IMPORTANT NOTICE! READ THIS BEFORE YOU READ MY STORY!
This story is a historical fiction set during World War Two. It makes a lot of references to actual events and places. The line between fiction and fact is very blurred and I have even made characters out of real people.
I do not wish to make anyone angry or upset so...if you find this kind of story upsetting, please don't read it.
Author's Note: REVIEW MY STORY AND I REVIEW YOURS unless it is slash. How much more of an incentive to you need!?! If you don't have a story…just humour me, will you. Please? Cummon! Press the pretty button! It's a on at the bottom that is smiling at you right now:-)
Secondly, McGonagall is completely OOC in manner of Bellatrix for half the fic.
Fourthy… When in doubt, see first point.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter Universe that I dwell in belongs to…drum roll and trumpets…Joanne Rowling! applause and cheering
The rain always seemed to fall down harder in this part of Knockturn Alley. Minerva McGonagall paused to observe her surroundings. It had been a very long time since she had come here. No one was likely to recognise the aging headmistress yet. Her emerald green cloak concealed her face. She steeled herself, stepped over the drunken wizard on the muddy ground before her and knocked at the old wooden door. The old, gaunt wizard, who ran the bar McGonagall was intent upon entering, opened the door and muttered something about the pub being full. McGonagall lowered her emerald green hood and revealed herself. The bartender turned the colour of chalk in a matter of seconds.
"Y-you!" cried the bartender.
McGonagall was rather surprised that the old man recognised her immediately after all these years but she decided to pretend that she hadn't changed a bit, even though she had completely changed since she had last encountered this man. He was less likely to argue with her. Hopefully he hadn't looked at the article in the Daily Prophet that announced her as the new headmistress.
"Miss me?" she asked in an arrogant tone none of her students would ever hear her use. "Do let me in. It's rather chilly out here."
"B-but…we thought you w-were dead and-"
"Disappointed?" she drawled.
She pulled her hood back up, entered without invitation and took a seat at the bar. It certainly wasn't full but there were quite a few people McGonagall could associate with the Death Eaters. Even though McGonagall wanted to jinx the lot of them and drag their sorry carcasses back to the Ministry of Magic, that wasn't why she was here. None of them even bothered looking up at her. The bar was poorly lit and grubby but McGonagall found who she was looking for surprisingly quickly. Sitting there was a man she knew very well…or at least as well as most people could possibly know him. He had certainly looked better when McGonagall had last seen him. His greasy hair had grown past his shoulders and his pallid face was unshaven. She got up and walked over to him.
"Severus," she said quietly.
Severus Snape instantly drew his wand but McGonagall was too quick for him. Snape's wand flew into the air and McGonagall caught it. Her own wand was pointed straight at him. The bartender had decided to eavesdrop behind the counter and he did not look the least bit surprised to see an old lady disarm a Death Eater so effortlessly. She tossed a bottle of clear liquid to Snape, Veritaserum. Snape had a shrewd feeling that he was the one who had brewed the potion.
"Drink it," McGonagall whispered, "or I will persuade you to drink it."
"I think you'll have to persuade me," snarled Snape.
McGonagall raised her wand a little higher and jabbed Snape in the throat with it. He didn't even flinch.
"Did you know that you are the only man the Ministry has made it perfectly legal to cast an unforgivable curse against?" said McGonagall.
"You couldn't cast an unforgivable curse if the Dark Lord gave you personal lessons," sneered Snape.
The bartender stared at Snape in disbelief.
Did he know who he was talking to?
McGonagall pushed her wand into Snape's throat a little harder. Snape's confidence dropped a notch.
"Don't be so sure," she said quietly. "Drink it."
Snape glared at McGonagall before uncorking the bottle and finishing it in one go. He had definitely brewed this potion; he knew the taste. Snape never liked being beaten with his own tricks. McGonagall lowered her wand…slightly.
"You haven't stored that bottle correctly," said Snape silkily. "It's too warm. You only have about five minutes."
"Don't start," snarled McGonagall.
McGonagall looked around and made sure the rest of the people in the bar were still oblivious to the drama. Judging from the vacant expressions they were. She turned to the bartender.
"Is the room behind the cellar still empty?" asked McGonagall.
