One of the good things about being a writer is that you grow as you write. Unfortunately this also means that most of the times you outgrow other stories you've already written. This means that you either abandon them or rewrite them over again. I seriously considered abandoning this but someone *cough* hewhoistomriddle *cough* wants me to continue. So. Um. I'll try rewriting it instead.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not mine.
Warning: Although nothing has been finalized, there is a great chance this will be slash (Draco/Harry) but probably not for a long, long time. Consider yourselves warned. If you don't like slash then don't bother reading.
THE DARK CHRONICLES
(TAKE 2 LOL)
It was the height of summer and the sun seemed determined to melt absolutely anything and anyone caught under it. Temperatures were pushing a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and almost all the houses and building in Hogsmeade were spelled with Cooling Charms. Business at the Three Broomsticks was unusually slow, the heat making most people reluctant to travel or leave their homes even for just a few minutes. Which was why it was such a shock to the people of Hogsmeade when they saw two men marching down the High Road at noontime, right when the sun burned hottest.
One of the two was a short, slight man dressed in an overabundance of robes that made people wince when they thought of him wearing that in this weather. He was wiping sweat from his face with one hand while he struggled valiantly to keep pace with the other man who, people were even more surprised to note, happened to be Hogwarts' resident Potions Master, Severus Snape. In the shimmering heat, with his robes billowing behind him and his steps stirring up dust Snape managed to look even more unpleasant than usual. Or perhaps it really was just the heat.
Most of the inhabitants of Hogsmeade would turn to look, wonder about the strange sight for a second, and then promptly forget about it, deciding that such things weren't worth ruminating over when one could spend the rest of one's time devising other ways aside from Cooling Charms to stay cool.
Noticed but unhindered, the two men kept on walking until they reached their destination – the Hog's Head pub, managing to look even dingier in the harsh brightness of day. The shorter man, a known regular at the Leaky Cauldron named Caradoc Dearborn, checked his five ticking wristwatches and muttered, "Well, we're bang on time, Professor."
Snape only grunted before pushing the door open, one hand slipping surreptitiously into his robes. Predictably, the Hog's Head was empty and perhaps for this reason it's owner had decided not to apply a Cooling Charm with the result that the inside was even more stiflingly hot compared to the outside. Sweat dripped from Snape's greasy hair and onto his robes and there were wet patches on Dearborn's. The lone customer in the Hog's Head who happened to be perched on a chair in one of the center tables rose as they entered, her many-bangled arms clinking gently.
"My dear sirs, the cards have foretold of your coming." They saw that she was tucking a deck of cards into a hidden pocket. "The Powers Unseen bless you."
Snape was disapprovingly silent but Dearborn let out a little squeak of excitement. In front of them was one of the current celebrities of the Wizarding World – the Seer Sibyll Trelawney. She was well-known for being a descendant of Cassandra Trelawney and for most of her life had not really accomplished anything worth mentioning. All that had changed a little over two years ago, though. Sibyll Trelawney had been with Emmeline Vance when she had gone into a trance and started prophesying a Death Eater attack on Platform 9 and ¾. Thinking it another one of Trelawney's 'performances' Emmeline Vance had disregarded it, barely mentioning it in passing to Albus Dumbledore a little while after. Dumbledore had shrewdly guessed that there was more to Sibyll Trelawney's words than met the ear and had sent an advance guard to the train station.
Needless to say, many lives were saved and a huge number of Death Eaters put to trial and jail due to Sibyll Trelawney's timely prediction. The incident had spread like wildfire and cemented her reputation as a Seer. Since then, she'd been in high demand people clamoring for her to foretell their futures. She was nominated Witch Weekly's witch of the year and her hastily-written book (insubstantial in Snape's opinion) was an instant bestseller. She stood now, distant and mystical, wrapped in gauzy shawls despite the heat, delicately blotting out her sweat.
Snape noted that if this moment had indeed been foretold by the cards, she could have greeted them by their names.
He thought she was nothing more than an attention-seeking fraud. Oh, he believed in her first prophecy. He just didn't believe, as she widely claimed, that she could control her powers and believed all of her succeeding predictions were balderdash. Apparently, Dumbledore thought differently as he had sent Snape and Caradoc Dearborn, who Snape knew was a member of the Order of the Phoenix, under the guise of escorting Trelawney to Hogwarts to begin her new position as Divination teacher. The truth of the matter, Snape suspected, was that Dumbledore was aware that the Dark Lord would strike back at Trelawney after the incident at Platform 9 and ¾.
