A/N: The beginning of this ties into another one of my stories "A Series of Firsts," which can be read here but won't be necessary for reading this fic. Honestly, it doesn't even fit in yet, as I haven't finished the chapter of that fic that corresponds to this one. But just so you know ;)

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters you read here - Severus Snape and all other characters are property of J.K. Rowling, and truth be told - the storyline practically is as well.

A/N2: The title of this is very subject to change, and suggestions are more than welcome.

October 30, 1965 - Spinner's End


A soft whisper roused 5-year-old Severus Snape from his light slumber, and he sat up in bed as his mother's wand illuminated his room in a soft white light. She was dressed in her very best dark purple dress robes, which in Severus' mind made her look very beautiful, like wizarding royalty.

"What time is it?" He whispered back quietly, rubbing his eyes with a small fist and swinging skinny legs over the side of his bed.

"Quarter to midnight," his mother replied, handing him a smaller set of green robes with a smile. "Hurry, love, or we'll be late."

The little boy slid off of his bed and silently landed on bare feet, then quickly pulled the proffered robe over his nightshirt. His mother gently smoothed his inky black, chin length hair away from his face and took his tiny hand in hers. "Remember, quiet as a mouse until the charm is cast." She murmured in a conspiring tone, before pushing his bedroom door open.

The pair made their way into an unlit room, then crossed silently through the dark house until they reached a small sitting room. Glancing around for any sign of a witness, Eileen Snape pointed her wand toward a towering bookcase and watched as it swung open, revealing a hidden flight of stairs.

Severus heard his mother begin murmuring the charms that put up the silencing ward to their hidden room, and with a grin bounded up the stairs. "Will it be done yet, mummy? How long did it need to simmer for?"

Eileen indulged herself with a smile over her son's eagerness, but had to admit to herself that she, too, took the stairs at a considerably quicker pace than was normal for her. "One moon cycle, Severus. And make sure not to disturb it, it will not do to have it ruined before midnight." She stepped off of the stairs and into a small attic room. The ceiling was slanted slightly, yet all of the walls were covered in shelves, some filled with very old looking books, some with strange cooking instruments such as cauldrons and balances, and still others loaded with jars of unrecognizable objects suspended in multiple colors of liquid. A small, candle filled lamp hung from the middle of the ceiling, casting a dim light on the whole of the room. In the far corner, a rather large cauldron was suspended over a fire, with the small boy standing beside it, shifting his weight from side to side, wearing an anticipatory grin on his face. Eileen noticed, with no little sense of amusement, his hands clasped firmly behind his back, as if to protect the eager young wizard from injuring himself in his excitement.

"How much time is left?" He asked, peeling his eyes off of the covered cauldron.

"A few more minutes yet." Eileen smiled, stepping up to a rickety table in the centre of the room. After consulting a large, open book set on it, she made her way to one of the shelves and removed two of the strange looking jars. She quickly crossed the room and removed the cover from the simmering cauldron.

"Can I help?" A small voice asked reverently as she measured a tablespoon of liquid from the first jar and carefully poured it into the brew.

"You certainly can," she smiled as she twisted the cap back onto the bottle, then reached into one of the pockets of her robes and handed her son a small canvas bag. "Hold this for me, we'll add it last." The little boy accepted it with both hands, and seemed to protect it as carefully as one would a newly hatched bird.

His mother returned her attention to the cauldron and added the second ingredient – a pinch of an indiscernible powder – then began to mechanically stir the mixture. She chanced a glance at her young son, who to her amusement was still studying the small, plain bag in his hands. "Aren't you interested in its contents?"

Small, black eyes looked up at her. "Can I open it?"

"Of course you may, you'll be adding it soon." She smiled, then turned back to her stirring.

The silence that followed was no surprise to the witch, nor was her son's reaction. "Mummy, you brought the wrong bag."

"No, I'm quite sure it was the correct one." She responded, making sure to keep her grin turned into the cauldron so Severus would not notice it.

"It's candy."

"Indeed it is. It is a very important final ingredient."

"It's muggle candy." The boy emphasized.

This time she turned, attempting to keep a stern face with the bewildered child. "It's your favorite though, is it not?"

He nodded, but continued to look skeptically into the bag.

"Finished." She said softly, placing the stirring rod on the floor beside the fire and kneeling down next to her son. "Add the final bit, Severus, the brew has one minute left."

