Serpent Tongues & Snape

Chapter One – The Letter

Summary: When Harry is fifteen, he receives a very interesting letter from his mother courtesy of Dumbledore. It tells him secrets that he has never known, and takes him on a wild ride with adventures, intrigue, mystery, a little friendly snake called Sabrina, Severus Snape, Drakie in leather and evil cheese that Ron swears is out to get him. And of course a bit of snogging.

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

*

"Today we will be making a Sneezing Potion," said Severus Snape icily to the fifth year Gryffindors and Slytherins. "This potion, brewed correctly, will make the person drinking it sneeze for several minutes straight, allowing enough time between each one only to breathe. But for goodness sakes, Longbottom, try not to mess this up as you usually do, I once had a student who brewed this incorrectly and he couldn't breathe because of the constant sneezing. Nearly suffocated."  He swept towards the front of the room, choosing to ignore Neville Longbottom's face growing more terrified by the minute. "Partner up."

Harry and Ron instantly moved together, and Hermione set her things next to Neville. Grateful that he wouldn't suffocate on the potion now, Neville gave Hermione a small smile. "It's ok Neville, I'll help you," she whispered.

"You think Snape's hair got any greasier?" Ron mumbled to Harry.

"Nah," he muttered back. "Can't get any greasier than twenty years of slime, can it?" They shared a brief laugh, but ceased immediately when he came over to check how they were doing. "Potter, I see you've forgotten to put in the hedgehog quills before you boil the potion, haven't you? That's five points from Gryffindor." That was so unfair that Harry opened his mouth to argue, and would probably had resulted in many points lost for Gryffindor had not Ron kicked him hard under the table. Waiting until he left to check on Neville and Hermione, he turned to Ron.

"Ron!" he hissed. "What was that for?"

"To stop you losing hundreds of points," said Ron matter-of-factly.

*

Albus Dumbledore frowned at the letter before him. "How could this be?" he muttered. After living for as long as he had, nearly nothing surprised him. However, this had, to say the least, floored him.

*

"Oof!"

"Oof? What kind of a word is that?"

"It's the I-Just-Got-Out-Of-Double-Potions-And-About-To-Collapse oof."

Ron grinned at his best friend spread out on the soft armchair beside him. Harry moaned, and pushed his glasses up to his forehead, rubbing his eyes. "Three hours. Three. I can't believe. It's unbelievable, that's why."

"Oh, do stop moaning Harry," said Hermione crossly, coming up behind them. "We all had potions, and to be honest, I think Neville got it worse than you did."

"True," Harry admitted. "But I still think that—"

"Aaaaggghhhhh!"

The three of them bolted upright. "What was that?" Hermione whispered to the two, her eyes wide.

"Aaaahhhhh! Snake! Snake!"

Ron and Hermione flopped back onto the armchairs in the Gryffindor common room, but Harry stood up. "Hermione, take me to the girl's dormitories."

She raised an eyebrow. "Harry," she said, amused. "I hardly think this is the time or place fo—"

"No! I want to stop that girl screaming."

She sighed, and led him through a portrait, leading him to the yells of over-excited girls.

He stepped in, and immediately the yells ceased. All that was left was a little hissing voice.

"Honestly, they see one little harmless snake, and they think I'm going to kill them. Well, really."

Harry stepped forward and extended an arm towards the little red and green snake.

"Come with me, I will not hurt you," he hissed to him. Or her. Harry wasn't sure yet.

"What? One that speaks the ancient serpent tongue? Who are you?"

"My name is Harry Potter," he hissed to the snake, completely unaware of the incredulous looks the girls were giving him.

"Hello, Harry Potter."

"What do you want me to do with you?"

"I am cold, Harry Potter. Please take me with you."

Looking unsure, Harry lifted up the sleeve of his robe and wrapped the snake around his left forearm.

"It is dark Harry Potter." A pause. "I like it."

*

Severus Snape straightened his robes, and knocked on the Headmaster's office. It opened straight away, and Severus walked through, greeting the old white-bearded man sitting behind his desk, stroking his magnificent phoenix.

"You wanted to see me, Albus?" he asked him mildly.

"Severus."

"Is there something wrong?" He sat down on a chair, his face displaying no emotion.

"I have here a letter, Severus. It's from Lily."

Anyone watching that scene would have been shocked at what those nine words did to the man. His face went white, and he began to slip off his chair. "Li- Lily?" he croaked.

Albus Dumbledore nodded his head gravely. "Yes, Severus," he said softly to the shaking man. "She wrote it two months before she passed, in case anything ever happened to her."

Severus Snape sat there, dumbfounded. Lily, his one true love, the only one who had loved him in return.

"Lily," a much younger and handsomer Severus Snape said quietly to the blushing red-headed girl before him. "Will you marry me?" He opened a large black velvet box, revealing a rose gold band studded with topaz jewels.

She threw her arms around his neck. "Of course I will," she breathed. "I love you."

His thoughts rushed forward to a year later.

