Parts of this chapter were quoted from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7
Chapter 11: In the Wake of Dawn Part IV
Severus Snape had made several decisions in his life that he came to regret. One of them was calling his only true friend and love a Mudblood. Another was when he took the Dark Mark. His greatest regret was trying to eavesdrop on Albus Dumbledore and Sybill Trelawney at the Hog's Head. If he hadn't done that, then Lily might be happy today. But among his greatest regrets, volunteering to be the one to tell Lily Potter what house her beloved son was in had, in mere seconds, crawled its way into being one of his top five greatest regrets.
Of all the houses the boy could have been sorted into, he was in the House of Snakes. The one and only house that Lily didn't want Harry in. Snape glared at the green eyed boy who was smiling happily next to Theodore Nott. The boy just had to go and be sorted in Slytherin. Severus continued to glare at Harry when the child looked up at him. The boy's eyes always struck a cord in him. Severus hated how the emeralds would remind him of his childhood.
Severus forced himself to stop glaring. Instead he looked to the Headmaster who was chatting cheerily with Minerva. The was, of course, an enigma. One of the most powerful wizards of the age. He held several coveted positions within the Ministry and yet, here he was teaching children. Well, he hadn't been teaching children for some time, but the duties of a headmaster were akin to teaching children.
But that wasn't what made Severus observe the man in half-moon spectacles. Five years ago, the Potions Master had begun to notice sever changes in Dumbledore's behavior. At first, Severus just brushed it aside, but one day he came across the Headmaster muttering about how vile "the child" was. The dark haired man had no clue who "the child" was and assumed that it could have been the child that Voldemort once was.
Several weeks later, Severus had once again happened upon the Headmaster grumbling about a child. The second time, however, he was far more concerned, because Dumbledore was also muttering about how to kill the child. That night Severus grudgingly went to the home of the Potters. They had been having frequent visits from Dumbledore recently, and Severus wanted to make sure that Lily was alright.
When he arrived, he was met with guarded green eyes. Severus had been judged several times by several people, but he could never get used to that look when it was Lily staring at him.
"Lily, I must speak with Potter," he said civilly. "It's very urgent."
"Severus, I'm sure that this is something that I can deal with. What ever you have to say to James you say to me," was her cold answer. The dark clad man felt his heart be run through by her tone.
"Lily, please, I was asked to speak with him and him alone," Lily didn't budge. Through clenched teeth he continued, "The message comes from Moody. He came to me personally to give him a message. I'm supposed to relay the message to Black as well, and only the two of them."
Lily's face suddenly became concerned, "They're both here if you want to come in."
Severus groaned mentally. The only reason that he had brought Black up was because he knew Lily would be more willing to let him see Potter if his friend was involved. He had no intention of actually speaking with the man. None the less, Lily welcomed him into her home. He missed the days when she trusted him, but it was his fault that she didn't and he would live with those mistakes. Lily lead her old friend into the kitchen where Black and Potter conversing.
Potter's face became guarded when he saw who was with his wife. Black was more open with his distaste for the former Death Eater. Lily could only say, "Be nice," before she left them be.
"Snivellus, what are you doing here?" Black had all but growled.
"Sirius," James said with a sigh, "I don't think Snape would just come here without a reason. Hear him out first."
Severus could hear the strain in Potter's voice, "The message I'm delivering is for the two of you and only you. This is your home, Potter, I'll leave the Privacy Charms to you."
Potter and Black exchanged looks and both started to put up Privacy Charms. Severus couldn't help but feel bitter at some of the charms Black was using. He had the knowledge of his entire line, and Severus had none. When the two were done, Severus pushed aside his thoughts and got down to business.
"I haven't come here on Order business, but on urgent business just the same." Severus started. "Dumbledore, have you noticed anything strange with his behavior?"
"Snivelly, don't just go rambling off about nonsense," Black spat. "Dumbledore is fine, but I don't see how, with you always being around. That's a damper on anyone's mood."
"I see that you are is as incompetent as ever, Black. I can only hope that Lily didn't choose to marry a man just as incapable." Severus turned to Potter who was in deep thought.