A tiny frown line of concentration formed between the boy's eyebrows, as he slowly and carefully tipped the bag and allowed the unremarkable candies to fall into the cauldron. When the sack had emptied, he again clasped his hands behind his back, leaning over the shimmering liquid with rapt attention.

"Nothing's happening." He whispered, lips barely moving, after moments had passed without a discernable change to the cauldron's contents.

"Because it requires a final touch." Eileen responded, drawing her wand from her sleeve and placing its handle into one of her son's small hands. Moving in behind him, she secured an arm around his thin chest. "Remember that a charm was required to conjure from it? I want you to try it."

"No words?" The boy asked, turning his head and glancing over his shoulder at his mother.

"No," she smiled, "no words. Just magic and a wish." She added, kissing him on his awkward nose.

With a deep breath he turned back to the cauldron and raised his mother's wand into the air above it. The line reappeared on his little forehead, and it took all of the self-control Eileen possessed to not squeeze the child as a shape began to appear in the mist.

Within seconds a large, grinning ghost of a jack-o-lantern shone vividly above the pair. "That's it?" The boy squeaked as he turned to his mother, a slight flush on his pale cheeks and a bright orange gleam in his eyes from the illumination of the inanimate pumpkin.

"If that's what you wanted." She beamed at him.

"But what about the…"

Before he could ask the question, the pumpkin disappeared with small pop, small shards of it falling onto the pair. Quickly holding his palms up, Severus caught as much as he could, eyes growing wide when he realized he was really holding handfuls of – candy corn.

In shock he looked at his mother, who laughed gently at the awe her small son was showing. "Are they still good?" She asked, playfully plucking one from his hand and placing the candy in her mouth.

As it turned out, the candy was delicious. The pair spent the rest of the evening in the cramped attic eating candy corn and reading. Eileen reveled in telling her young son stories of the magical world and teaching him charms, and was delighted as he watched and listened; enraptured by the lessons he was learning. He was such a bright boy, and so eager to soak in anything she taught him – despite his early upbringing and a father who had strictly forbidden the use of such "evilness" under his roof. She was certain that the courage and tenacity the little one was already exhibiting in spades would carry him through his life, that he would undoubtedly be a powerful and well-respected wizard, despite his rough background.

It was the wee hours of the morning when she carried the sleeping boy back down the hidden stair case and tucked him into bed, before stowing the pair of robes and reluctantly returning to muggle life.

October 31, 1971 – Hogwarts Castle

Severus Snape knew he was pouting, as he lay sulkily in bed, glaring at the ceiling with his arms crossed over his thin chest. Madame Pomfrey had told him over an hour ago that he was fine, the singe marks in his hair would fade soon, and otherwise any hex inflicted injury was right as rain. The mediwitch had then left the room to make her way to the Halloween Feast, unwisely leaving the scrawny first year to change and follow behind later.

As it was Severus felt physically fine, but the humiliation he had experienced that afternoon still burned deep in his chest, and he decided to stay in the infirmary by himself for as long as possible – bugger the consequences. Going to the Great Hall would undoubtedly bring more jeers, and very likely a reprimand from the Headmaster. No, for now he would stay barricaded in the dark infirmary and wallow in self pity; he had been finding it to be a rather acceptable pastime over the past two months anyway.

He closed his eyes and rolled on the bed to face the wall opposite the door, then hugged his arms even tighter around himself. He was small and thin – maybe if he made himself inconspicuous enough the matron wouldn't even notice his presence when she got back. That would spare him at least a night more of catcalls and jeers.

It was all James bloody Potter's fault… this afternoon would haunt him forever.

Don't think of it, he told himself, squeezing his eyes tighter. Of course, the thought only brought visions of the lake even clearer.

He'd so been looking forward to a package from his mother, having not heard from her since departing from London, and had been so thrilled to see this morning's post – just in time for Halloween – arrive via one of the school owls that he'd stowed it in his school bag without looking at it, deciding to save opening it until after classes. As a result, the day had of course dragged, but finally four o'clock found him sitting under the shade of one of the trees beside the lake, greedily tearing open his parcel.

Inside he found a small vile of amber colored liquid – undoubtedly a potion base of some sort, but he didn't recognize the color. He smiled when he noticed the lengthy note included with it, and was certain his mother would explain all he needed to finish the brew. In addition he found a rather large bag of candy corn, which he uncinched as he pulled his knees up and flattened the parchment letter on his lap.

