Disclaimer: I don't own these characters…. wish I did but I don't
Trust Changes NothingBy Ms Spider
Harry felt his body jerk awake. He felt the presence of someone beside his bed. In one movement he found his wand under his pillow and jumped out of bed. "What are you doing here?" His heart was pounding in his chest. Severus Snape's sallow face seemed paler than normal in the moonlight coming from the window.
"There's no time Potter," Snape grabbed up the discarded clothes on the chair at the desk and tossed them to Harry. "Hurry, you must get out of here. He's coming."
Harry didn't have to be told who He was. He quickly pulled on the jeans and t-shirt. But he was still suspicious of Snape and stared at him. "I didn't think Voldemort could touch me here." He hurried over to wardrobe and shoved his feet in the shoes sitting beside it.
"He has worked hard to over come that problem." Snape waved his wand. All of Harry's magic things, in plain sight, flew into the large trunk at the foot of the bed. "Redusio!" The trunk shrunk to the size of a pea. Snape grabbed it and shoved into Harry's hand. "Come on." He took a hold of Harry's arm and pulled out a soda can. "This is a portkey. It will take you to the Leaky Cauldron. Get to Gringott's. It's the safest place until we can get you to Hogwarts."
Harry reached out to take the can but stopped. "What about the Dursleys?"
"Without you here they will not be in danger," Snape assured him. " Go, There is no time to discuss this. Go!" He tried to shove the portkey into Harry's hand.
This wasn't true and Harry knew it. "We have to warn them. I can't leave them here for Voldemort to kill. " He made for the bedroom door.
"POTTER!" Snape shouted. "You can't save them. He will kill them if you are here or not. So stop being a Gryffindor and save yourself for once." He snarled.
Harry glared at Snape for barely a second then grabbed the doorknob. "Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, Dudley," He shouted as he ran to their bedrooms and pounded on each of the doors. "You've got to get out of here."
"Have you gone mad?" Vernon Dursley roared as he came bursting out of his room.
"I don't have time to explain. You have to get as far away from this place as fast as you can." Harry told him.
"You better explain yourself, boy, " Uncle Vernon growled grabbing a hold of Harry's arm but let go immediately and he shrunk back horrified.
"NOW, would be a good time for you to leave." Snape's poisonous voice chilled the air as he came up behind Harry.
The Dursley's didn't have to be told again. Severus Snape looked like their worse nightmare of wizard. In bathrobes they flew down the steps to the front door and Uncle Vernon paused to take the key to the car off the peg on the wall as he went by. "Hurry up, or we'll end up like your dratted sister." He pushed Aunt Petunia and Dudley a head of him.
"Potter, you have done all can for them. You have to go, now." Snape ordered but before he could force the portkey into Harry's hand the air around them grew suddenly ice cold. "He's here." The Potions Master's voice held an edge of fear. His hand shook slightly as he held out the can to Harry. "Go!" He hissed softly.
Harry stared at the can. Should he trust Snape? This could be a portkey away from the protection of his relatives. He looked up into Snape's face. Harry was shocked to see the fear in the cold dark eyes. Was Snape afraid of failing Voldemort? Or did Snape fear Voldemort's wraith for helping Harry escape?
A loud hum made the very air vibrate. Dudley froze with fear, his hand on the doorknob. Aunt Petunia clutched her son's arm with one hand and gripped Uncle Vernon's robe with the other. Uncle Vernon looked petrified. The front door started shaking.
Harry felt his heart thud with sickening fear. The Dursleys were going to die, right here, right now. He looked away from the door. His eyes focused on the can in Snape's hand. He had an idea. "Windgardium Leviosa." He pointed his wand at the portkey. It flew out of Snape's grip. "Uncle Vernon! Catch!" Harry sent the can whizzing into his uncle's face. Instinctively Uncle Vernon threw his hands up and touched the portkey. Harry heard screams from Aunt Petunia, Dudley and Uncle Vernon as they were whipped out of sight.
"That has to be the stupidest thing you ever did Potter!" Snape hissed. "Now, how am I going to save your sacred butt?" He pulled Harry back into the boy's bedroom. The house was now vibrating on its foundation. They heard a crashing sound down below. Snape looked out the window and swore.
"What?" Harry hurried to look but before he got to the window he felt a familiar coldness seeping into his body. Dementors! "Expecto Patronum!" He waved his wand again. A huge silvery shape emerged from his wand tip and leaped out the window. Harry felt the cold vanish. As one Snape and Harry whirled around. A thunderous boom splintered the bedroom door. Snape tried to push Harry behind him.
"I'm not hiding like a child." Harry gave him a cold look. Seeing the appraising look in the Potions Master's face gave Harry some satisfaction. Suddenly Harry realized he wasn't afraid. He wasn't sure why. Perhaps having faced Voldemort before and survived was the reason. But for some reason with the Dursleys out of the way, his fear had left too.
The bedroom door shattered into a thousand bits. In the doorway stood two cloaked hooded figures. Red eyes glinted out of the taller one. A mask hid the other's face but somehow Harry knew who it was, Lucius Malfoy! Without a word Snape and Harry separated. Harry dived over the bed as a spell blasted a hole in the wall. To Harry's surprise, it was Malfoy coming after him not Voldemort. Snape was wand to wand with the dark lord he had just betrayed. Harry saw fear in Snape's face again.
