I have written this story on another site, and got many positive reviews. My updating will not be as fast as I would like it to be, because I am getting ready for college and other tedious tasks that Sr. Year brings...but I promise that I will add chapters whenever I can.

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Chapter One

He would not let it happen; he would not let Dumbledore send the one thing he had worked so hard to protect. Severus was many things, but he was not a liar. He had promised Lily that he would protect Harry while she lay dying at Godric's Hallow. He would not let Dumbledore raise him up like a pig for slaughter. He would take the boy and they would save the world together. Or he would teach the boy all he needed to know so he could do it on his own. Severus had nothing but Potter to live for in this world anymore. He had at one time lived for his mentor, but both proved to be less than what he thought they would be. He knew that Potter was still in the castle, he was going to grab him before people suspected him for abandoning his post.

He had a satchel packed with the things they would need, he even managed to grab Potter some clothes while he had been in Diagon Alley. Yes, he was familiar with teen sizes…it happened when a Professor worked in a boarding school full of foolish teens that kept losing their robes and pajamas. Severus would be sure Potter had everything he needed…the only thing that would be missing was his friends. And unfortunately it was to risky to tell them why they were be fleeing. If there was one thing Severus knew Potter would understand it would be that his friends were in danger so long as they were near him.

Taking one last look around his darkened quarters he sighed. He truly did not want to betray the Headmaster's trust again…not when he had worked so hard to earn it back. However he could not let Lily's son die because he wanted to be selfish and regain a title among the wizarding world. This would repay his past love for what he had done. He would give his life for her son so that he may live happily…something he never truly had a chance to. Pulling his robe tighter around his torso he sighed…well, there was no turning back now.

"Protect me, Lily…" he whispered softly, before going through the floo to the Gryffindor Common Room.

Harry was uncertain why he couldn't sleep, but there was just something keeping him from joining his other mates up in the dormitory. He supposed it was just stress; he was stressed beyond belief about Voldemort and protecting Ron and Hermione, and Sirius's death. Everything just seemed to be piling on top of him to the point that he wasn't sure if he would be able to breathe again.

His head resting on the arm of the sofa he sighed and pulled the blanket he had brought down with him around himself. He missed his God-father…the one man in his life that had loved him unconditionally like a father should. It hurt his heart to think of him and many nights Harry found himself alone with his tears because of how much he missed him. It just wasn't fair that he had to die…of all the people in the world, why did it have to be Sirius? And why did Harry have to be so stupid as to lead his beloved God-father to his death? How would he ever forgive himself?

Tears filled his eyes and slid carefully down his nose, dribbling against the sofa in soft splashes. Harry couldn't even react to wipe them clear. He was too fed up with trying to hide his pain from everyone, least of all himself. He was just done with it all. If he could he would toss himself from the highest tower and let everyone fend for themselves just as he had to do. Leave them there to fester and burn in the flames of their defeat and incompetence. Closing his eyes he felt more tear slide down his face and onto the pillow. He just wanted the pain to stop…why was that so much to ask? How could his life get any worse?

"Potter…"

Of course…God would be that cruel to him. Opening his green eyes he looked up into the dark orbs of his most detested Professor. He was dressed for travel, maybe this was a dream of Snape announcing he was quitting or leaving England. But now, he had not been able to sleep fitfully for days. This was cold reality knocking on his door once more.

"Professor…" he whispered. "What have I done now?"

"Nothing Mr. Potter…it's what you are going to do. I need you to come with me."

Harry cocked his eyebrow briefly, but sat up. Something told him he would want to be fully coherent for this conversation. Was Snape leaving Hogwarts? And taking him with? No, that would be a Hell all in itself. What was this slimy git playing at? Luring him to his death as so many have tried before, handing him over to Voldemort? Something just didn't seem right to Harry…this wasn't a normal Snape visit.

"And why should I, Professor?" Harry hissed.

Severus had to retain a snide remark. He knew this was going to happen; he would either have to convince Potter or force him to leave. One task easier than the other, but he would rather Potter go willingly then him having to keep him tied up and attached to his all hours of every day.

"Because your battle against the Dark Lord will be futile if you don't."

Harry's eyes narrowed, he had never talked to Snape about Voldemort. Not willingly anyway, his Occlumens lessons had been forced and more than once he had left the office feeling violently ill. Now his Professor seemed almost distressed and rushed about what he needed to say. He supposed that he could hear him out, but only because it involved Voldemort…not because Snape wanted him to.

"I'm listening."

Severus nodded and taking a seat in a chair across from him he loosened the ties of his cloak. With the fireplace lit it was awfully warm. Not at all like the dungeons where a never ending chill seemed to linger. The fireplace crackled happily behind him and taking his wand he dimmed the flame so he would not die of heatstroke while he spoke to Potter.

"The Headmaster has revealed to me what must happen for you to defeat the Dark Lord…" he said softly. "Has he told you about the Horcruxes? About what you will need to do to defeat the Dark Lord?"

Harry nodded rather numbly.

"Share it with me, so I am certain you know?"

Harry swallowed, suddenly feeling fairly ill again.

"Umm…he said that I have to find all the horcruxes that contain Voldemort's soul…that I have to destroy them before I can kill him at the end."

Severus nodded, he knew Dumbledore would only tell him that much. He never would mention that Harry was a Horcrux. No because the boy needed to find out on his own, he needed to take care of this burden all on his own, well Severus was SICK of it! Potter was a child! Not a man! He would NOT let him drown in this burden, no, he would not let all his sacrifices be in vain because his employer wanted to be bloody cryptic.

"What the Headmaster has told you is true…but he failed to mention one very important detail. And that is that you are one of the seven Horcruxes Harry…and Dumbledore wants you to die so you can defeat Voldemort."