"Snivellus, I swear, if you ever-" Sirius started.
"What kind of behavior are you talking about, Severus," Potter said with a calm tone, but his shoulders were tense. Black scoffed at him.
"I've heard him mutter about a child. At first I thought one of the students had gotten to him; a great feat in itself." Potter perked up at the mention of a child. Severus swallowed then continued. "Just today, I heard him muttering about killing a child."
Silence was poignant between the three dark haired men. Not even Black had anything to say. Severus could see that the two of them had seen the changes in the old man. The only question now was, who was the child.
"Did he mention a name?" Potter asked. Severus shook his head. "The only reason you came here was because you suspect the child to be Harry, right?"
The devastated look on Potter's face almost made Severus feel pity for the man. "He looks at Harry sometimes with such an awful face. I don't understand. Dumbledore has always been a friend to me and my family. My great-grandfather was one of his dorm-mates…"
"James, it'll be okay. I'll figure something out. Harry can come live with me. I'll move back into Grimmauld Place, the wards there are some of the best. James, he'll be safe there." Black said with conviction.
"Sirius, I can't ask you to do that. I'll-" this time Severus was the one to interrupt.
"Dumbledore is one of the greatest wizards of our time, Potter," Severus spat. "If the Dark Lord could get into your home easily, what makes you think that Dumbledore will have a harder time getting in. At least make plans to have him taken away if Dumbledore decides that he'll come after the child." Both Black and Potter were shocked by his sudden adamancy.
"Why does Dumbledore even see Harry as a threat. He's just a child. Barely six years old." Black said.
"I think we need to figure out what is going on with Dumbledore's behavior. He wasn't like this when Harry was born." Potter thought aloud.
"Where to start though," Black sighted.
"Perhaps his brother," Severus said as if it were the most obvious solution. "One of you should find him and ask him about this. I'll keep an eye on Dumbledore. If he shows any sign of harming the child, I'll alert you as fast as I can, but remember that this is Dumbledore."
The two former Gryffindors nodded. Severus sneered. If someone had told him that he would have a civil conversation with Black and Potter about saving his child ten years ago, he would have hexed them into oblivion. Annoyed with his own behavior, the Potions Master turned on his heel and left the Potter residence.
Severus was brought out of his reverie by the sound of Quirinus Quirrell. The man who had his job was mutter and sputtering about promising new students. A well timed glare and the newly appointed defense professor was stuttering apologies and turned away. If the man was going to speak he should at least say something useful.
The Great Hall had suddenly become very quiet. Dumbledore had stood to do his customary beginning of term "speech". Dread once again creeped into Severus's bones.
" 'Welcome,' he said. 'Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!
'Thank you!'" (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7)
As noise started to fill the Hall again, Severus wanted desperately to evaporate into smoke. In just a while longer he would have to tell Lily that her son was sorted into his house. He cursed the child again, technically Severus blamed the boy's infernal talent for drawing unscrupulous characters toward him.
As the dinner dwindled on, Severus would watch Harry interact with the other students in his house. Several of them were wary of the Potter heir. Those that were wary had parents that were former Death Eaters or were afraid that the boy's father would know that they did something wrong and take them to Azkaban. Others were pulled in by the boy's natural charm. And the boy himself seemed to be happy and quite entertained. The Weasley twins had managed to find their way to Harry and were now putting things into the surrounding student's cups. Lily was not going to be happy about this.
Dinner seemed to tick by for the Potions Master in an endless array of foolishness. He just wanted to leave and get his task done with. So, when Dumbledore stood to say his final words for the evening, Severus almost sighed with relief. Almost.
" 'Aherm - just a few more words now that we are all fed and watered. I have a few start-of-term notices to give you.
'First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of of our older students would do well to remember that as well.'
Dumbledore's twinkling eyes flashed in the direction of the Weasley twins.
'I have also been asked by Mr. Filch, the caretaker, to remind you all that no magic should be used between classes in the corridors.
'Quidditch trials will be held in the second week of term. Anyone interested in playing for their house teams should contact Madam Hooch.
