Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, and I don't make any money off of my writing. Don't I wish...
A/N: This is rated T for a reason. There is some violence and to be honest, it's pretty depressing. AU!
When things were wild and nothing made sense, one thing was always certain. Snape was evil, and he had it in for him. All through the years of Hogwarts, the snide potions professor was the first suspect of any crime. It didn't matter that time and time again he was proven wrong; Snape was still an evil git. Or so he thought.
Harry pulled out of the pensieve with tears trickling down his cheeks. He took his dirty sleeve and hastily wiped the tears away from his eyes. Everything he thought he knew about Snape was a lie. He was not evil, not a coward, and most certainly not a vampire. He was a great, brave man, and now he was dead. Harry would never get to know the man for who he truly was. If that wasn't bad enough, he also learned the awful truth about himself. There was a piece of the man who killed his parents living inside of him. A piece that would keep him alive no matter how many times Harry tried to kill him. So, there was only one course of action. Harry had to sacrifice himself to Voldemort. He felt a sickening ache for all those who had died for him in vain… now he had another person to the ever growing list of names. A sob bubbled up in his throat when he remembered Snape's body, mangled and bloody from Nagini's attack. But, time was running out. He had to go to the Forest and turn himself in before more people got hurt. After carefully putting the pensieve back where it belonged and taking one last look at Dumbledore's office, he made his way swiftly down the steps and towards his inevitable doom. He ran as fast as he could, trying desperately to drive any misgivings or fear from his mind. Tears streaming down his face, he only stopped to explain what he was about to do to Ron and Hermione, who almost didn't let him go. He was losing time, so eventually he just ran away from them, Hermione's anguished screams renting the still night air. Once he was outside the castle, the silence became unnerving. This was not the solemn silence of the mourning, this was a silence that set off alarm bells in his head. The only noise was the soft crunching of leaves beneath his shoes. Unconsciously, he began to slow his unrelenting pace. The more steps he took, the more he realized he was not ready to die. He had a full life ahead of him, one full of friends and magic and love. But Fate had played a nasty trick on him, and now he had to kill himself at the tender age of 17. Engulfed in thought, he had not noticed how far he had come until he was standing at the edge of the forest. Vision blurring and his friends on his mind, he made the first steps into the ominous shadows.
Gruff laughter echoed around the forest, bouncing off trees and making sound as though it was coming from everywhere at once. With his head bowed and hands clasped, Harry followed the laughter as best as he could. It wasn't long before he reached a clearing filled with black clad Death Eaters. Harry shook his head at the irony, all year he had tried to avoid them, but now, when it really mattered, he was coming right to them. He stood behind a tree for a couple of moments, trying to gather enough courage to walk out into Voldemort's hands. Taking three shaky breaths, he began to come out behind the tree. He froze mid step, however, when he heard a familiar voice.
"My Lord, Potter will be coming right along once he sees the memories I gave him." said a silky smooth voice Harry knew too well.
"Very Good, Severuss. You will be rewarded in due time." said a high, clear voice.
'Snape? How is he still alive?' Whatever the reason, Harry began to get a very bad feeling about this. All of the worries and doubts that his adrenaline had pushed out of his mind earlier were back with full force. He began to creep away, but he tripped over a root and landed flat on his face. A moment later, he scar was searing more painfully than ever before, and blood began to trickle down his face from where his head had hit the ground. He heard a voice faintly calling out,
Harry laughed vaguely at the fact that the death eater had shouted the spell wrong. That is, he laughed until his arms were twisted painfully behind his back and frozen there.
"Potter has fallen for the trap my Lord," the silky voice spat. The spell was unrelenting, but it did allow Harry the small luxury of shuddering at the tone of the voice. He had no doubt now, that man was definitely Snape, and apparently, he had just been trapped. Again.
"Yess... You have done extremely well Severuss. You will get your reward very soon. But how rude of me," Voldemort said mockingly, "I almosst forgot about our guesst of honor. Everyone, thiss iss Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived."
With a lot of effort, Harry was able to look up at Snape. His expression, as usual was unreadable. Harry mused that he would have been a good poker player before snapping out of his pointless thoughts. He noticed something... but it was impossible! On Snape's neck, where Harry saw with own eyes Nagini attacked, was completely free of any scars of blemishes. Snape caught Harry looking at him, and smirked. For one convoluted second, Harry imagined he was back in Potions with Snape just about to deduct points. The image was shattered, however, when a sharp woman's boot crunched down on his ribs. Harry wheezed painfully, tasting a bit of blood in his mouth.
"The Dark Lord is speaking to you Mr. Potter." Snape reprimanded in his baritone voice.
