Disclaimer: Noppoh and me (madie080802), we do not own Harry Potter, however, JK Rowling and WBros does. We own the plot and Ernest, yes, he is the figment of our imagination. We know, we are crazy. Laughs.
A/N: The pair that is WineChocolate, well we love Severus Snape dearly. We just cannot get enough of his brain, and his heart. We decided to continue and now we are happy to present: "The Dark Prince of Serpents."
Chapter 1.- Closing the Circles.
Little Brussels Playhouse. Forêt de Soignes. 3 May 1999. 7 am.
Severus struggled as he tried to wake up. His consciousness was in the middle of dream and lucid thoughts.
His mind was a contradiction as his eyelids fluttered and opened, remembering.
Unconscious memory still displayed a nightmare.
He was walking through the passages of Hogwarts, the castle was burning, and he walked into one of the dusty classrooms that were out of use. Inside the room, a gray light seemed to be calling him.
Closer to it, he saw it was a reflecting image, it was a grand mirror. The mirror of Erised.
Closer, and an image broke the mirror's surface. A tall man dressed in black, a beautiful woman with auburn hair and emerald eyes. In between them a small boy, no older than seven years old, with green eyes, his son. His heart broke as he took a closer look into his soul's most inner desire, and the potions master kneeled in despair.
The fire is reaching the halls, the castle is under siege. He wanted to die, he wanted to fade into the rubble and then he heard her, before he could see her. Like a song or a soft prayer, she talked:
Wake up! that life is lost,
but you remain
and that family you long for,
in the past,
is coming to meet you,
wake up, love, it's on its way...
He shifts in a heap of sheets, birds are singing, in this place of perpetual spring, and then he yells:
"Shut up, you feather balls!"..." He sighs audibly, blinks, takes in the daylight and the soft coloring shading his room.
Severus denies and adds to his lucid train of thoughts… "I was ready to die! Why am I not dead?"
Muttering under his breath, he blinks at the early morning sun, and crawls out of bed. Looking down, he notices he's wearing white, cotton trousers with an equally white tunic.
"What the hell am I wearing? They can't be serious? Where are my clothes? What the bloody fuck happened?"
"I think you can find the answer in the letter that was left for you."
Severus swirled towards the voice, silently summoning his wand. He encountered two Druids. A pair of ancient and powerful looking men, dressed in robes of white, tall and devoid of jewelry, the two held on to staffs. Their open faces, just like an apparition, left the potions master breathing slowly.
The appearance of men with beards in a place so full of summer made him weary, since the only time he saw more than one man with a white beard was on christmas. He blinked and wondered if he could be as trusting towards them, as he once held credence for Albus.
Bowing his head was merely a sign of respect. So he greeted them with reverence.
He inquired. 'What are you two doing here?"
"We assisted with your healing, and watched over you while you slept."
"While I slept?" he repeated, getting more annoyed by the minute. "And pray, do tell me, what day is it today?"
"It's the 3rd of May," The first druid answered.
"Right, so I slept for how many hours?" asked the potions master, slightly pale.
"Of 1999," the second continued.
"What, are you serious?"... I slept for a full year?!"
The Druids almost sniggered. They seemed to be awfully enjoying themselves at his expense. He scowled his most ferocious scowl at them, and they merely smiled. Well, that wasn't the response he'd expected.
"Read your letter."
Waving his wand over his clothes, making it at least turn black, he grumpily stalked to the desk to grab the letter.
Throughout the years, I've kept an eye on you, ever since that lovely summer of '88. I've watched you grow, watched you become the man you are today. I always wondered if you figured out my identity.
No amount of apologies will ever make up for the fact that I doubted you this last year. I am so, so sorry. Despite knowing you, despite knowing just how much of a Slytherin you are, I ignored my intuition, and doubted you. Worst of all, for some time, I hated you. I let you go through this dark period alone. I did not trust you, and it is clear now that I failed you, and went as far as to call you out in public, to label you a coward.
I will forever regret my lack of judgement, there is no going back from that. But I could do one thing to try and atone for my behaviour against you, and that was to pray, pray to the Goddess to save you. The mother Goddess deemed you worthy.
