Title: Divine Manipulation
Author: Unspoken Tragedy
Spoilers: All five books, particularly OOTP and POA
Disclaimer: I don't believe I own a thing. Do you?
Summery: "The thing is- the problem is- you. We don't trust you, Snape." A spy must always be careful that he not outlive his usefulness. Voldemort isn't the only one who'd do anything to win this war.
A/N: Inspired by random thoughts, a discussion on spies and the new Rob Thomas CD. Enjoy.
He knew something wasn't right when he entered Grimmauld Place's large conference room reserved for Order meetings. The others were already seated around the long table watching the door expectantly, as if waiting for his arrival. Which they probably are, he mused as they watched him seat himself. Dumbledore's left. The seat had been left for him, apparently.
"Is there something the matter, Albus? I don't recall any circumstances rendering me late for this meeting. So it only goes to show that it has already begun without my presence."
"Now, Severus, I know you don't trust me..." the old man started.
"This isn't about trust," he snapped looking at the other Order members staring at him cautiously. "Or maybe it is. What is it that I have done this time?" His eyes flitted over at Lupin, then Molly Weasley, then Tonks. Was it some mistake or did they look... guilty?
"You haven't done anything, Severus," the Headmaster answered whilst not quite meeting his eyes.
"Then will somebody tell me what this is all about?" the dark wizard hissed turning his glaring gaze to the table before him. He didn't want to admit it, but he was worried. What was it that they were hiding from him?
"Stop saying my name like that, Albus! Just tell me what, in Merlin's name, is going on here!" He was ashamed to note that hint of desperation in his voice.
Moody, the wizard on Dumbledore's right, sighed and sent the older man a weary glance. "Look, Snape, we're tired of playing around here. There are some problems, you see, with... trust." His eyes swiveled over to Severus himself as he continued. "The thing is- the problem is- you.
"We don't trust you, Snape."
This was not news to the spy, though and he didn't want to think of where this may be leading him. "What is it you want from me?" he asked resignedly.
The Headmaster was the one to reply. "We just want the truth, Child."
"We will be questioning you... under Veritiserum," the Werewolf piped up.
"And if I don't agree to it?" Severus was sure he didn't want to know the answer.
"You don't have the choice," Bill Weasley replied softly, pointing his wand at the wizard in question. "Compingo Catenae." Thick metal chains wrapped around his limbs, trapping him to the chair.
"Albus!" he cried, "You trust me, don't you? Tell them!"
"I won't let them ask anything unnecessary."
"That isn't the point! I've been telling you the truth!"
"Then you'll be perfectly fine-" The old wizard pulled a bottle of clear liquid from the insides of his robe.
"Allowing you to take advantage of me?" He glared at his mentor, suddenly furious. "I suppose that there is one of my own concoctions. Was it I who created the sword you now impale me with?"
Dumbledore flinched. That was all the answer he needed.
"Shall we get this on with?" Lupin asked sharply, seeming to not want to be a party to this.
"You can't be-" He realized his own folly too late as the one man in the room he had ever confided in poured the liquid down his throat. He'd used far more than the required three drops. Holding the spy's mouth and nose closed, he forced the man to swallow it.
It was only moments before it took effect. He felt like screaming in his rage as his control slipped away. The one thing he'd always prided himself on, stolen by the wizards he was supposed to rely on.
"Please state your name."
"I see, down to business as usual," he sneered at Dumbledore. "Severus Dionysos Snape."
The chained wizard could feel the others' eyes, though his own never strayed from his interrogator, the one person still living that he had, for a time, trusted. "Thirty-seven."
"It seems that everything is in order," Lupin interjected. Severus glanced at him to see that Tonks, the witch to the Werewolf's left, was recording the truth serum induced conversation. He sighed inwardly.
"Where do your loyalties lie?" Dumbledore's sparkling blue eyes caught and held his own gaze.
"Not with you. Nor with Voldemort."
"And with yourself?" the other prodded.
"No, not with myself either. I spare no loyalty for those that have betrayed me." Those eyes widened and guilt flashed across the old wizard's face.
"Then who are you loyal to?" Impatience.
"Perhaps the better question would be 'to what am I loyal to'. I am loyal to none." He gripped the arm rests of the seat he was chained to. He was speaking far more than even the serum would normally induce. But the old snake had given him too much. He'd known that this was a side effect of overdose; Severus, himself, had informed the Headmaster.
"And what would your answer to the 'better question' be?"
"Justice." He wondered what the others were thinking about him now. They probably believed this the proof of his 'betrayal'.
"The innocents you destroy," he hissed, the words dragging themselves from his mouth.
