Between Darkness and Light
by Vivi-Chan

Characters: Harry Potter, Severus Snape

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: Harry finds just how fine a line Severus Snape treads when Voldemort attempts to kidnap him while at Hogwarts.

Note: Written while under the influence of prailine bars with eggnog icecream and a double mocha latte....

Disclaimer: I'm really poor! I don't pretend to own Harry Potter. Unless stated otherwise, all characters in here are not mine - I'm just borrowing them! Harry Potter is owned by Warner Brothers and the wonderfully talented J.K. Rowling! This site is in no way affiliated with J.K. Rowling or Warner Brothers.

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"Lemon Sherbet!" exclaimed Harry pounding at the Gargoyle that shielded Dumbledore's office. "Pepper Imps! Fizzing Wizzbees! Jelly Slugs!" He had tried every sweets that he could think of.

"And what have we here...?" asked a voice. "A student out of his bed? Mr. Potter. I might have known..."

Harry's heart sank to somewhere near his ankles as he whirled around, back pressed tightly against the slight hollow between the gargoyle's legs. He wanted to see where the voice was coming from. It was Snape of course, there had been no mistaking the voice filled with malice and spite.

Like a bodiless corpse, Snape seemed to materialize from out of nowhere. He was dressed in his usual black robes - blending almost perfectly with the darkened hallways. The pallor of Snape's face seemed accentuated by the shadows.

Harry swallowed. "P- please... I've got to see Professor Dumbledore."

"Dumbledore has been called away on Ministry business," said the potions master in a clipped voice. In a few short steps, Professor Snape, had seemingly crossed the distance to stand before Harry. Why was he up? There had been a nasty suspicion forming in Harry's mind.

It had to do with his dream. It had to do with Voldemort. Voldemort.... sending an agent into Hogwarts to kidnap Harry. Harry had seen it in his dream... Voldemort standing in some basement with three of his loyal Death Eaters. They were hooded of course...

He had wanted to warn Dumbledore. But... Dumbledore was apparently tricked away. Here was Snape, eyeing him suspiciously. Maliciously. Snape's mouth was set in a thin displeased line. "Nothing gives you the right to be wandering in these halls this late at night," snapped Snape. "Fifty points from Gryffindor and detention. As a matter of fact.... perhaps, since you're here, you should start your detention. Now."

Harry had been struck by the total unfairness of it all.

"Your wand. Now," Severus said, dark eyes glittering with the malice that Harry only knew too well.

Harry gulped. He didn't want to reveal to Snape about his scar hurting. He still didn't trust Professor Snape, even with Dumbledore's assurances. Snape could still be on Voldemort's side... he could be double-crossing them! The fact that Snape had demanded that Harry give over his one means of fighting the Death Eaters that were coming for him had sent alarms of panic through Harry's mind. He had whipped his wand out, really out of reflex.

"IExpelliarmus/I!" exclaimed Snape, his wand out almost faster than Harry could blink.

It had been the same sort of deadly speed that Snape had displayed that one time, Lockhart had corraled Snape into being an assistant in the Duelling Club.

"ONE HUNDRED POINTS FROM GRYFFINDOR, POTTER!" Snape had bellowed, face pale with anger. He held Harry's wand in one hand and his own wand in the other. Snape had looked oddly triumphant, "Dumbledore will be hearing about this... and we'll see who's laughing tomorrow... if you have one!"

Harry had gone ice cold. He had tried to attack a Hogwarts Professor. It would mean an expelling for sure.... He'd be forced to live with the Dursleys... or even worse, his relations might choose to turn him out. He couldn't go live with Sirius... not with Sirius still on the run from the Ministry....

"Now Potter.... forward."

Harry, feeling his insides twisting most unpleasantly, stumbled forward. He almost hoped that the Death Eaters would get him.

Snape was leading him towards the armor room. It meant that they would be passing the statue of humpbacked witch with secret passage to Hogsmeade. The entrance that Voldemort's followers would be using...

Harry considered making a run for it. No. Snape would love nothing more to possibly stun him... even get him expelled without appeal. Harry railed at the unfairness of it all.

They'd reached the Armor room.

"Now. Start polishing," said Snape coldly. A rag appeared, dropping to the ground next to him. Harry picked up the rag, selecting the wall with the doorway... he had less chance of being seen this way. He carefully began to scrub, trying to muffle the clinking sounds of the armor as he tried to shine it. He could hear faint voices and the faintest grinding of stone on floor. They were here. The three Death Eaters.

"We'll split up," said a voice. "You. Go down to Slytherin and see if Snape is there like he promised. You. Check this floor. If either of you see Filch or that damnable Ms. Norris - you know the drill. It's to look as if Slytherin's Heir has returned."

Snape. He was in league with them! Harry's heart pounded in his chest. His hands felt slick and cold and he couldn't quite feel his feet anymore. He cast a glance over his shoulder to see Professor Snape. The potions master had eased his lean frame into an overstuffed couch, Harry's wand in his posession. Snape gave every evidence of not having heard a word a thing, dark eyes glittering at him with a sneer of triumph.