My dear, dear Severus, I am proud of you. Proud of the man you have become, proud of your conviction to the Light, even when the Light forsake you. You deserve to live, you deserve your chance at happiness, never doubt that. You are a good man!
In order to save you...you and I went through a ritual, in which I donated some of my blood. The Goddess blessed the sacrifice, and on said ritual, she gave you a gift. As you are now in one piece and of sound mind, I must inform you one last thing: currently, you and I share one attribute, Selkie lineage. I am proud to call you my brother. I know, this may sound insane, but I do remember in your many qualities and abilities, your capacity for acceptance, plus a dark sense of humor, remember this when you take a look in the mirror.
We will see each other again soon, I promise.
"That gorgeous nymph just had to come and save my miserable hide, now did she!" he thought. Dread filled him when he read the final paragraph. What would he encounter in the mirror? Would he now have eyebrows to match his nose? He quickly grabbed some of his hair. At least that was still black.
Turning around, he saw a twinkle in both the Druid's eyes. It did nothing to ease his dread, rather on the contrary. Looking around the rather luxurious room, he saw a standing mirror in the corner. A cloth was draped over it.
Thinking that postponing would do him no good, he strode to the mirror. With a resigned sigh, he pulled away the cloth. For a moment, confusion held him, before realisation dawned.
"Nimue tit!... I'm still dreaming?, oh hell!, no!"
This time, a snigger could be heard from one of the Druids. Severus ignored it.
"Oh for fucks sake, did you administer Polyjuice to keep me safe?"
"No. This is what you look like now," one of the Druids answered, his mirth obvious in his voice.
"I do not think this is funny! Wait? What do you mean? This is my face now?"
"It most certainly is."
"I look like a girl!"
"Most would say you look handsome."
"What? No! You listen to me! What happened in that forsaken ritual Athena spoke of?"
"You were about to cross over and die, we were summoned by the Goddess, to stand vigil and await for the brave daughter of Selkies and the Dark Prince of Serpents," said the first Druid.
"We do not question, we comply, we were brought here, to the hidden spring below the Little Brussels Playhouse," said the second elder.
"Just so you know, the daughter of Selkies, she really loves you"... "You are a fortunate man, to have such respect and devotion, from a spiritual sister, as that grand dame displayed for you"... "In that moment, in which the world as you knew it, fractured… she saved you, but not before saving many more back in Scotland… we knew you had to be special, and we were not disappointed when the miracle of the mother Goddess crystallized."
"The mother Goddess is abstract to us, she manifests in the different shades of seasons, in ritual, in sacred lands and magical lore and creatures. The Goddess almost never speaks, or shares a voice to be understood and yet, dark Prince of Serpents, she made her voice be heard by us, and to the daughter of Selkies, and the love and generosity of that miracle will ring through my soul, until the end of my life... the Sacred Female, saved you… she cleansed the poison in your body and magic, she took away your pain, by the sacrifice of blood by the daughter of Selkies… you stand here, you were made whole again. The mother Goddess gave you back your youth... not only that, she vowed to make your deepest dream come true, and you complain about your appearance?" inquired the second Druid.
"The mother Goddess? She decided to put the cherry on top, and make me look pretty? This is fucked up! I don't want to look like the dark version of a Veela, Selkie, whatever!"
Enraged, he turned back to the two Druids. Severus thought, "Why, why couldn't even death cut him some slack?" He had the distinct impression both Druids were laughing at him, but all they showed was a polite smile.
The Druids shrugged at the ingrate in black, and his almost infantile reaction, however, dealing with a new lease on life was bound to be a shocking turn of events for anyone, and it made more sense to the Druids, that this response was a natural outcome for someone who wanted to die.
One of the Druids said:
"I'm being summoned elsewhere, I bid a good day to you both."
The second one simply nodded. "Go and do the Goddess' work, my friend. We will meet again." He turned towards Severus. "You, come with me."
Severus sighed and followed the Druid, he wasn't happy, he still felt like the butt of the joke, but then again, that feeling wasn't anything new.