He had managed to read the first sentence and reach his hand in the bag when he heard a rustle in the reeds beside him. As he grabbed his wand, he noticed the last voice in the world he'd wanted to hear.

"And besides that, Sirius, he wasn't… Oi! Snape!"

James Potter appeared in the tall grass, a small and decidedly wicked grin forming as he took in the sight of Severus alone, away from the castle, and seemingly in the process of enjoying himself. Instantaneously three other Gryffindor boys appeared behind him, two of which immediately adopted the same expression.

"What d'you want?" Severus frowned, pulling his book bag into his lap and stowing his letter.

"Now, now Snape… is that any way to greet a peer?" Potter scolded mockingly.

Severus ignored him and jammed the potion vial into one of his robe pockets.

"James is right there, Snape." The second boy, Sirius Black, drawled, snatching up the bag of candy before Severus could stow it away.

"Give that back!" Severus shouted, jumping to his feet with his wand drawn. He was instantly accosted with four wand tips.

"No need to get testy, there." Black warned, glancing into the bag. "Well, well… Snape's got treats from home and isn't willing to share. That's hardly very nice now, is it boys?"

Gritting his teeth, Severus stood his ground but refrained from any real action. He knew attacking them right now would only land him in trouble, but he'd be damned if he let them take his gift.

"Wait what is…" Black drew out a candy corn, confused. "What the bloody hell is this, Snape?"

Feeling his cheeks flush with embarrassment, he answered. "It's a gift from my mother. Just give it back." He finished, jabbing his wand threateningly towards the group of boys.

"Ah – and here I figured you'd crawled out of a cauldron." Black sneered cruelly. "Mum you say? First thing she's sent you as well, from the looks of it. But you still haven't answered my question…"

"It's muggle candy." Interrupted another member of the group, this one with mousy brown hair and a tired look about him. Severus never had thought that Remus Lupin much fit in with this group, but it didn't stop the pathetic boy from following them around and assisting in his harassment. "Cheap muggle candy at that."

Severus swore he saw red as both Potter's and Black's eyes lit up, and the final sidekick – dumpy and worthless Peter Pettigrew – began to snigger with glee.

"Cheap muggle candy, Snape?" Black all but crooned. "For a good Slytherin like yourself? Hardly sounds worthy of your palate… I'd think you'd be able to find it in your heart to share."

"Just give it back, Black." Severus responded, hating how weak his voice sounded in his ears. Gods, but that look in his and Potter's eyes made him nervous, almost as if he'd do something…

"Don't think I will, Snape." Severus opened his mouth to protest, but Black cut him off. "Oh… we won't be eating any of it, don't you worry; just helping you with a little life lesson." Severus' mouth snapped shut, unsure of what the boy was playing at it. "As it is, we all agree that you need a little lesson in sharing, Snape, and who better to start with than… the giant squid, maybe?"

Black's eyes never left Severus' as he extended his arm and tipped the bag upside down, letting the whole of its contents spill into the lake. He could barely hear the other boys' laughter as Black threw the empty bag at his feet, and their taunts were completely lost to him as he watched the small fish converge around the lake's edge, nibbling at the proffered candy.

It wasn't even that he really cared that the candy corn was gone; he'd undoubtedly miss it, but not as much as he'd been missing home. He wouldn't let anyone know it, or see it, or really even assume that he was coming from a home, but stars he missed his mother, and these gits had taken away what he'd been sharing with her over half of his life now.

In that moment he wanted nothing worse than to be back at Spinner's End, forsaken hellhole that it was, just to get away from these four. And for all that he'd looked forward to Hogwarts, all the time he'd spent preparing and listening to his mum's stories and… he suddenly had the distinct urge to wipe his nose, and allowed himself a quiet sniffle, when he realized – to his horror – that his cheeks were wet.

"Bloody Hell, Snape, are you crying!" He heard Potter's voice exclaim.

Oh bugger it all.

Knowing there was no use in fighting them now, and that he'd never hear the end of it, Severus decided to cut his losses and leave as quickly as possible. He stupidly wiped both his cheeks and nose on the sleeve of his robe and shouldered his book bag, trying to get away from the heckling as quickly as possible.

Black, of course, was acting as if Christmas had come early. "Going to go cry to Malfoy now, Snape? Greasy little coward of a crybaby, I can't believe you'd be such a whiner. Sniffly, snivelly…"

Severus hoped their sudden quiet was the result of him being out of earshot, when he heard James Potter speak – the grin crystal clear in his voice.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say the git's earned a nickname… I dub thee Snivellus."

