Disclaimer: Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling obviously.
A/N: This is the sequel to From Tragedy to Treasure. I would read that story first before reading this one or it won't make sense, I think. For those of you have been eagerly awaiting this sequel, I hope to answer all the questions I didn't answer with the last chapter of Tragedy and with this chapter I tried to start to address some of those questions. For example, the man from Birmingham will appear again, and I'll reveal partly what Severus dreamt with the Soul Need potion he took. Now, before I continue, let me just say that this story will be different from Chamber of Secrets. Lockhart will not be the Lockhart we know from the books and movies. He'll still be his fraudulent self, just a bit of a twist added to him. I also have re-covered some things with this chapter that will hopefully make you question some things as I give a new take on some things. Before I begin to become long-winded, let me just say this-enjoy, my lovely readers.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Sitting alone at a table, a twelve-year-old shaggy raven haired boy tapped his foot against the dusty floor with his vibrant green eyes trained on the clock on the wall across from him. His whole body buzzed with nervous energy. It had been a week since he and his father had arrived at the Leaky Cauldron after returning from their bonding adventure trip. For the most part, the young boy and his father stuck to their room. Neither of them wanted a repeat of Birmingham when they had run into two Death Eaters and a man who claimed to be someone who had died.
"Staring at the clock will not make it go any faster, Harry," coolly stated a tall and slender man with a large, hooked nose and shoulder-length black hair, rolling his black sleeves up as his black eyes narrowed on the young boy.
"I know, but I don't know what else to do. It's almost time, Dad." Harry bit his lip, drumming his fingers atop of the table. "Do you think they'll recognize me?"
"Of course they will. You sent them a picture of us, remember?"
"Oh. Right. I did do that." Harry then sighed heavily. "Do I look all right?"
"I thought you and Miss Granger were just friends?"
"We are. It's just . . ." The young boy shrugged. "Usually I've got my hair in all directions. Guess I'm not used to looking like this yet."
"You look fine, Harry."
"Okay. Thanks." The twelve-year-old then sighed.
Harry had always hated waiting when he was younger. Too many times his hopes of escaping his horrible guardians, the Dursleys, were dashed. If it hadn't been for Hagrid coming and telling him he was a wizard and basically scaring the Dursleys into allowing him to go to Hogwarts, he'd never have been saved, never had known his dad. He frowned as he thought on that for a moment.
"Hey, Dad?" He then glanced at his father when the man made a noise of acknowledgement. "Who am I?"
"What do you mean 'Who are you?"
"I mean, am I Harry Potter or Harry Snape? I mean, you're my dad. Not him."
"I believe we covered this before, Harry."
"I know, but can we cover it again?"
"As you wish." His dad remained quiet for a moment before speaking. "Your mother didn't want it discovered that you were my son, so after she gave birth to you, she named you Harry James Potter. It's on your birth certificate from St. Mungo's, and it's how she registered your birth with the Ministry."
"So I'm not a Snape."
"You are. Just not in your name."
"But I could take your name, though, right? I could be Harry James Snape instead?"
His father frowned. "I'd rather you not take my name at all, Harry."
"Why? I'm not ashamed of being your son."
"Be as that may, I'd rather you not share it with me. I realize that you wish to shed your skin fully and rid yourself of the whole Boy-Who-Lived persona surrounding yourself. Trust me, though, Harry. Being a Snape is not any better."
"Was your dad that horrible?"
"He was a drunk and a mean one at that. He frequently took his anger out on my mother and me. Sometimes there was no reason at all, but that he could."
"But what if that guy I met in Birmingham is your father, though? Maybe the guy you thought was your dad wasn't really. I mean, you mentioned before some kind of potion that could change his looks. Maybe the guy you thought was your dad took that potion or something."
His dad shrugged. "Perhaps. However, the Aurors inspected that shop with a fine-tooth comb and found nothing to suggest that there was another man there besides you and the shopkeeper. Whoever the man was that you met, it would seem he makes a habit of cleaning up after himself."
"Did they do a fingerprint check on the bracelet? Maybe he left something there."
"Muggles run fingerprints. Wizards check for magical signature and DNA. He left neither on anything. There wasn't even a bit of it on the Gringotts card. He knows how to cover his tracks."
"So we don't know who he is?"
"Not at this point we don't."
"Maybe we'll run into him again. He seemed to have kept tracks of us in Birmingham."
"Perhaps," his dad conceded before glancing towards the clock. "Your friends should be downstairs now. Do you have your bag?"
"Yeah." Harry sighed as he glanced down at the table. "Are you sure you have to leave, Dad?"
"Yes. I have lesson plans I unfortunately need to finish. And you likely would rather return to Hogwarts like all the other students. So, yes, I'm certain. However, I have requested that Arthur contact me if there are any issues while you are at the Burrow."
"And then you'll come?"
