The Infinitely Curious Woman

A/N: I am changing when Dumbledore told Snape about Harry being a Horcrux to when Snape was still their Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher. I'm wrapping up a longer story and have 4 different "first chapters" written for others. I think I'm going to post a few of them and pick my next story based on the responses I get.

The wind whipped through his black hair as the potions master strode across the grounds of Hogwarts. The storm clouds gathered overhead, but no rain fell. His black boots fell in heavy steps on the soft soil, treading down the tall grass. He wore his characteristic black robes and scowl. Usually he was cautious, aware of his surroundings, but today the words echoing in his mind held his full attention.

"The boy is a Horcrux. In order for Voldemort to be truly gone, the boy must die…by the Dark Lord's own wand."

The words, the terrible words twisted through his thoughts as he made his way back to the castle. The Headmaster had had a talk with him, had revealed to him a part, the crucial part, of his plans. It had caught Severus by surprise. He had thought, all those years, that he was keeping the boy alive for her, not as a weapon, not as a sacrifice. He had been to hell and back, had done everything that Dumbledore had asked him to do…and it was all for nothing.

But his deal had never been with Dumbledore, it had always been with her. He had sworn to keep Harry Potter alive at all costs. He had sworn this to Lily even though she was already gone. If that now meant going against Albus Dumbledore, then so be it. If the only way to make sure that Harry Potter was kept alive was to bring him to Voldemort's side and let the wizarding world destroy itself then that was what needed to be done.

The dark professor was summoned that night and left Hogwarts to meet the Dark Lord. He informed the Headmaster, who greeted his departure with a short nod. The potions master stared at the old man with distain. He would betray this man tonight, this man who he had faithfully served for almost two decades. The headmaster had pushed him further and further and he had finally reached his breaking-point.

Unlike the first time he had switched sides, this one would involve no open declarations of loyalty. He had been paying false loyalty to one master and true loyalty to the other; he would merely exchange their places. No one would know that he was switching sides tonight except himself. Taking a deep breath, he stepped into the Dark Lord's chamber.

What proceeded was an hour-and-a-half of mind-numbingly dull meeting. He stood side-by-side between his fellow Death Eaters as the Dark Lord paced back and forth in front of them, calling on them to report and informing them of their duties. Severus' heart raced. What he was about to do could get him killed. He had a find a way to get the Dark Lord to listen to what he had to say so that he could get it all out before the wizard started crucio-ing him.

"Severus." He heard his name being called. "What do you have for me?"

"A suggestion."

The Dark Lord gazed at him sharply. He did not take kindly to suggestions and Severus knew that. For Lily, he reminded himself. He was doing this for Lily.

"What sort of a suggestion?" the wizard asked coldly.

"A change in tactics."

He felt the wizards to either side of his flinch. They knew what was coming.

"You are my spy, Severus. When I want your advice, I shall ask for it." The Dark Lord raised his wand.

The potions master lowered his voice.

"I wish to speak with you about Horcruxes."

The Dark Lord paused, his raised wand focused on Severus.

"Leave us," he hissed and the other Death Eaters immediately vacated the room.

When the door shut firmly behind the last one of them, the Dark Lord looked at him sharply, waiting for him to speak. And of all the things the dark wizard expected to hear, the words uttered next caught him by surprise.

"You must not kill Harry Potter."

It was a high-pitched mirthless laugh.

"You must be joking, Severus." There was something that could be described as a cruel smile on the Dark Lord's face, as if he could already taste the man's upcoming pain.

Severus knew he had to speak quickly before he was hexed unable to do so.

"He is a horcrux. You made him a horcrux. To kill him would be to bring yourself one step closer to death."

The Dark Lord's smile disappeared and he lowered his wand. He was aware that this was not a joke.

"The night in Godric's Hollow?"


"But I didn't…"

"It doesn't matter. It still happened."

"This information is coming from Dumbledore?"


The snake-like wizard stood thoughtfully for a few minutes. Finally, he walked over to the large leaded-glass window. Gazing out it, he spoke.

"The boy will kill me."

"Make him not want to." Severus stepped forward. The Dark Lord was listening. It was time to reveal the rest of his plan.

"And how do you propose to do this?"

"Bring him to your side. Bring him to the dark."

"I have tried…"

"A weak attempt lacking completely in Slytherin subtlety." He knew he probably would have been killed on the spot for this comment had not the Dark Lord been eagerly waiting to hear the rest of his plan.

"And how exactly do you propose to accomplish it?"

Severus left his place and walked over to stand beside the Dark Lord at the window.

"How much do you know of muggle religion?" He asked in a low voice, already knowing the answer.

"I grew up in a muggle orphanage, we were taught the Bible…"

"Then you know about the fall of man."

The Dark Lord watched him in anticipation, waiting for the way he planned to corrupt the very soul of the man who had evaded him for so long. Half-remembered images from his childhood of gardens and snakes and apples swam in his vision. He waited for his spy to reveal to him the path that would allow him to corrupt his rival's very soul.

Severus spoke slowly, a dark gleam in his eye.

"It's always the woman….the infinitely curious woman…"

The next afternoon he sat at his desk in the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom, watching her. Her sharp quill scratched quickly across the parchment as she worked of her essay. Her bottom lip was caught between her lip in concentration. Glancing around to make sure that all the students were focused on their schoolwork, he continued his open appraisal of her. A ray of sunlight streamed through the window and landed on her face as she tucked a stray curl of soft brown hair behind her ear. In the afternoon sunlight, she looked like an angel. She was his target, his bridge to Harry Potter's soul. He studied her intently; there was a brightness in her eyes, an eagerness, an innocence.

He would destroy her.

It wasn't that he wanted to; he regretted it even. She had so much potential, so much intelligence and ambition. Who knew how far she might go…if not for the intervention he was planning. He regretted it, but he knew it must be done. He would never be able to lure Potter into the dark arts…not without her.

He would crack her soul, her shiny, precious, innocent soul.