He stopped and felt his ears burn red as the other boys began to howl with laughter. "OH! Bloody good one James… Brilliant. Snivellus Snape, cowardly greasy git of a nasty Slytherin…"

But Black wasn't able to finish the insult, as Severus had turned as quickly as he could and pushed the arsehole into the lake. He turned to do the same to Potter, forgetting about his wand, when he felt the first hex hit him.

He threw a minimum of six curses in succession, not completely aware of what they were nor who they hit, but as one of the boys shrieked in pain he was able to feel some slight satisfaction in knowing that he'd at least caused damage. That was before Potter's disarming charm had hit him, knocking him back against the tree and into a dark abyss of unconsciousness.

He opened his eyes again and glanced around the darkened infirmary, making sure no one had come in as he'd dozed. Relieved to find himself alone, he reached his hand into his robe pocket – only to find the lining slightly stiff and glass shards at the bottom. Without any real emotion he drew his wand and aimed it into the pocket, muttering a quick Reparo then putting the now empty vial on the stand next to his bed.

He really should go write his mother a thank you letter, and let her know he'd gotten the parcel. Of course, that would also entail inventing more stories about all of his new friends, something he definitely wasn't in the mood to do right now. You could always tell her the truth, a small voice commented in the back of his mind, but he knew that was out of the question. What could he do – tell her he desperately wanted back to the dirty muggle dunghill that was Spinner's End? That father had always been right, and he really was just a strange little oddball who would never fit in, regardless of where he was sent? That all of those nights she'd spent filling his head with dreams of some spectacular school where he'd be accepted and happy and would flourish were lies?

It was that thought that tore the sob from Severus that the boy had been festering for a while, and in the dark of the infirmary he allowed himself his first good cry since arriving at Hogwarts. He cried for how disappointed he knew his mother would be if she heard how poorly he was fitting in, he cried for his pride that seemed to be getting stomped on a near daily basis, and most of all he cried for the fact that he was cripplingly alone all the time now. He had tried to make friends; honestly, he had, trying everything he could think of that would help him retain his dignity but still find at the very least a companion. But he his social skills were horribly scarce, and his housemates hadn't bought his claim that 'Snape' was a foreign pureblood name for a second, and on the rare occasion that he was looked at as a human being, the 4 golden boys of Gryffindor were typically there to humiliate him or provoke him into a rage that sent all his peers running away, either laughing at him or to tell rumors about the creepy, greasy little Slytherin boy. On the whole, he decided he could blame all of his current problems on the Fearsome Foursome, and their inexplicable goal to make his life an utter hell.

Bloody sodding prats, the lot of them.

He was regaining himself, sobs reduced to sniffles and tears all but stopped, when he heard the door to the infirmary swing open and noticed a faint light cast into the darkness. Immediately he went still as possible, praying that the click of boot heels against the stone floor would quickly pass by him, and that the intruder wouldn't notice his presence in the bed. He cursed his luck as he heard the footfalls replaced by the scrape of chair legs next to him. If the figure was sitting down, however, he could safely assume that it wasn't Madame Pomfrey; perhaps instead it was one of the House Heads, here to reprimand him. He quickly ran through the list of possible hexes he'd cast that afternoon – he didn't remember them particularly, but there was certainly one or two that wouldn't be in the Hogwarts curriculum, one he had no business knowing, yet alone casting.

Almost sounds like you want to get in trouble. A voice commented in the back of his mind.

At the moment it wouldn't be so bad, he thought. And if they expelled me I'd get to go home.

Things can't be that bad. The voice argued. Even if they were, that certainly sounds a cowardly way out.

He had half the mind to tell the voice to sod off, but before he could a voice interrupted his thoughts.

"We missed you at dinner tonight, Mr. Snape."

Ahhh… lovely – the Headmaster had come to pay him a visit. For a moment he contemplated feigning sleep, but decided against it – a wizard so great as Albus Dumbledore would undoubtedly see through such a simple ruse.

"I wasn't particularly hungry, sir. Madame Pomfrey fed me before leaving." Both were lies, of course, but he hoped that in keeping his back turned to the wizard he wouldn't be caught.

"Ah, a shame then – you missed quite the exquisite feast. Pudding, especially, was lovely."

