A Snivellus-Marauders Story and Sequel to "The Best Actor in the World"
Written and Illustrated by Atana (See the drawings by clicking the link on her Profile page)
"I will watch you in the darkness
Show you love will see you through
When the bad dreams wake you crying
I'll show you all love can do
All love can do.
I will watch by the night
Hold you in my arms
Give you dreams where no one will be
I will watch through the dark
Till the morning comes
For the lights will take you
Through the night to see
All love, showing us all love can be.
I will guard you with my bright wings
Stay till your heart learns to see
All love can be."
-- "All Love Can Be," song by James Horner from the film "A Beautiful Mind"
Chapter 1 - Soul Searching
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, hadn't really looked forward to the opening of the 1977-78 school year.
Not by a long chalk.
Severus Snape, Slytherin House's top Seventh-Year student, had recently volunteered to join the Death Eaters to help Dumbledore and the forces of Light defeat Lord Voldemort. Brought up in a Dark family himself, Severus had been raised to become the former Tom Riddle's acolyte by his abusive father. Snape Senior was abusive no more, however, due to the intervention of Albus Dumbledore. In fact, Snape Senior had recently experienced a very close encounter with a Dementor and had joined the Shake and Drool set at Azkaban Prison, much to his battered and long-suffering family's great relief.
Since the child's first year at Hogwarts, Albus had become the father Severus should have had. Though arriving far too late in his life to heal the boy's most grievous emotional wounds, the Headmaster's kindness had touched the young Slytherin's heart and had won Albus a devoted supporter in the fight against the Dark forces now seeking to bring Wizardkind to its knees.
After all, Albus had known about that prophecy foretelling the last great battle between Voldemort and a yet unknown "Child of Light". Inherent in the unfolding of future events was the able assistance of a similarly-unknown "Dark Child". It had been more than suggested by the portent that the Child of Light would prevail only with his or her assistance. Albus had concluded several years ago that Severus Snape might well be this Dark Child, and had shared his thoughts with the teenager. It had all but broken Dumbledore's heart when the emotionally crippled boy had more or less given his young life away by agreeing to become the Headmaster's spy.
The relationship between them had been far from one-sided, however. Albus had protected Severus not only from his father's abuse and his mother's abandonment, but from his own demons as well. The Headmaster had helped and nurtured the troubled student through suicide attempts and hospitalizations. Perhaps it had been no accident that young Snape had needed a parent who would love rather than abandon or abuse him, and that the Headmaster had needed a son in spite of his decision not to expose a family of his own to the dangers implicit in being the greatest White wizard in the world.
All of the above had left Dumbledore with an unsettled heart and a conscience that troubled him unduly. Shortly before the opening day Feast, the Headmaster of Hogwarts had sought some quiet telepathic time with a very old friend of his.
Myrddin of Carmarthen, old friend! I am in need of your counsel. I feel terrible guilt for what I have said to an innocent child.
Talk to me, then.
I have traded his life away so that I might have a source of information -- a spy – against Voldemort.
He traded it away. I know this boy's heart through you.
He will lead a terrible life because of me.
He already leads one.
I will ruin his life because he loves me.
The child is already broken, Albus. Your love can only help him.
I feel that he has been getting better of late.
No. He remains lost. You cannot mend his soul.
He is only a schoolboy!
Severus has a very old soul.
He has the chance to live a happy life without spying for me.
He does not, Albus, and never did. This child has drowned in Darkness all his life.
I pray that Severus will have a better future.
Without you to care for him, he will attempt suicide once more.
I cannot be sure of that.
I can, old friend.
Are you positive?
Without you, he will die at his own hand ere he reaches the age of twenty.
I tell Severus that I love him, yet I willingly expose him to perils beyond description.
This boy knows Darkness already. There is not much of evil he hasn't already seen and experienced. You flatter yourself.
I feel like a liar.
Feelings are not facts, Albus. You have told him what life as a spy will be like.
Why has he decided to join the side of Light?
Your Dark child has no one but you. You are Light. He seeks to emulate you.
It can't be that easy to figure out.
Well, perhaps you are right. He longs for love; dreams of belonging; prays for acceptance.
I hope I provide at least some of that for him.
You do, and will give him even more.
You are giving him the chance to redeem himself.
I don't know how to give him redemption. It is beyond me.
Don't slight yourself, Albus. You are giving him the chance to save his eternal soul.
One more question. Why is my Dark child willing to die for the side of the Light?
Because he loves you, foolish wizard!
Is it that simple?
No. It never is.
Thank you for easing my heart.
Be at peace, old comrade. And don't be such a stranger.
"Excuse me, Albus?" said Assistant Headmistress Minerva McGonagall, rapping smartly on his wooden door. "Nearly time. Best be off to the Great Hall."
The old man sighed and sat up straight, groaning at the creaking of arthritic joints. The vagaries of Old Age could be annoying, sure enough; but such concerns would have to await later contemplation.
Albus Dumbledore didn't have just one child, you see. He had over a thousand of them.
He rose and strode out the warded doors of his office to greet them once again.