Plot, new characters, new magical terms and abilities etc. are my intellectual property. If you want to borrow then please kindly ask. JK Rowling's characters and Wizarding Universe are all uniquely hers.

Summary: It is the height of the 1st War and Severus Snape is determined to survive it and carve out his own destiny with the one person who trusts him unreservedly. Alternate Universe.

Supernatural/Drama/Angst/Spiritual/Romance/Horror

This story is rated R/M. It is very intense and for mature readers only.

A Love Before Time (REPOST)

Chapter 006: The Heart of Darkness:

Snape made it back to Voldemort in late August with three days to spare. He would have been back in England a lot sooner had it not been for wildcat strikes on public transport throughout Europe. Even the British Isles were not immune, as he discovered once he left the ferry in Kent and tried to get a train heading for London.

'As you directed,' the young Potions Master said evenly, placing six vials of the botanical on a table in front of Voldemort.

'Still as tenacious as ever, Snape,' Malfoy said tersely.

Despite his looks and undeniable poverty, there was no mistaking that Severus Snape was a skilful wizard in his own right. But Snape would never be the favourite of the Dark Lord, or so Malfoy thought.

'I had a job to do. I was merely lucky is all,' Snape relied evenly.

'You have done well, Snape. I did say you were the perfect man for the job, and I was right,' said Voldemort.

'Thank you, My Lord.'

'There is one more task which requires your expertise – and then you are free to leave,' the Dark Lord said idly. 'Malfoy, you are dismissed.'

'By your command...' Malfoy said idly before taking his leave as quickly as he dared.

He could care less about Potions. It was easier to pay someone else to do the dirty work. So long as he didn't have to concern himself with such unpleasantness all was well and good in his world.

Once they were alone Voldemort directed Snape to a small sitting room.

'There are times when you remind me of myself in my youth, Snape,' he said wasting no time.

Snape's face was impassive as usual.

'You are very resourceful, intelligent and quite gifted in your own way. You have served me well. Now – I need you to do something else – something far more difficult, but of any of my servants I know that you – and you alone – would be most successful.'

'Whatever you wish, my Lord. By your command…'

'Hogwarts is in need of a Potions Master at present. You are certainly more than qualified for the job. You are to go to Dumbledore, repentant. You are to explain that you made a grave error in joining my ranks and place yourself on his mercy. You are to convince him to take you within his trusted inner circle. I want you to observe him and his allies; bring only that information which would be most useful. Dumbledore is no fool – so you will have your work cut out for you. Ingratiate yourself with him. My other operative – though he has done well and proven himself useful to my surprise – is most certainly not up to this particular task. I believe that with a bit of work, Dumbledore would look on you favourably for the role.'

'When should I approach him?'

'As soon as possible. There is much work to be done. Thought must be given for the long term – especially for once I have achieved the ultimate victory. There is the next generation to consider. Of course, you understand these things.'

'Indeed.'

'Good. I knew I could count on your cooperation.'

Snape bowed and then took his leave.

Once out in the open and at a distance he procured his stolen broom from its hiding place. Though he should go to Hogwarts first – there was one thing he desperately needed to do more than anything else.

He needed to see Rowan and his son.

xXxXxXx…

There was still the smell of fire and smoke in the ruins. Snape stumbled forward shaking his head "no". There was no way he'd gotten this wrong. It was the right location – but one hell of a nightmare for a landscape. He was standing in the remains of the house he'd never gotten to share with his Immortal Beloved.

'No!' he groaned. 'No! No! NO!'

Snape looked around in a wild panic.

'Rowan! ROWAN!' he shouted.

He kept calling for her until he was hoarse.

'Never heard tell of anyfink like it meself,' came a voice from the clearing.

Snape pulled his wand and looked out from behind the remains of a wall where the sitting room had been. He watched as a group of men strolled by with fishing rods. They were no doubt headed back to Godric's Hollow from the lake nearby. All of them stopped and looked at the ruins somewhat superstitiously.

