, and then walked back up to Hogwarts. The first day of the new term started the day after tomorrow and he had a bit more preparation he needed to attend to.
Dumbledore was in his office when Snape arrived, and Snape recounted almost everything that had happened with Voldemort while Dumbledore helped restore hist thoughts to their proper place. The only part he left out was Voldemort's use of the Cruciatus Curse. He wasn't sure why he didn't tell Dumbledore; maybe he just didn't want to seem like he was complaining.
Though that would be a valid complaint, Snape thought to himself as he emerged from Dumbledore's office, his thoughts all firmly back in his head. He trudged down to the dungeons, intending to check the supply cabinet and make a list of what he would need for the first term. But what met his eyes when he entered his office chased all thoughts of supplies from his head.
"Lucius!" he said. "What are you doing here?"
Lucius Malfoy was sitting calmly in the chair behind the desk. A thin man with a pale, pointed face, Lucius had been one of Snape's closest friends during his days as a student at Hogwarts. Though they'd never really had an equal friendship, what with Lucius always bossing Snape around, they had gotten along fairly well and joined the ranks of Voldemort together.
"Quite a nice place you've got here," Lucius drawled sarcastically. "Couldn't get anything better out of Dumbledore?"
"I'm lucky enough to even have this," Snape said truthfully. "How did you get in here?"
"Floo Powder, all the fireplaces here are connected to the Floo Network. Which reminds me," Lucius said, shivering slightly. "You really should light a fire in here, it's cold enough to keep milk from spoiling."
Snape set about making a fire, while Lucius watched and made comments like, "No, too much paper, you'll never get it to light like that," and, "I would have done it myself, but I didn't want to get my new robes dirty."
Snape's usually pale face was flushed and he was sweating by the time he'd managed to get a decent fire going. He settled back on his knees and looked into the flames. When he'd warmed up a little more, he turned around to face Lucius.
"You know," Lucius said serenly, "you could have used your wand to magic up a fire."
Snape felt like a fool, but his face was still flushed enough so that it didn't look like he was blushing.
"What are you doing here?" he asked coldly, repeating his earlier question.
"Haven't you heard yet?" asked Lucius incredulously. "I would have thought the Dark Lord would have told you first, since you're now one of his favorites."
Snape merely raised an eyebrow and Lucius continued, obviously enjoying the fact that he knew something Snape didn't. "I think you'll really enjoy this too, since it involves your old school mate, James Potter."
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September 26th, 2003, 3:36 am
Snape looked at Lucius sharply, his interest now completely aroused.
"What about him?" he asked.
"Well, he and his wife, you know, that Lily Evans, have been causing some minor problems for the Dark Lord. All their do-gooding is irritating him, so the Dark Lord has a plan for getting them out of the way. He wants to get rid of them sometime in late November, so it won't coincide with the Christmas holidays, when they're likely to have company or be away."
"And how does the Dark Lord plan on getting rid of them?" Snape asked, holding his breath.
"A wave of his wand and a few choice words," said Lucius, with a look of anticipation. "After, of course, all the careful planning he'll have to do to make it all work. And I daresay you'll have quite a role in it all too, keeping Dumbledore from learning about it."
"Oh, yeah, I suppose," Snape said, hoping he wouldn't have to do anything for the Dark Lord. He and Dumbledore would need to do some serious thinking if the Dark Lord requested Snape's services in a deadly deal.
"I wish I'd thought to get a position with Dumbledore," said Lucius wistfully. "The Dark Lord's really happy with you. You know, maybe he'll try once and for all to finish Dumbledore, now that he's got inside help. I wish I could be in on it."
Snape was starting to feel slightly sick by all this talk of murder. "Look, Lucius, it was nice talking to you," he lied, "but I've really got to get back to my work. If I'm not prepared, I'll get in trouble and all I need right now is to be fired. So I'll talk to you later."
"Of course," Lucius said, smiling. "I know how terribly busy you must be. I'll leave you to it."
And he got up from his chair and walked over to the fireplace. Taking a pinch of Floo Powder from inside his robes, he sprinkled it into the fireplace. The flames turned green, and he looked back and said, "Just call if you need anything." Then he walked into the fire, said loudly, "Diagon Alley!" and disappeared.
Relieved to see him go, Snape sank slowly into the recently vacated chair to have a good think.
September 26th, 2003, 11:02 pm
The whole of the next day Snape spent running around, trying to find all the things he would need. His survey of the supply cabinet led him to realize that he was indeed understocked and he spent a lot of the afternoon in Diagon Alley gathering ingredients. He also bought several new books about Potion-making. He was quite sure about his potion skills, but it never hurt to keep up with the times.
He'd talked to Dumbledore, telling him what Lucius had said. Dumbledore had looked worried and had set off to see the Potters immediately. It was imperative that they were warned. Snape had had to fight with his conscience before he'd gone to Dumbledore. On the one hand, he thought James Potter deserved everything he got, but on the other hand he had to keep Dumbledore's trust and helping kill his worst enemy, however much he hated him, did not seem the way to keep it. So he'd grudgingly gone to Dumbledore.
The next day rolled around, and the teachers were all rushing around, doing last minute errands and making sure everything was perfect for the students. Snape, though, stayed in his office, reading up in his new books. So far he'd concocted a Sleeping Draught, which he was sure would come in handy should any of the students really irk him.
The afternoon gradually faded into evening, and Snape put away his book, cleaned up the ingredients he'd used, and made his way into the Great Hall. Most of the other teachers were already there, sitting at the staff table. Snape took an empty chair and waited for the throng of students that would soon be entering the Hall.
September 27th, 2003, 3:20 am
Gradually the students began to pour inside and walk to their House tables. After catching up on some of the summer gossip, they expectantly turned their heads toward the staff table to inspect the teachers and wait for the Sorting to begin.
Snape became aware of all the eyes that were upon him. He'd never noticed before how many students actually attended this school. All the stares were beginning to bother him, but he was distracted from his discomfort as Professor McGonagall brought in the first years.
Shaking and blushing, they entered, and they seemed to feel the stares more than Snape had.
McGonagall set down the stool and the Sorting Hat. The hat sat motionless on the stool for a moment, but then the rip in its brim opened and it began to sing.
Snape immediately started tuning it out. He'd always found the hat to be irritating. Instead, he amused himself by looking at the sea of faces that now was focused on the hat. A jolt of dread hit him and he wondered whether he'd be able to teach them all when he couldn't even stand to have them watch him. But now was not the time to doubt himself.
The hat finished its song and became silent again. Professor McGonagall pulled out a long piece of parchment and began to read the names.
"Allan, Rachel," she said, and a pale girl walked to the stool, sat down, and put the hat on her head. It took only a moment, and then the hat yelled, "HUFFLEPUFF!"
The girl took the hat off and stumbled over to the Hufflepuff table, which was cheering loudly.
This continued for a long time, and Snape's stomach began to grumble. For some, the Sorting Hat took a long time to deliberate before finally shouting out the appropriate House. He'd never been able to understand this; it'd had no problems sorting him into Slytherin straightaway.
At long last, Zakatec, Lenny was sorted into Ravenclaw and Dumbledore stood up to address the students.
"I know you're all hungry," he said, eyes twinkling, "so I'll save the announcements till after dinner. Tuck in!"
At once, platters of food appeared on every table. The first years looked amazed, and one was so awed he clapped, but stopped abruptly at the snickers from the Slytherins.
Snape forced himself to eat, but was still uncomfortable. He hated eating in front of people he didn't know well, and sitting up at the staff table was like being on display.
Everyone eventually ate their fill and Dumbledore stood up. The Hall fell silent.
"Firstly, I'd like to welcome all the new students and say welcome back to all returning members of our school. Secondly, I'd like to remind everyone that the Forbidden Forest is indeed forbidden. And lastly, I'd like to welcome our new teachers. Professor Parsons will be teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts and Professor Snape will be teaching Potions."
There was a brief spattering of applause and then Dumbledore said, "That will be all. You're now free to go to your Houses. Good night!"
The Great Hall began to empty, and Snape was set to beat a hasty retreat but was intercepted by Dumbledore.
"Have you heard anything from Voldemort?" Dumbledore asked quietly.
Snape flinched at the name, but responded, "No, I haven't. I'll let you know if I do."
"Good, good," said Dumbledore, looking preoccupied. "It's only that I'm not sure if he'll keep his appointment for November. It might have been just a ploy."
"I'll find out," Snape said, and instantly regretted his rash words.
"Would you? I'm just so afraid we won't be able to stop it," Dumbledore said, now looking extremely worried. "I just need a certain date. I've already offered to be the Potter's secret keeper should they need to go into hiding, but...."
"I'll try," Snape said, looking longingly toward the door. He had to get away before he said anything else stupid.
"Good," Dumbledore said again. He looked at Snape and then said, "You'd better get some sleep now. Tomorrow will be a busy day."
"Good night, headmaster," Snape said and moved to the door. The mass of students had thinned out and he was able to make his way quickly to the dungeons. He would need all the sleep he could get.
September 27th, 2003, 10:52 pm
Snape awoke the next morning with a feeling of dread upon him. I've got to stop having such bad mornings, he thought groggily. Mornings like these reminded him of his mornings as a Death Eater, and that wasn't a good thing.
He finished getting ready and headed off to breakfast in the Great Hall. After a hasty meal, he once again hurried back to the dungeons to await the first bell.
It came much too soon, and before he knew it, the dungeon room was full of third year Ravenclaws, all watching him expectantly, cauldrons at the ready.
"Um, good morning class," he said hesitantly, looking slightly above the heads in the back row and wishing the room was empty. "This is Potions class, where you'll learn how to brew all sorts of potions. We might also try some poisons because they come up in O.W.L.'s, and it's never too early to start practicing for them."
Snape rattled this all off and then his mind went blank. He quickly looked at some notes he'd written that morning. He'd thought they could try an easy Invisibility Potion, but this class seemed a bit dull-witted: Most were looking into their emtpy cauldrons, a few were talking, and one in the back looked to be in a deep stupor.
"Alright, well, I want you to follow the instructions on the board and mix up an Invisibility Potion. At the end of the period put a bit of the finished product into a flask, cork it, and bring it to me," Snape said. When no one moved, he said hesitantly, "Well, er....you may begin."
There was some movement as they made to follow the directions. Snape assured himself their lack of enthusiasm was due to the fact that it was a Monday morning, and he was about to walk around and examine the class's prgress when something in the corner caught his attention.
"You idiot," came a loud, snide voice. "Can't you read? Oh, wait, I forgot. Your mother was so stupid she never taught you how to."
Laughter followed this remark and a small boy in the middle of the group looked close to tears. Snape looked at the boy and their eyes met.