Harry sighed, nodding slowly. "All right." He pushed himself up and walked over to his dad before giving him a brief hug. "See you soon, Dad."
"In a week," his dad replied quietly, patting his back gently. "Now, go on. Your friends likely are wondering where you are." His dad stepped out of the embrace with a slightly tense posture.
The young Gryffindor frowned before grabbing his bag and walking towards the door to leave. In a week, they'd be back at Hogwarts for Harry's second year. He couldn't really say that he was excited about returning for his classes, but he was glad that he was going to be coming home. He had missed Hogwarts while they were on vacation. He had wondered numerous times how some of the other professors were, namely Professor Sinistra. He didn't know why, but he still hoped his dad and she would end up together.
He grabbed the doorknob turning it when he noticed the stack of papers on the table next to the door. He frowned, pausing for a moment to skim the papers. He then glanced back at his dad, who now had turned his back to Harry while reaching for a book. Harry shook his head. His dad had lied to him. The older wizard had already finished his lesson plans. He just didn't want Harry around anymore.
Walking quietly between Hermione and Ron a few hours later, they followed Ron and Hermione's families through Diagon Alley while the families shopped for their school supplies. Harry pointedly ignored the looks from his friends. He didn't want to talk about it. Like ever.
"Come on, loves. Keep up," Mrs. Weasley chided as the crowds started to pack in tighter as they neared Flourish and Blotts. "Oh, goodness me." She gave a soft laugh at the sight of a nearby sign.
"Mum?" Ron glanced towards his friends with a confused look.
"I forgot that was today." She then turned towards the trio, fluffing her auburn hair with a soft laugh. "Gilderoy Lockhart has a new book out."
"When doesn't he?" muttered a few of the Weasley males under their breaths.
"Here. Let me take one of your books so I can get you each an autograph."
"No. That's all right, Mum," Ron said with a wince.
"Fine. Suit yourself, Ronald." She gave a soft smile to Harry and Hermione then.
"No thank you, Mrs. Weasley," said Harry. His father had muttered about the man the past week. And judging by his father's words, this Lockhart was not a man to respect in the slightest.
Hermione only smiled, handing one of her books over before watching Mrs. Weasley leave. At the sight of the boys staring at her, she sighed, rolling her eyes. "Honestly, Ron. The man's a legend."
"You just want his photo to fall asleep to," grumbled the youngest Weasley boy. "Bet he uses a glamour charm or something to hide the fact that he's really a hideous old man."
Harry snorted, having heard his father say something along those same lines two nights ago. His green eyes then fell on a familiar blond staring at them through the crowd. He glanced away when Draco quickly disappeared in the crowd. He would have to keep a close eye on Malfoy this year. That, and he owed the Slytherin for saving his life last year.
"Let's go to Fortescue's. I'm hungry."
Hermione rolled her eyes at the redhead. "You're always hungry, Ron."
Harry followed his two best friends with a half-smile. He had missed them terribly. He sighed. His dad had likely lied because he wanted Harry to be close with his friends, grow his friendships. Maybe he should think more like a Slytherin and less like a Gryffindor . . . like his dad does.
Meanwhile hundreds of miles away from London, a brown-haired, blue-eyed man walked down the cobblestone street of Cokeworth. He frowned as he stopped in front of a door to a row house on Spinner's End. He glanced around to see if anyone was around before he drew a wand. He flicked his wrist and whispered a soft Alohomora. He chuckled when the lock clicked open, slipping inside then.
His blue eyes darted about the musty house as he took in the sight of the neglected house. He shook his head slowly and walked further into the house, heading towards the cramped sitting area. He stopped in front of the mantel, plucking one of the few dust-covered photos off it. Brushing his hand against it, he stared down at the photo of a sour-looking woman holding a baby in her arms.
"Oh, El," the man whispered, talking to the woman in the photo. "Yer gonna hex me back to hell when ya learn the truth." He then sighed, putting the photo back on the shelf. He grabbed the adjacent photo then, half-smiling at the photo of a happy young couple. "We were in love. Weren't we?" He shook his head again. "Thirty-two years," he whispered. "Ya raised him right, El. He's a good man."
"Perhaps you can tell your son yourself, Tobias," a gruff voice spoke quietly behind him.
"I thought one of ya might show up here today." He clenched his wand tighter in his hand.
"A Seer as well? Clearly, we underestimated you and your power," the voice mocked. "Perhaps we should give you another painful reminder. Perhaps kill your wife this time."
"And perhaps I should just get it over with and kill ya, boy."
"Oh, please. I know all about your—shall we say—difficulties. You're a pathetic wizard. Hell, you're not even really a wizard. Just a bit above squib. Whereas I'm all wizard, knowing how to control my magic. You can't do that I hear. It's a little touchy."
"State what ya came here for and then leave. Before I throw ya out on yer arse."