"What are you gonna do, Therrin?" asked another, hoarsely.

There was a faint raucous laugh. "Guard the exit of course."

Harry continued to scrub at what he hoped was the quietest piece of the armor. He was in such serious danger right now. He feverently wished he hadn't left Gryffindor tower without at least alerting Ron.... or even Hermione. No one knew he wasn't in Gryffindor. There was no one to save him from Snape or his fellow Death Eaters.

He was trembling so hard when he heard the nearly silent footsteps that the armor rattled. Harry let out a faint horrified gasp. The person had stopped... then there was a faint sliding sound - fabric against the wall perhaps...

Harry closed his eyes, Praying. Wishing he had his invisibility cloak. Wishing he even had his wand. He didn't want to face Voldemort like this...

"Snape..." said a voice in surprise. "What are you doing here? Torres went down to Slytherin to find you." Harry looked up to see a figure dressed in black. He was hooded.

Snape raised HIS wand pointing at him, "Why don't you see for yourself?" he asked. His voice low. "It's quite a sight I assure you."

The figure turned to look at Harry. All Harry could see were a pair of dark eyes. Harry stumbled backwards, banging into the suit of armor behind him. It caused a distraction. It caused a godawful noise as the armor literally fell off its stand.

He wanted to scream, but he could seem to find no voice. The anonymous Death Eater spoke, "Excellent... Excellent... How perfect... Voldemort will reward you so handsomely." The Death Eater raised his wand towards Harry. Harry closed his eyes, his breath coming in short gasps. He wished for Dumbledore. He wished for Flitwick. He even wished for McGonagall.... Harry closed his eyes, whispering a prayer for Fawkes even.

"IAvada Kedavra/I."

Harry saw the flash of green light, despite the fact his eyes were screwed shut. He heard the sound of approaching death. Was this what it was like to die? He heard a heavy thump. With his eyes screwed so tightly closed, the suspense was proving too intense. He opened his eyes. The Death Eater had fallen, face forward onto the ground.

Harry's eyes darted to where Professor Snape sat. The man hadn't moved much, just a subtle shift of where the wand was pointing. The potions master's expression was unreadable. Professor Snape stood up, pulling his black robes about him, before walking towards the now dead Death Eater. He was still carrying Harry's wand, twirling it once in his hand, as if inspecting his grisly handiwork.

"Torville?" came the cautious voice. "What was that?"

Harry stared at the dead man... then at Snape. He wanted to ask why Snape had done that... but Snape held his finger to his lip in a nearly universal sign for silence. Harry bit his hand, to keep from crying out.

"I think.... we've run into a slight hitch," said Snape. His voice was pitched so that it sounded almost like the Death Eater that now lay dead nearly at Harry's feet. It had sounded strained close to cracking. "Come and see. In the Armor Room... I... I think it's the Potter boy...."

"Whaddaya mean a slight hitch?" asked the man. Footsteps. "Torville what the blazes have you done? If you've accidentally killed-"

Severus had Harry's wand pointed at the entryway. When the second Death Eater walked in, Severus intoned, "IPetrificus Totalus/I." The second man toppled over with a heavy thud.

Severus knelt next to the spelled man. The potions master then reached into the folds of his cloak taking out a watch and small bottle with something the color of mud. He first looked at the time. Then, he yanked off the man's mask and pulled out a sliver of greying hair. He then dropped the strand of greying hair into the bottle. The potion, the color of mud, now turned a sickly grey-green. Snape eyed it with momentary distaste then swallowed the entire contents.

Polyjuice potion.... Harry noted in the one part of his mind that hadn't completely frozen in terror. Severus doubled over, hands clutching at his midsection... His form began to change slowly - features bubbling and generally looking like a wax figure melting in the flame.

Harry had drunk polyjuice potion once. It had been an experience he didn't care to repeat. He had drunk it to turn into Goyle when Ron, Hermione and he had tried to get into Slytherin to find out if Draco was Slytherin's Heir.

In a matter of a minute, the exact copy of the frozen Death Eater stood in Snape's place. Snape's clothing seemed all too loose on Snape's new form. He took up the hood and slipped it over his head.

Snape then extracted the man's wand from the robes. He pointed the wand at Harry, "IImperio/I."

Harry felt himself fading into a kind of blissful torpor. He heard Snape speaking as he tried to throw off the Imperius Curse. Two of the three Unforgivable Curses, Snape seemed to use them with a near callous disregard. Maybe he WAS in league with Voldemort.

"Break the curse, you fool," snapped the transformed potions master.

Harry found a spurt of energy, goaded by Snape's command and he stumbled. The haze faded from his mind. "Why did you do that?!" exclaimed Harry.

"Walk ahead of me and act like you're controlled you nasty little fool," Snape snapped. "Or I'll spell you again just to make it convincing."

Harry stumbled. What was going on? He wasn't quite sure what was going on anymore. Ahead he could see the humpbacked witch. What now? He was trembling trying not to be afraid. Where was Ms. Norris and Filch when you needed them?