In a fraction of a second, something Harry had read at Hogwarts seemed to form an idea in his mind. Before the Death Eater or Voldemort could curse them Harry concentrated as hard as he could on his mother's arms wrapped around him, protecting him. Then he uttered ancile patroniam aedifico munio and waved his wand in a circle around himself and Snape. From the floor, four walls sprang up around them. Whatever spells Voldemort and Malfoy had cast at Harry and Snape crashed into the stone and shook the floor so violently both Snape and Harry fell to the floor.
"What the hell is this Potter?" Snape asked trying to get to his feet. Voldemort and Malfoy had sent another hail of spells at the wall making the room rock.
"Make another portkey quick!" Harry gasped, struggling to keep the walls intact while being slammed against the back wall of the conjured room.
Snape grabbed the lamp from the nightstand. He circled his wand over it muttering the spell under his breath. Another spell blast sent him crashing into the floor. He glanced at the front wall, a crack crawled spider like down the surface. Snape didn't bother trying to get to his feet as the room shook violently. He continued to cast the spell sitting on the floor.
Finally he said. "It's ready! Hurry!"
Harry half crawled half ran on all fours to where Snape held the lamp. A bright flashing boom rocked the room flinging Harry into Snape. The Potions Master held out the portkey for Harry to take. As Harry touched the lamp, the stone walls crumbled.
"NOO!" Voldemort screamed at the two being whirled away. The Dark Lord pointed his wand and Harry felt a blast hit them as the room disappeared. The portkey had worked he had felt the jerk at his navel like some hook had taken a hold of him and he felt Snape bump into him as they whooshed forward. But there was something odd happening. The motion came in shuddering and uneven pulls not the normal steady forward pressure.
At last Harry and Snape slammed into the hard ground. Harry felt the lamp hit his leg as they both let go. It was pitch black, wherever they were. "Lumos." Harry heard Snape say as the Potions Master got to his feet beside him. The dim light from the wand illuminated a low underground passage.
"Where are we?" Harry scrambled up wincing. "Lumos." His wand tip blazed with light.
"I'm not sure." Snape said warily. "That last spell of Voldemort's might have damaged the portkey."
"Where were we supposed to go?" Harry looked down the long narrow passage both ways. Nothing could be seen but a rock tunnel as far as he could see.
"The Leaky Cauldron." Snape took a few steps to the right trying to see farther down the passage. "That's were Dumbledore told me to send you if Voldemort decided to go after you." Snape avoided looking at him but Harry studied the man's face made ghostly by the wands light.
"What now?" Harry tore his eyes from his potion's teacher to peer down the opposite direction. He still felt uneasy about Snape. But he kept reminding himself that Dumbledore did trust Snape.
"We walk," Snape started off down the direction he had been looking not glancing back.
Harry hesitated. He knew Snape didn't really know which way to go. He put his wand flat on his hand. "Point me," he muttered. The wand spun to point to Harry's tunnel. Not that it mattered which way was north Harry thought as he hurried to catch up with Snape. But at least he would know if passage changed directions.
"Can't you disapperate out of here?" Harry ducked his head quickly to avoid a jutting rock.
"I could but you cannot," said Snape shortly.
"But," Harry began.
"Potter, I could leave but I could not return because I do not know where we are." Snape admitted reluctantly.
"Couldn't you make a magical marker or something to find your way back…?" Harry's voice trailed off as Snape stopped and looked at him with contempt.
"I would have thought," he turned and continued walking. "After four years of associating with Miss Granger, you would have developed her habit of reading ahead in your lessons." Snape paused slowing his pace cautiously as the passage opened up to an area the size of a small room. "Apperition requires specific references. You can't apperate to someplace you've never been or have no knowledge of where it is geographically. On the slim chance I might be able to get back here with a magical reference, this is a very narrow space…I would most likely end up splinching myself into a stone wall."
Harry turned away to look around and to hide a grin at the thought of Snape stuck inside the stone. "Where do you think this place is?"
"My guess would be Gringott's. Or specifically the tunnels under Gringott's." Snape turned carefully around examining the walls of the small area. He shook his head and scowled.
"But it doesn't feel like Gringott's," Harry shivered slightly. It was cold he could see his breath as he spoke.
"No, it doesn't," Snape gave Harry a sharp look.
Harry stared back at him. "It feels more like a cave in a mountain than one underground." He stated simply. "It's cold in the caves of Gringott's but not this cold." Harry turned to examine the walls. "And there's no water seeping from above."
Snape nodded in agreement. "You could be right." He muttered. "I know of several such places." Harry looked back and saw Snape's face suddenly grow wary.
"What?" Harry asked.
"Voldemort sent us here. He changed the portkey's destination." Snape looked around like he was expecting Voldemort to step out of the shadows. "This is one of his hideouts. I have heard the Death Eaters talk of such a place but I'm still not sure where it is. He only let us Death Eaters know what we needed to know," said Snape.