Instantly a flash of memories came back to him: James Potter making Snape's cauldron overturn, spilling potion all over the floor and table; Sirius Black changing the directions on the board while the teacher's back was turned so that Snape read a line wrong and ended up with zero marks again....
Something inside him cracked. He'd had no help when he was tormented, the teachers had always favored Potter and Black. But Snape wasn't going to be like that.
"You're so stupid, what will the teacher think when he sees you've botched the first potion of the term?" came the jeering voice again. "I'll bet he'll--"
"Have you removed from this class so fast your head will spin if it doesn't snap off with the force of my push," Snape spat, staring directly at the tormentor.
The room went quiet; everyone had turned to watch Snape, but he didn't feel their eyes. He wasn't going to be intimidated any longer.
"You have a week's worth of detentions," Snape said coldly, and his tone sent a chill throughout the entire room. "And if I ever have the displeasure of hearing you again unless I am speaking to you, I will see that you receive much more than detention."
The tormentor could only stare as Snape swept back to the front of the classroom.
"You may continue, unless you all wish to receive zero marks today," he said, his voice still icy.
They hurriedly set to work again, and this time no talking ensued.
September 29th, 2003, 11:24 pm
This next part, and some in the future, contains Order of the Phoenix spoilers, so if you haven't read the book yet and you don't want anything ruined, I suggest you don't read this part.
That night sleep didn't come easy to Snape, and when he finally drifted off, it was into an uneasy sleep. He dreamed he was playing a bass guitar while Voldemort belted out lyrics to a wild crowd. Dumbledore was playing the drums and attempted a manuever where he threw the drumsticks into the air and tried to catch them as they came back down. He only caught one though, and the other landed on Snape's left forearm, but it stung much more than it should have....
He woke up in a cold sweat, his left arm searing with a burning pain. The Dark Lord was calling.
After much deliberation and pain, Snape decided he may as well Apparate to the Dark Lord. He would have to eventually, so why not get it out of the way?
He pulled on his robes, rushed down to Hogsmeade, and Apparated right into the rundown house. It was colder in there than in his dungeon rooms.
"Severus," came a cold voice, and a light flicked on overhead. "I have news for you. It's about the Potters."
"Lucius told me," Snape said warily as he looked into the eyes of the Dark Lord. In his exhaustion and defiance, he had forgotten to not meet those red, snake-like eyes, and had forgotten that the Dark Lord was a Legilimens.
"Good," said Voldemort, in a satisfied voice. "Then you know you will be able to help me even further. I've had reports that Dumbledore has been getting closer to the Potters." He paused, then stared intently at Snape and said, "I wonder if he's had any....inside information from someone...."
Snape felt a sudden sensation, as though his thoughts were all jumbled, but he ignored it for a moment, and thought instead of the Dark Lord's words. It took only a second for them to sink in, but when they did, Snape suddenly came to his senses, realized what the sensation must have been, and remembered that he'd forgotten to put his thoughts in the Pensieve. He quickly looked back at his feet, but what the Dark Lord said next made him feel sick.
"Just remember, Severus," Voldemort said, and his tone was now triumphant. "You can never hide anything from me. Now, is there anything you need to tell me?"
"No, my lord," Snape said, still looking stubbornly at his feet. How could I have forgotten the Pensieve and looked directly into his eyes? he thought. I might have just given him all the information he needs.
And it certainly seemed as though he had.
"Watch yourself, my friend," Voldemort said. "Nothing can be hidden from me forever. Now, I'll need you to keep Dumbledore busy for the next couple months while I put my plans into action. He musn't know about anything, or we might as well just give up now. Do you understand?"
"Yes, my lord," Snape said, and then asked, "Do you have a date set for the murder?"
"November 25," Voldemort answered smoothly. "I think everything will be ready then. Well, if you've got nothing to tell me, I'm finished with you for now. But do be sure to report if you don't want to find yourself in a lot of trouble."
"Yes, my lord," Snape said again, and he quickly Disapparated back into Hogsmeade. The pain had completely left his arm, but he didn't notice. All he could think about was what Dumbledore would say if he learned that Snape had become victim to Voldemort's powerful tricks. For Snape was sure the Dark Lord had performed Legilimency on him, and Snape, in his momentary lapse of thought, had forgotten the only way to counter that: Occlumency.
October 1st, 2003, 2:34 am
This part has spoilers too because it continues where the last part left off, so again, if you haven't read the book I suggest you skip this part too.
The next day, Snape was in no mood to be harassed by students, but he needn't have worried. Word seemed to have spread that the new Potions Master was not someone you wanted to get on the wrong side of.
His classes were quiet and obedient that day, which left Snape time to brood. He walked between the silent rows and pretended to inspect the mixtures in the cauldrons, but his mind was somewhere else.
He'd managed to avoid any contact with Dumbledore so far since his meeting with the Dark Lord, but Dumbledore would no doubt be at dinner and would no doubt have some questions.
The day passed quickly, and Snape seriously considered not going to dinner. But now was not the time to play the coward. Like Dumbledore had said, innocent lives were at stake.
Just as he had thought, Dumbledore cornered him after the evening meal.
"Headmaster, I've got some news for you," Snape said before Dumbledore could even ask the question. "But I'd rather not discuss it here."
"Of course, Severus," Dumbledore said. "We can go up to my office."
They wound their way again through the maze of staircases and corridors, and didn't stop moving until they were safely in the office.
"Your news then, Severus," Dumbledore prompted, looking apprehensive.
"You won't like it," Snape said. He'd made up his mind to tell Dumbledore the truth. It was imperative that he do so if they were to stop the Dark Lord.
"Did you get a date?" Dumbledore asked.
"November 25, but that's not all I have to tell you," Snape pressed on, but before he could continue, Dumbledore interrupted.
"Did you go of your own accord to see Voldemort?" he asked gently.
"No, I didn't," Snape said, now becoming slightly irritated. Why he'd gone to the Dark Lord wasn't important right now. "He contacted me by my mark. But I have something else to tell you."
"I'm sorry, please continue," Dumbledore said politely, though he looked like he was having trouble sitting still.
"I believe you know the Dark Lord is a Legilimens?" Snape asked, watching Dumbledore closely.
"Of course I know," Dumbledore said, not looking in the least surprised. "Which reminds me of something I meant to ask you earlier."
"What is it?" Snape asked, trying to hide his anger at not being allowed to speak his mind yet.
"Have you heard of Occlumency?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes," Snape answered. "We all had to learn it so that the enemies couldn't penetrate our minds and find out the Dark Lord's plans."
"Well, that will make things much easier," Dumbledore said with a small smile. "I should have asked you in the first place. Now we won't need to bother with the Pensieve when you speak with him. Instead, you can use Occlumency to hide those thoughts."
"Yes, well, good," Snape said quickly. Occlumency was much harder to perform when trying to lie to the Dark Lord, and this was partly what Snape needed to convey to Dumbledore. "Headmaster," he continued hurriedly, lest he be interrupted again, "Occlumency is difficult to do at any time, but especially when you're face to face with the Dark Lord." He paused briefly, trying to set everything up right. "Like last night, I forgot all about the Pensieve and all about Occlumency."
"What are you saying?" Dumbledore asked, looking worried, but before Snape could answer, the door to the office flew open and Professor McGonagall rushed in.
"Sorry to disturb you," she said as she practically ran over to the desk. "But the Minister of Magic has just sent an owl to remind you of the meeting you had with him."
"Oh no, how could I have forgotten?" Dumbledore said, looking at a clock on the wall. "I was supposed to meet him two hours ago in France."
He grabbed his travelling cloak from a peg and headed toward the door. "Severus, I'm sorry, but we'll have to finish this when I get back. I should only be gone for a few days." And he swept from the room, closely followed by Professor McGonagall.
Snape remained seated and swore under his breath.
October 1st, 2003, 11:04 pm
Dumbledore's trip lasted for two weeks, during which time Snape was a wreck. On the outside, he maintained a cool, indifferent attitude that scared students into obedience, but his insides writhed with a mixture of emotions.
He knew Dumbledore was a brilliant wizard and a great intellect, which led him to wonder if Dumbledore had worked out what Snape had been about to tell him. If only Dumbledore hadn't left so quickly and was fully aware of the whole horrible situation.
These worries and more plagued Snape for the entirety of the two weeks Dumbledore was away. He wondered if the Dark Lord had heard about Dumbledore's absence and would now think it safe enough to come after Snape.
The evening before Dumbledore's return found Snape sitting in the staff room trying to correct papers, but he was finding it hard to concentrate. Not only were the essays on moonstone boring and full of errors, but he was also lost in his distressing thoughts. Only the slamming of the staff room door was enough to shake him completely from his reverie.
"I swear, if Peeves ever tries to drop anything, and I mean ANYTHING, on my head again, I will see to it that the Bloody Baron gives him h***!" said Professor McGonagall hotly as she stomped over to a table in the corner, clutching a pile of books. She had sat down and spread her pile out over the surface of the table before her eyes alighted on Snape. "Oh, Severus, good eveing," she said, somewhat stiffly. Snape didn't know if he'd ever seen her lips thinner.
"Good evening, Professor McGonagall," Snape answered, trying to act polite though he was irritated by the disruption.
"You may call me Minerva now," she informed him, "as we are now both equals."
"Right," Snape said, and he was about to turn back to his work when an idea seized him. Now was the perfect opportunity to find out how much Dumbledore had told them all of Snape's past.
"I'm glad I got the chance to become a teacher here," he began slowly.
"Yes, well Dumbledore only hires those he thinks are competent and trustworthy, so I suppose you had those characteristics," Professor McGonagall said, flipping through the pages in one of her books. "And you always were one of the brightest students here, so he probably took that into consideration as well."
"It didn't seem to matter to anyone else that I was smart, though," he lied sadly. "No one really wanted to hire me."
"Maybe if you cut your hair, it's hard to interview people while only catching glimpses of their faces," Professor McGonagall said as she squinted down at a page. "Where did you go after graduation? No one knew what happened to you."
She doesn't know, Snape thought with relief. She wasn't one to lie about trivial things like that. He was so happy that he ignored her comment about his hair. "I went from job to job," he said, and he now began to gather up his papers. He was sure he wouldn't get anything more done that night. The sky outside had darkened and he was feeling drowsy. "Well, it was nice talking to you, but I really must be going," he said as he made toward the door.
"Yes, good night, Severus," Professor McGonagall said distractedly as she took notes.
He walked back down to the dungeons, feeling considerably lighter. He could now stop worrying about one thing at any rate.
He walked into his sleeping quarters, closing the door behind him. He stacked his papers on a bare table and was about to pull on his gray nightshirt when a voice came from behind him.
