A/N: Harry Potter nor any of the characters contained herein are my own - they all belong to Ms. Rowling. This is to fill in the gaps somewhat from the time Severus overhears the prophecy to when he flees to Dumbledore. Enjoy.
Severus did not overreact, or rather, react much at all to being thrown out of the Hog's Head.
"And stay out," the barkeep mumbled gruffly. A billy goat by his leg bleated its agreement.
Severus simply glared at the man, and gave his robes a brisk brush off, as though to remove all traces of the man's touch. He nodded his head once, as though he were leaving under more pleasant circumstances, and turned with a whirl and stalked down the darkened Hogsmeade street.
A few buildings down, he disapparated with a crack! and appeared before his Lord and Master.
He fell to one knee, his head bowed.
"Ah." The bald, black-cloaked man acknowledged his existence.
"Severus Snape," the affected blonde man by his side offered the name to his Lord.
"Severus Snape. Are you a pureblood, Snape? I do not recognize your family name."
"No sir. My mother was a Prince," he began.
"Ah yes. Prince. A known family to me. However, I do believe the only daughter of the line married a muggle," he mused to himself. "And I suppose you are that tainted heir to the Prince line?"
Severus did not look up. "Yes, my Lord."
"Hmm." Voldemort stroked his chin in bemused thought. "Well, such carnal affectations of the insane do often burden the wizarding world so. Happens to the best of us, I'm afraid," he said with a grin, and witches and wizards both joined him in laughter.
Voldemort then hushed them with a wave of his hand.
"Well, Snape, to what to I owe the pleasure of your company?"
Bellatrix snickered, and a small smile tugged the corner of the Dark Lord's mouth. He did enjoy his fierce little Lestrange.
"My Lord, I bring word of a prophecy overheard at the Hog's Head." He swallowed, gathering his courage. "A prophecy of yourself, my Lord."
"A prophecy? Of me? How interesting," he leaned forward in his carved stone throne and rested his hairless, pale head on one clawed hand.
"Please, tell me of what this prophecy portents for the future of my rule of the wizarding world!" He began to laugh again, and again was accompanied. Snape opened his mouth to reply and the laughter was again cut off with a wave of his hand.
"Sir. The prophecy gives the manner of your death."
"My death? Well do tell, Snape."
"My Lord, a boy born at the end of July will be marked by yourself as an enemy and he will destroy you."
"That is all it said?"
"That is all I heard, sir."
"Overheard. In the Hog's Head, this very evening."
Voldemort appeared pensive, and Snape kept his head bowed low, and those that surrounded the Dark Lord were hushed while he contemplated this information.
"Prophecies are often incorrect, the work of delusional witches and wizards, but I have no objection to removing any that may or may not eventually become a threat," he remarked jovially. He shifted so as to no longer lean on his hand, and turned to face Bellatrix, whom he beckoned to him.
She knelt by the arm of his throne, and looked up at him hopefully.
"My lovely Bellatrix. Would you and your husband find out for me the names of boys born at the end of July? I do believe we have some babes to suffer," he said with a smile, and stroked her hair and face with his long slender fingers, and his sharpened fingernails. She giggled, and behind her, her husband Rodolpho watched blankly.
"Yes, Milord," she said, and rose, cackling. She glanced at her husband and with a toothy grin and disapparated out of the chamber.
Voldemort waved most of the rest away, and beckoned Snape forward.
Snape rose and approached his master, falling again to one knee, his gaze averted.
"You're a young man, Snape, and very dedicated."
"That he is, my Lord," Lucius assented, though his gaze upon the other man was nearly a sneer.
"Snape, I would like you to sit at my right when we dine this evening. Bellatrix must always sit on my left, she does dote upon me so, but I am sure Lucius will not be too injured should he be shifted down a seat for one night."
"No, sir," Lucius agreed, but his eyes now burnt bright with anger as he looked upon the kneeling boy who did not look at him.
Snape looked up into the red-brown slitted eyes of the Dark Lord. "My Lord, I am honored."
"As well you should be, Snape. As well you should be." The Dark Lord nodded once, and then waved him away.
As his black robes billowed behind him, and he was no longer within earshot, Voldemort leaned on his hand again and spoke to Lucius.
"He is the one who has been assisting our potions master, is he not?"
As much as Lucius was angered by the slight, he could not lie to his Master. "He apprentices to Fielding, yes sir."