"So he will be coming after us?" Harry asked looking down the passages as if expecting to see Voldemort hurling toward them.
"I am surprised he isn't here all ready." Snape continued to examine the walls of the grotto. "Tell me about that spell you used back there Potter." The Potions Master's words were casual but Harry heard a tension in the voice.
"It kind of popped into my head," Harry kept looking down the passages as he spoke. "Like an instant culmination of what I read about shield charms and other spells when I studied last year for the Triwizard Tournament."
"No shield charm could stop Avada Kedavra." Snape shook his head at his examination of the walls. "Nothing here that I can see. We better keep moving."
"No a shield charm can't. But I thought, well, the Patronus charm is like a shield too." Harry continued explaining as he followed Snape's wand light.
"That's the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard you say, Potter. The two spells have nothing in common." Snape didn't glance back.
"Yes, they do." Harry insisted and was about to say more he spun around, listening. "Wait, I thought I heard something." He whispered. Snape froze so they both could listen. The only sound Harry could hear now was the pounding of his blood in his ears. Then they both flinched. A slight scraping noise drifted down the passage from where they had come, then the sound stopped. Harry swallowed hard. Snape indicated to Harry to be silent and follow. Slowly as quietly as they could Harry and the Professor crept forward, pausing to listen every few steps. The scraping grew steadily louder.
Harry's heart pounded in his chest. His fear had come back. How could he face Voldemort again? How many times would he have to? Harry tripped on a rock jutting from the floor and fell hard. His wand clattered away. Panicking he scrambled after his wand. He would be defenseless without it. Snape stood frozen, listening. Two sets of footfalls echoed down the tunnel, getting closer. Harry picked up his wand and turned with a sick feeling of hopelessness. There was nothing more he could do. What good was his spell now? They were trapped and he didn't have the strength or the power to hold Voldemort and Malfoy off forever.
"Come on Potter," Snape pushed Harry to keep move. "I can see another grotto up a head. We can make our stand there." The Potions Master's voice didn't have much confidence in it. The two beams shone from the ends of the wands illuminated the small fissure. Fragments of a mirror like substance on the wall caused the wand light to splinter and magnify. The rays bounced and reflect around Harry and Snape throwing the room into light as bright as day. The sight dazzled Snape and Harry for a moment. Another time, perhaps another place this would have been beautiful. Harry thought. But in the here and now, all he could fill his mind with was, this was a pretty place to die. Snape's voice penetrated Harry's ominous thoughts.
"How did you conjure that wall?" Snape held his wand ready to try. Perhaps Snape's spell would be stronger Harry thought with some hope returning.
"I thought of my mother's arms around me, protecting me." Harry saw a curious flash of pain in Snape's eyes. "And I read, to use Avada Kedavra you had to be in the same room as your target. So I used a construction spell to create a room to shield us." Harry felt a little uncomfortable explaining the spell to Snape. But the teacher added an ingredient Harry had failed to mention.
"Cemented together with love no doubt," Snape sighed and lowered his wand seemingly frustrated, his eyes fixed on the tunnel with the growing sounds of footfalls. "You will have to attempt it again." He pointed at the opening with his wand. "Before he gets here. At least it will buy us time." Snape added seeing Harry's doubtfulness.
Harry stared for a moment then nodded. Lifting his wand to shoulder height he concentrated first on Voldemort attempting to kill his mother. Fear and dread coursed through his body as pictured the scene in his mind. Harry heard the footsteps echoing down the path, closer. Red eyes glinted in the darkness and a glint of light revealed another raised wand. Once again, Harry felt his mother's arms encircle him, protecting. "ancile patroniam aedifico munio !" Harry waved his wand around the small area. A solid wall of stone rose from the floor and reached to the ceiling of the cave.
Two voices uttered the same harsh spell Avada Kedavra. A rushing sound along with a flash of green light crashed into the wall throwing Harry and Snape to the stone ground. Harry gripped his wand tighter focusing his entire mind on his mother's embrace. A roar of fury emanated from the other side of the wall. A torrent of spells pounded at the barrier shaking the floor and walls.
Harry struggled to maintain the wall but he felt his control failing. On his knees he tried to keep his wand raised but the hail of spells became stronger more focused, ramming into one spot with increasing force, shaking the ground beneath him. Harry was thrown to the ground, flat on his stomach. The wall buckled. A cry of trumph could be heard as Voldemort cast the spell to destroy the barrier. Another spell was cast at the same time. Quietly, almost whispering Snape pointed his wand at the ceiling above Voldemort and the Death Eater as the wall fell.
Harry saw the rock above Voldemort crack instantly into countless fragments. Bits of stone and rock knock the two hooded figures to the ground. Before Harry could even feel relieved, the rubble continued to pour down from above and a cloud of dust surged toward him as the debris continued to crash down. He clambered to his feet and had just started for the tunnel opening when the wall of stone and dust pushed him to his knees.