"Would you care if it wasn't?" said the bartender who had apparently got over his initial shock and had now turned to bitterness. "Rent is still five sickles a night."
McGonagall gave him the stern look she usually reserved for the Weasley twins and left five sickles on the counter. She led Snape, her wand pointed at his back, out of sight. The bartender raised his eyebrows and pocketed the money.
"She actually paid this time," he mumbled. "That's a first."
The little room could hardly be called a room. There was no furniture and one little candle levitating over head. A rat scurried out of the room when the headmistress and the ex-potions master walked inside. McGonagall conjured a stool out of thin air.
"Sit," she said sharply.
Snape sat, leaning back against the wall. McGonagall leant against the opposite wall and glared at him. Her wand was not pointed at him but it was in her hand and ready for use.
"Potter told us a rather interesting tale," she said. "I think you have read about it in the paper."
"Ask your questions and stop wasting my time," snarled Snape.
McGonagall's eyes never left his.
"Why did Albus believe you were a spy?" asked McGonagall, her voice quivering with anger.
Snape was trying hard to fight the Veritaserum but he had made it himself. A bead of sweat ran down his forehead and he was trembling. He did not expect McGonagall to start with that question. He'd expected something more along the lines of 'why did you do it?' McGonagall was trying to catch him off guard and she had done that very well.
"I told him the truth…" mumbled Snape.
"And what was that?" asked McGonagall impatiently.
Snape fought harder.
McGonagall's heart skipped a few beats.
"…I heard it…"
"Are you the Death Eater who told Voldemort about it?"
"…Yes…he went after…the Potters…so I went to Dumbledore…"
McGonagall suddenly strode towards Snape, seized him by the scruff of his robes and slammed him into the wall. Her other hand still had her wand and it was trained at Snape again. Snape had never seen McGonagall this angry.
"Why did you even care?" shouted McGonagall. "You hated the Potters! You still do!"
"James Potter may have been an arrogant idiot… his friend may have been a cowardly bastard… and his son… may be just as bad…but Lily was not…"
For one moment, McGonagall almost believed Snape. She remembered Lily and Severus at school, brewing potions together. It was the reason James fought with him so much. But then she remembered what he had done to the man who had been like a father to her.
"You murdered the man I trusted most in the world! Why?" she shouted.
Snape knocked McGonagall's hand off his robes and shouted at her. He stopped fighting the Veritaserum. His voice was no longer strained but loud and angry.
"He ordered me to do it!"
It took a few minutes, maybe more, for that statement to make any affect on McGonagall. She stood before Snape, her wand still trained at his head, without moving an inch. She slowly lowered her wand, her face a mask of grief.
"Why?" she whispered.
Snape and McGonagall were both shaking now. Snape was struggling to control his voice from rising again.
"To find out what Draco Malfoy was ordered to do by the Dark Lord, I made the Unbreakable Vow with his mother. I would do his task for him," whispered Snape. "I couldn't…think of any other way to get the information and Dumbledore said to use any means necessary. Later that year…I overheard Draco talking to Moaning Myrtle about his task and…I knew what he had to do."
McGonagall leaned against the wall as Snape spoke. Everything Dumbledore had done in the previous year made sense. McGonagall though he was just a little worried when he spoke to her about leading the Order and being a good headmistress. Snape continued to speak. Though his face was still impassive, Snape was still shaking and he couldn't hide the grief in his voice. No amount of Occlumency could do that anymore.
"He tried to save the Malfoys," said Snape. "He even wanted to turn Bellatrix to the right side. I was sceptical when it came to Bellatrix especially but Dumbledore said it could be done."
"Bellatrix Lestange?" snarled McGonagall.
"You have to give her some credit for her boundless loyalty," said Snape with a shrug. "She's undeniably insane but Dumbledore seemed to think she could be brought to our side with some…what were the words Dumbledore used? Ah…positive influences."
McGonagall twitched and turned pale when she heard this. Snape frowned and looked at her questioningly but she gave no explanation for her behaviour.
"Dumbledore wanted to make sure that Draco didn't commit murder…but I had made the Unbreakable Vow," Snape let a small laugh, though there was little humor in the situation. "When I told him that I wasn't going though with it the old idiot told me that I had failed to save him when his had was injured and that he was dying. I found out afterwards that he had lied. I suppose being in the company of a spy like me wasn't too good for him."