And how right the Headmaster was to fear, Snape thought lips bordering on a grim smile.
The first spell shattered the Hog's Head's grimy windows. The door flew open and the black-robed Death Eaters swept in. Snape counted six (exactly as planned) before he trained his wand and sent a table blasting into their way.
"Get down!" he coldly ordered a Trelawney who seemed frozen to the spot. With all your great Seeing powers you couldn't predict this? he stopped himself from asking amusedly.
Dearborn's Stunning Spell hit one of the Death Eaters and two more of them shifted forward with Shield Spells while the remaining three moved to the back getting ready to throw offensive curses. Snape grabbed Trelawney's thin arm as he shot a Stunning Spell at the Death Eaters as well. It bounced off their shields, sparking. Dearborn was casting spell after spell (perhaps he was good for something after all; Snape wasn't surprised since members of the Order of the Phoenix were often very unpredictable) while his eyes flit to and fro, assessing the best way out of the pub. The barkeeper had run off after the first spell.
It would be too late for reinforcements to come, Snape thought grimly. The Death Eaters would take out Dearborn and Snape would 'fight' to keep Trelawney safe. It wouldn't do after all, if people guessed (although there were already suspicions) that Snape himself was a Death Eater.
Then Murphy's Law laughed at all of them.
Trelawney suddenly went rigid and Snape shot her a surprised look. At the same moment he heard running footsteps and he saw Aurors with their distinctive uniforms appear behind the Death Eaters. He caught the look that one of them gave to Dearborn and cursed himself for not anticipating that Dumbledore would have sent members of his precious Order undercover just to ensure Trelawney's safety.
This complicated things immensely but it was… doable. He just had to get Trelawney outside where Leigh was waiting and Leigh could kill her and Stun Snape making it seem like Snape had been helping her escape instead of being the one responsible for her death. He turned to her and she was shaking, eyes unfocused one hand clutching at a chair as spells whizzed past her.
"Get her, oh Merlin, get her out of here, Snape!" Dearborn was yelling at him while dodging a spell cast by one of the masked Death Eaters.
But Snape simply stared as Trelawney's mouth lolled then opened her voice harsh and grating but low enough that only Snape could hear what was being said.
"Three of them will come."
"Snape, watch out!" He dodged, almost losing his footing and he fell hard on a table.
"Three will be born as the Seventh Month wanes –
One to bring Darkness, One to bring Death,
And One to Save all Wizardkind."
He pulled himself up but all of a sudden a member of the Order – Prewett, all that red hair it had to be – and a Death Eater were dueling in front of him, blocking his way from Sibyll Trelawney. The Death Eater was wrestling Prewett to the ground. Snape cursed as he took out his wand and Stunned the Death Eater. It would have been far too suspicious if he had not stopped to help. There was a great whoosh and he heard from the cackling laughter outside, the arrival of more Death Eaters. He turned to Trelawney but she was not standing where she had been.
A quick panicked glance around the room showed her being ushered through the back door by a figure dressed in a dirty gray cloak that Snape could have sworn had not been there earlier.
" – Light will breed Dark, and Dark will breed Light – "
And Trelawney was pushed through the door and the unknown man glanced back enough for Snape to see something inked in black on his right cheek before the door shut with an ominous bang.
"NO!" Snape roared, mind out of the battle around him and wrapped around the fact that Trelawney had been making a prediction.
He ran past members of the Order and Death Eaters alike, coming close to a Killing Curse aimed at the member of the Order beside him but he didn't see any of them. One of the tables had caught fire from a Flame Hex and smoke was choking the pub. His hand closed around the metal knob of the door and he pushed it open.
It opened into an empty storeroom. Trelawney and the man, whoever he was, had simply vanished.
- o -
The man stumbled a little but his grip on the Seer never gave. They had emerged into the woods bordering Hogsmeade and although she was still prophesying, it did not matter. Not when he already knew the important gist of what she had to say.
