An Alternative Prophecy
written by Don E. Delivery
(thanks, in part, to an awful-ly good plot bunny from Xandrel)
with ASSISTANCE from
AU. When Sybill Trelawney recites her first prophecy a bit differently, the effects are far-reaching. An orphan girl is raised by her Aunt and Uncle along with her overbearing older cousin, eagerly anticipating the day she can leave them all behind, while a raven-haired boy grows up in his father's shadow, dreaming of making his own destiny once he reaches his parent's alma mater...
Eventual Fem!Draco/Harry, Fem!Voldemort...
Action - Adventure - (Minimal) Romance
This is nothing like anything I've written before. Its not like anything I've read before either. Rowling deserves the credit, of course, I'm just reimagining the characters.
I've split the Prologue into multiple chapters to keep everyone from struggling through one giant chapter of 40,000 words. Essentially, the Prologue is written from multiple POVs including Snape, Dumbledore, Sirius and our lady Voldemort.
Yes, you read that correctly. This story features Lady Voldemort and Celeste Malfoy, the Girl Who Lived. Harry is not the Chosen One, as the prophecy mentioned the Malfoy family rather than Lily and James. There are quite a few similarities to canon, but I consider this a complete AU.
Anything you haven't seen before came straight from me (and Xandrel, who originally devised the words to the prophecy and was vilified for it before I turned them into something that's, hopefully, worth your time).
Please leave a review. I'd really like to know what you guys think!
"Maligned Stars, Magnificent Hearts,
Misadventures, Malicious and Dark,
A Maltreated Mother, Marred in Her Sadness,
and Lady Maleficent, Mortal Through Madness...
Maligned Hearts, Magnificent Stars,
When Maladroit Monarchs Pontificate Czars,
An Encompassing Threat, Elizabeth,
Will Finally Settle her Debt..."
- Celebrated Poet and Wizard, Donovan Delaney
"...while organized terror plagued Britain for most of a decade, it would take twice as long to return our government, and more importantly, its misled citizens, to any semblance of normalcy. Law-abiding witches and wizards too afraid to speak Her name were swayed to Her side in order to save their own lives. An entire generation of Hogwarts students were morally corrupted, two dozen Aurors put to death, entire wizarding families disappeared, and more than a thousand Muggle lives were washed from the Earth as if they had never existed.
Under her tyrannical rule, the Knights of Walpurgis flourished, and her vice-like grip on society only grew with time, until it seemed inevitable that the Dark Lady would become Queen of Magical Britain, conquering a Ministry that had functioned autonomously for half of a thousand years...
Then, against all odds, surrounded by a contingent of her own followers, She Who Must Not Be Named vanished..."
-Page 46 of the 12th Edition of Wizard's Fall: A Historical Perspective
THE ONE with the power the Dark Lady desires approaches ...
Severus Snape repeated the ominous sounding words under his breath. He scanned the townsfolk milling about the tavern briefly, searching for anyone with spying eyes before casting his own eyes downward. He had his black cloak pulled up past the top of his ears in an admittedly poor attempt to hide his face from view. He spared no thought for the soaking sensation spreading through his socks and shoes, only the inevitable shout of distress from inside the bar.
Dumbledore saw me, Snape thought worriedly. I must be quick.
His desperation momentarily showed in his quicker, more determined stride, but his thoughts dutifully returned to his mantra, his lips forming the words over and over.
The one with the power the Dark Lady desires...
His expression was exceedingly ill-tempered as he slipped through the silent darkness, headed for the Apparition point in the center of Hogsmeade. Severus was dangerously angry, and his mood matched the thunderstorm brewing overhead; however, the unseasonably cold weather was far from his troubled mind. Tonight, Severus had finally found information that would land him in the Dark Lady's inner circle, where her most devout followers inevitably wound up after they had proven themselves trustworthy.