"Don't call him that," muttered McGonagall.
"Why not?" snarled Snape. "I was the spy. I was the one who was supposed to lie. Not him."
There was a ringing silence. The Potions Master and the Headmistress were unable to look at each other.
"Severus…" said McGonagall after a short while. "You do know what happened to the Malfoys, don't you?"
"Yes," answered Snape tonelessly "The Dark Lord killed Narcissa and Draco and Lucius hung himself in his cell when he heard about it. Bellatrix and I both tried to take the blame for Draco failure…the only time I think we've ever really worked together. The Dark Lord found our excuses…unsatisfactory. Why do you think I'm here, drinking cheap firewhiskey that was brewed a little better than Longbottom's forgetfulness potion?"
Unable to say any words of comfort…or any words connected to Dumbledore, McGonagall spoke after a few moments.
"Do you really think the drinks here are that bad?" asked McGonagall quietly, deciding not to scold Snape for insulting her students.
"Either that or I lost my sense of taste at some point," said Snape sardonically.
McGonagall snorted. The drinks here were certainly nothing to what the teachers got at Hogwarts but she was used to it. She dried her wet cloak with a tap of her wand and finally turned to look at Snape.
"Are you still going to be a spy?" she asked.
"I promised Mrs. Potter that I would continue to be spy until the Order didn't need me anymore," said Snape bitterly. "It wasn't the Unbreakable Vow but I'm not about to break that promise."
Snape twitched. The Veritaserum had worn off. The look on Snape's face told McGonagall that he very much wished that it had worn off before his last statement.
"Then I'll see you back at headquarters tomorrow morning," said McGonagall.
McGonagall tossed Snape's wand back to him. He caught it.
"What about Potter?" he asked.
"I'll handle Harry," said McGonagall. "Is there anything else I need to know?"
Snape shook his head.
"No but the Dark Lord expressed his surprise when they made you headmistress," said Snape.
"He has every right to be surprised. He knew me when I-" McGonagall froze and stopped talking.
Snape folded his arms and smirked. The fact that McGonagall had caught him unawares after almost sixteen years of hiding his past felt slightly less significant when he had just wormed something out of her without even using truth serum. McGonagall seemed embarrassed and angry.
"You knew the Dark Lord?" asked Snape, still smirking.
"We were at school together," snapped McGonagall, steadily turning scarlet. "I was two years ahead of him."
"May I ask why he was surprised that you're the new headmistress?"
McGonagall gave Snape an infuriated glare.
"I wasn't…exactly a model student," she finished lamely.
Snape looked sceptically at the stern transfiguration teacher. He expected her to have been an insufferable perfectionist like Hermione Granger when she was at school.
"Do you mean like the Weasley twins or do mean like Longbottom?" sneered Snape.
McGonagall, if possible, became angrier. She didn't expect this sort of questioning from Snape even if he had only just sobered up.
"You really think that I'm going to dignify that with an answer?" said McGonagall hotly.
Snape raised his hands up defensively.
"You saw fit to interrogate me," pointed out Snape. "I think it only polite that you tell me something."
"I thought you were a Death Eater," said McGonagall angrily. "You're just bloody well curious!"
"I'm a spy, remember?" said Snape, sneering again. "Curiosity is about the only thing Potter and I have in common."
McGonagall gave her stern look, making him feel like a seventh year student again, and headed towards the door. Snape did not expect McGonagall to answer his question but she came to a halt before she could turn the doorknob.
"I wasn't a harmless trouble maker or...academically challenged," she said. "I had a problem with authority and an issue with muggleborns."
Snape muttered something about the Weasley twins not being harmless but McGonagall ignored him.
"I also…" McGonagall began looking uncomfortable again, like she did when she was taking about Trelawney. "…had a liking for the Dark Arts."
McGonagall stopped again, vaguely aware of the fact that Snape had gone straight from slightly curious and amused to absolutely horrified. He was staring at McGonagall as though she had just appeared from out of thin air. She looked away from Snape and suddenly blurted out the secret only Dumbledore had known. She spoke in a rush so that Snape was unsure if she had said something else altogether.
"I left Hogwarts before I had even finished my Newts and I joined the Knights of Walpurgis; Grindelwald's army that later reformed to become V-Voldemort's Death Eaters."