The blue eyed wizard winced. "I?"
"And Voldemort," Severus corrected. "Those that you send to the treacherous hands of each other."
"What do you mean?" Severus was pleased to note that tone of despair.
"What is it that you think I mean? You both fight for your petty ideals, casting away the ones you feel unworthy to take part in your plans. You destroy to save, and believe that what you are saving is worth the destruction. And behind you lies obliteration, innocent lambs laid out for slaughter to pay for the sins of a few foolish men." His voice shook with contempt.
"Where do you lie in all of this?"
"I am the lamb that fought back. You sent me to Voldemort, he sent me to you. Both trusting that they are my puppeteer, pulling the strings to further their plans; both wrong. In the Christian Bible it is said that 'no man can serve two masters'. I serve none."
"Would you betray me?"
"According to the definition: I cannot. I hold no allegiance to you and you do not trust me." He spared a glance at the other Order members. They looked shocked and- dare he say it? - betrayed.
"Would you deceive me?" Those eyes looked like bits of ice, so cold they were. Angry, Albus? Good.
"I do every day. For what is a mask, but deceit? What is a spy, but a cleaver fraud?"
"What is it you're aiming for? The annihilation of both sides?"
"No." The potion was slowly wearing off. "They will do that perfectly well themselves."
"Then what is it that you want? Why are you still here?" He could see a dim understanding alight in the eyes of his traitorous 'ally'. Dumbledore was beginning to see why so many of the Slytherins did not join the Light, did not join the Dark, but stayed neutral. Severus had led them to the only side worth taking. The one that did not fight.
"To save the spring lambs."
There was a long moment of silence, where the Headmaster decided his fate. Yet, Severus had known it coming here tonight. He wasn't a suspicious man for nothing. There was no retirement for a spy. There was only one fate for the one that learns too much.
Gasps filled the air around him as he turned to the members of the Order of the Phoenix. Dumbledore let out a sigh. "He would have betrayed us. I do not know when we lost his loyalty..."
Alastor Moody snorted. "You know we never had it. I was right this whole time." But he was wary now. Snape had obviously not intended to harm them, he realized despite his dislike of the man.
"Yes, you're probably right," Dumbledore agreed sadly. But Moody saw through it now. And from the looks on the faces of his comrades... They were seeing through it also. They hadn't any choice now, though. There were only two sides to choose from and these have already chosen. There were only two masters to follow, and theirs was just as quick to kill the threat as the Dark's was.
"What do we do with him?" He motioned to the dead wizard, still trapped on the chair by Weasley's chains. Snape's head hung forward, long black hair obscuring his features. His elegant hands clasped the arm rests even in his eternal sleep.
"We'll take him back to the school," the Headmaster decided. "Tonks will call in the Aurors and we'll tell them he killed himself with my wand after hearing that we'd learned of his betrayal."
"So we're covering up deaths, now is it?" Remus hissed angrily. Yes, he'd always been almost fond of the dark wizard. They'd been old schoolmates after all.
"Remus," the other replied patiently, "You heard what he said. He was working against us. We have a war to win, Child.
"We cannot allow men like him to undo all we have worked so hard for."
Alastor sent the younger wizard a sharp look. "Of course not, Albus." Remus remained silent, looking like he wanted to be anywhere but the place he was.
"What next, Albus? What do we do now?" put in Tonks, effectively changing the subject.
"Now we find a new spy."
A/N: This story came to me when thinking of what happens to spies when they outlive their usefulness. My dad thinks that they are allowed to retire, but I hardly see the wisdom in that. They'd know too much by then. I believe that when they're no longer of utility, they are killed.
In this story I tried to keep from making any of the characters particularly good. I wanted them all to represent the different shades of gray.
Divine Manipulation- a shortened version of 'divine manipulation of the threads'. This, in essence, is the secret system in which the five different types of spies are at work. This system of spies is the most important faculty in a military.
Dionysos- An atypical Greek god. Unlike the other gods, he was an enigma, surrounded by mystery. His realm is shadowy, and his followers flirt with madness, drunkenness, and death. He is the god who brings wine, but also an intoxication that merges the drinker with the deity. He was connected with a certain type of cult, called a "mystery". It's from them much of him is known. In legend he was said to have died, which for a god is rather an oxymoron. Some believe he was slain, then reborn.
Compingo- (Coh-peen-goh) 'to lock'
Catenae- (Cah-teh-ne) 'chain'
Put together- 'to lock with chains'. It'd probably be more practical to simply use "to chain", but I liked the sound of this better.
Please Review. Tell me what you think.