He had never been one to crave power for its own sake, and the only respect Severus had earned thus far had come at the expense of another man's blood, but he could not deny the jolt of excitement that ran through his body when he heard Trelawney's prophecy. Riches beyond his wildest dreams were in reach, and Snape listened with rapt attention as Dumbledore stumbled backward, one hand pressed over his mouth in an attempt to keep back his aghast expression.
...born to those who have never defied her, born as the seventh month dies...
Snape had been surveying Dumbledore per the Dark Lady's orders and it was obvious to him that the Headmaster thought little of Trelawney. His mannerisms suggested that, while Sybill looked confident she was getting a job, Dumbledore was going to pleasantly offer her a free drink and nothing more. From what Severus could recall, Trelawney had been an average student in school and a Hufflepuff to boot; she had spent most of her years at Hogwarts telling stories about her great, great Grandmother, who, as far as Severus could divine, had been just as full of shit as Sybill.
However, the slight wind that fluttered around the bar as she spoke and the intense, mechanical voice that poured from her mouth and caused the hairs on his arms to stand up made it nigh on certain that this prophecy was true. Severus' estimation of the wild-haired witch rose faster than anyone could have predicted. If he wasn't mistaken (and he rather doubted he was), The Dark Lady would reward him well for this!
... and the Dark Lady will mark her as her equal, but she will have power the Dark Lady does not...
Snape leaned forward on the balls of his feet, his keen eyes following every move of Trelawney's lips. Then, without warning, the doors to the Hogs Head slammed shut in front of his face, and Snape found himself lying on the ground, his back and rear end smothered in wet clay. From the otherside of the doorway, he could see Dumbledore's attention momentarily divert, and the piercing look the Headmaster faced him with scared him far more than he cared to admit; immediately, he knew he had to tell the Dark Lady, and he set off down the street, intent on evading capture long enough to do just that.
He knew he would have to be swift to outrun Dumbledore, who had seen his former student spying on the conversation, but anything more than a brisk walk would draw the attention of the auror sentinels placed at each exit, as well as the single Apparition point in the center of town. Barty Crouch had been adamant that the whole of Hogsmeade be placed under an Anti-Apparition jinx, and Severus grudgingly admitted that it had been an expert strategy to counter Death Eater activity in the area. With Apparition rendered impossible for the average citizen, and the Knight Bus placed on standby after the death of its only driver, the Floo Network became the only quick route into town.
Bellatrix had suggested a full-scale attack on the Apparition point, and Snape had just barely bit his tongue, having been on the verge of agreeing with her, when the Dark Lady snapped off a Cruciatus curse for her most loyal follower. No one had been brave enough to make the same suggestion twice.
The Dark Lady, smirking at the sight of Bellatrix writhing on the floor, had remarked that Crouch would be allowed to have his fun for now, as she did not plan to attack Hogsmeade until after the Ministry had fallen. It was her plan to sow discord among their upper echelons, guiding Death Eaters into positions of power, before taking over the Ministry Headquarters in London. That would open up a world of opportunity for the Knights, as the Lady liked to refer to them.
However, the Dark Lady had not become the most feared witch in the land overnight; while her patience was not one of her more admirable traits, she knew she had to wait for the best moment to strike. She also knew a full-scale attack on the aurors in their natural surroundings would require a loss of life on her side. Although the Dark Lady was more than vicious enough to send her followers to their deaths, even killing a few unlucky Death Eaters herself, she determined that the odds were not yet in her favor. As long as there were auror outposts defending the other important locales in the British Wizarding World, those sites would be well-protected, and that could only lead to a less fortified Ministry building. An attack as a diversion would solve the problem, but only one thing could draw all of the Ministry's aurors away from the Ministry long enough to take control:
The Dark Lady would have to attack Hogwarts.