"I'm not overly fond of sweets, sir." Severus lied, again. If he was in trouble, why couldn't the old man just get on with it?

"Indeed." Dumbledore replied. Silence rang through the room for a few moments, as neither spoke. Severus still hadn't rolled over to acknowledge the Headmaster's presence.

"It has come to my attention that you were in a bit of a spat today, Mr. Snape."

Here it comes, Severus thought, waiting for the points to begin flowing away from Slytherin.

"When I saw that you had not returned in time for dinner, I thought I would come to make sure you were well."

For a moment, Severus wondered if there were someone else in the infirmary with him – certainly Dumbledore wasn't asking him. "I'm… I am fine, headmaster." He answered quietly.

"Splendid. Fortunately your adversaries can say the same; and as it is the holiday, and there was no harm done, the staff and I have decided that if the five of you can settle on a truce, punishment should not be necessary."

Again, Severus was shocked into silence. He was being put on the same rank as the Gryffindor four? None of them were getting into trouble?

He figured there was a fat chance for the truce to be upheld longer than a day, but he was willing to agree to it to avoid at least one detention.

"However, as it is late, I feel it would be best to put off any negotiations until morning."

Agreeing wholeheartedly, Severus continued facing the wall, waiting for the clicking of boot heels to signal the headmaster's leaving.

"Unfortunately, I came to find out that some of your belongings were not so lucky to make it through the scrap."

For the love of Merlin, would you leave already? Severus pleaded silently. He'd already replayed the incident once in his head, he really didn't need to listen to the professor do it again for him.

Instead of listening to the early stages of a lecture, he felt something small being placed on his bed. "I doubt you'll appreciate the sentiment as much, but I hope this might be an acceptable replacement."

Rolling over slowly, Severus saw the rather large sack that Dumbledore had sat on his bed. He hesitantly opened it, and looked in to find it full of muggle candies – chocolates and caramels and lemon sherberts and even candy corn. He very likely looked like a fish when he glanced up at the Headmaster, unsure of how to respond to the gift.

"I would hate your housemates to think I've been playing favorites, so perhaps it would be best for you to not share the identity of your benefactor. In fact, I believe if you hurried you may yet have time to store it in your room, before your housemates return." Dumbledore said, his blue eyes twinkling.

"Yes sir, of course. And thank you, Headmaster… and Happy Halloween."

With that Severus turned and bounded out of the infirmary so quickly he barely heard Dumbledore return the salutation. Clutching the bag to his chest, he continued his sprint to the dungeon.

If he hurried, he'd have time to write that letter to Mum before bed.

October 31, 1981 – Godric's Hollow

An unseasonably cold wind whipped Severus' black robes about his body, and he struggled to keep the hood of his cloak up and his person concealed behind a large oak tree. It was nearing midnight and the Dark Lord had still not shown at the house – not that he was necessarily expecting him to, Severus wasn't even supposed to be here himself.

For a moment he hoped that they'd stormed the Longbottom's instead. Sick as the thought was, he couldn't resist it – he was quite certain that the Dark Lord would act on the prophecy on this night, and anything that protected Lily tonight was an acceptable reason to the current lack of Death Eaters at the Potter residence.

Severus hadn't been one to know a lot of love in his life, and since the death of his mother he couldn't honestly say that he'd felt any strong connection to anyone – but Lily Evans (to the day he refused to call her by her husband's name) had always been kind to him, and despite his horrendous behaviors in school had, on the whole, treated him as a human – more so than any of their peers.

The argument could easily be made that he was attracted to her, pining near her house and hoping that his master didn't show up to take her life, but in all honesty, Severus had witnessed more than enough death in the past 3 years – even the idea of James Potter dying was an unsettling one. He shivered and pulled his threadbare cloak tighter around his shoulders; he'd been here a long while now, maybe no one was coming.

For a moment he allowed himself the hope that the Dark Lord had given up on the prophecy, had found the slaughter of an innocent child to heinous for even himself. Severus couldn't help but scoff at his own thought – as if the crazy bastard would give a second thought to the age of his victim. His next hope was that he'd chosen to send another Death Eater, had decided that killing a babe would be to easy a task to waste his own time on. With luck, he'd have chosen Malfoy – there was no way he'd be able to complete the task, not with a young son of his own to return to.