'Didn't stand a chance, they didn't. You know – I heard she standing there naked as the day she was born clutching the little feller like anyfink – fat lot o' good it did 'im though!' said a very fat man who was red in the face from exertion.

'Very sad indeed. You know – I heard it was You-Know-Who what was behind it all….' said another who looked like he could do with a few plates of sandwiches.

So they were wizards. Snape moved just a bit so that he couldn't be seen. He was lucky they hadn't heard him screaming. He was hungry for more details.

The fishermen shuddered. Even without saying his name, there was no doubt all feared Lord Voldemort.

'Please – you couldn't miss the Dark Mark flying over the house,' said the biggest of the men.

'Explosions left and right – was a horrible noise. And I will never ever forget the sound o' 'er an' thah sweet babby screamin' for their lives long as I live and breath!' said another. 'But wot could anyone do? They was gonners – couldn't no man make in there and come out alive and there weren't no charm no spell that could get rid o' them flames neither!'

'I heard it was a terrible sight Minty ole chap – the bodies an' everythin' when it was all over… not a fine time to have a vacation down 'ere I tells ya! Can't wait to get out o' 'ere meself…'

'Clingin' to 'er little lad she was…' said Minty dolefully.

'And you want to know something else? I heard a rumour – she'd been wanted by You-Know-Who and wasn't handed over. Got knocked up an' all while in 'idin'. They figure it was by whoever was 'idin' 'er from You-Know-Who… said she was out o' sight for the last few years or some such…'

There was an ominous low whistle by the skinny man.

'Revenge killin' tha's wot this is innit? Them Death Eaters – they's lettin' people know not to tangle wiv 'em…'

'More'n thah – they's puttin' out the word to the one that hid 'er and then had the nerve to do the biz'ness!'

'Got a point there. Yep – You-Know-Who is showin' 'im wots wot…'

''Ere Kev – you reckon it was one of them wot 'id 'er an' all?'

'A Death Eater? Shoo – you must be crazy – were Muggle-born weren't she?'

'Since when has that ever stopped 'em – if they's wants a woman they's just go for it don' they!'

'But there was somefink else too,' another rather roly-poly man whispered after looking around nervously.

It was spooky – like they were being watched.

'Awww now Ern don't start that up again!' the big man called Kev hissed exasperatedly. 'Just let it be. She's isn't here to set you bang to rights and neither is her old man!'

'Wot? Wot you on abou' then?'

'Go on – ignore ole Kev – spill yer guts!' the little man roared to the laughter of the rest.

All except for the gentle giant that was Kevin.

'She was PREGNANT!' roared Minty.

'NO!' roared several men in unison.

'If ahm lyin' ahm dyin'! Was knocked up – at least six months along!'

'Damn now tha's evil! Torching the place like they did wiv 'em inside like that an' her up the spout an' all…'

Snape sank to the ash filled floor in shock; his eyes welling with tears as he shook his head "no".

'AND!'

The men quieted down for more gossip.

'There was a feller ou' the front that night. Was howling his head off somefink fierce when he was wasn' shoutin' and carryin' on! Was spooky I'm tellin' ya! Took a load of us to hold 'im back – he was tryin' to go in there; callin' ou' for 'er and for the little tyke. We was there – weren't we Bob old son?'

'Yeah – reminded me of that time I had that run-in with that werewolf on the Isle of Skye…'

'O for Christ's sake – ain't no packs or colonies on Skye! You's imaginin' things you are!'

'I'm tellin' you I did! And that unholy racket wot tha' bloke was kickin' up – sounded just like 'em!'

'God Almighty – so she was six months up the duff and let me guess – the bloke kicking up the fuss was her werewolf lover!' sniffed Kev's brother Andy. 'No self-respecting witch would lower herself to do that – she'd be an outcast!'

The story was getting crazier by the minute and he just wanted to get back home.