October 2nd, 2003, 11:06 pm
Snape froze, gripping his nightshirt so hard that his fingers began to throb in protest. He tried to calm himself, make his brain work. Occlumency, he thought. It's the only way.
He screwed his face up in concentration and then turned around.
Voldemort was standing by the door, blocking Snape's only means of escape; there were no windows in the dungeon, as it was underground.
Voldemort smiled cruelly. "There's no need to shut your mind to me, I know you've betrayed me. Anyway, I didn't come to pry into your thoughts. I came to kill you."
Well, that's a relief, Snape thought. Now I can stop concentrating on Occlumency and try to save myself.
His eyes roved the room, looking for anything that could help him. His sweaty hand clutched his wand under his robes.
"Don't worry, Severus," Voldemort said, as he withdrew his own wand. "It won't take too long. I would have done it at our last meeting, but I thought it'd be nicer to give Dumbledore a welcome home gift. However, I wouldn't want to give you too much of a break, so I'll draw this out as much as I can afford to. Crucio!"
Snape was hit full-on with the spell and he dropped to the floor. The pain was unimaginable, worse than the last time. It lasted longer too; it was a full minute before Voldemort let up. Snape lifted his head and then began to heave his body off of the floor. Voldemort laughed as Snape shakily clutched a chair, but Snape hardly noticed.
His eyes had finally landed on the Sleeping Draught he'd made a while ago. Before Voldemort could utter another word, Snape yelled, "Locomoter Potion!"
Voldemort was stunned by Snape's sudden action, which gave Snape the few seconds he needed to guide the potion through the air and drop it right above the Dark Lord's head.
Voldemort shrieked in outrage as drops trickled into his eyes and several fell into his open mouth. He struggled to clear his vision, but as he tried he began to sway. The potion was taking effect, as Voldemort soon realized.
"I will be back," he shouted groggily, and with a wave of his wand, he disappeared into a cloud of fog.
"Don't bother," Snape spat into the mist, as he surveyed the damage done to his room.
October 3rd, 2003, 11:06 pm
Once the fog had completely cleared, it became apparent that Voldemort must have waited a long time for Snape to return. And to keep himself occupied, he had thoroughly searched the room.
Snape's body had begun to stop throbbing and he now tried to concentrate on other things. Good thing I haven't got anything of value or anything that could give away potential plans in here, thought Snape, as he piled his robes back into his tiny closet. Next he straightened up the bedclothes, and he was about to start cleaning up the remaining Sleeping Draught that was puddled on the floor when--
Snape whirled around, his robes billowing out around him and his hand clutched tightly around his wand, ready to attack, when saw who had spoken. He dropped his defensive stance and loosened his grip on his wand. "Hello Lucius," he said, and he was glad to see his voice was calm.
"This place is a mess," Lucius commented, his nose in the air. "What happened in here?"
"I threw a party for the staff and it got a bit rowdy," Snape said dryly, as he leaned down again to continue sopping up the puddle.
"I didn't know teachers had any fun," Lucius said, and he sat himself down on the freshly made bed. "Anyway," he continued, "that's not why I'm here. I was wondering if you'd seen the Dark Lord. I dropped in to talk with him at the meeting place, but he didn't seem to be in. You two are pretty close now, so I thought maybe you'd know where to find him."
"You mean, he didn't tell you where he'd gone or why?" Snape asked curiously.
"No, why should he?" Lucius said dismissively. "Though I wish he would have, I really need to tell him that the first...."
Snape tuned Lucius out and continued to wipe the now dry spot where the draught had been. He thought quickly. So the Dark Lord hadn't told the other Death Eaters that Snape had betrayed them. I guess he wanted to kill me himself, he thought, gulping audibly.
"Have you got something caught in your throat?" Lucius asked, stopping in his description of some kind of task he'd been set by the Dark Lord.
"No," Snape answered shortly as he stood up and deposited the sopping paper towels he'd used to mop up the spill into a trash can.
"So, what do you think?" Lucius asked eagerly.
"Haven't you been paying attention?" Lucius asked, irritated.
"Not really," Snape said truthfully. He was in no mood to talk to Lucius; he just wanted to take a rest. And above all, he wanted to talk to Dumbledore.
"Forget it," Lucius said coldly. "I see you think you're more important than I am now. I'll talk to you later."
He whisked off the bed and headed for the fireplace. Within seconds he was gone.
Snape now moved to the bed, got in still fully clothed, and pulled the sheets up to his chin. He was dead tired but he was afraid to go to sleep; the Dark Lord could come back at any time. Oh, if only Dumbledore was there.
Sleep eventually prevailed, and Snape knew no more until morning, which he was very glad to see.
October 4th, 2003, 5:05 pm
That morning was Saturday morning, and when Snape arrived in the Great Hall shortly after 7:30, it was to find a deserted room. Apparently, the majority of students were not early risers. The staff table was the only table that wasn't empty, its sole occupant being Professor Dumbledore.
Snape felt a wave of relief wash over him as he hastened over to speak with the headmaster. Professor Dumbledore looked up from his Daily Prophet, and the frown he'd been wearing turned into a smile.
"Ah, Severus, good morning," he said, as Snape took a seat right next to him. "I'm sorry I've been away so long, things didn't go according to plan."
"I really need to talk to you," Snape said, looking directly at Dumbledore, who stared keenly back.
"I'm all ears. Tell me everything."
So Snape launched into his stories about the encounters he'd had with the Dark Lord and Lucius Malfoy. He told Dumbledore everything, and even included the use of the Cruciatus Curse by the Dark Lord. Dumbledore listened with extreme attentiveness, and by the time Snape had finished, Dumbledore's smile had turned back into a frown.
"I don't like this at all," Dumbledore said, when Snape had stopped speaking. "All the information you've been given could be incorrect, and it probably is."
"I'm sorry, headmaster, I let you down," Snape said, looking at his feet.
"No, Severus, do not apologize," Dumbledore said kindly. "We may well be able to turn this to our advantage, thought I'm not exactly sure how. You are sure Voldemort told no other Death Eaters about your switch?"
"I'm pretty certain," Snape said. "He didn't tell Lucius at least, and Lucius and he have always been close. I'd say that if Lucius doesn't know, there's a good chance none of the others do either."
"Good," Dumbledore said, and his eyes were brighter. Snape could almost see the wheels spinning round in his head. "You can't get information from Voldemort anymore, but you can still get something out of the other Death Eaters."
"Lucius is angry with me, though, and he would know the most about the Dark Lord's plans," Snape said, wishing he hadn't provoked Lucius.
"Lucius will come around, he can't stand to fall out of favor with anyone," Dumbledore said. "And anyway, he's not the only Death Eater with information."
This was true, so Snape didn't argue his point any further.
"Now, I must be off to the Potters immediately," Dumbledore said, as he pushed away his chair to stand up. "I haven't contacted them in a while. They need to go into hiding right now."
He left the table and had reached the door when he turned around and said, "Severus, thank you so much for being completely honest with me. I knew you'd be an asset to our side." And he left the room.
This praise only added to Snape's guilt. This time last year, even this time a couple months ago, he'd still been in service to the Dark Lord, had been carrying out his wishes of destruction. He owed Dumbledore his life for allowing him the opportunity to change, and he most certainly did not deserve Dumbledore's praise.
The Great Hall was beginning to fill, and Snape slowly left the room and went back down to the dungeons.
October 5th, 2003, 7:36 pm
She looked down into the face of her only son, and a tear drop fell onto the glossy finish of the picture. She quickly wiped it away; it was blurring that beautiful image.
She was completely immersed in the pictures and her thoughts, and she failed to hear the tell-tale popping sound. Someone Apparating.
Another tear fell, but this time it landed on the floor with a soft splash. More fell down her cheeks, but she didn't bother to brush them away. Nothing mattered anymore. The two people she'd loved most in the world had betrayed her, had supported him. And though she had pleaded with her son, he had chosen not to hear her.
The footsteps grew louder as they slowly made their way across the living room.
She looked out of the window, hoping to see a sky as black as her life. But the lamplight glared off the glass, and instead of seeing the night sky, she saw the reflected image of the living room. And of the other person in the living room.
She dropped the photo album and the tears came quicker. She spun around and faced him.
"You," she spat, looking furiously into those red eyes. "You snatched away the only things I cared about. You left me with nothing."
"Oh, but I didn't," he said, smiling cruelly. "You see, I only snatched one. The other, your son, has left me forever. He has returned to the good side, as you always wanted him to."
She smiled then and happiness flooded her. When he uttered the words of death, the last image that came across her mind was of her son. And he was smiling, mirroring her joy.
October 6th, 2003, 11:46 pm
"They found her this morning, said it probably happened late last night," Snape said dully, as he and Dumbledore roamed the corridors at random.
"Did our kind find her?" Dumbledore questioned kindly.
"No, her Muggle neighbors did," Snape answered. "She didn't go to the market that morning, and it was her shopping day. When she didn't come, they got worried."
"But wizards took her body, is that right?" Dumbledore asked.
"Healers were on the scene, told some lie so they could take her with them," Snape said, and he suddenly stopped walking. "She was killed instantly, but the strange thing is, she was smiling when they found the body."
Dumbledore stood quietly, and seemed to be deep in thought.
"He's now going after the people I care about," Snape said, breaking the silence. "I guess the joke's on him though. She was the only one I really cared about. I didn't even like my father. To be completely honest, I was a bit happy when the Aurors killed him."
"I think this has all served at least one purpose, though," Dumbledore said, still looking thoughtful. "It shows how ruthless Voldemort really is. A force to reckon with, if you will."
"But the Potters are safe, aren't they?" Snape asked.
"I suppose so," Dumbledore said, and now his face took on a hardened look. "They've chosen Sirius Black as their Secret-keeper, and while I do like and respect him, I'm not sure he was the best choice. He and James have always liked to appear brave, but to do anything "courageous" now would look stupid and fool-hardy. I just hope they both stay put and keep out of trouble. And James and Lily have their baby to think about as well. There's so much to take into account."
"I hope it all works out," Snape said listlessly. "I guess I'll need to start making preparations. The funeral is October 10, you can come if you like."
"I'd be happy to accompany you, Severus," Dumbledore said, and he patted Snape on the arm. "I'll be around if you need to talk."
Snape watched him walk away. He felt so alone. If he'd just gone to talk to his mother before she'd died, she'd been so lonely too. He'd never even gotten the chance to tell her he'd changed. She would have been so happy. But maybe she'd been glad she'd been killed. Maybe she'd felt so betrayed by her husband and son that she hadn't wanted to keep living. Maybe the shame and worry had been too much.