Something hard hit his back, knocking the wind out of him. Harry's wand flew from his hand. He saw his wand through the dust filled air, caught up in a swirl of stones against the wall. He struggled to breath not having the strength to rise against the flow of gravel. Harry was vaguely aware of Snape in the dust, just at the tunnel opening, looking anxious, trying to get back to help him. Another wave of boulders pushed by Harry. He tried to get out of the way but as he turned he was sandwiched between two large moving shapes. The stones came to a sudden halt and Harry banged his head against the front one and blackness followed the pain.
It hurt so much, his whole body. He needed air. Harry tried to draw a deep breath but a sharp pain in his chest made him cough. More pain shot down every limb. Harry didn't even have the breath to moan. He gulped air and dust filled his mouth and nose sending him into a coughing fit. Harry tasted blood as he spat out the dirt. He became aware of somebody's hand on his head supporting him as he coughed. It helped him ease back down. With great effort Harry opened his eyes. A blurry figure was barely visible in the dim light of a single wand. His glasses were gone. He tried to lift his left hand to rub dirt out of his eye but something held it still.
"Lie still, Potter." A familiar voice penetrated the fog in Harry's brain. He felt Snape wipe his left eye with something. "Better?" The kindness in voice concerned Harry. For Snape to be this nice to him, he must be hurt bad.
"Is he gone?" Harry whispered.
"If Voldemort isn't gone. He's taking a long time to get to us." Snape answered. Now Harry could feel Snape digging around him. "I'll have you out of here in just few minutes."
Out of where? He wondered. Harry raised his head slightly and gasped. Though very blurry, he could see his body from the waist down was buried in stone and rock. His left arm was bandaged tightly to a splint. No wondered he hurt all over. He closed his eyes and dropped his head back and regretted it a moment later as he bumped his already aching head against the hard stone. Another surge of pain seemed to irritate every nerve in his body. He surrendered to the tiredness in his body and drifted off into a pain-filled sleep.
When Harry awoke the pain was still there. Harry opened his eyes. His glasses were back on his nose. He looked down and saw he was free of the rubble. A sharp pain made him moan and clutch at his stomach. Snape appeared from somewhere. The sallow face was covered with dirt smudges and his black robes looked gray. "My stomach hurts."
"I could not give this to you while you were unconscious or sleeping." Snape held the tiniest vile he had ever seen to Harry's lips. "It should ease the pain. Lay still." Harry felt three drops trickle into his mouth. The pain lessened.
"Thanks." Harry felt no desire to try to get up. But he looked around. They were in a space no bigger than his cupboard under the stairs. He saw a space in the rubble Snape was trying to clear. "How long will that take?" Harry asked.
"It takes as along as it takes. It depends on many factors Potter." Snape's voice trailed off. "It is the only plan I have right now."
Harry wondered if he could last that long. He knew he was hurt bad, beyond Snape's skill to heal with just a wand. The potion had not completely blunted the pain in his stomach and his breathing was still difficult. He felt broken. In both body and spirit. He saw no way out.
"Why don't you just go? Disapperate," Harry told him. "Go on."
"I told you why. I would never find my way back to you." Snape snapped.
"I don't think that matters. I won't last." Harry swallowed the dust in his throat. "I have learned enough about first aid in muggle school to know, I probably have internal injuries and I'm most likely going into shock."
"And what do you think will happen to me if I return with no Harry Potter in tow?" Snape said quietly but didn't wait for an answer. "Many doubt my loyalty to Dumbledore and will think I helped Voldemort dispose of you. Not the least being your godfather."
Harry didn't know what to say. Snape had risked everything for him but Harry hurt too much to be grateful at the moment. "It's cold in here." He whispered.
Snape stood up and took off his traveling cloak. Gently he covered Harry with it. "Get some rest while the potion lets you." Snape turned and went back to the hole he was working on.
The cloak held more warmth than Harry ever thought could come from Snape's body. But it felt good and made him sleepy. Harry watched the light from the wand bob up and down as Snape used magic to move rubble and shore up the sides of the dig. Then he yawned and fell asleep.
A spasm of pain woke Harry. He cried out seizing his stomach. He wanted to curl in a ball but his legs wouldn't let him. Snape had his hands on Harry's shoulder trying to make him lay back.
"I wish I could do more for you." He wiped the sweat from Harry's face. "I have no more potion. As a Death Eater one carries poisons and causes pain not relieves it. It would have given me away as a spy. I carried that one small vile carefully hidden. And I have no ingredients to make more." Snape seemed to have the need to explain his failing.
Harry tried to say something but Snape shook his head to indicate he hadn't heard and leaned closer. "My trunk. In my pocket." Harry managed hoarsely. He felt a hand in his pocket and Snape draw out the tiny trunk and set it down on the stone ground.
"Engorgio!" Snape pointed his wand and Harry's trunk sprang to full size. Snape opened it and rummaged around. He pulled out a cauldron, a set of brass scales and glass vials and put them beside the trunk. Then he drew out Harry's supply of potion ingredients. After searching through the stock he looked annoyed. "You are out of many things, Potter." He growled forgetting his student was injured.
"I didn't see the point of getting more until the start of term after the holiday. So the ingredients would be fresh and not sit all summer." Harry said weakly.