While Snape felt confident that the Death Eaters were more than prepared for an attack on Hogwarts, if not yet the Ministry outright, he was not foolish enough to share his doubts in the Dark Lady's presence. She believed that Hogwarts would be the centerpiece of her new regime as she crafted a world where, if he lived long enough, Snape would find himself at the top of the social pecking order. He had been unable to get a job suitable for his skills despite his prodigious proficiency with Potions, and the Dark Lady had offered him a position. She promised him unlimited access to materials and free reign to get creative with his ingredients. His Mistress implied that he use Muggles for experiments, but he had not yet been brave enough to cook other human beings.
Their hair, fingernails and teeth would suffice for now.
Severus cast a nervous glance around himself as he entered the Apparition area. He recognized one auror in particular, a black-haired man named Dunivant that Snape knew from Death Eater meetings, and he deliberately stepped toward the man. The mousy-looking chap asked him shakily for his identification, and Snape glared imperiously at his comrade while the auror pretended to check his wand. The Dark Lady had recruited one of the Auror watchmen to keep track of the Hogsmeade citizens, and the weak-willed and nearly worthless Dunivant spared Snape an awkward smile, one that fell flat as Snape continued glaring at him.
"Good evening, Mr. Severus Snape. The Ministry of Magic requires a brief, entirely professional search of your belongings before any Apparition takes place in this area. It is my responsibility to remove any articles I deem dangerous or unfit for travel. I am required to take you into custody if you refuse this search or if you are caught with any contraband materials, including, but not limited to..." He continued on at length, obviously reciting something he had been forced to memorize. Snape was on the verge of blasting his fellow Death Eater aside, and he looked nervously over his shoulder to make sure there was no one coming. "Before I begin, are you carrying any items I should be aware of?"
Snape said nothing, fearful that Dunivant would turn his comment into a longer conversation. Instead, Severus resumed repeating the words of the prophecy over and over in his mind. Dunivant, seemingly bothered by Snape's silence, shrugged and set to work. Of course, Snape was carrying some rather volatile potions and ingredients, as well as a dagger hidden on his right thigh, but other than a brief bulge of the eyes, Dunivant did nothing to stop Snape from entering the Apparition zone.
"You are free to go, sir," he said, winking where only Snape could see it; annoyed by Dunivant's carelessness, Snape had half a mind to berate the new recruit, but he kept his focus on remembering the lines of the prophecy word for word. "On behalf of the Ministry of Magic, I wish you a-"
Snape ignored his compatriot, and the rush of displaced air in his ears made it difficult to hear anything besides the beating of his heart. His lungs threatened to burst as his magic transfigured him and propelled him across mainland Britain, depositing him almost instantaneously at the edge of an impressive manor house.
The Dark Lady had chosen the Malfoy's ancestral home as her own residence, but Snape assumed that Lucius and Bellatrix, as well as their families, would all be in attendance. Whipping his wand forward, Snape's Patronus, a doe, swept through the front of the house. He watched the ghostly figure dissipate with a look of regret on his face, but he made no move to follow, well-aware of the multitude of protections the Malfoy's had placed on their home. Within seconds, a house elf was in front of Severus, cowering noticeably. Snape sneered, demanding entry to the house.
"Dobby is terribly sorry, sir, but..." he trailed off, his feeble hands rubbing together nervously. His voice was weak, and his bug eyes were innocent, a sure sign that he was young; Snape barely held back from kicking the young elf, who couldn't be more than two years old. His eyes would be far harder, far more judgmental in his adulthood, a product of a life lived in servitude. "I must be asking who is here to see Master Lucius!" Dobby squeaked, smiling nervously.
Snape wondered to himself how the house elf was even capable of serving a ruthlessly harsh family like the Malfoys; indeed, as Snape watched him scramble to tell his master of his very important guest, he couldn't help but think the childlike elf was destined to a life of ridicule and severe punishment, if not torture and an early death. While he had no great love for elves, he found himself oddly concerned for Dobby, who would most likely never leave the harsh reality of the Malfoy's magnificent manor.