Snape took a firm hold of Harry's arm, leading him to the humpback witch's statue. He stood there, a silent shadow himself. Harry wondered, where was Dumbledore and McGonagall? The figure that rounded the corner at last was not the cavalry. It was the final Death Eater.

"Torres," Snape snapped. "What kept you?"

"It's Snape sir... he wasn't there... Who's that with you...?"

"A present from Snape," replied the disguised potions teacher. "Potter was right under our nose, in the Armor Room, polishing trophies. Detention, would you believe it? Snape caught him prowling."

There was a faint guffaw as Torres neared. "Oh... the reward will be great when we bring Potter to Voldemort."

"I think not," Professor Snape sneered. He turned the confiscated wand of the other Death Eater at the man called Torres.

"What... what are you talking about? Are you mad?"

"Only ONE of us will be returning with Potter," said Severus loudly. "And it's me! IPetrificus Totalus/I!"

Torres was too slow.

Harry was completely horrified as fake Death Eater Snape then turned to go to the Armor Room. Snape-as-the-Unknown-Death-Eater returned, carrying the full-body-locked Death Eater. Snape pulled off his mask and shoved it back over the man. Then he tossed the man's wand disdainfully on the ground.

Professor Snape then withdrew his watch. He then tucked his watch away, frowning. "Am I understood? This will be your official story - You had a dream about Voldemort planning this."

The poly-juice disguised potions master smiled a most unpleasant smile when Harry jerked his head in surprise, touching his scar. How had Snape known about the dreams? That Rita Skeeters article?

"You came down here, because I ordered you into detention for sneaking around. While polishing armor, you heard the Death Eaters enter. You feared for your life when he came into this room to investigate the noise you'd made and in panic you cast the Killing Curse." Snape pointed at the dead man. "Then, this one caught you unawares, and cast the Imperius Curse on you. Forced you to the secret passageway entrance. Where he waited for Torres. He attacked Torres, hoping to return, alone, to Voldemort with you. Then while he was distracted with Torres, you broke free of the Imperius curse and cast the full-body bind on him."

"But.... but I'll be expelled for casting the Killing Curse- or... or sent to Azkaban!" Harry exclaimed. He didn't want either to happen. It was so unfair! Snape was trying to get him expelled!

"Knowing Dumbledore's nepotistic tendencies he will know Bprecisely/B how to circumvent that," Snape had sounded particularily disgusted by that. "You will wait precisely 10 more minutes before runnning off to find your Professor McGonagall. Understood?"

Harry gulped, would Dumbledore be able to save him? He nodded slowly.

"Let this be a lesson to you, Mr. Potter," Professor Snape turned to walk away. "100 points for Gryffindor. Don't forget that you still have detention with Filch tomorrow."

That left Gryffindor 50 points in the minus.

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"Severus. Harry. Would you please stay for a moment?" asked professor Dumbledore. Professor McGonagall had paused at the doorway, apparently a bit concerned. She then continued out.

Professor Dumbledore had appeared to magically return while Professor McGongagall was organizing the search through the hidden passageway and the taking away of the three Death Eaters. They were now in Professor Dumbledore's office. Harry had a nice hot cup of hot chocolate to warm his insides. Right now he felt terribly numb.

When the door closed behind Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore, looked to Professor Snape with a sort of disappointed expression. "I can't say I approve entirely of what you did, Severus."

Harry glanced between Snape and Professor Dumbledore. Had there been some kind of non-verbal exchange?

Snape's lips curled in disdain. "I do things, Bmy/B way. Dumbledore."

"You walk a perilious line, Severus...."

"I know precisely what I am doing, Dumbledore," Snape replied drawing his robes about him as he stood. "There will be a reckoning, for my crimes. But not today."

Dumbledore looked somewhat sad, Harry thought. Like a father disappointed in his son.

"Now if you'll excuse me. I have students to reassure," Snape didn't wait for the dismissal before sweeping out.

Without Professor Snape there, Harry felt some of his tension leave him. "Professor- I..."

"You don't need to say a thing, Harry," the elderly headmaster of Hogwarts smiled tiredly. "I have been able to deduce a fair bit of what happened. I expect that Severus will enlighten me when he is able to."

"Professor- I... I was so sure Snape was going to betray me...." Harry choked out.

"That's IProfessor/I Snape, he is a Hogwarts professor," Dumbledore reminded him gently. "Quite convincing, is he not? Severus has a most unfortunate flair for the dramatics. It's what makes him so ideal for what he does. Now. I suggest you run to Madam Pomfrey's to get some rest. And please promise that you won't tell anyone the truth of tonight. Not even those two friends of yours."

"Professor Dumbledore, sir?" Harry paused at the doorway.

"Yes Harry?" The headmaster asked.

"Could... you thank... Professor Snape... for me?"

"I think it would be best if you found the time to thank him, yourself. Goodnight Harry."

It was a dismissal. "Goodnight, Professor..."

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