The two walked out of the chamber. Turning around, Severus noticed that it looked like an apartment of functional and elegant design. High vaulted ceiling, soft neutral coloring, and he realized it was a healing room.
They walked through the door and as he advanced, into a courtyard, taking in the sight of the of the green foliage, flowers, birds and natural life, all of it seemed brutally beautiful. His eyes became heavy with tears of joy. How? When? What? And why?
The elder took a moment to look at the young male, he nodded and said: "It's okay, you are a new born Selkie and nature, magic and beauty are quite an impact, to all newborns."
"What are you saying? That I'm going to turn into an over sensitive pile of mush, like a Hufflepuff?"
The elder laughed, and added: "You must have been quite the handful as a child, your mother should be commended, stop sulking and hurry up, I want to show you the real gem this place holds."
Severus raised an eyebrow, however, he decided to follow. The elder continued walking while Severus felt that he was stepping into a maze of colors, textures and scents. Like a child he wondered if the sky ever held that much blue? The young Selkie realized that the wild honey smell of summer was intoxicating, and became curious about his attitude, and, if he in fact ever felt this vulnerable in his life? Severus then noticed an imposing portal in the distance, their walk led them straight to it.
As strong as a fortress, a heavy wooden double door stood in their path. On it, with an intricate ironwork of ornamental design, as though it painted the surface of the entry, the shapes of red poppies were outlined.
The ancient Healer and the young Selkie stopped. The Druid unlocked the door. Inside, there was a library that seemed to continue forever. Its grandeur took his breath away. The library resembled a high Gothic cathedral.
On either side of the nave there were two side aisles, each arched with intricate, almost lace-like, vaulting, varying in height. The nave itself was so high, he had to crane his neck to look at the ceiling. He was pleasantly surprised when he noticed it was charmed much the same way as the Great Hall of Hogwarts. The only difference being that the original architecture was left more visible.
The entire structure was supported by slender columns in slightly yellowed sandstone. Stained glass windows adorned the outer walls, bading the entire space with multi-colored light. Shelves were spaced between the columns, rows upon rows of books covered the entire circumference of the library. Reaching multiple storeys high, they were accessible by wooden galleries and delicate, finely decorated, spiral staircases. The aisles, too, were filled with shelves, creating reading nooks and study areas.
Breading in the scent, unique to libraries filled with ancient books and scrolls, Severus took a couple of tentative steps forward. He froze as the flagstone floor in front of him shimmered, and disappeared.
Astounded, he looked down into the crypt of what he was already dubbing the Cathedral of Knowledge. The shelves of books expanded several levels downwards, underground. Doors led to what he assumed were private rooms. He couldn't even start to comprehend how many books and scrolls there were, how much knowledge was stored in this place.
He turned to the Druid. "This is, this is astounding!" he exhaled, not caring that he was stuttering.
The elder smiled. "This isn't even all of it." Pointing at some doors in the side aisles, he continued. "Much like Catholic cloisters and abbeys, there's a courtyard surrounded by other buildings. The tower and turrets in the corner give you a splendid view of the treetops."
Severus simply stared at the Druid, unable to believe his words. After a chuckle, the man returned to his explanation. "A bell will ring at 7am, noon, 7pm and midnight, one can easily forget time when ensconced in these walls. If you are looking for a certain book, or even a certain topic of research, you can always call upon the library elves. They are tasked with taking care of this library, and know it, and it's content, inside out."
With a nod of understanding, Severus longingly eyed the books displayed in front of him.
"I will leave you to your exploration," the Druid said softly, understanding Severus' urge to learn.
With a polite node, Severus took off amongst the innumerable shelves.
On May 5th, Severus realized someone was approaching him, and then the perfume of citrus flowers and parchment, and the sensation of joy, just reached him. Athena's hips swaying, making their seductive trek up to meet him, and then a feeling of calmness and familiarity formed around him, as he acknowledged the newcomer. Minerva smiled, and was about to move a chair, when he wordlessly made a chair move to accommodate her, next to him, at his working table in the library. She had tears in her eyes. She was so beautiful, and yet the only feeling she evoked in him was one of gratitude.