Snape's head ached, and he headed for the dungeons. His room was so cold that it cleared his head, but it didn't much help. There were still a whole lot of maybe's and no definite answers.
Feeling thoroughly disheartened, Snape sat down at his desk and opened up a book. Anything to take his mind off his painful problems.
October 7th, 2003, 11:11 pm
The next couple days were hazy when Snape chose to look back on them. He'd prepared for his mother's funeral, buying her a beautiful cherry casket, making sure the small building where the funeral was to take place was full of daisies; they had been her favorite flowers.
The day of her funeral dawned sunny and bright. To Snape, the beautiful day seemed to mock him. Dumbledore accompanied him, and stayed right by him through the entire ceremony.
The service was short, and at the end, Snape went up alone to see his mother one final time. She was still smiling, though her face was distorted in death, not in the least resembling her in life.
The casket was lowered into the ground a short time later. The stone grave marker claimed the grave as Lynne Snape's, and the marker next to it read "Peter Snape." Snape had thought his mother would have liked to be buried by his father.
"Are you ready to leave?" Dumbledore asked quietly, when most of the others had left after paying their respects.
"I suppose so," Snape said, not really caring where he went or what he did. He placed a single daisy on the marker, and then stepped away from the grave. How many others had had to do this same thing because of Snape and his actions? He was overcome with remorse.
Dumbledore somehow seemed to understand Snape's silence, as he always did. He waited until Snape gave a small nod, and then the two of them Apparated to Hogsmeade, where they walked slowly back up to the castle.
They stopped in the entrance hall, and Dumbledore put a hand on Snape's shoulder. "Remember, I'm always here for you." Snape nodded again. Dumbledore gave a small smile and walked away. Snape headed to his room.
She's still be alive if he'd never messed around with the Dark Lord. It was his fault and his father's fault that she was dead, and that she had been so miserable during part of her life. Again he found himself wishing that he could have told her he'd switched. The last time he'd seen her, he'd been planning to kill her.
I was horrible, just like the Dark Lord, Snape thought. Just like the Dark Lord. Those words resounded in his head, making him angry. Just like the Dark Lord. What had he been thinking? His temper came to a boiling point, and he felt such a strong hatrid for the Dark Lord, stronger even than his loathing of Potter and Black. And he vowed, then and there, to stop the Dark Lord. No matter what it took, no matter how much he had to risk, no matter how much he had to suffer.
October 8th, 2003, 11:07 pm
Snape's worries seemed to lessen as Halloween approached. It was still a few days away, but already the students were speculating about that year's decorations. The first years wanted to know if there really were living bats that flew around the ceiling, and the older students fueled the younger one's imaginations with outrageous lies.
"Now really, Miss Allan!" Snape heard Professor McGonagall say one afternoon to the pale girl who had been the first to try on the Sorting Hat that year. "You don't truly believe that we are able to haul in 80 foot tall pumpkins. Not even the Great Hall has the capacity for something like that."
Rachel Allan looked skeptical at her teacher's logic. "Professor Dumbledore can do great magic. I wouldn't be surprised if he pulled something like that off."
"And where do the House tables go?" Professor McGonagall asked impatiently.
"Inside the pumpkins, of course," said Rachel, as though this was completely obvious and she didn't know why she had to explain it. She walked off then, and Snape could tell she still believed there would be enormous pumpkins present at the Halloween feast.
"Honestly, I don't know where they come up with this stuff," Professor McGonagall said, looking at Snape. "The older students are really getting out of hand this year." She rolled her eyes, disapproval etched all over her face, and then returned back to her empty classroom.
It would be entertaining to have big pumpkins though, Snape thought as he walked on. He'd always like Halloween, though his had never been any good. At home, it had been considered a dark, and therefore good, holiday. Here, Potter and Black had always played pranks on him. He cringed to think of those pranks.
He rounded a corner and then stopped abruptly. Ahead was that snotty group of third year Ravenclaws, led by the tormentor, Mick Matthews. They were playing their favorite game with their favorite victim, Troy Emerson. They'd been picking on Troy the day Snape had yelled at them. His threats had not seemed to work, however.
"You're such a clutz," Mick said rudely, as he pushed Troy hard into a wall. "Look at all your books on the floor. Mum couldn't afford to get you a backpack that worked?"
"You know very well you broke my bag," Troy responded, and Snape could hear his voice shake, but wasn't sure if it was with anger or fear.
"Don't talk back to your superiors," Mick said cockily as he stood over the books on the floor. "Do it again and I'll be forced to tell a teacher--"
"Like Professor Dumbledore that again you have been an insolent prat and disobeyed me," Snape snarled as he walked over. He saw Mick's look of triumph drain slowly from his face.
"Emerson, pick up your books," Snape said to the smaller boy, who had struggled back to his feet. The boy quickly bent to do as he was told. Snape turned to Mick. "Matthews, you are to come with me. We have an appointment with Professor Dumbledore."
Mick looked horrified. "No, Professor, I swear I won't do it again," he said frantically, all of his coolness gone. His gang members also looked scared.
"I'm afraid I can't trust you to keep that promise," Snape said silkily. "Now, if you'll please follow me."
Snape swished off grandly, savoring the quiet he left behind. The only thing he could hear were the shuffling noises of the reluctant footsteps behind him, as he led the way to Dumbledore's office.
October 9th, 2003, 11:41 pm
"Caramel Catsup," Snape said a few minutes later, and the doorway to Dumbledore's office opened, revealing the revolving staircase. He turned to Mick. "After you," he said, relishing the vivid look of fear on Mick's face.
Mick climbed on and Snape followed. After several revolutions, they were in front of another door, on which Snape knocked.
"Come in," came Dumbledore's voice.
Snape opened the door and pushed the hesitating Mick inside. Then he closed the door behind them and led the way to Dumbledore's desk.
"Professor Dumbledore, I have again caught Mr. Matthews harassing a student after I explicitly warned him not to and gave him detentions," Snape said.
"Is this true?" Dumbledore asked, looking at Mick.
"Of couse it is!" Snape interjected before Mick could speak. "Would I lie about something like that?"
"Please, Severus, let Mick answer," Dumbledore said mildly. "Is it true, Mick?" he asked again, turning back to the boy.
Mick could just stare mutely, apparently scared and amazed at being so close to someone so noble.
"I guess it is," Dumbledore said some seconds later. "Mick, I'm going to ask you to not do that again. It's very hurtful, and besides, it's not allowable. Will you promise me you will treat all of your fellow students with respect from now on?"
Mick nodded, still gazing deeply at Dumbledore.
"Well then, you may leave, and be sure to keep your promise," Dumbledore said with a smile.
"Hold on a minute," Snape said in disbelief. "Is that it? No punishment?"
"Severus, I think he's learned his lesson," Dumbledore said, his eyebrows slightly raised. "I mean, look at him. He's scared to death. I think further punishment would finish him."
It was true, Mick did look scared, though Snape thought it might be due to his outburst, not Mick's talk with Dumbledore.
"That's what you did with Potter and Black," Snape said, his anger rising. "And they learned absolutely nothing. They were still obnoxious, ignorant, and rude, and neither you nor anyone else did anything about their behavior."
"Mick," Dumbledore said, "You may leave now, Professor Snape and I need to talk."
Snape was about to object, but Dumbledore shot him a warning look. Snape closed his mouth, and Mick got up and quickly left.
"Severus, please have a seat," Dumbledore said as soon as Mick had closed the office door. "I think there are issues the two of must discuss before we can truly trust one another."
"I think there are, too," Snape said bitterly as he took a seat oppostie Dumbledore. "You seem to favor troublemakers."
"I treat all students fairly," Dumbledore said calmly. "However, I believe that there are certain students who need more help than others. Students like Mick don't need to be punished, they need to be helped."
"And what about students who are like I was, the ones who are constantly picked on and tortured?" Snape asked angrily. "There was no help when I needed it."
"You did not ask for any," Dumbledore said quietly. "Severus, I never knew about your problems. You never showed any weakness on the outside. But I see now that it was my fault. For I never chose to dig deeper, to crack that seemingly solid exterior."
"It wasn't your fault," Snape muttered. "I should have come to you. I would have, but I didn't want to be a tattletale." It sounded immature, even to him.
"When you came to me in August, I saw how mistaken I must have been about you," Dumbledore said thoughtfully. "I knew about your fascination with the Dark Arts, of course. Your father had been the same way. But I guess I thought you would never follow him, would be like your mother instead.
"When you came to me for help, I must confess, I barely recognized you. You were no longer that assured, confident young man you'd been. You were lonely and scared, and it was then that I realized you must have been lonely and scared all along. I thought that now I could rectify my mistakes, I could help you as I had not in the past."
"You helped me because you felt guilty?" Snape asked bluntly.
"No, of course not," said Dumbledore. "I helped you because you asked and because I cared about you. I helped James and Sirius because I cared about them."
"Did they ask for your help?"
"No, but unlike with you, I could tell they needed it," Dumbledore said, looking at Snape. "Their mean front was only to hide their insecurities. I knew you must have insecurities as well, but I'd never known how deeply they'd really run."
Snape had lost all of his anger now. He couldn't stand to see Dumbledore looking so sad because of him.
"You see, Severus, we all make mistakes," Dumbledore said after a while. "Some are small and some are so very large, but they are mistakes all the same. We all deserve a second chance; if there were none, we'd be alone, living in a world of hatrid."
"You're right," Snape said with a sigh. He looked up into Dumbledore's kind face, and he suddenly felt much better.
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled. "I'm glad we talked this all out. Is there anything else we need to discuss?"
Snape shook his head. He couldn't think of anything at the moment. "I guess I'll be going now," he said, and he got up to leave.
"I will see you later then," Dumbledore said. "Try to get some sleep tonight. We'll need you to help with the decorating tomorrow."
"Yes, headmaster," Snape said and he left the office. His thoughts now wandered to the feast. Maybe there really would be large pumpkins. Dumbledore's sense of humor was like that.
October 11th, 2003, 4:25 pm
The next day was a hectic one for Snape. Decorations seemed to excite Dumbledore, and he ran around waving his wand, trying to make everything perfect. The thing was, they were only putting up the small decorations. Halloween wasn't until tomorrow, and then they would put up the larger decorations. Snape wondered what Dumbledore would be like then.
Peeves dropped in midway to "help," and he almost knocked Snape out when he dropped a larde pumpkin from high in the air. Snape ducked just in time; the pumpkin hit the ground and splattered all over.
"Reparo!" said Dumbledore as he hurried over. "Are you alright?" he asked Snape, as he bent to pick up the restored pumpkin.
