Author's Note:

1. This is a fanfiction of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. Everything belongs to JK Rowling, blabalbalh.

2. All my thanks go to my betas: lahwran, pizzahotdoglover, Ardvarkeating101 and Speck TheKitty. You saved this story.

3.I am not a native speaker, and I apologize for any spelling/grammar/word choice mistakes. Please kindly correct any linguistic problems. Thank you all so much.

4. This story is HPMOR compliant except for the last paragraph in Chapter 121.

5. As for the deeply disturbing contents of Severus's hallucination, you may refer to the author's comment here: www dot reddit dot com/r/HPMOR/comments/2z94ya/spoilers_all_what_does_voldemort_do_to_snape/

Chapter 1.

The Bat Animagus

11:46 pm, June 13th, 1992

Even in the heavenly euphoria, Severus Snape knew there was something deeply wrong with what he was doing. He was quite convinced that his conduct toward the pregnant red-haired woman was for the highest moral reasons. He knew he needed to do this to prevent evil – some evil with a name like Harold, or Harrison, or something like that – from being born, and destroying the universe. He also knew for a fact that all his violent penetrations, all the beatings, and all the torture he inflicted, were necessary and for the greater good. And not to mention the waves of euphoria that entered his entire body with each of his movement, as if he had been hoping for this moment all his life. But the desperate screams and pleading coming from the woman were disturbing, and it prevented him from fully enjoying the necessary procedure. He wanted to put a silencing charm on her, but for some reason, he could not. He wanted to hear something from her, but he did not know what. Maybe he should, he should do something, notify someone, but –

Without warning, a wave of strong pain hit Severus' left arm. Severus had been on the receiving end of a cruciatus curse during his days as a death eater. He had supposed, then, that it would be the worst pain he would ever feel, yet his arm now felt as though it was engulfed in needling fire. He barely managed to pull up his sleeve, and looked at his left forearm. With blurred vision, he saw the blackened form of the Dark Mark, as dark as it had been before the fateful Halloween night, perhaps even darker. As another strong wave of pain hit him, he fell to his knees, fighting down a wave of nausea. He was not sure if it was a pain-induced hallucination, but the Mark seemed to be twisting, silently snarling, like a wounded animal. A short while after, the pain slowly subdued as the Dark Mark faded with what seemed like reluctance. A moment later, the color of the Dark Mark had become faintly grey.

Trying to ignore the pain from his private area no longer masked by the pain from his Mark, Severus tried to fight down the memory of violating and torturing Lily. There would be time for grief and coping later. He shook his limbs in an attempt to alleviate the growing stiffness as Severus' brain slowly connected what happened to his Mark at this moment to the same phenomenon from that fateful Halloween, when the Mark suddenly flared up, and then nearly disappeared.

- The Dark Lord just came back, and was vanquished yet again?

Severus could hardly believe the only possible explanation his brain offered. But the curse was a strong one, there were few wizards who could conjure an illusion that Severus could not see through immediately. And only the poisoned mind of the Dark Lord would imagine such a nightmare. Severus couldn't even imagine how such a thing could have been accomplished.

-Did Albus vanquish the Dark Lord? Or, could it possibly be the Boy-Who-Lived?

-No, talented a boy as he is, he is only eleven-years old. Albus, then.

Severus let out a sigh of relief, raised his wand, and murmured: "Expecto Patronum."

He needed to contact Albus, to see how he was doing, if he needed any help. As powerful of a wizard as Albus was, it was unlikely that even he could have defeated the Dark Lord without sustaining serious injuries.

The glowing silver bat only looked at Severus sadly.

Severus' heart sank.

-Albus is dead. He probably sacrificed himself to vanquish the Dark Lord.

A wave of grief hit the black-haired man. He had known that Albus had used him ever since Harry Potter pointed out his naiveté, and that Albus had given up on Slytherin. Still, Severus felt a huge chunk of his heart constrict. Not many people had made their way into his heart. There was his mother, then Lily, then Albus over the years. Now, they were all dead.

-Then, who do I have now?

Severus held respect for Minerva, but she was no friend of his; he trusted Lucius Malfoy slightly more than he trusted other Slytherins, but it was for other reasons; the Boy-Who-Lived, a walking disaster –

-Wait, the Dark Lord is still not dead, he will return, maybe in a few years, probably more rapidly this time. The Boy-Who-Lived is our only real hope now.

Grinding his teeth, Severus knew he needed to find Harry Potter, and protect him the best as he was able.

He almost sent his patronus to the Potter boy, but halted his wand halfway through the charm, cursing his stupidity.

-You can't contact him NOW! You might end up losing the chance to save him! Like losing the chance to save Albus is not bad enough!

Severus shook his head to clear the fog. The effects of the hallucination were not easy to ignore. With shaky hands and stiff fingers, Severus pulled out his time-turner.

Severus gripped his time-turner in his pale fingers, considering his choice carefully. He could always go back further if a few turns were not enough. A distant but sharp CRACK filled the air. His head jerked towards the noise, causing an ache in his neck. From what he could tell, it had come from the Forbidden Forest. He could make out no specifics from his current vantage point.

Severus raised his head, hoped against hope that this was the work of Boy-Who-Lived, somehow. Yet it was imprudent, to say the least, to leave things up to chance.

Severus staggered, stood up, disillusioned himself, turned the time-turner once, and began to run. Or rather, tried to. Three times he stumbled and had to use his magic to steady himself in his rush. His legs were still stiff, and the more private area of his body twinged and throbbed painfully.

Severus silently cursed, and turned into the bat that students often accused him of being.

Trying not to think about his hallucination, the loss of Albus, the recent memory of his fictitious actions towards Lily, or anything of sorts, Severus almost managed a dry chuckle: those idiots do sometimes arrive at the right conclusion, if only by accident. And thank Merlin that the animagus form is more resilient to pain and stiffness.