'When you're in 'idin' – you's lucky to get wot you can get ain't ya! And wot abou' that there society – them werewolf lovers with their food and clothes drives! Drives the Ministry bonkers don' they – all them do-gooders bein' friendly with the werewolves! Anyway, a bunch o' Aurors turned up and, jumpin' jack flash, that was it. We were sent packin' we was…'

'Was a Muggle wot turned up to 'old 'im back an' all. Obliviated him they did. And we was not to speak of it – but o' course we was interviewed,' Minty said puffing out his rather flabby chest.

'Too right – so shut it and let's get going! The sun will be down soon and I don't want to be anywhere except my own house after dark!' Andy grumbled.

'Andy's right – move it along boys…' said Kevin lumbering off up a path that skirted the woodland. 'The sooner we get home the better…'

'I still say she was preggers and by that wolf bloke!' came a voice as the men moved off into the distance.

Once they were gone Snape stood up in disbelief. His eyes caught something under some fallen beams by the destroyed fireplace. A wave of his wand and Rowan's old trunk that had been used as a coffee table was revealed.

He summoned it to him and to his surprise found it wasn't locked. It wasn't like Rowan to leave it open. He looked inside and saw the masks. All were bright and colourful – save one. It was a most curious object – detailed ornamentally in black and white. He held it up – and nearly dropped it. It reminded him too much of the white masks the Death Eaters wore. He looked at the date next to her initials.

Less than a week ago, when he had finally set foot on English soil, Rowan was definitely alive.

xXxXxXx…

'I'm sorry, Severus. I am so, so sorry,' Professor Dumbledore said hoarsely. 'I am still trying to get to the bottom of what happened that night!'

'SHE WAS BETRAYED, HEADMASTER! BETRAYED BY SOMEONE IN THE ORDER! EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED – EVERYTHING THAT WAS EVER ANY GOOD FOR ME – IS ALL GONE!'

Dumbledore visibly blanched and pulled out a handkerchief.

'She is gone! She's gone and we never got to sort our disagreement! She didn't know that I hadn't abandoned her – that I was between a rock and a hard place and despite that I still loved her! I wanted our baby – I wanted my son! I wanted us to be a proper family! Now it's gone! It's all gone!'

The young Potions Master collapsed and bawled his eyes out.

The Headmaster didn't know what to say. What could he say? He, the supposed Greatest Wizard of the Age, had been helpless to prevent this terrible tragedy.

'I need to know something,' came a small voice from underneath the curtains of black greasy hair on Dumbledore's desk.

'I will answer your questions as best I can. You have my word, Severus, as always.'

'Did Rowan love – him?'

'She was honest with him. She cared about him – but it was not the love of soulmates. That is what she said you were to her. No one could ever take your place in her heart and soul. They were kindred spirits – but what she felt; it was never like you. For over a year she never gave up hoping that you would come back to her. And even for the short while that she was with him – she never gave up hope. This is not only what I believe, it is what I know. It wasn't an easy situation for them – far from it. But he never condemned her for the way she felt. Like you – he was grateful to have her affection regardless of its nature. He did bring her a measure of happiness and looked after them well.'

'How? How can you possibly know what was in her heart! She – she was expecting his child when she died!'

'She loved you until the very end – even though it seemed to her that you had gone elsewhere for comfort. Don't hate him for loving her and your son! Had he not been there for them – both lives would have been lost a lot sooner. Only because of him did Rowan and your son survive what was undoubtedly a harrowing birth. I saw it with my own eyes, as did Madam Pomfrey. Don't let old grudges get in the way of common sense. We must accept our blessings no matter what form they take.'

'It was not in my nature to play such stupid, childish games with her affections! I am not a philanderer, Headmaster!'

'I never believed you were – and neither did Lily. You are an honourable and proud man, of that I have no doubt. But the fact remains that Rowan had a vision – a vision which haunted her. The extreme length of your absence without a word – not even so much as one word even to me – well, her hands were tied, Severus. It is not reasonable to expect anyone to wait for what potentially could be the rest of their lives waiting for something that may very well never happen!'