"It's that idiot poltergiest, you ought to remove him if you don't want any deaths," Snape said angrily, glaring over at Peeves, who was now writing swear words on the walls with orange frosting.
"He means no harm, he's just a little excited," Dumbledore said dreamily, staring at the pumpkin. "You know, a first year girl gave me a fabulous idea the other day. What would you think if I gave this pumpkin an Engorgement Charm?"
Before Snape could answer, they heard someone clear their throat. They turned around to see Professor McGonagall watching them, her eyes narrowed.
"Ah, well, maybe next year then," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling. "It would make a nice addition."
The staff was allowed to leave eventually, after they had re-captured the bats Peeves had let out too early.
"They don't come out until Halloween day," Snape heard Dumbledore explaining to an unconcerned Peeves, as he walked out of the Great Hall.
Snape was looking forward to a good lie-down, but that didn't seem likely. When he opened his door, he was greeted by Lucius Malfoy.
"What took you so long?" Lucius demanded as Snape walked warily into the room. "I thought you'd be here long before now. Aren't you excited?"
"I am looking forward to exploding from my robes after gorging myself at the feast tomorrow, they always have great food," Snape said, as he quickly searched the room for things that should not be there. Everything seemed to be in order.
"What are you talking about?" Lucius asked incredulously. "Has this teaching job addled your brain? The Dark Lord's plans are ready! We don't have to wait until late November. The murder is set for November 2nd. Oh, I can't wait!"
"November 2nd, are you completely sure?" Snape asked quickly, deeply horrified.
"What's wrong with you?" Lucius asked suspiciously. "You don't seem pleased."
"Of course I am," Snape lied, trying to look happy. "I'm just tired, is all." His mind was thinking rapidly. He needed to stall this whole thing. Something, anything that wasn't ready, wasn't worked out yet....
"Secret-keeper!" he yelled triumphantly. Lucius looked startled, but Snape hardly noticed. "What about the secret-keeper? Have they gotten the hiding place out of him?"
"Must have," Lucius said, looking happy again. "I've got to go, the Dark Lord needs me. I"ll see you then!"
"See you," Snape said, crestfallen.
Lucius disappeared into the emerald flames, but Snape didn't see him go. He was already out of the room, running for Dumbledore.
October 15th, 2003, 1:28 am
"November 2nd," Dumbledore repeated intently. All his earlier cheer had drained away. "Oh dear. And I haven't the slightest idea where the Potters are. Only Sirius does, and I have no idea how to reach him either." He bit his lip and looked anxious.
Snape watched Dumbledore think, feeling completely helpless. Things looked pretty bleak, and, as he was soon to find out, they were about to become bleaker.
Dumbledore looked at Snape, and his look filled Snape with foreboding. "Severus," he began, "I wouldn't even think this if I wasn't desperate. But I have an idea on how to find the location of Sirius. Are you willing to hear it?"
"Of course," Snape said, though he really wasn't.
"The Death Eaters will know where Sirius is, they will have been following him," Dumbledore said. "Otherwise, Voldemort would not be ready to go, he wouldn't have the location. You have links to some Death Eaters, so you could probably find out where Sirius is."
Snape was none too happy about this, and Dumbledore could tell. "You wouldn't have to talk to Sirius, you would just tell me his location and I would speak with him. Would you be able to do this for me?"
"Of course, I'll go immediately," Snape replied, though it wasn't speaking with Black that scared him. Dumbledore looked slightly relieved.
"Thank you so much, Severus," he said. "Please be as quick as you can. We need to act fast."
Snape strode away, not even bothering to get his travelling cloak before he left the castle. At the edge of the school grounds, he Disapparated. The first place he thought he'd try was Diagon Alley.
It turned out to be a nice choice. Sitting in one of the pubs were two Death Eaters, Christopher Nott and Thomas Cephalus.
They both looked up as Snape approached their table. "Hello, Severus!" Nott said joyfully, and when he opened his mouth, a pungent odor reached Snape: Firewhiskey.
"Uh...hello, Christopher," Snape said cautiously, trying to feel his way. He truly hoped these two were not drunk. "I need some information from you so I can complete a task for the Dark Lord," he said quietly.
"Do ya now?" Nott asked, picking up his large flask and taking an enormous swig. "Wha' kin a infmation we talkin' 'bout?"
"I just needed to know the location of Sirius Black," Snape said, seeing no reason for idle chit-chat and getting straight to the point.
"Las' I heard he was cruisin' on his bike goin' 'bout 80 miles per hour," Cephalus piped up. "Rockin' into th' night, ya know, like tha' 38 Special song."
"I have no idea what you're referring to," Snape said, now starting to feel exasperated.
"Don' much know why ya wan' him, anyway," Nott said, slouching over the table slightly.
"Well, as he is the Potter's secret-keeper, he is pretty important," Snape said, rolling his eyes.
"He is?" Cephalus asked. "Tha's news ta me. Thought it was someone else."
"You're just drunk," Snape said. "Of course it's Black. James would trust no one else."
"If you're sure then," Cephalus said, shrugging. Then he turned toward the bar and shouted, "Waiter! 'Nother."
"Honestly," Snape said, disgusted. "I'm leaving. Where can I find some of the others?"
"Don' know, try Canada," Nott said.
Snape turned on his heel and left the pub. That had all served no purpose, it had only wasted time. And Snape could afford to fool around no longer. He thought of one other place to try, and he could only hope he would find some answers there. Time was running out.
October 15th, 2003, 11:26 pm
The estate that Snape had Apparated to now loomed in front of him. Huge glass windows flanked an oak door and more windows ran along the wings of the house. The lawn was immaculate; Snape hated to tread on the grass.
He walked up to the front door and knocked. It was only a moment before the door opened, and Snape was face to face with a butler.
"Yes, sir?" the butler inquired politely, though he looked at Snape warily.
"I need to see Lucius Malfoy immediately," Snape said, wishing the butler would move out of the doorway and let him pass.
"And your name, sir?" the butler asked, in no rush.
Snape was contemplating whether he ought to just push the butler out of the way when he heard the voice he sought.
"Severus!" Lucius said, coming to the door. "What are you doing here? We just talked a few minutes ago. Come in!"
The butler moved aside and Snape entered. The hall he stepped into was taller than the Great Hall, but unlike the Great Hall's enchanted ceiling, this one was simply painted black.
Lucius led the way into a beautiful, wood-panelled room. "Have a seat," he said, waving carelessly toward one of the many plush chairs that surrounded the fireplace. "I would have had the butler let you in immediately, but I've had him guard the door more closely. Never know when Ministry of Magic workers might show up...."
"I can't stay long," Snape said quickly. "I know you weren't sure about the whole secret-keeper thing before, but I need to have information on Sirius Black's whereabouts right away. I have to complete a task for the Dark Lord."
"Sirius Black, huh?" Lucius said curiously. "I didn't know he was the secret-keeper. In fact, I'm sure it was someone else."
"Who else would Potter choose?" Snape asked. "Maybe Remus Lupin, but no one else. And anyway, I know for a fact Black was picked. I just don't know where he is."
"Well, if you need to know, I suppose I could go call another Death Eater," Lucius said. "Great things, Muggle telly-phones, or whatever they are. Much quicker than owls. Just don't tell anyone I use them; it would kill my reputation."
"Sure, great," Snape said distractedly, and Lucius walked from the room.
Snape looked around the exquisite room, trying to stay still. His eyes landed on an ornate grandfather clock in one corner, and he again felt restless; the day was getting on.
He thought about what Lucius and Cephalus had said about Black not being the secret-keeper. He'd just thought Cephalus was drunk, but then Lucius had said the same thing. Did the Dark Lord know that Snape had been in contact with Lucius and that he was likely to be in touch with other Death Eaters as well? Maybe he'd given them false information so that they couldn't give anything away to Snape. So Black really was the secret-keeper, but the Dark Lord had not wanted this information to reach Snape and so had not told the other Death Eaters the truth. It would be so much easier to just kill Snape instead of going to all that trouble....
It was all getting rather complex, and Snape was extremely grateful when Lucius returned.
"I got information that he's somewhere near London," Lucius said, sitting down on a couch. "He's probably flying around on that stupid motorbike of his."
"Where in London?" Snape pressed urgently, and his eyes unwillingly flicked back to the clock.
"On the outskirts, in the eastern part of the city I think," Lucius said unconcernedly. "But the Dark Lord will be here in a moment, so you can ask him if you want the precise location."
"No, no, that will do, thank you," Snape said trying to hide his horror. He had to get out of there, quick. "I appreciate your help, but if he knows I haven't got the location yet, he'll just be angry and that will hold up the entire murder," he babbled.
"I'll tell the Dark Lord you were here," Lucius said.
"No, don't bother, he'll just--"
"Be immensely pleased to see you."
October 16th, 2003, 10:03 pm
"Master, welcome!" Lucius said, bowing slightly as the Dark Lord walked into the room. Snape just stood mutely, looking at the Dark Lord, until Lucius gave him a punch in the stomach. He bowed more out of pain than anything else.
"Lucius, Severus," Voldemort said, surveying the two of them. Then he looked over at Snape, the corners of his mouth lifting in a cruel smile. "What was it you needed from me, Severus?" he asked.
"He wanted to know where--" Lucius began, but this time it was Snape's turn to throw a punch. Lucius shut up immediately, his jaw clenched to keep from yelping.
"Nothing, master, I've got it all under control," Snape said, looking directly at Voldemort. He wondered what game the Dark Lord was playing. Why didn't he just tell Lucius the truth and kill Snape?
But Voldemort seemed to have other plans. Turning from Snape, he looked at Lucius, who looked slightly apprehensive under his master's intent gaze.
"Lucius, you have done everything as I told you to?" Voldemort asked, looking triumphant.
"Yes, master, is is all done as you wanted," Lucius answered quickly.
"Well done, then everything is set," said Voldemort, with a look of relish. "You are both ready for your call?"
"Yes, master," Lucius and Snape said together.
Voldemort looked like he was enjoying himself, keeping Snape in the dark, toying with him. It might have gone on all night, had not the sound of crying ensued, causing all three to look up, surprised by this out-of-place noise.
"It's just my son, Draco," Lucius said after a moment of tension, looking apologetically toward the Dark Lord. "He's only a year old, as you know, master, and he's been a pain all week. The healers say he's got some sort of ear infection."
"You had best tend to him then, Lucius, we can't have such interruptions," the Dark Lord said.
Oh God, don't let Lucius leave, Snape prayed. He couldn't even imagine what would happen if he were to be left alone with the Dark Lord. But God did not seem to be listening at the moment.
"Please excuse me, master," Lucius said, bowing again before he quickly strode from the room.