# # # # #
"There are two such boys, Milord. A Longbottom, by the name of Neville, and a Potter, by the name of Harry."
Snape made a face as she spoke the name of Potter.
"You know this boy, Severus?"
"No sir. But I know his father."
"A pureblood," he began.
"But a waste of a man, a pitiful wizard."
"Indeed? Well then his son shall be no object."
"We will start there then, don't you agree?"
Snape felt the slight tug of worry.
"And you will kill the boy?"
"Of course. And any who get in my way."
Snape bowed his head.
"The parents of both boys are members of that wretched Order, my Lord," Lucius put in.
Voldemort raised a hairless eyebrow, and seemed to be keeping in a laugh. "The Order of the Phoenix? Albus Dumbledore's collection of pet witches and wizards? Oh, that is rich!" He laughed heartily, and his choir joined in.
He laughed himself almost to tears, and wiping away the moisture that escaped from one eye, he let out a last chuckle. "Oh, that is rich. I shall kill both of them for good measure, of course, but which do you suppose is Dumbledore's favorite?"
"I know not, my Lord," Snape replied carefully, and Lucius simply shrugged.
"Indeed, indeed. Oh Bellatrix!" He said in a singsong voice.
"Find out which one Dumbledore favors. We shall kill that one first. Kill the whole family, I should think. A few less wizards for him to send scurrying about after my dear Death Eaters."
"Milord," Bellatrix said with a curtsy, and stalked out of the room, the translucent sleeves of her corseted dress fluttering behind her.
Snape did not rest easily that night. He thought of James's wife, Lily Potter, nèe Evans. He felt a brief pang in his chest, an unfamiliar tightening that he had not felt in many years.
Surely Voldemort would spare her if she would give up the child? Yes. Yes, if she was of no consequence, he would not need to kill her.
# # # # #
Bellatrix skipped around the room, giggling, and Voldemort watched her with a smile and a raised eyebrow.
"Settle down, Bellatrix. Tell me what you've learned."
"It's the Potters, for sure, Milord. The Longbottoms are powerful Aurors, and surely more useful – I do not know why he favors them so. Surely he would favor those of greater power?" She cocked her head in confusion.
"Dumbledore is an old man. Senile, likely. Who knows what he is thinking?"
"Then what shall we do, Milord?"
"We shall pay a visit to the Potters, Bellatrix."
# # # # #
"They have a Secret Keeper," she hissed.
Voldemort appeared mildly surprised. "Oh, a challenge. How I do love a challenge. Find out who it is. Bring him here."
# # # # #
Rodolphus shoved a sniveling fat man forward onto the ground.
Voldemort gave a disgusted sneer, and leaned back in his throne.
"What is this?"
"This, my Lord, is a snitch."
He cocked his head and turned to Lucius. "Isn't a snitch one of those," he formed an 'o' with his thumb and forefinger, "little golden balls they use in quidditch?"
"Hmm." He contemplated the trembling creature before him.
"You are not small enough to be chased about in the air. You are far too fat, and you are making a hideous noise. Cease immediately."
The man snuffled, and Rodolphus kicked him in the side. "You will obey the Dark Lord!"
The man whimpered, and Bellatrix leaned down and took ahold of his chubby face. "Obey, little man, or you will wish you were never born," she said with a grin.
"Indeed. She'll do it. My Bella does so love to torture," Voldemort said with a sort of pride.
He sucked in a breath and tried to silence his whimpers.
"Now," she said, still keeping ahold of his chubby face. "What have you to tell us about the Potters?"
"Spit it out, man!" Lucius called out, looking disgusted with the creature that knelt on their floor. Snape stood beside him, looking equally disgusted, but not with simply the whimpering and stuttering. Here on the marble floor in front of the Dark Lord was one of those Marauders, those bullies who made his life hell when he attended Hogwarts.
"Pettigrew," Snape offered.
Voldemort, Lucius, and the Lestranges all looked to Snape. "You know this waste of flesh, Severus?" Voldemort questioned.
"Peter Pettigrew, my Lord."
Pettigrew's eyes widened as he took in the familiar form that stood before him. He began to whimper again, and was again soundly kicked in the ribs.
Voldemort addressed him, and Bellatrix wrenched his face back to the front of the room so that he may behold the one who spoke.
"Peter Pettigrew. Peter Pettigrew. If you know something, Pettigrew, if you know something I need to know, you will be handsomely rewarded."
Pettigrew's eyes grew wide, and he swallowed hard.