Dumbledore stood and walked over to a locked cupboard. He withdrew a small skeleton key from his robes and unlocked it. Very carefully he pulled out a stone basin with Celtic engraving all around it.

'Is that…a Pensieve?'

'Yes. If you want to know the truth – you can do no better than this…'

The Headmaster used a different key to open a drawer in his desk once the Pensieve was placed upon it. He pulled out several crystal vials. Carefully he inserted his wand into one and withdrew a thin silvery substance that seemed like a strand of hair. He placed it in the basin and watched as the contents began to swirl.

'Come,' he whispered holding out his arm.

xXxXxXx…

For the next few hours Snape relived Rowans time without him as well as when they were students at Hogwarts. Dumbledore took him through memories provided by Lily and James, Madam Pomfrey and even Professor McGonagall. All were a testament to the loneliness and difficulties she had suffered without him. But most importantly all illuminated various aspects of her life and her thoughts of him and feelings for him. There much that shocked him; particularly Rowan's feelings of inadequacy when compared to Lily Evans Potter and her thoughts that she was just a cheap substitute because Snape had to have fancied her friend.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

But there was no way for her to comprehend what he shouted as he fell to his knees in that particular memory provided by Lily.

That was all he had to go on now – other people's memories.

It was cold comfort indeed.

xXxXxXx…

Crucially, there was a memory of Dumbledore's own that was saved for last.

Dumbledore and Snape stood near a bench where Rowan was seated with the Headmaster just after sunrise. Before them stretched the vast and deep Lake Grwynhyfar, not very far from Godric's Hollow. It was a cool day and Rowan held the sleeping form that was baby John tenderly in her arms. His son was at least a year old and Rowan had a look about her that he recognised. She was pregnant - at least two or three months he guessed. But she was almost glowing in a way that hadn't been possible with her earlier pregnancies. It made sense – as there were no hexes, curses or Unforgivables for her to suffer through. She was doing well considering she was expecting a werewolf's child.

Snape couldn't help himself. He walked over and sat on the farthest edge of the bench watching his beloved and their child with awe. On closer inspection he noted that Rowan looked pale and fragile despite the faint glow of pregnancy.

'I know it is difficult Rowan – I am worried about him too. I have tried everything I know without compromising the situation any further…but there has been not a single rumour from the Death Eaters about Severus.'

'Still nothing,' came her hoarse whisper.

Tears started streaming down her face and she looked down at her sleeping child.

'I thank the Goddess everyday that John has no knowledge of these things.'

'John, what in God's name was she thinking,' Snape sniffed.

Professor Dumbledore placed a hand on his arm, bidding him to listen.

The Headmaster of the past nodded his head and then sighed.

'It is as if he vanished into thin air. Having said that – I do not believed he has perished. We definitely would know it if he had.'

'That's what I keep telling Moony… I would know it if Severus died – I just know I would.'

Her voice trailed off and she looked troubled.

'And how are things between you?' Dumbledore asked gently.

'He's a good man – a good friend. He's been good to me – and he's so protective of John. Any woman would be lucky to have him. Someone will be lucky some day…and he will make a great father and husband.'

'For anyone but you?'

Rowan looked up with a fierceness that even took Snape by surprise.

'Don't make me the bad guy here, Professor! It's Severus I love! I have always loved him! I adore him!. It's him who is in my soul! I have tried so hard to just get on with things! I have listened to everyone and done what you all said I should do – but now it's time I listened to me – to what's inside me. Severus is in me – so deep it hurts! It hurts to not have him and I would do anything – anything to get him back! I can't help who I love – and I don't want to!'

'Even though you have sired a child with another man – one who loves you truly and deeply? There is nothing he wouldn't do for you – or the little one. It's not easy for him – being outcast as he is.'

'Yes!' came Rowan's answer without hesitation. 'I know I don't stand a snowball's chance in hell with Severus if he comes back…if he ever wanted to be with me again… after…her!'

