A/N: I've read plenty of fics where Dumbledore does something unspeakable, sometimes in the name of the greater good, sometimes for his own mechanisms; this is one of those 'good intentions, horrible results' fics.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of JK Rowling's characters. I only borrow them for my own sick amusement.
"But I don't understand Headmaster. The Dark Lord came back, more powerful than ever. Who could have defeated him and all those Death Eaters if you did not?" Severus Snape left his normally acerbic tone behind, true curiosity and apprehension in his voice, anyone who had killed that group of people was a force to be reckoned with.
"Why, Harry Potter, of course." Albus Dumbledore smiled jovially. He was thrilled that his half-cocked plan all those years ago worked so well. He had been worried at the start of it, but in the end decided that it was all for the greater good and thus must be done.
A flooding rush of memories came back to Severus - classes, meals, late night excursions - and he could feel his face blank – its default state – as horror overcame him. He turned his head slowly, and suddenly he could see the young man that had been sitting in the chair next to him this entire past hour, yet he had not known was there.
"H-how?" The Potions Master managed to choke out.
The 18 year-old man simply looked at him with dead eyes before turning to look at the headmaster. The glance with anyone else would have appeared deferential; however, this young man simply gave the impression that the question was unworthy of his speaking an answer and therefore the other man must give one.
The Headmaster chuckled, part smug and part proud. "A spell, of course. I knew that no matter where our dear boy Harry was, he would be in danger, because there was always the chance that someone would find out where he was. So, of course I needed to discover a way that no one would find out such information, while allowing him to live as normal a life as possible. What better way to prevent anyone from discovering his location, than to have no one remember that they had even seen him?" Albus chuckled again at his own ingenuity.
Severus made an strangled noise from the back of his throat, too shocked and horrified to articulate his objections.
"It was based off the Fidelius Charm. I had the ingenious idea to harness the widespread memory altering portion of the spell and transfer it from a location to a person. It took me several years to complete, but by the time that our dear Harry was six I had perfected the spell enough that for two weeks everyone forgot about Fawkes' very existence. It was then that I performed it on young Harry here, with me as his Secret Keeper, of course."
The youngest Potion Master in centuries could only stare at the object of discussion. He had lived, from the age of six, with no one able to see him, hear him, even realize he existed? And Dumbledore thought this was a good thing?!
He looked back at the Headmaster and realized that, yes, yes he did.
Severus Snape made another strangled noise before clearing his throat sharply. "And you told others of his existence? Those that you trusted with the information?" He hoped that the Headmaster had at least been this intelligent.
Albus looked shocked at the suggestion. "Oh no! Of course not! We couldn't have another disaster liked what happened at Godric's Hollow, now could we? No, with someone knowing of him, he was no longer protected. So for the last twelve years I've been the only one to know where or even who he was." Dumbledore, once again, looked proud.
Another strangled sound made its way out of Severus' throat. He looked back to the subject of their discussion and once again saw the dead looking eyes. He suppressed a violent shiver.
An 18 year-old had slaughtered the Dark Lord and all his followers and Dumbledore thought that after making his life a living hell, that he would remain light?
Severus had always been a survivor. He had flip-flopped sides so many times because of his deeply ingrained Slytherin survival instincts.
Right at that moment, looking into those dead eyes, he made a vow to follow this young man no matter what he may do. He was exceedingly glad that he had yet to do anything that would alienate the Potter boy.
Severus saw knowledge, recognition, and then acceptance flicker through the youth's emerald green eyes, before a barely there smirk made its way onto the devastatingly hansom face.
Those green eyes turned back to the chortling Headmaster and Severus saw the old man's death in them.
Strangely, he was just fine with that.