Professor Dumbledore was standing up with a tired and grave look on his face. He had been thinking about the many implications of what had happened the night before. A step in that direction by Sage, no matter how slight, spelled danger.
McGonagall and Lupin were there as well since they had been witnesses to the entire thing. They were standing in front of the headmaster's desk to the right side.
Severus let go of his nephew's arm and then crossed both of his arms across his chest. Sage did the same thing and glared downward. He felt like he was about to be attacked.
"Why did you do this?" Dumbledore finally asked him.
Sage continued staring at the ground. Why should he need to explain himself to the man who had given him that damned case in the first place.
"Why, Mr. Snape," he repeated.
He was given no answer. Severus made a move to step towards Sage, but Dumbledore put his hand up to stop him. Sage didn't see any of it. He was staring at the ground and his breathing began to speed up. He was so confused and angry and scared all in one.
"YOU WILL NOT IGNORE ME!"
Sage jumped, he had never heard the headmaster raise his voice, much less yell. It snapped something inside of him. His heart was pounding. He thought of the prophecies, he thought of that case, he thought about his fate. He took a step forward.
"Do you want to know why?" Sage said loudly. "Because I just can't take it anymore. Everything has been lies, everything! And you left me with that case to figure it all out on my own, like some sick fucking joke." He strode forward and slammed a piece of parchment down on the desk. "That's why. Because I am going to die anyway."
He faced Severus. "Because you took me and taught me and made me think that you cared about me and my safety. But it was all lies. I am just being used" He was screaming at his uncle now. "You did nothing better than try and train me for something that I didn't ask for, just like your father did to you. You said it would be so I could control and protect myself. You lied to me. Everybody lied to me. You trained me so that I could be the one to fight Him. What if I don't want to? You didn't care about that, all you knew is that I was a Magi and that if anyone could, I could. You would put me right next to Him, not try to keep me safely hidden" He looked back to Dumbledore, "Can you read that, do you know why now? DO YOU? Because I don't have a fucking choice. I am the one the prophecy talks of. Am I supposed to be happy about that, because I'm not! I can't take any of this anymore. I can't do this anymore. I did it because it made me forget for just a few hours. It gave me back my own life. And IT FELT GOOD, because nothing mattered anymore. I wasn't plagued by thoughts. I wasn't plagued by imagining my death or the fight that I should never have to be apart of. I didn't dream of things that were to come and I couldn't remember the atrocities I saw in my dreams. Do you know what else I found out in that leather case, do you? Every single Magi recorded in there other than Merlin or Ra commited suicide. And I have stopped wondering why they did now that I know the prophecy. Every one of them couldn't handle it anymore and none of them were THE ONE like I am. I don't want to do it, do you understand, I don't want to do it!"
Dumbledore looked up from the prophecies and stared at Sage who was red-faced and fuming. The boy's big, blue eyes were piercing as his black hair framed his face. The boy had rewritten the prophecies so that any man could see them, even if they could not see the original.
Severus was in shock but still looked angry. His jaw was set tightly. His hands were now in tight fists.
McGonagall's eyes were wide-open and Lupin looked like a statue frozen with its mouth dropped.
The headmaster finished reading.
Dumbledore's face was full of comprehension and empathy was mounting on it. The man's eyebrows had fallen, his lips had opened slightly, and he looked down with his eyes only partly open. His sigh gave him away if his face did not. Dumbledore knew that Sage had deciphered what Merlin had written, and the only way he could be this upset, was if he had found out that he was the One. There was little hope that he was wrong. Not with the first line of the last part of the prophecy. He looked at Severus and then to the other professors. He took a deep breath and read aloud what Sage had written down for all to see.
The One, he will be a great Magi, a Sage to rival my powers. He will be tormented his entire life. The closer he comes to the Light, the more he will be tormented by his demons and the Dark. He will stand in the Last Fight. The triad will begin with him, united by their shared blood, but he will stand alone before the fight ends. He will be expected to do, on his own, what took over one hundred wizards before him during the last reign of darkness. He will be witness to death, destruction, and grave loss and it will all touch him with the worst pain known to mankind. During the Last Fight, as one side falls, I cannot see which, he will meet his death. He will not have seen his 25th year.
If he shall rise over darkness, all those male born of his line will share his gift. As darkness falls, the Pheonix shall rise and all will be saved.
Dumbledore looked up at Sage. He could no longer be angry with the boy over what had happened. Sage was just a child and he had given him that case without the knowledge of what it contained. He had left a child alone to read his own death written by fate. He had allowed Sage to read what his destiny was, he had sentenced him to that too early. Had he known he never would have let him read it.