'You still believe he has another lover?'

Rowan took a deep breath. She was feeling more than a bit defensive. Severus knew her too well. The Headmaster clearly didn't.

'I can't help the vision I had! He was with a girl – a girl who looks like she is still at school! They were shagging each other into oblivion! And you don't need to tell me about my anxieties coming to the forefront in my dreams! I know what a dream is – and this wasn't one!'

'Then what was it, child?'

'I think it's fairly obvious what it is!'

'No – I don't think you have considered the other possibility.'

'Which is?'

'What if it is a glimpse into the future? The future presently being mapped out due to current circumstances to be certain…'

Rowan's eyes went wide.

'What?' rasped Snape as he looked up into the Headmaster's blue eyes.

Dumbledore peered over his half-moon spectacles and motioned once again for him to listen.

'You are an Empath and Seer, Rowan,' the Headmaster of the past said firmly. 'But it is impossible for you to distance yourself emotionally from the bounty of your gifts! Yes, Severus is missing – that cannot be denied. However, given the soul connection you undoubtedly have – do you honestly believe that he could ever betray you in that way? He is an honourable man as you well know. Affairs of the heart do not come easy to him. You are the first and only woman to have ever shown him such kindness. You have even borne him a child – a child he longs for! As he would point out himself – women are not queuing up at the door to share his bed – not even the worst kind who lower themselves in association with the Death Eaters.'

Rowan blinked back tears.

'All I want is for him to come back to me. I never wanted to lose him – ever! I care about Moony – and I do love him in my own way – but he isn't Severus and he never will be. I'm just – all alone – and I am tired of it! I am tire of being scared and I hate not knowing what's happened to Severus! This baby – Moony's baby – she wasn't planned. It was an accident! The first time we slept together – he wasn't even asleep for a minute when I left the bed… I sat up most of the night in John's room looking at him – because he looks just like Severus… and then when we finally did it again – it was a long time after that…'

She reached down and kissed her son gently on the forehead.

John opened his eyes for a moment, yawned and then went back to sleep.

'I am afraid that you and John will both have to remain in hiding for the foreseeable future. As you point out – he looks just like his father.'

'This is all my fault. I love my son and I thank the Goddess every day for him, but I have been nothing for trouble for Severus!'

'Everything is as it should be Rowan. The decisions were yours and Severus' to make. It would be foolish to…'

'What do you take me for, Professor. Illegal time-turners are not in the equation. I'd just be replacing one set of problems with another!'

The Dumbledore of the past looked visibly relieved.

'Besides – it's not like I can just head on down to Knockturn Alley and get one, now is it?'

Dumbledore quirked an eyebrow.

'And what would a Ravenclaw like yourself know about such things?'

'As much as anyone from any House. It's nothing to do with Severus or Slyherin! Let's not drag up that old stereotype…'

'Point taken,' the Headmaster said barely containing a smirk.

Rowan always did have a lot of spunk and she wasn't afraid or nervous around him. It was easy to see many of the qualities Severus had to have admired in her so as to lower his formidable defenses and become so involved.

'Your horns are showing, Professor…'

'Must be the sun – speaking of which we had better get you back behind closed doors.'

Snape stood up and touched the sleeve of Dumbledore's robes. After a moment he felt himself hit the floor of the Headmaster's office and then took a seat.

Dumbledore sat down and waited patiently.

After a moment Snape spoke.

'She went to her grave, believing the worst of me… She ended up with… him… because no thanks to her cursed gift and my stupidity! When all is said and done – this is all my fault!'

'It is not wise to dwell on such things, Severus. All is as it was meant to be…'

There was an uncomfortable silence.

'Who – who is he? This…werewolf lover who shared her bed and fathered that child?'

'Curiosity killed the cat, Severus.'

'Surely you are not denying it? She was pregnant and the man in question was a lycanthrope!'

'You would rely on idle gossip and vicious rumour-mongering?'