"Like I said, we underestimated you when we left you to die all those years ago. You being here now is a mistake. One that I in—" The voice suddenly went quiet before there was a loud thump.
"Only mistakes made was keepin' me from my family and thinkin' ya could kill me." The blue-eyed man then glared down at the now revealed Dark Mark on the other man's arm. "Pathetic."
After Harry had left to meet the Weasleys downstairs, Snape returned to Hogwarts and promptly started to brew potions in his dungeons to try to distract himself. He had several hours of sheer solitude and peace. Both of which were key to successfully brewing potions. A rare owl in the dungeons, however, ruined everything by delivering the wretched letter in his hand. A summons to join Dumbledore for tea in his office. As if Snape didn't have anything better to do with his time. But the Potions Master did as was requested, heading to the Headmaster's office at once.
"Gobstopper," Snape announced as he approached the large stone gargoyle statue outside of the office. He quickly walked up the steps as the staircase slowly spun its way up to the top. He knocked once on the sturdy oak door before walking inside. "You asked to see me, Headmaster?"
Headmaster Dumbledore glanced up from his desk before smiling warmly and standing up. His light blue eyes had the slight trademark twinkle behind the half-moon spectacles. "Thank you for coming so quickly, Severus." He motioned to the empty chair in front of him. "Please sit."
"I'd rather stand, Headmaster." Snape stood rigid in front of the desk with his hands clasped behind his back. "What is this regarding?"
"I take it you haven't had time to read the Prophet yet, Severus?"
"Only this morning's edition. Why?"
"The Aurors found a body floating in the water near the old mill in Cokeworth a few hours ago."
Snape forced himself not to stiffen at the mention of his hometown. "And?"
"The Aurors identified the young man as Darius Trevino. Do you recall him at all?"
"No." Snape frowned, wishing Dumbledore would just get on with it already.
"I thought not." Dumbledore popped a lemon drop into his mouth and sucked on it for a few moments before continuing. "It would seem Mr. Trevino was a Death Eater, however. A new recruit in fact according to Alastor judging by the redness still around the Mark on the man's arm."
"I see." Snape was starting to dislike where this conversation was headed.
"You are certain that you've felt nothing from your Mark, Severus?"
"I am." Snape then slowly unbuttoned his sleeve before rolling it up to reveal his bare, unmarked forearm. "I've felt nothing, nor is there any sign as you can see, Headmaster."
"And yet Alastor and others are finding evidence of Death Eaters actively recruiting again."
"If you are insinuating—"
"No, Severus," Dumbledore interrupted, holding a placating hand up. "I am not. I'm merely curious why you've felt nothing or have any sign of the evidence that we're finding."
"I have no answers for you, Headmaster. My Mark has been faded since," he paused for a moment before inhaling slowly as he pushed back the memories that threatened to control him, "since that night the Dark Lord was first defeated."
"I see." Dumbledore's eyes narrowed on him. "Before you went on vacation, it was a bit darker, though? Where we could see it?"
"Yes, but as you can see, Headmaster, I've gotten a bit of sun this summer unlike most years."
"Or perhaps Harry was not the only one affected by the water."
"Oh, please," Snape drawled, shaking his head. "It may have removed Lily's charm on him, but I doubt that water has the power to remove that deep of a dark stain on my soul."
"Have you seen Madam Pomfrey for your physical yet?"
"I recommend you do that."
Snape groaned inwardly. "As you wish, Headmaster. Is there anything else?"
"Yes." Dumbledore sighed. "There appeared to be a break-in at your home on Spinner's End."
"How grand. And just what did the thieves find to steal exactly? There's nothing of value there."
"Your parents' wedding photo was the only item missing."
"What?" Snape stared at the elderly wizard with a dumbfounded look. "Why on earth would anyone steal that photo?"
"Was the frame of any value?"
"No. It was made from plastic. Cheap."
"Then perhaps it was more for sentimental purposes."
"My mother?" he quietly asked. "You believe she broke into her own house and stole her wedding photo?" Snape scoffed. "You've had one too many lemon drops, old man. She'd rather have burned the hellhole down than take that photo."
"Actually, I was thinking of the man from Birmingham young Harry met."
"My father is dead, Albus. I killed him the night I became a Death Eater."
"Are you certain, Severus?"
"Yes. The man I killed was my father. He had the same cocky arrogance when he died."
"Would you be willing for someone to exhume his body and test it? To ensure that there is no chance that this man from Birmingham is your real father?"
Snape shook his head. "Fine. If only to put this damn thing to rest once and for all. He was dumped in a landfill near Manchester. I'll take them right to it."
"Thank you, Severus." Dumbledore then sighed. "I must admit that I hope for your sake that it is not true. That the man you killed was not your father, and that this man from Birmingham is. You know as well as I that the shopkeeper who was killed had a history of various dark crimes."