Of course, Malfoy would consider his whelp far more superior than the child of a muggleborn and a blood traitor. With a sigh, Severus conceded to himself that if anyone showed up tonight, the family was doomed. Instead, he continued his hope that no one would show, that the street would remain empty, that…

A faint pop interrupted his reverie, and he glanced up to see a tall figure in a long, hooded black cloak walking quickly towards the small house. With his chest full of dread, Severus sprinted from his hiding place towards the person.

"Wait! My lord!" Severus exclaimed as quietly as possible, falling to his knees with such force that his nose made contact with the ground. He didn't want to look into those eyes now – not only were they likely seething with fury, and when his thoughts were racing too quickly to control. He took a deep breath to focus himself as the Dark Lord spoke.

"Severuss… why are you here?" Asked a cold, reptilian voice.

"My Lord," he repeated lamely, swallowing down any thoughts but continuing to stare at the boots of his master, "I know what you've come to do, and I know what you must do, but I must… I'm here to ask something of you."

The Dark Lord said nothing, but the tapping of his boot against the lawn gave Severus the courage to continue speaking.

"Spare the girl." He said quickly, before finally feeing composed enough to risk a glance into the reptilian face standing above him. "Don't kill the mudblood, I beg you, my Lord."

For a moment even the wind died down, and the two stayed still – Severus all but waiting for the curse to hit him. Instead, the Dark Lord began to laugh, a cold and high sound that caused him to shiver involuntarily.

"But of course… the wife of your enemy. Very shrewd, Snape. If she cooperates, she is yours. Now, rise and wait outside here: watch to make sure no aurors have followed you."

With that he turned, and Severus rose to his feet, refusing to look towards the house that was to be attacked. Moments later he heard the front door being knocked in, and had to swallow his own bile as the voice that had so long tormented him during his childhood scream and fall silent.

James Potter was undoubtedly dead.

Against his will, his body turned and his legs carried him closer to the entry of the house. Seconds passed, and there was a second scream – pleading from a female voice. Severus felt his heart seize in his chest, but the screaming continued. She was arguing with him. Dammit all! She was arguing with him, she'd get herself killed!

Without thinking he turned and sprinted into the house, stepping over his former nemesis' body and bounding up the stairs. He was nearly to the top when he heard her scream yet again, and this time saw the flash of green illuminate the hall.

Silence fell over the house, and for a time all that Severus could hear was the hammering of his own heart. He'd killed the child. He'd killed the child and her scream had stopped in shock – he'd spared her but the child was dead.

He was still frozen in the stairwell, repeating the thought to himself, when the hallway was illuminated a third time with a flash of green light – though this time, it was followed by a scream in an inhumanly high octave. The scream was coupled with a ghastly smell of burning flesh and smoke, and when it faded, there was only one sound left in the night; possibly the last sound Severus had wanted to hear.

A baby began to wail from the room at the top of the stairwell.

Severus didn't need to continue up the stairs, didn't need to actually see the carnage in the room. Hearing what he had, he knew full well what had happened – Lily and James Potter were dead, and their infant son had just, inexplicably, defeated the Dark Lord.

He felt as if he'd been hit with a Jelly-legs jinx for a moment, and sunk down onto the stairs, listening to the baby continue to scream upstairs. Rolling up his left sleeve, he confirmed what he already knew – the pale skin bore testament to the fact that the Dark Lord was gone.

But so were the Potters, and he had played just as big a role in this as the dead man upstairs.

With his hand trembling, he pulled his wand from a pocket within his robe and cast Mosmorde to the ceiling. An eerie green glow through the downstairs windows assured him that the mark had been properly displayed, and he continued to sit on the same step until he heard the faint hum of a motorcycle. Certain that it would be police, or medics, or aurors or some form of support, and for reasons he couldn't explain the sound felt like liberation from a watch he wasn't even aware he was keeping.

He apparated directly to the front gates of Hogwarts, but stood outside of them for a while before summoning the energy to enter. On a slightly ironic note, the significance of the day's date hit him. For a moment, he was seized with the urge to laugh at the irony of it all – the fact that he'd so looked forward to this day on the calendar as a child. His chances at happiness had certainly been lost long ago, and it seemed that his opportunity for redemption had died tonight alongside two of his old classmates. With a weary sigh he pushed open the gate, feeling a tug of magic as the wards sensed him and undoubtedly alerted Albus Dumbledore of his presence.

Tonight, he would strive only for forgiveness from the man, and accept what he was given.