Harry experimented opening his mouth, and found he could only open it enough to breathe. Certainly not enough to talk. He looked up pleadingly up at his captives and saw no mercy. Some of the newbie death eaters began to guffaw loudly at his predicament. When he still didn't answer, the horribly unmistakable voice of Bellatrix Lestrange called out,
"Sectumsempera!" Harry let out a high pitch scream as his right leg was carved into by the spell. When he had finally stopped screaming, he heard vaguely heard Bellatrix say cheerily, "Well if he can scream, he can definitely talk!" More laughter.
"Enough." Voldemort said calmly. "I am sure Severuss will not be pleased if his reward was given to him damaged beyond repair. Nagini!" A loud hissing noise made its way towards Harry. "Bring Mr. Potter here to the clearing pleasse." Harry felt a sharp pain in his foot as Nagini dragged him away. His head seemed to hit every root and rock on the way, aggravating his cut and making it worse. It seemed like forever before he finally stopped. Groaning, Harry probed the spell gently with his magic. It was slowly deteriorating, so he gave it a giant shove. After that, it shattered and he slowly moved is sore arms from behind his back. He got up slowly, only to have his leg shudder and collapse under him. From his undignified position on the ground, he settled on glaring at Voldemort and Snape.
"Do you know why you are here Harry?" Voldemort asked softly.
"Yes. So you can't hurt anymore of my loved ones. Skip the charades, Tom, and just get on with it." Harry growled in what he hoped to be a menacing tone.
"LIESS. I know really why you're here Harry. It'ss becausse you're my horcrux, isn't it Harry?"
Harry let his mouth open and close rapidly, unable to find any retort. Voldemort gave a cold mirthless laugh. Harry shuddered again.
"Severuss, you can have the honor of explaining to Harry the truth."
"It would be an honor, My Lord. Potter! Stand up you brat!"
Harry tried again to stand up, and succeeded because of a sturdy tree that was next to him. His head was swimming, he was loosing blood from his leg and his head.
"You are permitted," Snape said smoothly, "To speak. Choose wisely, you are only allowed a couple questions before I lose my patience."
Harry ignored his professor's snide tone and fumbled around the swirling questions in his head. When he finally thought of one to ask, he had to cough a couple times to get the words out.
"How are you still alive?" Harry rasped out.
"Let's just say, there is nothing that an imperious curse and a bit of polyjuice can't accomplish." Harry choked at Snape's words. He certainly hadn't been expecting that answer. "I'm sure you'll be happy to know that it was one of your foolish Gryffindors that I managed to get for the job." Snape smirked at Harry's horrified expression.
"Why-?" Harry asked uncertainly, hoping it was vague enough to have a multitude of questions answered.
"You're cutting it thin Potter." Snape growled. "But I will indulge you in the whole story. When you're mother died, I was heart broken. She was the only one who ever cared for me, and even though she left me for your arrogant father," he spat out 'father' as though it was a curse. "I still loved her. But then, you had to come along. A stupid, insolent copy of James, with a haunting shadow of your mother. You were the reason she died. If it weren't for you, she would still be here. So, from that point on, I decided to become a spy for Voldemort. I knew he was going to come back sooner or later, I just made sure that once he did, he could reach you easily. I sucked up to Dumbledore and did his every whim, playing the repentance card. He bought it. Fifth year, I slipped a drink into you pumpkin juice that allowed the Dark Lord access to your mind. But, it had side effects that I was not aware of. You could see into his mind too, to a certain extent. I was punished for this, but we found a way around it."
He flicked his wand gently, removing a glamour on his face. A long scar was visible down his cheek. He abruptly slashed his wand downwards, causing an identical cut to appear on Harry's face. Not expecting the sudden violent action, Harry shrieked in agony, blood spurting out of the wound. Bellatrix seemed very interested in Snape's story, so she cast a hasty silencing spell and motioned Snape to continue. As if nothing had happened, he began speaking again.
"Voldemort learned how to control it, letting you see only terrors and falsehoods. But we had to make sure you didn't learn how to master your own mind. Dumbledore, being the fool he is, asked me to help teach you occlumens. The first lesson you had with me, I was sure to tear down any natural barrier you had in your mind. I was purposefully vague in my instruction, leaving enough to make sense, but not enough for you to learn. It worked like a charm. During the sixth year, I made sure you got my book for potions. I cast a strong charm on it that made everyone avoid it but you. I needed to make sure that you did well in potions so you could get that felix felicis potion. That blithering idiot Slughorn came to me for lesson suggestions, and I gave him that whole lesson plan. I knew that you would win the potion for sure if you had read my instructions. Sure enough, you did. I needed you to get the potion so you could learn about horcruxes with Dumbledore. We knew Regulus had placed a false locket in the pool, so the was no danger of you actually destroying the horcrux. It was just key that you knew and understood what a horcrux was. Now, after years of planning, I have lead you into this trap. I polyjuiced and imperioused a boy to act like me and get killed by the Dark Lord. When he was dying, he gave you the memories and you took the bait. The memories were all fake. Constructed by me and Voldemort. None of it was true," Snape sneered at him. Harry felt his eyes begin to water.