He walked into their living room. "Lily," he said dully.

"Severus? Is there something wrong?" she answered.

"Oh, Lily," he said, hugging her, feeling a tingle behind his eyes. "The Dark Lord knows." She withdrew from his grasp and gasped. "No," she said faintly. "It's a mistake."

"I'm afraid not. I managed to escape with my life, but I did something I think you will hate me for."

"I could never hate you Severus. But what did you do?"

"You know your Auror partner? What's his name-James? I made out that you two were about to be married, that I was simply spying, trying to gather information."

"But, what does this mean?" she asked him, puzzled.

"It means, that you have to move in with James, or I fear the Dark Lord will kill us both."

She gave a muffled sob. "I can't, I can't. Oh, Severus."

"We will never divorce, I will always be with you Lily. You know that."

"I know, I know…" she cried into his chest.

His thoughts skipped over to the next few months.

The Potter's wedding had been a grand affair, Severus had made sure of that. He made sure that Voldemort would never suspect that he, Severus Snape, Death Eater, Servant to the Dark Lord, was married to Lily Evans. They saw each other whenever they could. James knew about them, and his marriage was fake, he knew that also. He was doing it to protect Lily, but Severus wasn't sure how far he had gone with her. He had never been sure. But when Harry had shown up at Hogwarts eleven years later, the spitting image of James, Snape knew. He just knew.

"Severus?" A soft voice broke into his thoughts. He shook himself, and turned to face the sympathetic look of Albus Dumbledore.

"I have the letter here. She instructed me to read it, then give it to you, when Harry was fifteen and one month."

"A month?" Snape cracked a wry grin.

Dumbledore's eyes twinkled behind his glasses. "She always had this strange obsession with months…"

"But what does the letter say?" Severus pressed.

"I have to warn you Severus, that this letter will change your life forever if you read it. Are you sure you still want to do it?"

"What do you mean? Of course I'm sure! Let me have Lily's letter, please Albus."

He sighed, and handed Severus Snape a crumbling piece of parchment.

*

"Harry, that's really creeping me out."

"What, Ron?"

"You hissing to that snake all the time. It gives me the creeps!"

"Calm down!"

"What is the matter, Harry Potter?" came an inquiring voice from his side.

"Nothing," he hissed back. "Go back to sleep."

"There you go again," Ron said, exasperated, blowing a piece of hair off his face.

He rolled his eyes. "Where's Hermione?"

He didn't need to answer, for in unison, they both said, "Library."

"Honestly, she's doing more studying for the O.W.Ls than Dumbledore did, I'm betting," Ron complained.

Harry cracked a grin. "Yeah, and I'm betting that she'll do better on them, too."

*

Severus looked down on the paper, stunned. He could not believe it. He reread it, just to make sure he wasn't seeing things.

Dear Albus and Severus,

                                    I am hoping that this letter need never be read, but as a precaution, I am writing this to both of you. Firstly, to Albus – the jade monkey was never mine, I found it when I was six. I know that I should have told you, but it was so pretty when I was young, I never thought that it was yours. I'm sorry.

                                    Next, to Severus. Darling, I miss you and love you so much, and I hope beyond all my strength that you never have to read this. I also hope that you have met Harry, and that you love him as much as I do. Severus – Harry is not James'. He is yours. When he was born, James thought it best that I bewitched him to look like James, for if anyone grew suspicious. That is why he looks so much like him, I swear. Please, Severus, take care of him, I know now that he is old enough to handle the truth. I love you.

                                                                         Lily

He collapsed onto his bed, in the far east corner of the Slytherin dungeons. He had a secret entryway, and office, that no one knew of.

Thoughts and actions swirled around his head. 'How will I tell Harry? Will he change? Will I change? Oh my God. I'm a father!' It was the last one that did it. He jumped up and wrung his hands together. "Ok, Severus, calm down, calm down, calm do—"

"Severus?"

"Aaah! Albus, please, do not do that again!" He dropped onto his bed, and held his head, moaning.

"Severus, I suggest that you get some rest. I would advise on telling Harry this as soon as possible, please meet me in my office at nine tomorrow morning."

He nodded, and Albus left him.

*

"Why does Dumbledore want to see me?" Harry said, confused.

"It's probably all that business with You-Know-Who," said Ron.

"But it can't be about Volde—"

"Don't say the name!"

"mort, or otherwise he would just get me up there as soon as possible."
"Harry, you'll find out tomorrow, just go to bed now, and get some rest."

"Thanks, Hermione."

The three friends parted, leaving Hermione to her books, Ron to his chess set and Harry to his thoughts.

*

If you enjoyed this story, then please write a review. It doesn't have to be fantastic, just a simple 'good story write more' would suffice. Please? Do it because I have no life and need reviews.

But if you are going to flame, don't bother. If you don't have anything nice to say, then say nothing at all.

In the next chapter…

Does Harry find out the truth? How does Sevvie react? And will the evil cheese make an appearance?