" – And the Savior shall be known by Power Immeasurable
But their Lives will be cloaked - by gray shades of good and evil -
Until the Moon overpowers the Sun
And the Three embrace their Destiny."
He caught her as she fell unconscious but his mind was not on the woman heavy in his arms whose many shawls scratched him. His mind was in another time, with another Seer, who had made an almost similar prophecy about three other boys.
Darkness, Death and Light indeed.
- o -
Snape wondered whether Dumbledore had ever interrogated prisoners of war – it was something the Headmaster seemed very subtly excellent at. The tide of the battle had shifted the moment it was discovered that Trelawney had simply vanished. The Death Eaters had done an all too excellent job of escaping but no one – Death Eater and Order member alike – had the faintest notion of how Sibyll Trelawney and some unknown man who had not been there in the first place could simply vanish into thin air.
Snape was sure his interrogation with Voldemort in a couple of hours would be far more painful than what Dumbledore was subjecting him through now.
One consolation was that no one in the village was hurt. There were no houses near the Hog's Head so the fire had not spread too far. No one had been wandering out in the streets so there were no casualties. Dumbledore had given his word that he himself would pay and oversee the restorations to the pub. There were many disgruntled mutters at this.
Snape watched Dumbledore savor another lemon drop, lips smacking as though they had all the time in the world. The man was asking Snape to describe what had happened for what had to be the twelfth time already. A lesser person would have gone into hysterics by now. Snape simply took a short breath and started all over again, racking his memory and being as precise with the details as he could be. All the while he was talking those light blue eyes never left his face.
Unlike certain other idiots with hero complexes (that arrogant Potter, for one) Dumbledore had never been anything other than kind and fair to Snape. Even though whenever he looked at Snape, the latter felt sure that Dumbledore knew he was a Death Eater. As Snape was describing how the unknown man had been escaping with Trelawney, Dumbledore held up a hand and interceded with a question,
"What, exactly was on his cheek?"
"I cannot recall exactly, Headmaster. There was smoke everywhere and they were too far off by that time. It looked like a triangle with other… figures inside it. A crude shape but it seemed familiar. I have tried looking through the memory in my Pensieve but it is indistinct there as well," Snape replied. It was not a lie. The tattoo on the man's cheek had been something he'd been puzzling over and obviously, Dumbledore knew as he did that it might be the only thing that would provide them with a clue to the man's identity.
Dumbledore made a low humming sound and gestured for him to continue. Snape picked up where he had left off and this time Dumbledore listened to the end with no interruptions.
He sighed once Snape had lapsed into silence. "It seems clear, Severus, that whoever this person was one of his intentions was that nobody hear about the full prophecy."
Snape nodded. He had surmised as much. "The question," Dumbledore continued. "Is why. The closest plausible answer I can think of is that it gives more information as to the three who are referred to within the prophecy. Perhaps even their exact identities?"
A little shiver skittered up Snape's spine when he thought once more of what that prophecy had said. One would bring Darkness and one would bring Death… He knew that when he would relay all of this to the Dark Lord later, the Dark Lord's primary concern would be of the child who would be the Savior.
"Considering the presence of Death Eaters, it is safe to assume then that Voldemort knows of this prophecy as well?"
Snape flinched both at the words and at the knowing look Dumbledore sent him. It was not accusing, though. More of resigned. As though Dumbledore knew Snape had no choice but to do it and didn't blame him one bit. Snape didn't like the uncomfortable prickling feeling in his chest because of that.
He forced himself to nonchalantly answer. "Yes. In all probability, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is also aware."
"Then the three families expecting a child by the end of July need to be warned."
Snape blinked. "Excuse me, Headmaster. To the best of my knowledge, the only women expecting a child at around July are Alice Longbottom and Miranda Eveleigh."
Dumbledore's expression was carefully blank as he replied, "Oh, you were not aware, Severus? Lily and James Potter must be congratulated as well."
Congratulated? When their son was one of the candidates to bring forth either darkness or death? As it still did almost every night of his life, Snape's heart went out to Lily. He didn't know which was worse – to have a child that would bring darkness, a child that would cause death or a child whose responsibility it was to stop all those from happening.
Whew. Well. Not bad. I think. I hope you guys think so too. Prophecy was changed. Please review.
Coming up: the three little kiddies.