"I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS!" The boy yelled again suddenly waving an arm violently. "I WON'T!"
The headmaster shook his head and sighed. He looked at Sage lightly. "You must. It is your path."
"WHY MUST I? WHY?"
Dumbledore closed his eyes. He could only guess at what the boy had been subjected to since he had read the case. He could only guess at what visions or dreams he had. "You know why already, Sage, that is why you are so upset."
The boy was huffing in and out rapidly. He said, "I don't have a choice. Because whether I do this or not, people will die. People I care about will die. If I don't fight Him, He will come here and he will kill you."
Sage was staring at Dumbledore, his face quivering with emotion.
"He will kill you to get to my uncle who betrayed Him."
His voice finally began to falter. His arms and his body began to shake. He looked at Severus who was now standing absolutely still, his face showing his shock, his mouth open.
"He will kill you slowly, torturously."
He turned to McGonagall and Lupin. "And he will kill you and you as well."
His gaze flew back to the headmaster as he said part in acidity, part in fear, and part in anger, "And he will kill me or use me. If I do nothing. And even if I do fight Him, he may still kill you all." He paused to regain his breath, which had suddenly lost him. He was beginning to feel faint again, but he forced it off of him. He ignored the fact that his body was shaking in protest, that his mind was swirling against him as well.
"In the end He will kill me, even if I kill Him as well. It doesn't matter what I do, people who I care about will die, many of them. I am going to kill people. I am going to have to kill people in order to try and save others. I don't want this. I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS. I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO DESERVE THIS. MY ENTIRE LIFE HAS BEEN BURDENED AND FILLED WITH ANGUISH AND NOW I KNOW WHY. I HATE THIS, I HATE IT." Sage began to lose color and started to look a little tipsy. He began to crumple to the floor.
Severus, anticipating a vision, grabbed him, eased him down to the floor, and knelt down next to him with his hand on one shoulder. The boy was sitting there in pain with his hand against his hand. But Sage was not having a vision, he was having something he thought even worse. His whole being was completely breaking down, falling apart, rebelling against him. Before Severus knew what was happening, Sage had grabbed on to the middle of his chest, burying his head.
Sage's voice was barely audible as he said, "I can't do this. I can't. I'm not ready. I don't want this. I didn't ask for it. Make it go away. I don't want them all to die." His voice began to falter even more as he began to cry.
Severus could feel how hot his nephew's head was right through his robes. The question, 'What do I do?' flew through his mind. A knot settled in his chest. His own head was pounding with a mounting migraine. He too, began to feel like he needed to empty his stomach. Finally his mind locked on to what his body was telling him. His body knew what he was feeling, the emotion he was experiencing, but he did not know. There were many things crossing each other in his mind. He was feeling empathy, sympathy, protectiveness. For the first time in a long time, he clearly felt that he was needed and that he himself needed.
He wrapped his arms around his nephew shieldingly. He heard Sage sob, "I'm so sorry.about it all, but I can't do it anymore. I just can't take it anymore. I don't want you to die." Sage's body was shaking violently against him. He looked down at the boy's head, it's tufts of black hair were quaking too.
Severus distinctly thought he felt his heart lurch. His mind tried to grab on to what was going on. His nephew was crying, sobbing, because of what the scroll said. He frowned as his heart lurched again. Sage was upset beyond description because he did not want the people he cared about to die. His entire chest felt flattened. His nephew, whom he had just been angry at beyond his own comprehension, had just sobbed into his chest that he did not want his uncle to die.
Suddenly normally stoical Potion's Master looked up, "Do you mind? I don't think he would want everyone to see this. Give him some privacy." The other three adults nodded mechanically and Dumbledore ushered them into another room off his office.
Severus looked back down at Sage. The boy was still mumbling all sorts of things. "Gods I can't believe I'm crying. I know I shouldn't.I shouldn't betray my emotions, I'm sorry. I can't help it. This is too much."
Severus put a hand on the boy's head, in his black hair, as Sage let it all out. "Don't be sorry that you're crying. Sometimes we need to and you need to."
The tears were beginning to soak through his clothes onto his chest as Sage closed his arms harder around him, as if he was holding on for his life. His nephew probably felt as though that were the case.
"I'm so weak. I don't want to fight Him. Oh Gods, I wish it would go away. I don't want it. It's too much. I don't want you to die. I don't want to die, uncle. I don't want to die." Sage was sobbing furiously now.