Exactly what he wanted, Snape thought with disgust.
"My…Lord." He stuttered.
Voldemort smiled. "Indeed Pettigrew, indeed. Now. Tell me where the Potters are."
Voldemort laughed. "You brought me their secret keeper?" He looked impressed to Bellatrix and Rodolpho.
"N-N-No, m-my Lord. I am n-n-not the s-s-secret-t k-keeper. Bu-but I kn-know who i-is. H-He t-t-told me hi-himself."
"Just as good, just as good. Excellent, Bella. Excellent Rodolpho." Then he turned his gaze to Peter. "Now, Pettigrew, if I find you've lied to me, you'll pay dearly."
"Y-Y-Yes, m-m-my Lo-Lord."
"I tell you the truth, Pettigrew. Your death will not be quick if you have tricked me. If you are, indeed, loyal, that loyalty shall be rewarded. Loyalty is always rewarded, is it not?"
Those who surrounded him nodded and murmured assent.
"I d-do not de-deceive you, s-sir."
"Good, Pettigrew. Good."
# # # # #
"The Potters. I shall kill them all. The child shall never live to become my enemy, and I know him now to be that. And the parents will be of no use to Dumbledore's ragtag gang if they are dead," Voldemort informed his company with a smile.
There was light laughter, and Snape swallowed, stepping forward.
"Yes, Severus," Voldemort smiled upon his servant, who had been most faithful and dedicated these past months.
He fell to one knee, and Voldemort looked bemused. "My Lord, I ask that you spare Lily Potter."
"Spare her? Of course not. Whyever for, Severus?"
Lucius, sitting on a tabletop nearby, had one knee pulled to his chest, and tapped his wand against his thigh. He grinned. "He's in love with her, my Lord."
Voldemort raised both hairless eyebrows. "In love?"
"Yes, sir," Lucius said with a sneering grin, and Snape shot him a withering look.
"She's a mudblood," Bellatrix hissed, her mood most unpleasant since the capture of her husband little more than a week ago.
"A mudblood? Severus!" The Dark Lord clicked his tongue in a most condescending manner, shaking his head sadly. "Severus, Severus, Severus. Whatever am I going to do with you? A mudblood is far below your station, even though you are only half-blood yourself. At least half of you is pure. She is an abomination."
Snape licked his lips, and clenched his jaw, trying not to look up.
"Look at me, Severus."
He raised his head to meet the red-brown eyes.
"You're angry with me! Look at him Lucius!" Lucius just grinned. Then he jumped off the table, and leaned down by Severus's ear, his long blonde hair cascading around his face, and touching the other man. "That is for Narcissa," he whispered, and Severus turned quickly to look at him. Lucius stood up, looking most pleased with himself.
"Narcissa?" Voldemort had excellent hearing. "Whatever did he do to your precious lovely wife, Lucius?"
Bellatrix smiled and started skipping in a circle. "She shagged him, Milord!" She informed Voldemort in a singsong voice and cackled. "Shagged him, shagged him!"
"Well then, I can certainly see why you'd wish for him to suffer such a pain," Voldemort nodded. Then he leaned forward in his throne. "Was she good, Severus?"
Lucius and Severus both whipped their heads around to look shocked at the Dark Lord. He let out a laugh, taking in their expressions.
"I was simply curious. You do have a lovely wife, Lucius."
Lucius swallowed and nodded once. "Thank you, my Lord."
Then Voldemort turned his attention to Severus. "I would wish you happiness, Severus, but not with a mudblood. Never with a mudblood. No, I will kill her, as I will kill her husband and child. A clean break, Severus. Then you shall need to dwell on her no more," he said, and actually sounded caring, as though he was doing it in the other man's best interests.
"If you liked Narcissa so well, perhaps you could have a go at my dear Bella," he gestured to the other woman, who had stopped skipping, and did not look overjoyed at the prospect. But then she caught the eye of the Dark Lord, and gave him a smile. "Though I am told she bites," he warned.
Bellatrix made one hand into a claw and hissed at Severus.
"Ooh, and scratches too," Voldemort said with a smile.
A/N: I know some of you were waiting for more of "Take My Hand", but this one just shot into my head when I was listening to the radio - most particularly the very last scene. You might notice I alluded to a relationship which I made exist in "Take My Hand", but for which there is no canon evidence. Then again, there is no evidence to the contrary, is there? I just like the idea. Leave some review love :)