"Dobby, you half-wit," a voice said, opening the door. It was Narcissa Malfoy, clad in a black evening gown that draped over her pregnant belly like a curtain over an oblong trunk. She kicked out the elf, who had plenty of time to avoid her foot but took the punishment in stride, falling to the ground in a heap. "Fetch the wine," she commanded the elf. "We have a guest." Snape noticed its lip was bleeding just before it disappeared with a barely audible crack.
"You're always welcome in our home, Severus!" she simpered, facing Snape with an indulgent smile. "Do come in. I'm sure you have the most intriguing story to tell us..."
Narcissa made an attempt at small talk as Snape followed her into the manor proper. He noted that his former classmate was beginning to have some difficulty walking, a product of the growing child in her stomach. It wouldn't be many more months before she was giving birth and, as of late, Lucius himself had been bragging about finally having an heir.
As he pondered their situation, Snape felt a brief, unexplained bout of nausea. He fought the urge to scratch his head, wondering if something was wrong with him. Despite himself, Severus began to think that following Dumbledore hadn't been such a good idea. Maybe his nerves were beginning to get to him.
A few minutes passed as they traversed the rather long staircase down into the lower levels of the manor. In the silent hall, Narcissa whispered, "Did you find out anything? Dumbledore was supposed to be meeting a contact-"
"Save it," Snape snapped, his black eyes trained on Narcissa. "No one else can know until She knows..."
The blonde-haired witch looked offended he hadn't obliged her, but at his second comment, she nodded begrudgingly. "I understand," she muttered, turning at the intersection of two halls. "My Lady awaits..." Snape knew his way forward, but he let her continue to lead, as he was unwilling to put up with her insistent, searching glances. Back when they were in school, he had found Narcissa rather attractive, but far removed from Hogwarts and permanently stuck up Lucius' arse, Snape found her presence irritating, if not entirely unbearable.
They rounded a few more corners before Narcissa spoke again. "Here we are," she said unnecessarily, waving one hand at an old, partially rusted door. She knocked twice before she opened it, and Snape's heart twisted painfully at the sound of his Mistress' voice.
Her words were calmly spoken, and perhaps they would have sounded friendly to a neutral observer, but Snape could sense the underlying urgency in the Dark Lady's tone. Any delay on his part would be deemed enough of a betrayal to receive a torture curse as punishment, but he tried not to rush into the room either; if there was one thing she had ingrained in him, it was that nerves were made to be flayed from's an enemy's body, not expressed on a follower's face. If she sensed that he was worried about the revelations to come, or that he was hiding something from her, his punishment would be far worse than if he told her something she didn't want to hear.
Narcissa ushered him into the room with a grimace, her eyes screaming for him to hurry. With that same sickening feeling in his gut that he had felt following Narcissa through the entrance hall, Snape faced a far more vicious and vivacious woman, one who would not take no for an answer. Heat was rising up his neck as the Dark Lady smiled at him, and he struggled not to scan his eyes across her partially exposed chest, nor to look at her pale but inviting left leg where it split her dress. He trained himself to focus only on her eyes, red-rimmed and full of malice.
Dobby appeared, holding a serving plate carrying four glasses of red wine, and his eyes sought Narcissa's face. A barely concealed snarl had him shakily placing the wine onto a neighboring table and popping away in fear. Rolling her eyes, Narcissa served the Dark Lady herself, taking great care to ignore her husband in the process. A thin, delectable smile crossed the Dark Lady's pale face, assuredly at the expense of Lucius, whose eyes narrowed noticeably.
Snape found the situation he was walking in on quite amusing, but his mind was too preoccupied with thoughts of prophecy to make a smart comment. He wisely remained silent until the Dark Lady commanded him to speak.
"Severus," she greeted, rising to her feet to embrace him as if she had just noticed him walking in. "We've been expecting you..." Her dark lips were in his ear immediately, and her strong hands held him in place. "What news?" she whispered, her breath warm against his cold skin.