"No." Harry moaned to himself. Nobody could hear, but Snape saw his mouth move in silent denial.
"Crucio!" Harry screamed silently, the spell was still in place. He had fell to the ground again and was writhing. It felt as though a million hot knives were being dragged across his whole body. In the distance, he heard a cold voice say, "You are not a horcrux," Every word was accented by a cruel twist of the wand, causing Harry to undergo more pain than before. "You are just a normal, stupid, arrogant boy."
Harry had a secret. He hadn't told anyone, not even Dumbledore. He had discovered it in the fourth year, when he was tortured by Voldemort. After a lot of research, he found that it was a rare genetic ability that he had inherited from his mother's side. During the third task of the triwizard tournament, Harry had held under the Cruciatus. But no matter how long he was under the curse, his sanity remained intact. The inevitable fog that took your consciousness away when under the Cruciatus for too long never came to him. It was simultaneously a blessing and a curse.
The pain built to a new crescendo, and Harry began to loose control of his movements. His arms began to spasm out of his control, bruising and seizing with every brutal smash against the ground. He began to loose the will to even scream. Through it all, he remained conscious, his mind intact. Greater wizards had broken far before this. Harry began to beg for insanity. A blessing and a curse.
Ironically, it seemed as though Harry was right from the beginning. Snape was truly an evil git. The question was, how did one of the greatest wizards of all time fall for such a simple plot? How had Dumbledore so easily believe Snape's lies? Was the old headmaster really as senile as Malfoy always said? Harry snorted at the thought.
Suddenly, the unrelenting pain stopped, and Harry gradually began to hear the voices around him.
"It seems as though the Potter boy is remarkably resilient, My Lord." Snape said bemusedly. Harry seethed under the surface. He wanted to kill the man who spoke about him as though he were an interesting experiment. Then it hit him like a ton of bricks. He probably would never get the chance.
"Yess, yess. I have heard of thiss sort of thing before." Voldemort said impatiently. He began to pace with his hands casually clasped behind his back. "Potter, stand up. My time with you iss running out." Harry looked up at Voldemort with glazed eyes. He knew he was right. Blood was trickling steadily from his wounds, and a black fog was beginning to overtake his vision. He could sense everything that was going on around him with amazing clarity, it was as though time had slowed down. The damp smell of leaves and the bitter scent of pine stung at his nose, and the groaning of trees and whimpering of a child ghosted his ears. Whimpering, he realized, that was coming from himself. He could feel his heart beginning to slow, and for the first time in all his life, he felt utter calm. He cleared his throat, ignoring the lingering taste of blood, and propped himself up against a tree using his good arm. The slight movement caused him great agony, and it became harder to breathe, but he arranged his face in an expression of complete calm. He looked expectantly up at Snape, a smile ghosting his lips at Snape's bewildered expression. For the first time in his life, Harry saw a reluctant look of respect enter his eyes. Snape, despite all that he had put Harry through, inclined his head slightly. His attention was soon snapped away from Snape's stony expression as Voldemort began speaking again. "Harry, it's over. You have losst." he said gently, as if a harsh word would break Harry into a thousand pieces. It probably would. "Look me in the eye. I want to see the light leave you're eyess when I end thiss war once and for all." Bravely, Harry gathered his last strength and looked straight into Voldemort's eyes. He could have been hallucinating, but he could have swore he saw a glimmer of pity enter the eyes of his enemy. An enemy he had never wanted. A moment later, the curse was uttered.
"Avada Kedavera," Voldemort said as softly as before.
As the green light rushed towards him, Harry took one last look up at the stars. To no one in particular, he whispered, "I'm Sorry." The curse hit him, and Harry felt himself gently falling through an oblivion. As if he had jumped off the astronomy tower, yet no fear gripped him. It was finally over.
Voldemort did not fall over, or show any sign of weakness. It was as if he had murdered any other victim. Some may have even called it an anticlimactic ending. Voldemort could hardly believe it himself. He called Narcissa over to check Harry's pulse, to make sure it was finally over. She leaned over and gently put her forefinger and middle finger on his neck. There was no pulse. Harry Potter was dead.
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