Voldemort faced Snape from the opposite end of the room, malice and hatrid etched into every line of his face. Snape shuddered.
"Yes, Severus," Voldemort began slowly, and his tone was icy. "You are right to be afraid. Dumbledore is not here and your ally has left you alone. Things must seem pretty terrible from where you stand."
"Just kill me," Snape said, uttering the words before he even had time to think.
"That's right, you do feel pretty hopeless right now, don't you," Voldemort said quietly. "But so hopeless you wish death upon yourself? Then I have done well."
"What are you waiting for?" Snape asked angrily. He had resigned himself to his fate, the least the Dark Lord could do was make it quick.
"Oh, I don't think so," Voldemort said softly. "I want you to play this game with me. I want you to feed Dumbledore false information. You see, Severus, though you wished to be helpful, you have done nothing useful at all. I have kept even my faithful Death Eaters in the dark, so what chance do you have of stopping this murder? No location, no date, nothing. Right before I killed your dear mum, I told her you switched over. Such joy that filled that woman. Little did she know that that would be your undoing. It doesn't pay to desert the Dark Lord, as you will soon fully realize."
"We will stop you," Snape spat, and he was so angry he was sure he could kill the Dark Lord right then and there, with his bare hands. So it was all bad information, everything wrong. Dumbledore would have a panic attack if something else didn't kill him first. And his poor mother. So that was why she'd been smiling....
"Bask in your helplessness, Severus," Voldemort said with a cold laugh. "And don't play the hero. You can do nothing." He vanished, laughter filling the room.
Snape was seething. Where the hell had Lucius gone? What could possibly have taken him so long?
As if cued, Lucius entered, holding his baby son. "Did the Dark Lord leave already?" he asked, frowning. "I didn't tell him everything I needed to."
"Don't worry, it wouldn't have helped," Snape said, and he Disapparated, leaving Lucius looking confused and worried in the midst of all his splendor.
October 17th, 2003, 8:46 pm
"Believe it or not, but that was what I expected," Dumbledore said bracingly. "But that doesn't mean I'm not disappointed. There is one good things out of all this though. I know for sure that Sirius Black is their secret-keeper and Voldemort doesn't. Unless the Potters changed secret-keepers right at the last moment, they kept Black. I sent an owl to find him, so hopefully we'll get a reply from him soon. Until then, we can really do nothing."
"There has to be something we can do," Snape said angrily. He still felt raged and restless. Who knew what the Dark Lord was doing right now? Who knew when the murder would take place? They had no information. No, that wasn't quite true. They had no correct information.
"Severus, I know how hard it is to sit still, I really do," Dumbledore said sympathetically. "But if we were to rush around, with no direction and only guesses, we would make things worse. I suggest you go to bed. Tomorrow I'll need you up at 5:00 to help finish the decorating." A faint gleam had appeared in his eyes again.
"Alright," Snape said resignedly, though he knew he would never be able to sleep.
"Wonderful, I'll have someone come get you if you sleep in," Dumbledore said with a tiny smile. "Halloween is just such a wonderful holiday. And I doubt whether Voldemort would murder anyone on a holiday. It would be too risky, especially on Halloween. All those Muggle children trick-or-treating with parents who have seen pictures of Voldemort. Though they don't know everything about him, they know he's dangerous, and they'd be sure to report a sighting of him because the reward is so large." This analysis seemed to have calmed Dumbledore. They could have a day of relaxation and celebration, which they very much deserved.
They parted company, and Snape slunk down to his room. He lit a few candles, but didn't bother to perform his usual cursory search of the room. If the Dark Lord was to be believed, Snape was in no immediate danger. If the Dark Lord was not to be believed.... But Snape chose not to finish that thought. He wasn't going to worry until something actually happened.
He put on his gray nightshirt and climbed into his bed. The sheets were freezing, so he performed a quick charm to warm them up. The warmth, combined with his tired thoughts, began to make him drowsy, and without even realizing it he closed his eyes in sleep. The candles continued to flicker eerily around the room, casting shadows on the walls.
October 19th, 2003, 1:12 am
Snape awoke early next morning to his magical alarm clock hissing at him. He gave the snake a tap on the head and it immediately stopped putting out its tongue and emitting noise.
He was running a bit late that morning and he tried to hurry as he struggled tiredly into his robes, yawning all the while. Then he walked up and into the Great Hall. He gave another huge yawn and closed his eyes briefly before opening them again, and then, against him will, they opened wide and his jaw dropped at the sight that greeted him.
Peeves was floating lazily above the mayhem, cackling hysterically. On the ground level, the rest of the staff members were running around shrieking, and sometimes one would duck beneath a house table before they would pop quickly back out as though they had been bitten. Snape strained his eyes to get a better view. The teachers seemed to be running from black streaks. Snape looked harder, his eyes following one of the streaks. As he watched, it paused in midair as though trying to pick out its next victim, and Snape realized what it was. Though it was like no other bat he'd ever seen.
The bat seemed to sense Snape's stare, and it swung around and bolted toward him. Before Snape could react, he was thrown to the floor. He looked up in surprise to see Professor McGonagall.
"Hurry up and take cover," she said angrily. She was breathing hard. "Peeves decided to let loose some African Biting Bats for a Halloween joke. Notice how he's the only one laughing."
She quickly straightened up, and her entire being radiated anger. Snape knew that if she could fly, she would have been up in the air with her hands around Peeves' throat.
"Dumbledore's gone to get some repellant, he should be back soon," she said, surveying the room and the other frantic staff members. "Just don't let one bite you. They're poisonous."
"Poisonous?" Snape asked from his position on the ground. He thought it much safer there.
"Huge boils appear over the bite mark. They're really painful, so be careful," she said before she rushed off to go help Professor Trelawney, who attempting to brain a bat with her many bracelets.
Dumbledore eventually arrived back with Stunning Repellant and a large cage, and one by one he squirted the bats in the eyes and caught them in the cage as they fell from the air.
Several of the teachers had suffered bites and were sent to the hospital wing. The rest no longer felt like decorating, except for Dumbledore, who worked hard to keep up the morale and finish the job. Snape watched in amazement as Dumbledore hummed Halloween songs and shot orange lights from his wand tip. Here he was clearly enjoying himself though there was so much to worry about. He was so strong, it was no wonder the Dark Lord feared him.
Dumbledore released the usual bats a while later and they soared up toward the ceiling. The teachers watched them warily, as though at any moment they would be under seige again.
But the teachers finished without further incident, and then took their places at the staff table for a much deserved breakfast. The students began to trickle in and out, preparing for the school day more readily than usual because they knew a feast was coming at the end of that day.
Snape went down to his office to make sure he had all the ingredients he would need for that day's potions. Everything appeared to be in order, so he waited for the students who would soon be gathering outside the classroom door.
October 19th, 2003, 9:18 pm
That day's classes were almost normal (silent and semi-productive), but there was an undercurrent of excitement and anticipation, and this led to problems. By the end of the day, Snape was sure he would never again assign a Growth Potion on a holiday.
It was obvious the students were beyond concentration, which just so happened to be the main ingredient in the potion. If everything was not added in precise amounts at exact times, the potion would not be correct.
The day ended up being an exercise in cleaning. As the students tried their samples on various objects around the room, things began to grow to alarming proportions and then explode. A plant exploded, spraying the class with green ooze and a splintering pencil sent shards across the room before Snape was able to administer a Shrinking Potion.
"Alright, everybody stop moving!" he yelled to the class. "I"ve seen enough to know that you are even more braindead than usual and that this was a complete disaster. The objects should grow, but if you did everything correctly, they should stop growing once they reach a certain size, and that has not happened with any of the potions we've tried. Pour the remaining contents of your potions down a drain and clean up your areas now!"
The class hurried to obey, and Snape tried to repair the damage done to his room. He was extremely grateful when the final bell of the day rang.
He was left with just enough time to put on a fresh robe before he rushed up into the Great Hall for the beginning of the feast.
That night's entertainment, The Medieval Babes, was already playing when he entered the hall with the rest of the stragglers. He hurried up to take his position at the staff table. He was disappointed to see that he would have to sit several seats away from Dumbledore.
The Medieval Babes wrapped up their opening song, and Dumbledore stood up and led everyone in a loud round of applause.
"Thank you for coming," Dumbledore said, inclining his head toward the band in a gracious nod. "I'll be looking for your new album when it's released. And now everyone, please enjoy the feast!"
Golden platters appeared on the tables. They were not the usual fancy platters though. Instead, they were shaped like pumpkins, cats, bats, and several other designs. Each was heaped with food, and the smell wafting through the hall was enticing.
Snape helped himself and then settled back to look around the hall. The bats fluttered overhead, the ones lower to the ground flying in an orange mist cast from the many tiny lights hung around the room. Candles floated above the tables and surrounded the temporary stage where the band was playing.
As Snape's eyes wandered, he saw that some of his fellow teachers were moving gingerly as they shifted in their seats. Some looked to be in real pain, and Snape was sincerely glad he had not been bitten by a bat.
The students really seemed to be enjoying the band, as they tapped their feet to the haunting rhythms and some even sang along. Snape's gaze lingered for a moment on the Gryffindor table, then moved to the Slytherin table, and were about to proceed to the Hufflepuff table when he did a doubletake.
A glint from somewhere under the Slytherin table had caught his eye and he scanned the place where he had seen it. Nothing re-appeared, and he was about to write it off as a reflection from a watch when he saw the glint again.
His fork fell from his fingers as he stared, rivetted, beneath the table.
October 21st, 2003, 11:14 pm
Snape would have known that pale, blonde hair anywhere. And those blue eyes that were staring right at him with eyebrows going up and down, trying to attract his attention. It would have all been quite funny, had Snape not thought Lucius wasn't under the table for laughs.
"Severus, are you alright?" Professor Flitwick asked, looking concerned.
"I'm fine, I'll be right back," Snape said, watching Lucius gesture at him. Lucius had given up on using his eyebrows and was now using his hands to convey his message. From what Snape could make out, Lucius wanted him to follow him out of the Great Hall.
Snape got up from his chair, watching Lucius move under the table. The candlelight was not enough to reveal Lucius to those who were not looking, and even Snape had trouble trying to watch Lucius' progress. He seemed to be having trouble trying to avoid the many feet, but he eventually got out from under the table and skulked toward the doorway, staying close to the floor and walls.
Snape got out of the hall and met Lucius by the main staircase.
"How did you get under there?" Snape asked Lucius curiously.
"The same way I got out, careful manuevering," Lucius said, looking smug. But then his self-congratulatory tone faded. "Why didn't you come?"
"Come where?" Snape asked. "And how long were you under that table? You look a bit dusty."