'You have every time I set foot in this office in the beginning… being locked up in the laboratory as I had been… And let's not forget that you have indeed corroborated everything else those men said!'

The Headmaster sighed.

'Nothing good would come of having that information, Severus. I think it's best leave that particular stone unturned.'

'She always was sympathetic towards them – her and those deluded fools in that that useless werewolf charitable society she belonged to while we were at school. You couldn't convince Rowan that they are dangerous… Always risking her life taking things to them and reading for them!'

'That was a long time ago, Severus. Must you condemn an entire race because of an extremely misguided prank on the part of one of your schoolmates?'

'It was no mere prank!' Snape hissed menacingly.

There was an awkward silence. Neither man was ever going to back down from his own point of view on the subject.

'Enough of that, it's not getting us anywhere,' Snape said evenly with a dismissing wave of one his rather large hands. 'The Dark Lord has decided I should come to you… filled with remorse about the errors of my ways and ready to repent…etc. etc. etc. You were right, Headmaster, you were quite right that he would want to have a spy on the inside…someone who would be very close to you…'

'Knowing Tom as I do – yes, I anticipated this some time ago. It is odd, however, considering that one amongst us is already spying for him.'

'Whoever it is… he is not a Potions Master,' Snape replied with a knowing look. 'Or a Defense Against the Dark Arts expert. I have heard a rumour that your DADA expert has unceremoniously vacated his position; the new term is only a few days away.'

'Is that a fact?' Dumbledore said with a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

'Headmaster, forgive me for my impropriety – but I really do not see the humour in this situation!'

'No, my dear boy, you wouldn't.'

Snape was slumped forward in his chair. Dumbledore never thought he would see the day where the young Potions Master would actually look so defeated…and sad. But considering all Snape had learned that day and all that he had been through, only a monster evil and devoid of feeling and emotion could look or be anything but. Severus Snape was a lot of things; but he was no Lord Voldemort.

'I made the biggest mistake of my life joining him. If I had not listened to the rhetoric and been consumed with being valued and important…wanting the Order of Merlin so desperately…driven by years of abuse and bullying…things would be so different. I am filled with regrets – far too many of them for one lifetime. What I thought the Dark Lord was offering – is not what I have and it never will be. I will be paying for my mistakes for as long as I have life left… Had I not joined his ranks things would be so different… But what choice did I have? I wasn't ready to die… I don't fear death, not at all. I just don't see the point in a death so…meaningless…'

'I see,' Dumbledore said quietly.

After a moment he cleared his throat.

'Right – well we all make mistakes, Severus. I myself am not immune. I don't think my judgement and faith in you is misplaced. I would like to offer you the position of Potions Master, these are the terms,' he said pushing a contract across his desk.

'It is the DADA role which interests me.'

Dumbledore peered over his half-moon spectacles.

'No – I cannot consider you for that position. It would not be in your best interest, or mine, for you to pursue your interest in the Dark Arts at this school.'

'And why is that? You turn me down – but I am entitled to know why!'

'Suffice it to say that I don't think the DADA role would bring out the best in you.'

Snape's eyebrows shot up almost off his forehead.

'Right.'

It was clear he wasn't going to get an answer that made any sense. It was Dumbledore's prerogative and there simply was no convincing him otherwise.

'The role of Potions Master is yours Severus. Considering the circumstances I think you would also do well as the new Head of Slytherin House.'

Snape sat up straight in his chair.

'There are a lot of misguided souls, Headmaster, and not just from my old House… and they will be easy prey for the Dark Lord and his minions.'

'Very true.'

'However, I think we can agree that it is those qualities which Salazar Slytherin valued in his pupils and the ideals that guided his choices which are likely to lead many in his noble House down paths they would be better off not treading.'

'I knew you were the right man for the job, Severus.'

'The Dark Lord agrees with you then.'

The Headmaster chuckled.

'That, my dear boy, does not surprise me…'

'Does anything ever?'

'Very little, as a matter of fact. So do you accept my offer?'