He had been reading about Magical Creatures and their development. Athena took his hand and pulled him into a hug.
Severus and Athena moved away from the premises, and once in the open she spoke to him:
"Severus, I'm so glad, so glad you are safe, and whole."
"Stop crying Minerva, I'm not good with your tears… I can barely stop feeling like an open wound."
Minerva smiled and with that her Selkie face became like a radiant apparition. Severus only sighed and said:
"So that's the big secret?, you are a Selkie?"
"I thought you figured it out back in September of 88?"
"I did, and I held on to it, and Occluded that memory as a treasure, even as I felt myself slipping away from life, no one knew, it was my secret, the one thing that was truly mine"... "and now look at me? I'm not dead, I never felt this strong before"… "I find it difficult to conceive that this is my face, staring back at me in the mirror… the beauty around overwhelms me, and then all the flowers, and people full of hope… and the simple things, Merlin's limp tit!, I cannot eat in silence if not surrounded by a bunch of fangirls, female or male… bunch of magical tree huggers!...well HELL!... how Minerva, how am I supposed to inspire fear?, if all around I am revered as though I'm a teen celebrity?, in this wretched house of rest "The little Brussels Playhouse?"... "and, one other thing, if I have to hear the song "Let it be, by the shaggy haired Beatles one more time… I swear I'm going to kill!"
Minerva was laughing so hard her face turned red. She composed herself and a soft glow enveloped her completely, as the spiritual and the tangible magic became one, and gently she spoke:
"My darling Severus."
Severus froze his ranting as the voice in Minerva became like an echo, surrounded by wind chimes. The animals and the forest made a pause, and an Elder Druid cracked in apparition to keep guard, as the Goddess took form and spoke to the young male Selkie, in the shape of Selkie Minerva.
"For so long you devoted your loyalty to cruel masters. My loving daughter of Selkies noticed the injustice and plead mercy for you… now you stand here, no longer a servant, but free to be happy or miserable, but just yourself… you have been given life, beauty and a new purpose, heal Severus, heal dark Prince of Serpents, others are suffering the tragedy of war, the tragedy of sadness and loss… heal and nurture health in others, even before Minerva, you were a gifted man, use these talents and serve the Mother Goddess, that is my will."
Severus knelt and embraced Minerva's legs, weeping like a man awakening from death into life, and finally he was able to let go of the pain, the pressure on his chest. He wept for his freedom and because he felt, he could allow himself, for the first time since childhood, to be completely happy.
A bit after, when Minerva and Severus were enjoying lunch in one of the restaurants, Minerva catching Severus up on what was happening in England, he noticed them again from the corner of his eye. Really, it was starting to become bloody ridiculous!
A group of women, five or six, were sitting at a table not far away, eyeballing him. Wait, was that a man in their midst? Severus groaned, things were just getting worse and worse. They were all giggling madly. It seemed they were trying to coax one of them to come over to him. Oh, how he wished that would not happen.
He returned his attention to Minerva, only to see her smirk at him.
"What?!" he snapped, grubbly.
It earned him a peal of laughter. "It seems you've attracted some attention."
Severus grumbled in response. "They bloody damn well keep following me. Apparently, they never learned manners, and the good grace to leave a person well alone."
"Why don't you try scowling at them?" Minerva mocked him.
"That doesn't help! They faint! Granted, it buys me time to get away, but it seems to make them even more determined to follow me around. They won't stop!"
Again, Minerva was laughing, which in turn made the fangirls scowl. It was clear to Severus that the human heart and attraction, were quite fickle elements, and he better move with care around them, that much was obvious. It was then that a girl, the most unattractive of the lot, got up and walk to where Minerva and Severus. She had a camera and said:
"Hi, my name is Sunny and, my friends and I, we are visiting from Santander Spain… I wonder, would it be okay to take a picture from both of you?"
Minerva smiled like a child at a toy store and added:
"As a matter of fact Sunny, I'm a photographer, I could just take the pictures of you and the Potions Master here."