Snape clenched his teeth. This wasn't going to be easy. He started a fire under the cauldron with a poke of his wand and began adding items. After about ten minutes, Snape ladled some of the black mixture into a vial to cool. He kept testing the temperature of it but touching the glass. Finally he brought it over to Harry.
"This is the best I can do with what I have." Snape still seemed annoyed. He helped Harry swallow the tarry potion.
To Harry's surprise it tasted quite good. He felt his pain lessen slightly and his head clear. "What was that anyway?" Harry asked.
"A potion for women in labor." Snape snorted at the shocked look on his student's face. Then the Potions Master eased down against the wall, stretching out his legs. He yawned and fell asleep almost instantly.
Harry saw how much tunnel Snape had cleared. He was a lot farther than Harry would have thought. But wasn't like he had to physically move the debris, Harry reasoned. Lying there, Harry felt the pain not necessarily lessen but that he didn't mind it so much any more. He wondered if the Dursleys were safe. Not that he liked them very much but he didn't want them dead. Was Voldemort under the rubble there? He looked at the pile opposite Snape's tunnel. Malfoy must certainly be dead. He had been directly under the falling rocks. Would Voldemort survive? Would he? Harry really didn't think he could hang on much longer. He was so tired of pain. So tired of being the target. He closed his eyes.
When Harry opened his eyes again he saw Snape working on the tunnel. Another wave of pain radiated through Harry's body and he sobbed for it to stop. In a second Snape was at his side helping him take more of the potion.
"Where's my wand?" Harry gasped. For some reason he wanted his wand in his hand when he died.
"Here, I found it when I was digging." Snape seem to understand Harry's need to hold it. He placed the wand in Harry's right hand.
"This isn't my wand." Harry said vaguely. He brought it up in front of his face to look at the wand. The potion had eased the pain again. This wand was yew. It took a moment for the significance of this to sink in. "This is Voldemort's wand." He said with awe. He looked at Snape. A look of wonder crossed the professor's face. "Does this mean?" Harry whispered, almost afraid to even hope it, let alone say it.
"I don't know." Snape looked at the place Voldemort would be buried. Then he sighed. What ever it meant his immediate problem hadn't changed. He looked back at the tunnel. Harry saw how exhausted Snape appeared.
"How long have we been here? Harry asked.
"About six hours," Snape answered sitting down with his back against the wall again.
"Six hours!" Harry echoed then whispered. "It seems like forever." He saw Snape snort and nod. The man was too tired to answer. Strange to be here with Snape and not minding it so much, Harry thought. He studied the professor sitting with his eyes closed. Dumbledore trusts him. It was one thing he wanted to know before he died. He cleared his throat. Snape opened his eyes.
"Do you need some water, Potter? I extracted some from the rubble." He rose and brought a vial of liquid over and helped Harry sip it. It tasted dusty.
"Thanks," Harry was exhausted by the effort but he didn't want to sleep again. After Snape had eased back down Harry asked. "I asked Professor Dumbledore once why he trusted you but he wouldn't tell me. Would you?" Snape stared at him for such a long time that Harry thought he wasn't going to answer.
"I guess you should know." Snape grudgingly admitted. Another long moment passed before the Potions Master started to speak again. "I come from a very old, very strict wizarding family. I was brought up to believe pure wizard blood was better than muggle born or half-breed. When he was in school my father joined forces with Voldemort as the Dark Lord was gaining power, one of his first followers. He was proud to offer me to the Dark Lord for his servant too. At the age of eight, the dark mark was burned into my arm. I dare not cry out. It would have shamed my father if I had done so." Snape's face was mask like as he talked.
"So I entered Hogwarts already a Death Eater. Which did have some advantages, at least in Slytherin house." He snorted. "The first two years I was top of the class in everything. But in the last term of the third year I developed a problem with cheering charms." Snape glared at Harry who had snorted slightly.
"Professor Flitwick spent extra time with me. I even asked the head my house to help me. But for some reason I just couldn't do the cheering charms, none of them." Snape shifted uneasily. "I had to get past this. My father expected nothing less than perfection from his son. Flitwick suggest perhaps another student could help tutor me. I was ready to try anything so I agreed to let him choose someone he thought might help."
"When I came down to the charms room that evening, who was sitting there but a muggle born Gryffindor witch, Lily Evans."
"My mom?" Harry asked in awe.
"Yes, but I have mental pictures of her before that." Snape told him. "Imagine my revulsion, a mudblood helping me, a pureblood. But even though I stared with obvious hatred on my face, your mother sat gazing at me with those green eyes, those non-judgmental green eyes." Harry could see Snape returning to that day long ago.
"Hi, I'm Lily. Professor Flitwick said you needed help with cheering charms. Is that right?" She smiled
"I don't need any help from a mudblood." Snape spat. To his surprise the girl just shrugged.
"Suit yourself." Lily gathered up her things and walked to the door Snape still blocked. "Excuse me."
He about moved aside but then said. "Wait," Snape sighed. "If I don't learn this I'll fail charms."
"So you want my help?" Lily asked quietly. Snape tried to stare down those green eyes but failed miserably. He nodded curtly. "Let's get started then." She gestured for him to take a seat then sat beside him.