"Not too long, but we've lost so much time already," Lucius said, now looking impatient. "The call came over a half hour ago."
"Call? For what?" Snape said, now beginning to feel the slightest traces of panic.
"For the murder," Lucius said, exasperated. "Honestly! What is going on? How could you not feel the mark burn? My arm is still sore."
Because the Dark Lord did not contact me, Snape thought numbly. Aloud he said, "I must have just ignored it. I wasn't paying attention. Where are they?"
Lucius looked suspicious, but his desire to return to the scene of the murder was such that he didn't question Snape. "Godric's Hollow. That's where the Potters were hiding. Now hurry up, we don't want to miss anything! The Dark Lord should be starting at any moment. But I didn't want my best friend to miss the best thing this century, so I sacrificed my time to come get you, so you better come right away!"
"I'll be right there," Snape said, and he hurried back to the Great Hall. Behind him, he heard Lucius rush out of the castle, presumably on his way to the school boundaries where he could Apparate to the scene.
Snape ran over to Dumbledore, not even trying to look discreet. Dumbledore looked up and read Snape's expression before Snape could even speak. He set down his napkin calmly, though Snape saw his hands were shaking, and he stood up and looked directly at Snape.
October 23rd, 2003, 11:17 pm
The two began to walk quickly down the length of the staff table.
"Godric's Hollow, but I think we might be too late," Snape said anxiously.
"Don't worry, we'll stop it," Dumbledore said bravely, but Snape knew he was worried.
They had almost cleared the staff table when suddenly a hand shot out from nowhere and grasped Dumbledore's arm. Dumbledore and Snape looked down in surprise to see Professor Parsons, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. He was trembling and pale, and he had trouble getting the words out when he tried to speak.
"P-p-professor D-dumbledore, sir," he sputtered, and he slumped over slightly in his seat. "T-t-the bite I-I got, it's s-s-swollen. I f-feel so sick." And he slumped over completely in his chair.
Dumbledore caught him before he hit the floor. Then he looked up at Snape and said urgently," Severus, go quickly. I will be right there."
Snape nodded and ran out of the hall. No one noticed his unusual behavior because all eyes had turned to Professor Parsons.
Snape ran as fast as he could to the edge of the school boundaries and he Apparated to Godric's Hollow, terrified of what he would find.
The night was freezing and a deep blanket of snow covered the ground. A strong breeze was blowing and the moon was almost full, as it shone down brightly on Snape as he appeared at Godric's Hollow.
Ahead of him he spotted Lucius, who was trying to make his way toward a pretty house that stood alone, bathed in moonlight. No one would have ever suspected anything was amiss.
"Lucius!" Snape shouted, and his voice was carried and distorted by the wind. He rushed after the other man, and made much better time than Lucius as he followed the trail Lucius had already made toward the house.
"Would have been easier to just Apparate into the house," Lucius said, panting. "But I didn't want to accidentally pop into something...."
"Lucius, have they done anything yet?" Snape asked, following Lucius closely through the snow.
"How should I know?" Lucius asked, and he sounded slightly irritated. "I really hope they haven't, I'd hate to miss it."
Lucius started plowing his way through the snow faster, obviously desperate to get to the action. But his efforts were halted as a deafening noise resounded around the house.
"What the--?" he said, pausing abruptly, and Snape walked right into him. The two turned their heads toward the house and stared in shock.
As they watched, an icy green jet of light shot out of the windows and bounced off of the snow. The whole house glowed green for a second, and then it began to shake.
Shrieks from inside found their way to Snape's ears, and he felt Lucius stiffen beside him. Then, crowds of Death Eaters began pouring out of the front door, yelling and swearing.
A few fell to the ground as more pushed madly to get out of the way. The structure of the house was giving out, and it had started to crumble.
"Oh my God, where's the Dark Lord?" Lucius yelled over the rumbling of the falling house, as the flood of people stopped emerging.
But Snape wasn't thinking about the Dark Lord. The Potters were no doubt inside, and were probably dead.
The Death Eaters continued to run from the wreckage. Snape started to bypass Lucius and continue toward the house, but Lucius held him back.
"No, Severus, the Dark Lord's probably dead, there's nothing you can do," Lucius said, looking panicky.
Snape stopped moving. Lucius was partly right, he would only get himself killed if he rushed into that mess.
Dust filled the air, and the snow surrounding the site was a dirty brown. As the Death Eaters passed, Lucius tried to get information from them, but they only looked at him wild-eyed and shook their head mutely. When they got far enough away to feel safe, the Death Eaters looked back at the pile of dust and rubble that had been the house. A few simply stared and looked shocked, but a couple Disapparated. The rest eventually followed; it wouldn't be good to be seen there now.
Lucius looked scared. "Severus, he's dead, isn't he?" he asked quietly. "But how? No one can destroy him."
"Lucius, you better leave, people will be coming soon," Snape said, thinking about what Dumbledore would say when he saw what had happened.
"You're right, being seen here would ruin me," Lucius said, and he was shaking. He looked up at Snape for a brief moment, and Snape almost felt sorry for him. Then Lucius Disapparated.
Snape stood alone in the snow and stared, transfixed, at the dusty pile that glowed eerily in the moonlight.
October 25th, 2003, 7:31 pm
Dumbledore arrived only a few minutes later, but to Snape the wait felt like an eternity as he stood looking at the site. He felt a hand touch his shoulder and he started. He turned around quickly, expecting something bad, but to his great relief, it was Dumbledore.
"Professor, I'm so sorry," he said, as he watched Dumbledore take in the pile of rubble, looking shocked.
"If I had come right away...?" Dumbledore began.
Snape shook his head. It wouldn't have been enough.
"So the Potters are dead Voldemort got away again," Dumbledore said, and Snape saw a glint in Dumbledore's eyes that made him back up a few steps. But then he thought of what had happened, who had poured out of the door...and who hadn't....
"Professor, I'm not sure if the Dark Lord made it," Snape said, looking pensive. "When the house was starting to fall, the Death Eaters ran out, screaming. But the Dark Lord didn't come out with them, and they didn't wait as though he was coming."
"Did you get inside the house at all?" Dumbledore asked.
"Then he might simply have Disapparated from inside," Dumbledore said, looking shrewd.
"But there was a blinding green light," Snape said, trying to convey the impact he'd had when it had all been happening. Dumbledore needed to understand, needed to feel that part that was telling Snape the Dark Lord was dead. "It radiated around...."
"That was the Avada Kedavra curse being used," Dumbledore said, the glint in his eyes growing.
"I've seen it used countless times," Snape said, trying not to think about those times. "The light shot from the wand doesn't shine nearly as brightly for such a short time as that light did."
"It was reflected off the snow," Dumbledore said. "Look, Severus, I know you're trying to make me feel better, but you're being optimistic--"
"I am not trying to make you feel better, I'm telling you the facts!" Snape shouted. "A while ago it would have given me great pleasure to announce that the Potters were dead and the Dark Lord was thriving. And I'm not being optimistic, after the serving the Dark Lord it's not possible to be. He sucks everything good from you, but you don't realize it until it's too late. You can't leave, can't get that happiness back. I don't remember when I was more miserable than when I realized that."
He stopped shouting. Dumbledore looked a little surprised, but that glint was still visible. When he spoke though, it was in a comforting tone.
"I'm sorry, Severus," Dumbledore said slowly. "I can't even imagine what you went through or what you felt."
Snape hadn't noticed the cold until then, and he began shaking. Dumbledore noticed and started walking toward the site.
"Come on, if we walk we'll warm up," he said, and Snape followed. "We may as well try to find the bodies."
Snape shivered at the word, and this time was unable to repress the memories that came back.
October 27th, 2003, 11:13 pm
They neared the disaster. Fallen stone and snags of wood covered the snow and the air was permeated with sadness and death.
Dumbledore went straight over to the largest pile of debris and used a charm to lift and scatter the pieces. Nothing was revealed, so he moved on to another pile and repeated the process.
Snape followed suit. The repitition was somehow soothing, though he was afraid his efforts would uncover things nasty and best left unseen.
Dumbledore eventually asked for details of all that had occurred, and Snape willingly supplied them. He tried to remember everything as vivdly as he could and tell it the same way. He had to immerse Dumbledore in the story so he would feel as certain as Snape did that the Dark Lord was dead.
His carefully chosen words and descriptions did not have their desired effect, however. Dumbledore continued to think as he had before.
"There's just not enough proof," Dumbledore said, shifting shards of glass and chunks of stone. "If we had something more--oh dear, don't look."
Snape did, of course, but by the time he'd turned round, Dumbledore had gotten the body covered in a conjured piece of white linen.
"Poor Lily," Dumbledore said quietly. "When I think how all of this could have been prevented....or maybe it couldn't have, maybe we did everything we could...." He gave a vigorous flick of his wrist and a stone flew up with more force than was necessary.
"I'm so sorry, Professor," Snape said, stopping in the middle of his charm. The pieces of glass he'd been levitating fell to the ground and shattered into smaller shards, which flew in several directions. One pierced Snape's hand, but he hardly cared. He deserved pain, it was his fault. With all the things he had done, he was the one who deserved to be dead, not the Potters.
Dumbledore walked quickly over to Snape and grasped him roughly by the shoulders. "Severus," he said forcefully, "you are not to blame. Don't even begin to think that or I will make you leave right now."
Snape nodded his head numbly but couldn't shake the thoughts from his mind. He continued with the search and so did Dumbledore.
"Why hasn't anyone else come yet?" Snape asked after a while.
"I told no one where I was going and I doubt any of the Death Eaters spoke of their plans to anyone else," Dumbledore replied. "I'll let them know after we've found all three bodies. Others might not be so careful or caring in this search and I could not handle that now." He broke off with a small gasp.
Snape turned around quickly, but again wasn't fast enough. A second, slightly larger, bundle covered in white was now lying next to the first.
"James," Dumbledore whispered, and a tear came to his eye, which he quickly brushed away. Then he said brusquely, but now much louder than before, "I guess that only leaves Harry."
Snape looked away. Such a young life, three really, torn apart, ruined. He continued looking and performing the levitating charm, but he sincerely hoped he wasn't the one to find the little boy.
The moon was high overhead in the cloudless sky and the breeze had picked up. Snape's hair was whipped around his face, and when he heard the cry he took it for the whistling of the wind.
It came again and Snape realized what it really was. For a moment he looked desperately around. It's only Lucius with his son, he thought wildly. Stupid git, he ought to know better.
"Severus!" Dumbledore shouted, but his voice sounded far away. "Do you hear that? Keep digging!"
Snape doubled his efforts but it was Dumbledore who found Harry in the end. He lifted the small boy from a pile of stone and held him tightly, as though Harry was his last hope in the world.
