Name: Alternate 02
Source: Crumbling Pedestal, Post-Voldemort

Notes: One look at how Heru might have explained the prophecy, after the fact.

Responses: Please check my profile for the location of review responses. (In this case, it'll show up in the CP section.)

Severus shifted on the couch and glanced over, one brow slightly arched.

"What is it?" Heru asked, knowing that look.

"I allow that I am curious about something. Now that Voldemort is gone, I have to wonder how you would interpret the prophecy made about the two of you."

Heru blinked and rubbed the back of his neck. "I suppose I had not really given it much thought beyond the obvious. I can try, though." After a minute of silence he said, "I'll just take it line by line."

Severus nodded and shifted again, turning to face Heru more distinctly.

"The power to vanquish. Vanquish can mean a lot of things. Obviously, it does not have to mean death, though in this case it ended up that way. Really, all it means is I had the ability—some particular ability or abilities—to defeat him in some fashion such that he was no longer a threat to the wizarding world."

Severus nodded, so Heru continued, "The second line is obvious. However, the only reason he came after me—that I know of—is that he was able to subvert Peter. Who served as the Secret Keeper for the Longbottoms? Was that person ever in any danger of being handled as Peter was? So, in one sense, it was sheer chance that it was I he came after first. I have no doubt that once he was able to finish me off, he would have focused on getting at them as well. That way, it wouldn't matter which one of us it was. On the other hand, it might well have been me specifically. I have no way of knowing if Fate or Opportunity, whatever you would like to term it, had this as a part of the grand plan. I mean, where does prophecy spring from, anyway?"

"That sounds reasonable."

"It's the next line that I find interesting. You see—and you may recall this from when I first admitted who I was—the founders determined that a great deal of my power was locked away. They didn't understand why I had so much trouble with certain spells, yet was curiously advanced in other aspects. They determined it was the scar. So, in a backhanded sense, Voldemort did mark me as his equal. He bought me down to his level."

Severus smirked slightly.

"Granted, that did make me a parselmouth, which, in a way, was also an equaling factor. The bit about the power he knows not, though. . . . That could refer to several things, I suppose. The prophecy said "he will have" not that I did. And at that point, when he marked me, I did not. So, once the scar was dealt with, all that I was became available. More power, certainly. Also divination, though I'm not sure that was terribly important. The knowledge of ancient spells, however, was. Sight, spell-weaving. . . . All of those things played a role."

Heru brushed the hair back from his forehead and looked pensive for a moment. "I suppose things could have turned out differently. We might have found a different way." He shrugged and focused on Severus again. "The next bit, well. That spells out death pretty clearly, but not who is responsible. You could say that I am the mysterious other, because technically I'm not Harry Potter, and technically I am the cause of his death. And, of course, I am also responsible for Voldemort's death."

Heru shook his head and stared at the ceiling. "The same goes for the second half of that line. But really, assuming other means either me or Voldemort, then all it really means, I suppose, is that one of us had to die, and it had to be the other of us who did the killing, killing the other. Sometimes I wonder if I made it out alive so often because I simply couldn't die, unless it was by his hand directly."

"As for that bit on surviving. . . . What is that? What does it mean? Is survival simply existing? Is it passing on one's genes, as I did, where he did not? With his death, I can live a normal life, more or less. I don't entirely think that survival is living." Heru arched a brow at his mate.

"I understand your distinction."

"I do not exactly count Caedryn and Mark under the mantle of passing on one's genes, though it does serve that purpose. I think you know I mean Servius, Tychon, and Anselm. If you think about it, I survived his actions. Yes, I stopped him first year, but it was Quirrel who was the agent. Voldemort himself was basically untouched. I simply thwarted him. Second year, it was a memory, half his soul. Thwarted again, but he was harmed that time, but not in such a way that prevented him from keeping on. Fourth year, I survived by putting him off guard, and then again by choosing to move forward. He got back his own by being reborn at my expense, so I think that made us even."

"It wasn't until I came back that the balance changed drastically. And, well, you know all of that. I was more than his equal in power, blood, knowledge, and so on. And I had the good sense to see you for what you were, not what I once thought you were. I suppose that some might think that the power was love, but . . . I would like to think you would have aided me simply as my friend."

"I believe I would have, yes. But, it goes without saying, even though I shall, that I am quite happy with how things turned out." Severus's mouth curled up at one corner as his eyes gleamed.

"Perhaps we should go talk about that in more detail, eh?"