'And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.' " (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7)
Severus was openly glaring at the Weasley twins. He knew that they would be stupid enough to break that rule, and now that the spawn of Potter was here, the head of house was sure that the child would be prone to breaking the rules as well. This was one rule that the three of them must not break. The black clad man would have to keep an eye on the three of them.
" 'And now, before we go to bed, let us sing the school song!' cried Dumbledore.' " (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7)
Dumbledore cast the lyrics of the school song so that everyone could see them. Severus could feel his face tighten. He imagined that several of the other professors were feeling the same as he was.
" 'Everyone pick their favorite tune,'said Dumbledore, 'and off we go!'
And the school bellowed:
'Hogwarts, Hogwarts, Hoggy Warty Hogwarts,
Teach us something please,
Whether we be old and bald
Or young with scabby knees,
Our heads could do with filling
With some interesting stuff,
For now they're bare and full of air,
Dead flies and bits of fluff,
So teach us things worth knowing,
Bring back what we've forgot,
Just do your best, we'll do the rest,
And learn until our brains all rot.'
Everybody finished the song at different times. At last, only the Weasley twins were left singing along to a very slow funeral march. Dumbledore conducted their last few lines with his wand and when they had finished, he was one of those who clapped the loudest.
'Ah, music,' he said, wiping his eyes. 'A magic beyond all we do here! And now, bedtime. Off you trot!' "
Severus was only slightly annoyed with how Dumbledore encouraged the twins behavior, but he would contemplate on that matter later. At the moment he was headed for his private quarters. Knowing that if he delayed any longer than he had too he would be in a world of hurt. He ignored the little voice in his head that said the only reason he volunteered for that in the first place was so he could see Lily.
Severus muttered the password to his room and went directly to the fireplace and Floo called the Potter residence. Lily replied almost immediately.
"Severus, what house did Harry get into?" she asked excitedly.
"Slytherin," Severus didn't even hesitate to tell her the news. It was quiet for several moments, and the fire went from green to warm orange and yellow tones. Seconds later the fire burst with green and Lily Potter stepped into Severus's living quarters.
"What did you say?" Lily said through clenched teeth. Potter almost immediately followed Lily out of the fireplace.
"Lily, I think you are overreacting about this," Potter started.
"Overreacting! There are children in that house who belong to families with strong ties to Voldemort!" Lily yelled. "What do you think will happen if their parents find out? Hm? You think they'll just let Harry live a normal life? Well?"
"Lily, think about this for a moment," Lily tried to interrupt Potter but he pushed through. "Harry is the son of an Auror. If anything, children who have parents with Dark ties will shy away from Harry. And if my memory serves me correctly, the twins are in Slytherin too, and they will look after him. They always have. If that's not enough for you, then just remember that Harry is your son too. I'm sure he inherited your intolerance for nonsense and bullying. He certainly inherited your temper. Our son will be fine."
Potter's speech only calmed the fiery red head a little. Her eyes still burned with the fury of a mother bear.
"I want to speak with Dumbledore," Lily said not deterred from her war path.
"Lily-" Potter tried again.
"No, James!" Lily yelled. "My son will not be endangered while in school."
"Would it have really made a difference if Harry was in a different house?" Severus finally spoke up. "There are children of Death Eaters in every house, aside from Hufflepuff. If Harry had been sorted into the House of Badgers, then he would still have to take classes with students whose parents were once loyal to the Dark Lord. He could still have become friends with those students. You have little faith in the staff, Lily. Every single one of the professors at this school will protect every child, including your son, to the death.
"I'm sure you remember what school was like. It will be a long time before blood status will be completely wiped from the minds of the wizarding world. Right now there is a Muggleborn getting ready for bed in the Slytherin dormitories. In the House of Slytherin, blood purity is still a big deal. What do you think would happen to that girl if Harry hadn't been sorted into Slytherin?"
Lily had considerably calmed down, but the fire still burned in her eyes. "I'm going to see Dumbledore no matter what."
With that Lily left Severus's private quarters and headed to the Headmaster's living quarters. Potter shook his head and followed. Severus too followed. He was, after all, the only one who knew the password to Dumbledore's office.