Severus Snape peered out across the cold uninviting threshold of his home
LOSING YOUR WAY

Part One

Severus Snape peered out across the cold uninviting threshold of his home.  There was no warm fire to greet him, no family waiting for him to arrive, no incentive for him to be there at all, except that there was no where else to go.

He pulled his cloak more tightly around himself, shutting out the cold brash wind that swept over the hillside all year round, even on a day like this in the middle of July.

With a small sigh he made his way towards the door rubbing his hands together, before shoving the door open.

It hit the wall with a loud bang, which echoed around the nearly empty entrance hall.

Snape Manor was a big old mansion, but it hadn't been properly used in years.  Snape only ever visited the old place when he had to.  It didn't exactly hold the fondest memories for him.  His childhood had been almost as cold and harsh as his adult life.

It was at moments like this that Snape wished he still had some house elves.  Grudgingly he lit a fire in the dreary sitting room.  The light only served to bring the depressing décor and dust into sharper focus.

Frowning, Snape cast a cleaning charm and the dust vanished.

He sat heavily in a big old chair staring into the fire…

What has my life become?  He wondered.

I work myself to a temper every day during school time and I wallow in this dreary place when I'm away.

He didn't feel like traipsing upstairs to find a cold uninviting bedchamber to sleep in so Snape conjured a blanket and curled up, exhausted in the chair by the fire.

***

It was like this that he was found the next day by a rather putout mail-owl.  The bird was squawking noisily to wake the comatose man.

"What?  Get away with you!"  He shouted grouchily.

The owl hooted indignantly and stuck its leg out revealing the letter it was carrying.

"Oh fine."  Said Snape angrily snatching the letter and rubbing his eyes blearily to read it.

'Severus.

I trust this letter has reached you safely.  I'm most sorry to have to inconvenience you on your holiday but there is an urgent situation and I require your immediate presence at Hogwarts.

This is unfortunate but unavoidable.  I thank you in advance for your prompt action.

Albus Dumbledore.'

Snape yawned and waved the owl away impatiently.

"Go away, I don't have a reply for you."  He growled.

"What now?"  He muttered to himself re-reading the note.  It had better be important.

Stretching out, stiff from sleeping in the chair Severus took one last look at the dreary room with the smouldering ashes in the fireplace and apparated away.

***

When he arrived at the front gates of Hogwarts Snape was surprised to find Professor McGonagall waiting there for him.

"There you are!"  She exclaimed.

"Come along!  We have to hurry.  What on earth took so long?  Albus sent an express owl."

"And a hello how are you to you too Minerva."  Grumbled Snape, still feeling extra grouchy from a bad night's sleep.

Minerva didn't reply.  She was already striding towards the castle at a brisk pace.

Snape shrugged and followed still not knowing why he'd been sent for.

When they got inside McGonagall made her way towards the Hospital Wing.

"Why are you bringing me here?"  Questioned Snape, at last managing to shake the cobwebs of sleep from his mind and becoming curious.

"Well for heavens sake, see for yourself."  She sniffed throwing open the door to the infirmary.

Snape's eyes scanned the room.

"What?"  He asked confused.

"There, on the bed."

"Those rags?  What about them?"

"RAGS?!  That's Harry Potter!"  Shrieked McGonagall.

Snape's eyes shot to the dirty bundle and he saw a hand trembling and that familiar shock of black hair.

"Oh God.  What happened?"

At that moment Dumbledore appeared at the doorway and gestured for Snape to join him.

When they were outside in the hallway they spoke.

"You've seen him then Severus."  Said Dumbledore the intonation in is voice giving away the worry that he'd never let show on his face.

"Yes…"

Snape fidgeted uncomfortably and ran a hand through his greasy hair.

"What is it you needed me for?  I'm not a medi-wizard, I can't help Pomfrey heal him.  I only know potions, and you already have those."  He said bluntly.

Dumbledore fixed his gaze in him and Snape suddenly felt 12 years old again.

"What can I do to help is what I meant."  He added hurriedly.

"You know more than just potions Severus.  You've come through a certain experience, one that I think Harry is going to find even harder to deal with than you did.  He's going to need your help."

Snape sat back in shock.

"Why?  What's happened?"  He asked, curiosity flaring up strongly inside of him.

"See for yourself."  Said Dumbledore.

They made their way back into the room and over to where Harry was lying, completely unconscious.

Dumbledore took Harry's left arm and lifted the sleeve gently to reveal…

"The Dark Mark!"  Shouted Snape in surprise turning his head away at the shock of seeing the ugly symbol, which he so often wished to remove from his own arm, imprinted on Harry Potter's.

A/N

Okay, this is probably going to be one of the most angsty, depressing things I'll write, but I couldn't stop thinking about it.  So, here it is.  Please tell me what you think.  There will probably be 4 parts to it, and the others will probably be slightly longer than this one.

Love

Jona

xxx