"Professor Flitwick told me methods he tried and since that didn't work…we'll try something else." She had place a quill and piece of parchment on the desk. "I think the first place to start is to make a list of what makes you happy."
"What?" Snape looked appalled.
"How can you cheer someone if you can't think of happy cheerful thoughts?" Lily explained. "So what makes you happy? EXCLUDING being nasty to Gryffindors or anyone else for that matter." She loaded her quill and poised it over the parchment, waiting.
Snape sat in stunned silence. Happy wasn't really in his vocabulary. Satisfied, perhaps that was close enough. He thought. "Completing a complex potion." He said carefully.
"Just to get us started, I'll put that down. But you will have to come up with something better than that." Lily wrote on the list. "Think, what makes you smile?"
"Being alone." Snape said after a brief pause.
Lily shook her head. "I don't think you understand. What make you laugh until your sides hurt? That's what I'm looking for."
"I've never laughed that much." Snape said tersely. "Not even at Gryffindor."
"Never?" Lily asked awed. "No wonder you're having problems with cheering charms." She sighed and looked thoughtful at the single item on the list. "I think our goal now is to fill up this list."
Snape came back to the present and looked at Harry. "Lily tried and tried. But nothing she came up with could 'tickle my fancy' as she put it." He sighed. "Lily was such a sweet person with unlimited patience with my foul temper. To this day I don't know why she put up with me." Snape shifted on the hard ground trying to get comfortable. He gave a slight smile as memories returned. "Then one day she came in seething mad. I'd never seen her so furious. Her green eyes were flashing. I just hoped she wasn't angry with me."
"What's wrong Lily?" Snape asked warily.
"Those…those…" Lily slammed a book down on the desk. "Just who do they think they are? " She glared at Snape.
"Who?" Snape stepped back. "What happened?"
"James, Sirius and Remus all stood blocking the exit to the Gryffindor common room to stop me from coming down here to help you." She snorted. "As if they can tell me who my friends are?"
"You, …consider me your friend?" Snape stared at her in disbelief.
"Well, yes, Severus, I do." Lily answered thoughtfully.
Snape blinked take aback. "Why?"
Lily shrugged. "I like you." When a look of contempt crossed Snape's face she added. "And if for no better reason than to irritate James, Sirius and Remus." A slight smile crossed Snape's face, and then he burst out laughing.
"Quick, try a cheering charm on me!" Lily prodded. The next hour the room filled with giggles and laughter.
Snape sighed. "Even after I no longer need her help, she always spoke to me in the corridors. Even if she was with your father." He looked down at his hands. "I, on the other hand wasn't as good of friend. I felt very uncomfortable talking to her with other Slytherins around. She was muggle born. I was a pure blood. It was hard to change years of conditioning."
"But, what does that got to do with Dumbledore trusting you?" Harry found he hurt less if he was distracted.
"It was on her word that he accepted my return to his side." Snape said quietly.
"What?" Harry gasped.
"It was our last year at Hogwarts. I had been and active Death Eater the summer prior." Snape shifted uncomfortable. "One muggle killing, I'll never forget. The young woman looked so much like Lily." He went silent then with difficulty spoke. "What if it had been her house, her family? Would I been able to carry out the Dark Lord's orders? The thought of not being able to scared me. I had seen what Voldemort does to the disobedient." Snape shuddered ever so slightly.
"I had been distant to Lily all year. I had to pretend to have nothing to do with her. My life and hers depended on it." Snape said. "I could tell it hurt her but I felt powerless to change." He sighed.
"Then on the night before graduation, an owl brought me a note from Lily, asking me to meet her very early the next morning in a little clearing just inside the Forbidden Forest." Snape sighed again. "I knew it would probably be the last time I would ever see and speak to her so I agreed."
"Severus! I'm so glad you came!" Lily's smile was genuine but sad.
"I'm glad to see you too, Lily." Snape said.
"I wanted to say goodbye. And I knew it would put you in a difficult position trying to do so in the castle." Lily said gently.
"I appreciate that. And I'm glad to have the opportunity to say goodbye to you too." Snape felt his words were stiff and didn't convey the feelings he really wanted to show. But it was the best he could do. Tomorrow he would be in Voldemort's inner circle. At his father side he would take his place. He saw the sadness in Lily's eyes. But her face showed no sign of accusation or blame. He had expected a lecture almost. But he didn't know why. It wasn't Lily's way.
"I know, Severus, that our paths are taking us on two very different roads." She looked him straight in the eyes and held his gaze. "Yours, I feel will be the most difficult." She wouldn't let him look away. "I just wanted you to know. I believe you have the power to do anything you want to do. There is so much more to you than even you realize."
Lily looked down and fumbled in her robes for something. "I made this a long time ago. Before I knew I was a witch." She held up a fine chain with a teardrop crystal hanging from it. "It's only quartz, but I polished it myself. And at distance it looks very clear. But if you look closely you can see little fissures in the stone. And there's a very fine line of gold inside." She held it out to him. "I want you to have this, to remember me."
"I could never forget you, Lily." Snape said quietly.