Sunny opened her eyes as wide as saucers, and said:
"Potions?, that's one of the majors I'm working on, I'm going to be a healer… but you don't look the type to be a potions master..."
Minerva was close to goofing off, but she kept a neutral expression, while Severus tried glaring, and Sunny blushed, then she said:
"You must be a prodigy, right?"
Severus then began blushing and nodded, then added:
"The youngest potion master in a century, I was told."
Sunny nodded and said:
"Wow, so you have a beautiful brain and a sexy presentation, not only a prodigy, but and oddity?"
Minerva lost it and laughed out loud. She tried covering it with a clearing her throat, but lost it again, she took the picture of scowling Severus, which looked like Intense Severus, then his eyes turn to slits, which was naughty Severus, and then, Sunny got more brave and tackle hugged him. Mind you, she was a bit smaller than Minerva and him, so it was like launching a brown haired spanish missile shot, which resulted into, Surprise Severus.
Sunny said goodbye, and walked towards the cheering crowd and Severus mumbled:
"If Sunny had been born in Britain, and about to be sorted for a house in Hogwarts?, no doubt she would have been a bonafide Gryffindor."
Minerva hugged him and said to his ear:
"Yes, dark prince of serpents, a Gryffindor indeed, I'm so proud of you!. Come on, let's go, before the entourage decides to follow her example and you are kidnapped by a bunch of teens."
Minerva took him to the pond and the two stood in contemplation. In the quiet She added:
"Male Selkies exist, and just like females, they are quite rare...I'm telling you this, because it's probable you will be summoned."
"Female Selkies usually get lured and trapped, rarely summoned. Male Selkies usually get summoned, rarely do they get trapped… It's the way of the Inssigli People Severus, the way of our people...Seven tears will summon you, but not just any tears, but the tears of your soulmate… instinct is going to play a key role. Your brain is going to fight you, but the sensual nature of your adoptive heritage, is going to take the lead, and as extreme as it sounds?, your only action will be to nurture her in every way, to bond to her, and to conceive children…to you, it will seem she is the living incarnation of the mother Goddess, and you her willing mate."
For a moment it all seemed too much, but then again, being alive after the attack of Nagini was just as much, so the young Male Selkie, kept his own counsel.
Minerva smiled one of her elusive smirks and added:
"I don't want to hide under the glamour anymore, I want to retire from Hogwarts, I have enough money saved to do whatever I want. I've been saving for decades, but I want to go with a bang… I mean, Albus Dumbledore dropped from the astronomy tower, I chased the last Headmaster, Severus Snape out in a duel, it's becoming a tradition, leaving the Headmaster's seat in a most dramatic action, on your way out of Hogwarts..."
Severus agreed and added in low voice:
"Maybe you should write out your memoirs, take your time, edit until you are good and ready"... "and when the book hits the stores?, melt the glamour away."... "I mean, add shock value to the retirement… laugh at their gaping faces, as the lot realizes, a breathtakingly gorgeous Selkie was hidden underneath the green tartan robes, and they, the magical English community in its entirety, can all kiss your fanny, since they are no longer your problem, yes, that sounds like a plan?"
Minerva looked at Severus as though he had grown a second head, and then started nodding, then jumping and then she tackled and hugged him and kissed his cheek, she added:
"Yes Severus, that is a fantastic idea!"
"Oh my God Minerva, I was being sarcastic!"
"I don't care!... thank you Severus, you are one amazing little brother."
"You are welcome." He answered, rolling his eyes.
Minerva and Severus continued looking at the water, and Severus broke the silence. He said:
"Did you know I have Slavic roots?"
"It's far removed, but my mother fell in love with the idea of an exotic origin. Before the final battle I uncovered her diary, she wanted to call me Yasen, I think it means Ash Tree, anyway, my father hated the idea, and still my mother decided, on the first name, but she dreamt of calling me Yasen Prince… and I kind of like it, I'm going to honor my mother's wishes, I mean, you know that I'm Severus Snape, but to the rest of the world I'm dead, so?, new life, new name and a new purpose for me."
"Sounds like a sensible plan, mister Prince."