Harry sat frozen for a moment, uncertain if he dared to even listen to any more of what was flooding in through his ears and saturating his brain. This could not be true, Dumbledore hid many things from him… many, many, things…but he never thought he would hide something like this from him! No, Snape was lying! He just had to be lying!

"I don't believe you," he snarled. "Professor Dumbledore would never-how…how can you expect me to believe that? Why should I believe you!"

Severus sighed.

"When have I ever lied to you Potter? When have I ever tried to sugar coat your life?"

"I…this…" Harry stuttered. "You…why would you even tell me this? Why would you even want to try and help me?"

Severus felt his lips purse for a moment, he knew that Potter would react this way, he knew that he would throw somewhat of a tantrum…but Severus also knew that he would have to be patient. He owed the boy in front of him explanations as to why he was even offering a helping hand. But the Gryffindor Common Room was not the place to do it. There were too many wandering eyes, too many ears that could report to Dumbledore the moment they left the school grounds.

"I have a reason, one that I will share with you if you come with me off of Hogwarts grounds."

There really wasn't even an "if", he wasn't even sure why he added that word to the sentence. Whether Potter wanted to leave or not he would be coming with him. He would confound him and make him leave even if that meant a bloody war the next day. It was what was best for the boy. All the things Albus had done never helped Potter, just hurt him. All the lies he had spun and weaved around the boy to cushion his fall were just strangling him to the point that his life was fading away.

"I don't know who to believe…" Harry whispered. "You hate me, why are you trying to help me now? What's changed?"

"Nothing Potter…" Severus said firmly. "I have always tried to protect you, hiding in the shadows so no one would know-

-but why? Why couldn't people know, why couldn't I know?"

Severus sighed, he was going to sound like Dumbledore if he said that he couldn't tell him currently. But if they were to discuss why exactly then they needed to at least move to a room where no one could hear them. He would not have this plan thwarted…Merlin only knew what Dumbledore would do to him if it got around. They would go to the Room of Requirement, somewhere they could hide without fear of being interrupted.

"I will explain it to you Potter," he said softly. "But I do not want us to be interrupted. I think we require a change of scenery."

At first Harry had to think about what his Professor was offering and then he nodded. He really should have thought about where they were before he started asking so many questions. Standing from the sofa, wrapping his robe around him to prevent the autumn chill from turning his bones and feet to ice.

"After you Professor Snape…your office right?" he said, his eyes piercing into his own.

"Very good Mr. Potter…your sense of direction has improved over the six years you have attended Hogwarts."

Leading the way out of the Common Room he motioned for the young student to walk a little faster than a normal evening stroll. Keeping their thoughts blank and their lips sealed they passed landing after landing and navigated through corridor after corridor until they both stopped dead in the middle of an empty hallway. Both stood in silence waiting, wishing, and holding their breath pleading to whatever deity that would hear them that no one would come upon them while the Room of Requirement door made an appearance. Finally when it did Harry and Snape wasted no time getting inside so the wall would seal up again.

The room looked different from any time Harry had ever seen it. It looked homey and there were squashy couches lingering everywhere. There was a warm fire crackling nearby and the smell of warm tea and biscuits wafted to him from the entrance. It reminded him of when Sirius was alive and he needed a comforting chat or a few words of advice. However those nights were long gone now…he had no hope of getting them back.

"Tea, Potter?" his Professor's, icy, voice called.

"Umm…yeah…please."

Severus nodded, pouring them both a warm cup from the pot that had magically appeared before them. One thing Severus loved about this room was that he could get away in here. No one could find a person when they entered the Room of Requirement until they were willing to leave again. Sometimes it was that exact fact that made it so very difficult.

"Now, I am going to answer whatever question you have, I refuse to lie…and you can trust that I won't…however I will tell you that there are a few questions that I am permitted to refuse…so bear that in mind should I refrain from answering."

Harry felt that was a pretty unfair way to put things, but he would take what he could get. And compared to Dumbledore's constant "in good time Harry" answer, this would be the most detailed conversation he had in his young life.

"Yessir." He said with a nod. "Umm…why couldn't I know that you were…protecting me?"

"As the head of Slytherin house I felt that it would be best to keep my distance from you for appearances. I was afraid that if I treated you as anything other than your father's son I would get too…attached."

"Attached sir?" Harry repeated.

"Yes…" Snape nodded. "You see…I knew your mother back when we were in school. We were friends… one of the first true friends I had."

"So…you protect me for my mother?" Harry whispered.

"Yes…I protect you because I feel like it is my obligation to your mother's memory…and to make up for all the wrongs I have committed against her in my past."

Harry didn't know what to think. He knew that Snape couldn't be lying; there were just too many things that added up for this all to be a misleading ploy. Looking up into the eyes of his Professor he noticed something different. The tunnels that were usually etched in the onyx had changed. Now they were full of hurt…and utter regret.

"How are we going to destroy a horcrux without killing me in the process?"

Severus closed his eyes briefly and sighed.

"I'm not sure…but I am determined to figure it out."

Harry nodded and sipped his tea, savoring the warmth that followed after one, delightful, sip.

"Why are you doing this all for my mum?"

"I can't answer that, Mr. Potter." His Professor said softly.

That didn't add up for Harry, why would someone risk so much for just anyone? Why would someone like Severus Snape...that clearly had no one in the world...give up the one life he possessed for a woman that wasn't even alive to show her gratitude. Of course Harry could do such a thing, after all he was naturally giving and loving. Snape though? It was like he never loved anything or anyone...unless...

"Did you love her?" Harry whispered.

It was only when he looked back did Harry's eyes widen to the size of dinner plates. Professor Severus Snape, the hardest man he had ever met…had tears in his onyx eyes.

"Yes…" he breathed.


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