Snape was reminded of a feminine presence from long ago, and a part of himself that he desperately wished to hide from the Dark Lady almost showed on his face. He shivered noticeably, drawing a curious glance from Narcissa, standing behind the Dark Lady, who did not see their exchange. She stepped back, admiring him as an old aunt would a toddler. Severus felt like a child, incapable of movement in his Mistress' vice-like grip.
"Judging by your silence, I'll assume our venerable Headmaster has not succumbed to old age?"
Lucius chuckled darkly. "If only we could be so lucky..."
"In time, my love," the Dark Lady said, releasing Snape and glancing coyly at Narcissa, who was clever enough to stay silent. "It is not a matter of luck, but time." When no one immediately said anything, her smile disappeared. "Pray don't waste that time, Severus," she said, her eyes snapping back to Snape, who deflated visibly. "Speak," she commanded.
"As you know, My Lady, Dumbledore was scheduled for an important meeting at the Hogs Head; however, his contact," he trailed off, pausing for impact, "was not Alastor Moody as Rookwood suggested. Albus was interviewing a potential Professor-"
"Albus?" Lucius scoffed audibly. "Since when are you two on a first name basis?"
The Dark Lady shut Malfoy up with a quelling glance, waving one long-fingered hand for Snape to keep going. "Go on," she insisted, her charming demeanor returning to some extent. "Who does our esteemed Headmaster have in mind to replace the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor this year?" Lucius and Narcissa chuckled; the curse that the Dark Lady had placed on the position had been an incredible feat, one that every Death Eater was well-aware and proud of.
"My Lady," Severus began, "Dumbledore was not there to hire a Defense Professor. Sybill Trelawney, great, great granddaughter to Cassandra, has applied for the Divination post..."
"And why is this of concern?" Lucius had one sharp eyebrow raised, making it plain that he didn't care for Snape's tale. Severus knew that Malfoy had developed a strong dislike for him, perhaps stemming from their Hogwarts' days; Snape had been a half-blood Potions prodigy just joining the Death Eaters, and Malfoy, an heir to one of the richest Pureblood families, had already been well on his way to becoming a Knight.
There was a vast divide between the two of them as far as the Dark Lady was concerned, and Lucius had never been one to take a new recruit under his wing without something of his own to gain from it. Snape had been ridiculed by Rodolphus, Lucius and Rabastan for the better part of two years before he was grudgingly accepted to the fold, but that had not been the end of Malfoy belittling him. Snape found himself too distracted to be peeved by the man's dismissal of his story; this was made easier by the fact that Severus knew Lucius would die to have this information. He faced the blonde, emotionless but for the glare in his black eyes.
"It is far more important than you could possibly imagine," Snape said quietly.
"How so?" Again, Lucius was disbelieving. "Divination hasn't been taught by someone with the Second Sight in four decades, and Sybill Trelawney, for all of her tales to the contrary, is no Seer.."
"I will not ask you again, Lucius," the Dark Lady snapped, her fingers coming to touch her wand in an outward display of her anger. "Severus... get to the point."
This time, Snape did as she requested. "For what it's worth," he sneered at Lucius, "Dumbledore did not seem impressed by her either, and I'm certain he was about to leave, when she did something entirely unexpected - My Lady, she gave a true prophecy..."
For the first time, his words peaked the Dark Lady's interest. "What did she say?" she whispered; Snape was not inclined to ignore the promise of pain hidden in her words if he didn't answer. He spoke in a slow monotone, as if he was reading Potions' ingredients off of a list, though he was reciting words he had knew he would never forget.
"The one with the power the Dark Lady desires approaches ... born to those who have never defied her, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lady will mark her as her equal, but she will have power the Dark Lady does not..."
As he finished, he felt his nerves getting the best of him once again, and he redoubled his efforts to contain his shaky, fearful body language; fortunately, his Mistress did not seem to care for Severus' inner struggle. The Dark Lady was silent for a long time, such that Snape had the sudden urge to ask her if she would like him to repeat the prophecy. She didn't move a muscle, not even in her face or jaw, as she contemplated the meaning behind the words. Snape didn't dare look at Lucius, unwilling to lose a moment to defend himself if it was necessary. His attention remained fixed on his Mistress.