"It does not give a person the right to kill."
"Even if it was to protect your son?"
"Don't, old man."
"My boy, you know what I say is true. You left your son unprotected in a shop where he could have been killed. That man would not have hesitated to kill him. Think of it. The Boy-Who-Lived killed by a shopkeeper who was known for supporting the Dark Lord. He'd have been welcomed for that."
"You think I don't think about it, Albus?" Snape snapped, his jaw clenched. "I made a mistake. And had it not been for whomever, I might have lost my son. It didn't hit me until I walked in later and saw Harry on the ground." Snape shook his head angrily. "So, yes, Albus. I'm aware. But forgive me for not welcoming this stranger into our lives. We don't know his motives. Now, if you forgive me, I have a potion to brew. Good night, Headmaster." And with that, Snape whirled around and stalked out.
When he arrived in his rooms not long after, Snape walked over to the simmering cauldron and glanced inside it. He frowned at the gunk that he saw. Another potion ruined. He sighed, waving his hand towards the goo as he whispered a soft Evanesco.
Dumbledore's words unfortunately continued echoing in his mind. Of course Snape thought about leaving Harry alone in that shop without ever having made sure the boy would be safe first. He had chastised himself viciously over that mistake ever since that day. What had he been thinking about? How could he afford to make that error? Granted, he knew he was human, but this was his son! It wasn't just himself he had to look out for anymore. He had to start putting his son first. Think more.
Snape growled, shaking his head as the little voice in his head reprimanded him even more. Brewing potions wouldn't help anymore. It'd only make him focus more on his mistake . . . and the fact that he had allowed Harry to spend the week with the Weasleys—away from him again. He missed Harry horribly if he had to admit it. He had become so used to his son's presence with him that now he felt . . . incomplete maybe. Snape didn't know how to describe it exactly. He just knew it didn't feel right having Harry away from him now.
Turning on his heel, Snape strode out of his private lab and walked into his bedroom. He waved his hand to the curtains, snapping them shut instantly. He then snatched a bottle from his nightstand, uncorking it before tossing back the liquid inside. His body started to relax quickly as the potion worked its way throughout his body. No more self-deprecating thoughts could plague him. No more repetitive dreams could torture him. Just dreamless sleep. That was all.
He stripped down to his boxers before he lay down in bed and closed his eyes. He focused on his breathing and waited for the potion to take effect, reaching the number twelve before he fell fast asleep.
As had been the case for months now, Snape found himself thrown into the familiar recurrent dream of late, a nightmare he'd have stated. The moment he recognized the same beginning, he attempted to control his dream and change it. He didn't want to see and live this anymore. He was tired of dreaming this damn thing. His attempts, however, failed.
"Sev! I thought I told you to get rid of these damn things. I don't want them in the house," a green-eyed, redheaded woman scolded, frowning at him.
Snape's heart contracted as his eyes closed at the sound of her voice. Why did this dream portray his love in such a negative light? She was everything good in the world. In Snape's at least.
"I told you I didn't want these books in the house. They're evil, Sev. Pure evil. You don't need them anymore anyway. You choose me. Not the Dark Arts. Remember?" Her lively green eyes stared at him without the familiar warmth he was accustomed to having seen from her. "Unless you're regretting that decision, and you'd rather be with Mulciber and Avery or worse . . . her?"
"Never, Lily," Snape answered with no hesitation. "I choose you, Lily. Always."
"Well, then prove it, Severus. Get rid of these books." She then placed a gentle hand against his chest. "I know how hard it is for you, Sev, but honestly there's no need for them anymore. You have me now. I'm a much better alternative than the power you used to seek." She then smiled at him before glancing at the door when there was a soft knock. Her eyes lit up as her smile widened deeply. "That's Remus and James." She gave Snape a quick chaste kiss on the cheek before happily skipping towards the door to open it, leaving him standing in the hallway with a familiar feeling of loneliness.
Snape watched her embrace the other men warmly, hugging each one longer than necessary in his opinion before the three walked off together. He, however, did as she instructed. Even if it was just a stupid dream, he still wanted to prove to Lily that he'd always choose her. So, carrying several of the books in a large stack, he walked out of the back door to toss the books—some of which were rare tomes concerning Potions—into the rubbish. He tensed when he heard a soft moan, swallowing when he turned to look towards the sound. This was the part he hated the most.
He closed his eyes as a curly dark-haired woman approached him slowly. He could recall from memory the dark bruises and deep cuts, clear signs of her being badly beaten. He grabbed her when he heard her soft moan again as she stumbled. He held her brown eyes, dull with pain now.
"I, I love you, Severus," the dark-haired woman rasped before becoming lifeless in his arms.
Like always since drinking the Soul Need potion months ago, he woke up then, drenched in sweat and gasping for air. Why was it always Sinistra? What was his soul trying to tell him he needed?