"Then to remember the laughter we once shared." Lily blinked hard to keep her tears back. She placed the necklace in his hand closing his fingers around the stone and held his hand until she caught his eyes again. "We all have choices to make. If you are faced with a difficult decision, remember me, I will believe in you, always." She lightly kissed his cheek, turned and swept away, back to the castle.
Snape remained gazing at the place she had stood, frozen. He tightened his fist on the stone wanting to fling it into the forest but he knew he didn't have the strength to throw away the only love anyone had ever shown him.
"Two years passed when I started hearing the name Potter from Voldemort, I became worried." Snape told Harry. "I knew Lily had married him." Snape scowled. "But it wasn't until my father said Voldemort was waiting for the child to be born that I knew he was planning to kill your father and you. And I knew I could not take part in anything that would hurt Lily."
"You were in love with my mother?" Harry felt repelled by the very idea.
"In love?" Snape shook his head slowly. "No, not in love. But I did love her, deeply." He rubbed his face, smearing the dirt around.
"At first I didn't know what to do. I thought of going to Dumbledore but I wasn't sure he would believe me. Then one day as I was looking for a quill in my desk I spotted the necklace Lily had given me. I held it in my hand the way she had placed it. Remembering that day. Perhaps she had charmed it in some way because I felt a courage in myself I never had before. I thought of sending an owl to her asking her if she would go to Dumbledore with me. But I was afraid it might be intercepted. So I went to see her. I hid until I saw your father left then knocked on the door." Snape shook his head
"Anyone else seeing me standing at their front door would have probably screamed or tried to curse me. Not Lily. She cried my name and gave me a hug right there on the front step. Which was difficult for her because she was very pregnant. She pulled me inside and served me tea and cakes.
"When I told her why I had come she smiled and said she knew. She looked at me closely and told me I couldn't have it both ways. It would have to be one or the other. I sighed and nodded. We apperated to Hogsmead separately. I took a room at the inn and waited while she went to Hogwarts to get Dumbledore. I was very nervous. I had always respected Dumbledore even if Voldemort often spoke disparagingly about him. But I had never talked with him face to face."
"Finally after two long hours Dumbledore appeared in my room." Snape said. "He questioned me about my intentions for hours. I could tell he still wasn't convinced. Finally I told him several names of people I knew were Death Eaters. And that I knew there was a spy among Potter's friends. The knowledge definitely was new to him. But I didn't have a name to give him. Voldemort closely guarded the identity of this Death Eater. I didn't think even my father knew who the spy was." He paused for a long moment.
"Then Dumbledore asked me to become a spy for him, to continue the roll as a faithful servant of the Dark Lord. I took a long time answering. It would be to walk the very edge of death on both sides. Dumbledore said he would not hold it against me if I refused. Finally I told him I would do ask he asked. But I said, if I received word Voldemort was going after Lily and her family, I will do everything to protect her." Snape looked up.
"Dumbledore sat staring at me for a long time then said. 'When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends'. An old muggle expression, Japanese I believe. Your friend is Lily and her character is unquestionable.' And that sealed his belief that I truly had left Voldemort. A couple Death Eaters' names and Lily's good word." Snape became very quiet.
"I'm glad you told me." Harry said hoarsely breaking the long silence that had followed. Snape looked at the tunnel and stood up and didn't acknowledge Harry's words.
"I should be reaching the mouth of the tunnel soon. And hopefully there will be a way out from there." He walked back and disappeared inside the narrow fissure he had carved through the loose stone.
Harry laid thinking of Snape and his mother. Snape had risked everything for her. Harry noticed his trunk standing open. He still had Voldemort's wand. "Accio will." He whispered. A roll of parchment flew out of the trunk into his hand. It was a strange shimmering material very different from the rolls they used at school. With difficulty using one hand he rolled it opened. It read.
I, Harry Potter, being of sound mind and body, do hereby bequeath the following.
The gold in my Gringott's vault to be split three ways; a third going to Hermione Granger, a third going to Ronald Weasley and a third going to Molly and Arthur Weasley for making me a part of the family.
To Ronald Weasley, the best friend a person could ever have, I bequeath my Firebolt and the invisibility cloak.
To Hermione Granger, my best 'girl' friend, I bequeath my owl Hedwig and my sneaker scope.
To Rubeus Hagrid, my very first friend, I bequeath my wand, penknife and the model of the Hungarian Horntail from the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. And you can have the Monster Book of Monsters back.
To My Godfather Sirius Black I bequeath the photo album of my parents, the egg from the second task of the Triwizard Tournament and I also give to him my most valuable possessions; my friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. It is my wish you become their Godfather too.
The rest of my possessions: the people named in this will may split between them or sell them as they see fit.
Harry sighed painfully. When he had return to the Dursleys' he had wondered what would happen to his gold if he had died at the hands of Voldemort. Harry sent Hedwig to Gringott's asking this very question. The Goblin Meefark had replied that without a will, the Dursely's , being Harry's only living relatives, would be given the muggle equivalent of his vault value minus administrative fees. Meefark urged Harry to file a will with them and had enclosed the roll of enchanted parchment for the making of a will. All Harry had to do was speak to the parchment and his words appeared on the page in proper legal terms. Only Harry's voice could make changes or magically sign the form. And an exact duplicate of this document would appear on a parchment at Gringott's.