"That is all?" she asked, giving him a searching glance. Inevitably, her dark eyes found his, and like a moth to a flame, he drank in the sight of the beauty before him, unconsciously submitting to her desire for knowledge. However, in the debilitating moment, Snape was too afraid to answer yes or no; he wasn't sure that a denial wouldn't condemn him to death, as he'd missed a potentially integral part of the prophecy when Dumbledore expelled him from the Hogs' Head, but he felt disinclined to answer the former, which would be outright lying - a suicidal decision, considering the Dark Lady could pluck information out of her followers heads as easily as grapes from a vine.
In the end, Elizabeth insured that Snape's mind was made up for him.
"Show me," the Dark Lady commanded, standing and drawing him into that same uncomfortably tight embrace once more. He tried to hide his shiver of fear, tried to ignore the way his heart slammed against his chest, but it was all for naught; the Dark Lady would know the truth, and there was no point in hiding it from her. His admittedly strong Occlumency still could not withstand her brutal Legilimency, and any secrets would only get him killed. He forced himself to allow her full access, ignoring the part of him that rebelled against her entry. Unlike James Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Severus knew that rebellion against the Dark Lady could only end in death.
He felt himself pulled from his own mind, his psyche fractured by the magical current, and to him, it seemed as if he was inside a pensieve, watching his memory of the events leading up to his removal from the Hogs Head. He could sense the Dark Lady's intentions, but he did very little to prevent her from reading his thoughts and feeling his emotions. To act in such a manner would have been suicidal for Severus, who struggled not to react to the mental barrage coming from his Mistress.
Then, just when he thought he would faint from the pressure building under his scalp, the sensation ended and the pain abated. The stark, sudden absence of the Dark Lady in his mind left him in a heap on the floor, though no one reached to break his fall or even to make any mention of it. They all waited fearfully for the Dark Lady's reaction. Snape rose back to his feet unsteadily, but he trained himself, as always, to keep his emotions off of his face. Severus was even more frightened than the Malfoys, and nearly as scared as he had been in his entire life. He had no way of knowing how the Dark Lady would take his news of the prophecy.
Surely she wouldn't blame the messenger?
Calmly, the Dark Lady seated herself once more, seemingly enjoying the feel of the luxurious couch as her exquisite figure sank into the leather. She sighed, a faint smile playing at the edge of her lips, though her eyes were harder than he had ever seen them. When Severus watched her murder the McKinnons she hadn't seemed this scary.
"She will have power the Dark Lady does not..." she whispered. There was no doubt the prophecy referred to her, and she accepted that with more calm than Severus expected. Then, a sibilant hiss slipped from her mouth, "She will have a power the Dark Lady desires..."
"My Lady?" Lucius asked, his voice eerily quiet in the silent room.
"Leave me," she muttered, closing her eyes. "You have done splendidly, Severus. You will be rewarded handsomely for your service." He couldn't help the shiver that ran up his spine at her softly-spoken words. Just as he turned to walk away, she added, "My Knight."
No one questioned their abrupt dismissal, not even Lucius, who owned the home they were in. Snape's eyes tried to find Lucius' face, but Malfoy was quick to leave the room, quicker than even Severus himself.
As he left the room, Snape was inwardly pleased that his Mistress had finally called him a Knight. His revelation had, as he expected, landed him firmly in the Dark Lady's good graces, and he was finally a member of her inner circle of followers. While his workload would increase significantly now that he had more responsibility, so would his pockets, his vault and, he thought with a sneer, his sense of superiority.
In the darkness of the hallway, Snape smiled. He did not see Lucius' worried glance back to the room where they had left the Dark Lady. He did not notice Narcissa rub her belly nervously. Snape did not look back as he left the manor, headed for a well-earned night of rest at Spinner's End.
-End of Prologue, Part One-