Severus' own chest was pounding because of the prophecy, at the thought of what his nephew was destined to do. That his nephew was destined to die, and die young, and die during the fight with Voldemort. He could only imagine what those same thoughts were doing to the boy. He was just a boy! Dumbledore never should have given him that case. Sage should have not read those prophecies. He was too young. His mind could barely grasp what it was being told. What should he say to a boy who was sobbing that he was afraid, that he did not want his uncle to die, that he did not want to die himself?
He stroked his Sage's soft, black hair. "I'm not going anywhere anytime soon. I'm not leaving you. Prophecies are fallible and the winds of time may change fate. Nothing is ever certain until it has happened, Sage."
Sage's body began to shake harder. His labored and furious breathing created a myriad of noises. It sounded as if he was dangerously close to hyperventilating.
"I'm, I'm so sorry I yelled at you, uncle. I'm sorry I disappointed you. I'm sorry I'm not stronger. I, I'm so sorry." The voice came from his midsection.
Severus sighed. "I understand why you did what you did. I only wish you would have told me before. I could have helped you, or tried to.I'm here now."
Sage's sobbing was still strong, but it was beginning to calm, but just slightly.
"I was just, just so angry. So angry at you. At everyone. Nobody deserved it, nobody lied to me on purpose, nobody knew. I was just, felt so, so alone, and scared, and angry."
Severus allowed his cheek to fall down onto the boy's head. His entire body felt bruised and tired. Sage had to feel even worse, worse than he had during his visions. Severus knew that emotional pains were worse than physical ones.
"The prophecy says that I was chosen as well. I was chosen to teach you, protect you, and help you. You came to me for a reason. You will not be alone."
It was a few more grueling minutes before Sage finally stopped crying and shaking. He was not letting up his hold on his uncle though. The man was his life line.
"Why does it hurt so much?" Sage said, then he sat up and looked at his uncle. "It, it hurts so much, because, because I'm so afraid."
"You will rise above it. You will learn to turn your fear into power. A Magi grows to know no fear, to know no limits. You will find your own strength. And I will help you."
* * *
Dumbledore looked through the painting onto the scene before him. The other two professors were watching as well. He sighed heavily and resituated his glasses on his nose.
"Albus, what is this prophecy," Minerva asked him, wiping the corner of the left eye.
Dumbledore's blue eyes shifted off Sage and Severus and onto the woman. He pushed his long, white hair away from his face and stroked his beard. He took in a deep, labored breath.
"Before Merlin died, he left behind a series of prophecies about a time that was to come many years after his death. About a time when the people would need his wisdom again. They were buried in time, or so that is what everyone thought. The prophecies were left in the care of Merlin's line, enveloped in case that could only be opened by a Magi. As a Magi came, the case was given to him, when he passed, the case was given back to the line of Merlin to keep until the next rose. As you have figured, it was passed on to me to hold, and I gave it to Sage. You see none of us knew what the prophecies were or what else was contained in the case. All that we knew was that the case was destined for only one of the Magi to come and that he would be born in a time where the threat of darkness was again great. I had no idea that it was Sage. I had no idea that time had come."
"But, sir, what do the prophecies say?" Lupin asked.
"They covered many things that have happened already. Of them, Harry's experience as a child, when Voldemort tried to kill him. Harry was the one in the prophecy that forced the Dark Lord down so that the One would have a chance to rise. The prophecy stated that this would mark the beginning of the formation of a triad. A triad that would fight against the Dark Lord. Sage was to be the center, the pillar of the triad. He would be linked to each of the other two by a blood relation. One would be a relation of Fawkes, the other a relation of Nag. Harry on the left.and Severus on the right. But what makes little sense is that the Magi that was to come would carry the blood of three: The Nag, Fawkes, and Merlin. The combination of power from both the light and the dark was supposed to set his power above anything the world has yet seen. But, I do not know how Sage could have the blood of Merlin."
McGonagall looked at him wide-eyed. Lupin furrowed his brow. There was only one family alive that carried Merlin's blood and Sage was not a part of it. The headmaster focused back on what was happening in his office. Severus had his hand in the boy's black hair.
"They are good for each other. Now, more than ever, they will have to learn to rely on and trust one another. Sage is going to need Severus now. He cannot handle this on his own. He was not meant to. His care fell to Severus for a reason, the prophecy speaks of it. If this is all to happen so soon, in the next ten years, he must redouble his efforts to train himself and his skills as a Magi. I fear there is still much that has not yet been revealed to us."