Taking as deep of breath as he could Harry whispered, "In addition, as at this moment my death seems imminent, I want to exonerate Severus Snape of any responsibility of my death. He stood by my side fighting Voldemort, whose wand I now hold in my hand, when he could have disapperated. He is working now to dig us out of this cave. Severus Snape at the very least should be given a hero's welcome from everyone. Signed Harry Potter".
Harry let the roll snap close and felt the pain washing over him again. Harry didn't want to cry out again but it hurt so much. He wished he would just pass out from the agony. He tasted salt from his tears and drew a gasping breath. It can't be much longer he thought, he hoped. In his pain delirium Harry reached for the wand beside him.
"This isn't my wand," Harry moaned. "I need my wand." He thrashed his head back and forth. A louder voice came from his pain fever. "I want my wand,"
"Potter, drink some of this,' Snape was at his side pressing a vial to Harry's lips.
"My wand, find my wand, Please," Harry begged him.
"I have it, Potter, I found it while digging," Snape placed the wand in Harry's hand which still clutched Voldemort's wand.
When the two wands touched a beautiful sound filled the small cave. Harry felt the warmth of the tones wash over him, easing the pain and strengthening him. It was phoenix song. A ball of fire blazed above Harry and Snape then a crimson bird as big as a swan burst out of the center. Snape ducked aside to give the scarlet bird wing room. The phoenix hovered for a moment then landed beside Harry with a scrape of claws against stone.
"Hello, Fawkes." Harry stared into the black beady eyes. The phoenix blinked and let out quivery note and leaned its head over Harry's face. Instinctively Harry opened his mouth. He felt a trickle of pearly tears slide down his throat. With every drop the pain in his body seemed to retreat then Harry swallowed and the pain vanished completely. One couldn't really appreciate the absent of pain Harry thought as he slowly sat up. "Thanks Fawkes," He stroked the bird's brilliant plumage.
"Easy does it Potter," Snape helped Harry to his feet. "At least now you can help dig." He said tersely.
"The sooner were are out of here the better, Professor." Harry stared at Snape. Was that a smile playing around the Potions Master's lips? Harry shook his head as he followed Snape down the narrow tunnel being cleared. His head must still be foggy.
In a short time Harry and Snape broke into the main tunnel and was clear of the rubble. The phoenix fluttered into the air and soared in front of them leading the way.
"Wait my trunk," Harry said. Snape went with him to help pack. Harry found this side cooperative side of Snape a little disconcerting. Harry put out the fire and placed the cauldron back into the trunk, taking care to not put anything inside since it still had potion in it. Snape had gone to pick up his cloak on the ground. A roll of parchment fell out. He unrolled it.
"Hey, that's mine," Harry said and tried to snatch it out of Snape's hands but the Potions Master evaded him and continue to read the parchment. Harry glared at him. Then quietly Snape rolled the page up and handed it to him without saying a word about the parchment.
"Let's get out of here," Snape said gruffly. "Give me a book and I'll make a portkey when we get outside."
Harry assumed one needed similar reference for a portkey like apperation. He didn't even want to look like he didn't know this though. He dug in his trunk for his potions' book then closed the lid and locked the trunk.
"Redusio," Snape shrunk the trunk and Harry picked up and pocketed it. Fawkes was waiting for them at the tunnel opening. The phoenix glided ahead of them, his scarlet feathers giving off a soft glowing light. The passage opened onto a very narrow path high on the side of a mountain. The phoenix soared into the sky and let out another pure note then burst out of sight in a flash of flames. The sun glowed blood red sinking into the forest in front of them at the foot of the mountain range.
Harry laid his wand on his hand and muttered. "Point me." It spun around to point Harry's right. "That's north."
"Handy spell," Snape took out his wand and held out his hand for the book. He raised an eyebrow at Harry for using the potions book but didn't say anything. Snape waved his wand over the book chanting an incantation. Then he nodded at Harry that it was ready and held it out. Harry gave one backward glance and then touched the book. He felt the familiar hook just behind his navel and the pull forward. The world disappeared in a whirl of color and wind.
The world reappeared with a jolt. Harry fell on a grassy patch. He looked up to see the gates of Hogwarts flanked by statues of winged boars. He breathed a sigh of relief to see the castle. Snape tapped the gates with his wand and they opened. Harry got to his feet and followed the Potions Master up the lane to the castle.
Snape suddenly stopped and turned on Harry. "This little incident does not mean I have changed my opinion of you, Potter," He snarled.
Harry glared back at Snape. "What? You think just because I know you loved my mother that I'm going to smarm up to you?" Harry snorted in contempt. "Not bloody likely." A look of surprise crossed Snape's face and Harry knew this time he had seen a smile twitching at the thin lips. Quickly Snape schooled his features to a stern look.
"Just so we know were we stand, Potter." Snape whirled around and continued walking toward the castle. But Harry had seen the amused look lingering in the man's cold dark eyes. This next year at Hogwarts would be interesting. Harry thought as he hurried up the path to the castle.
Never explain--your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.
Elbert Hubbard (1856 - 1915)