'Yes… despite everything else it is a great opportunity and one I would be foolish to turn down.'

'Splendid! Well – let me welcome you back, Severus. You can move into your new quarters and get yourself situated today if you wish. There is a lot of work to be done – not much time left before the new term starts.'

'I will file my report with the Dark Lord and return to you in an two hours or so… I have other matters of a more personal nature which will require my attention first.'

Dumbledore stood and walked around the desk.

'I know this is not easy for you, Severus. I am always here…you do not have to bear this alone.'

The only response was a slight nod.

The Headmaster could already see his new Potions Master was willing himself not to feel or think about the love he had lost; the only love he was to have for many years to come.

But come it would.

And Dumbledore would do what he could to help Severus Snape for as long as he had life. Once he was gone it would be up to someone else; a very special someone else.

xXxXxXx…

Snape went quickly to file his report with the Dark Lord.

'Dumbledore always was weak and willing to give people second chances,' Voldemort had laughed. 'I knew you were the right man for the job.'

'It seems the Headmaster agrees, My Lord.'

'Fortunately for you he does.'

The newest Professor at Hogwarts was sent on his way – inwardly relieved that he was free of having to spend so much time with Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

Snape went back to Godric's Hollow to the graves of his immortal beloved and their son. It struck him as appropriate that the cloudy sky had grown a dark grey – ready to burst with rain.

'John Lucas Morgause,' he murmured as he tidied the little grave.

He knew about Lucas – who had been her brother. But John – he could only speculate where Rowan had gotten such a bland and rather ordinary name from.

'Something else I will never know,' he said angrily.

Snape gently stroked the graves of Rowan and John.

'I'm sorry,' he whispered tearfully. 'I'm sorry I failed you…'

He pulled out a picture of Rowan. It was taken while she was at school, ironically a picture of her and Lily. She had been 16 when it was taken; full of life and laughter. There had never been anyone but her. And the only happiness he had ever known was because of her.

'You were all I ever wanted, Rowan. I love you… I love you so much…'

He broke down and cried and the universe cried with him as the sky opened up and rain started pouring down.

A lone figure stood several rows back hidden behind a clump of trees watching pensively.

He too broke down in anguish.

Remus John Lupin cried for the love he had lost, the son he would never hold in his arms again and the daughter never to be born.

xXxXxXx…

In the days to come there would be more tears, anguish and upset.

Sirius Black would be framed by Peter Pettigrew for his murder, in reality a faked death, and those of a number of Muggles. The most arrogant and devil-may-care of the Marauders would find himself in the care of the Dementors in Azkaban – the wizarding prison in the farthest reaches of the North Sea.

The only thing that would be found of the traitor would be a finger. Wormtail would then live for over a decade in his Animagus form of a rat.

The Potters would lose their lives at the hands of Voldemort in two month's time on Halloween. Only baby Harry would survive; and become a wizarding legend.

Voldemort would vanish that night; seemingly into nothingness.

There would be trials – with many followers of Voldemort including Bellatrix Lestrange sentenced to life terms In Azkaban. Others, like Lucius Malfoy, would claim to have been under the influence of the Imperius Curse – having no control over their actions and let go, free to carry on with their lives.

Severus Snape would be named as a Death Eater during the trials. It is Dumbledore's testimony and support that keeps him from doing time Azkaban rather than teaching.

'Severus Snape is no more a Death Eater than I am…' the Greatest Wizard of the Age would testify.

People would ask why it was that Harry Potter lived, rather than why it was that Voldemort did not die…

But Snape and Dumbledore know that the Dark Lord will be back. Though considerably faded, the Dark Mark tattoo on the young Potion's Masters forearm is not completely gone. They know what is at stake and what sacrifices may have to be made in the next round of good versus evil.

Despite suspicions to the contrary, Snape is Dumbledore's man – and prepared to see this most precarious situation through to what he believes is its inevitable conclusion.

xXxXxXx…

Author's Note: Sequel possible but only if there is a demand for it.