October 28th, 2003, 11:08 pm
Snape looked into the flames and wished he could just walk through them and disappear. But that would be the cowardly thing to do. He'd run away so many times in his life, it was best to break that habit.
Behind him, he could hear the scratching of a quill on parchment. Dumbledore sat at his desk writing out an account of what had happened as Snape had described. Beside Dumbledore lay Harry in a conjured cradle. He was fast asleep.
It was truly remarkable that Harry had been found alive and almost unharmed. He had acquired a few cuts and bruises here and there, but the only really noticeable mark was an odd cut on his forehead that strangely resembled a bolt of lightning.
Before returning to the office, Dumbledore had informed the ministry of the events of that night. The bodies of Lily and James had been taken to their respective families and the site was being systematically searched for any clues that might shed some light on what had passed.
"Well, that should cover just about everything," Dumbledore said, sitting back in his chair and relaxing his grip on his quill. "I'm going to send it to the newspapers so they'll be sure to have a reliable account. Of course, I'm sure they'll change it around to make it more dramatic." His facial expression showed what he thought of meddling journalists. "Severus, would you mind mailing this for me? I want to start tracking down some of Harry's relatives."
Snape nodded and took the piece of parchment that Dumbledore had carefully sealed. Then he walked from the office and started to the Owlery.
It was now two in the morning. The moon shone through the windows in the empty halls as Snape travelled alone to the tower.
He picked a barn owl, attached the letter to the owl's leg, then walked the owl to a window. It took off and Snape watched it go until it became a small dot, then vanished completely.
If he had seen Lucius beneath the table sooner; if he had not irked Lucius by his inattention; if he had visited his mother, tried to protect her; if he had not been fool enough to give himself away to the Dark Lord. Could it all have been avoided? He'd made such a mess of things, maybe it would have been better to never have switched at all....
No, he told himself roughly, and he made himself start the walk back to Dumbledore's office. It wouldn't have done anyone any good if you'd continued serving the Dark Lord, especially you.
He reached Dumbledore' office and eased into the room. Dumbledore was behind his desk, an incredulous look upon his face.
He looked up as Snape approached and he said in shock, "Severus, I can't believe this. I just got an owl from the ministry. Death Eaters have turned up in droves, admitting what they've done but claiming that Voldemort had them bewitched. They're also saying that he's dead."
"Voldemort," Dumbledore said, and he was absolutely stunned.
October 29th, 2003, 11:29 pm
Snape was persuaded to go to bed shortly after that. He concocted himself a Sleeping Draught; he was exhausted but sure that he would never be able to fall asleep on his own.
All that night and into the next day, Death Eaters came out in the open, claiming to have been bewitched and that the death of the Dark Lord had set them free. Snape kept his ears open for Lucius' name, but he didn't hear it mentioned. He wondered what had become of his friend.
That day was full of excitement. The few students that got the Daily Prophet or other newspapers spread the word about the fall of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The papers had worked unbelievably hard to get the stories they had written late that night ready for that day's editions. They were crammed with articles about the murders, the survival of Harry, and recounts by Death Eaters of what had happened that night.
It was these recounts by the Death Eaters that proved to be the most interesting. According to every one of them, the Dark Lord had killed James first, then Lily, and had tried to kill Harry last. But here he had failed. The deadly beam had been somehow reflected from Harry's forehead and had hit Voldemort instead. The only mark on Harry was his oddly shaped scar, while Voldemort had been blasted apart by the ray. The Death Eaters had then fled the house and eventually left the spot altogether, only to show up at the Ministry hours later.
Ministry officials had been sent for the bodies and to conduct a thorough search. They had reported findings of burned cloth, which was identified as the charred remains of a robe. They had also uncovered a wand, which a Mr. Ollivander, the seller of the wand, had confirmed as being Voldemort's. Voldemort surely would not have left one of his most powerful weapons behind.
The students were excited, and owls from happy parents arrived at unprecedented times all day. By mid-morning, it was decided that school would not be held that day. This satisfied the staff as well; they also wanted to talk.
"I can't believe it. After all this time, we don't have such a horrible threat held daily over our heads anymore," little Professor Flitwick squeaked happily.
"It's been a long time coming," said Professor Parsons, who appeared to have made a quick recovery from his swollen bite.
"My crystal ball was showing dark signs all yesterday," Professor Trelawney said in her misty tones. "The ethereal shadows...."
Snape sat in a hard-backed chair by the window and stared through the glass, not really seeing anything. The snow still lay deeply on the ground, and was as cold as Snape's thoughts. He was grateful when he felt a tap on his shoulder and was lifted from his guilt.
"Severus, Dumbledore wishes to speak with you," Professor McGonagall said quietly.
She led the way from the room and up to the now familiar office. Dumbledore was attempting to tend to Harry, who was crying loudly.
"Oh dear, nothing seems to be working, I wonder if his cuts hurt," Dumbledore said, frowning over Harry. An assortment of toys lay by Harry, but Harry paid no attention to them.
Dumbledore turned to face Snape. "Well, Severus, I've found the only relatives Harry's got left. They're his aunt and uncle and they're Muggles. I can only hope they'll be decent, but it's Lily's sister, so she can't be too horrible. We're going to take Harry there tonight."
Snape nodded. He wondered what it would be like to live with Muggles and he found the idea repulsive.
"Of course, he'll start attending Hogwarts when he's old enough," Dumbledore said, turning back to Harry.
"He misses his mother and father," Professor McGonagall said pointedly, but her expression was soft. "I'm not sure about these Muggles. What if they don't take care of him? We can't really interfere without putting ourselves in danger."
"He will be fine," Dumbledore said firmly. Harry seemed to have cried himself out and was now lying quietly.
"I don't know," Professor McGonagall said skeptically. "I"ll accompany you tonight when you drop him off."
"You don't need to come," Dumbledore said, smiling slightly. "I'm sure I can manage."
"I'll see you tonight," Professor McGonagall repeated, and she left the room.
"I'll bet my last Chocolate Frog she's gone off to check the Muggles out," Dumbledore said, somewhat exasperated. "Well, that was all I needed to tell you. You can go enjoy yourself. The Boy Who Lived had ended Voldemort's terrible reign."
"The Boy Who Lived?" Snape asked.
"They're referring to Harry, it was all over the papers," Dumbledore said, smiling wryly. "The thing is, he won't even remember what he's famous for."
Snape nodded, and then left the room. He had maintained a sizable distance from all newspapers, and he intended to keep it that way.
October 30th, 2003, 11:14 pm
The rejoicing and exuberance carried on all through the day. Dumbledore agreed to the many requests for a feast that evening, though he was not in attendance. Snape could hardly eat a bite. His guilt seemed to have become so great that it was making him physically ill.
He left the Great Hall shortly after the feast had begun, and he passed away the long hours brooding in a chair by a fire that had died out long ago.
A knock on the door interrupted his endless cycle of thoughts. It came somewhere around two in the morning. Snape guessed Harry must have been delivered.
"Severus, can I come in?" came a familiar voice. "I know you can't be asleep, I see light under the door."
Snape got up and walked to the door. When he opened it he saw the small smile Dumbledore was wearing vanish.
"Severus, enough!" Dumbledore said, and he pushed his way into the room and took a seat by the fireplace after forcing Snape into the other. "You have no reason to feel guilty."
"It was probably some of my work that led to the Potters even being targeted by the Dark Lord and--"
"I don't care, I really don't," Dumbledore said. "If it wasn't for your work for me, we wouldn't have gotten as far as we did."
"I did nothing," Snape muttered, "that you couldn't have done better on your own."
"Snap out of your self-pity, Severus, and listen to me," Dumbledore said loudly. "Who had all the contacts? Who risked his life lying to one of the most powerful wizards in the world? Who chose not to kill his mother even when he knew it would greatly anger Voldemort? Who always told me everything he knew no matter how he truly felt because he wanted to help so very badly? Who made the choice to change?"
There was a slight pause and then Snape said, "I did." He saw a tiny light flick on somewhere.
"You did," Dumbledore repeated grandly. "You can't change the past, but you can change the future, and that's what you did. We couldn't have gotten nearly as far as we did without you. I'm so very grateful."
"But the Potters are still dead," Snape pointed out, and the tiny light flickered.
"Think of all we got to do to help them," Dumbledore said. "They got into hiding in the first place because of your encounters with the Death Eaters while risking your life. Had you not been here, they would have been dead long before we could have helped them. And Harry owes his life to you, in a way. Had you not taken Lucius serious and then come to me immediately, Harry would have suffocated beneath all that rubble before we could have helped him. You were a hero last night, Severus."
"You're blowing it up a lot," Snape said, though the light was growing brighter.
"I"m telling you the facts," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling. "Thank you, Severus."
"You're welcome," Snape said, and he smiled for the first time in such a long time.
"When Harry gets to school here, you'll be able to teach him Potions and I know you'll be a wonderful teacher," Dumbledore said. "It'll be quite a shock, I imagine, for him to learn that he's famous. We'll have to help him along with that."
Snape nodded. When Harry got there, Snape would still have his job there at Hogwarts. He would still have a future. Then he thought of one other thing.
"Headmaster, why didn't you tell any of the teachers about my past?" he asked.
"I knew you would tell them if it was important to you. It wasn't my place," said Dumbledore simply. "Now, I must go make sure Minerva made it back. She wasn't too impressed with the Muggles, I'm afraid. And she must be pretty sore, she was sitting stiffly there for the better part of the day. Ah, well, I warned her." Dumbledore got up from his chair and walked to the door. "I'll see you tomorrow, Severus."
"Good night, headmaster," Snape said as Dumbledore shut the door.
Snape crawled into bed. He felt so much better, it was hard to think he'd been so miserable just a short time ago. He was glad to have Dumbledore for a friend.
His head hit the pillow, and not even a Sleeping Draught could have induced such a deep sleep.
October 31st, 2003, 10:56 pm
Snape walked underneath the trees that bordered the lake. The Giant Squid appeared to be out for the evening and only a light breeze rippled the water.
Snape made a path through the snow and settled on a bench after he'd wiped the snow from it. He faced the castle and a large part of the grounds.
There was the tree where Potter and Black had hung him upside down for all the students to see. There was the Quidditch pitch where he had many times embarrassed himself trying to handle a broom.
But there were the gates to the grounds that he'd run through so many times to help Dumbledore. There was the spot where he had Disapparated from to reach Godric's Hollow and try to save the Potters.
The past was where it belonged, and it would stay there. It was the future that Snape promised himself he would look to. There lay the hope and opportunity, the goal.
A young man sat looking at a towering castle that was silhouetted against a hazy sunset of blood-red and blue.
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