Hi all! This is going to be an on going story and I would like to mention that the title came from a song 'Taciturn by Stone Sour'. It is a very moving song about pure deep love which I am sure sums up one particular characters emotion ;) I welcome all reviews!
Chapter 1 - Taciturn
Blinding rain smashed against the sodden Earth on this moonless night. Two hooded men stood beneath a large Oak tree atop a hill that overlooked a sleeping village. Lucius Malfoy pulled down his hood in annoyance at not just the rain but the ridiculous task he and his partner had been assigned tonight.
"Severus?" Lucius turned to the hooded younger man "Anything yet?"
Snape gently pulled his hood from his face and shook his head causing his wet black locks to shake against his cheeks but kept his gaze at the village below. "Patience is the key tonight. If the Potters or Longbottoms come within a mile of the village I will know"
Lucius scoffed "Did you not hear?"
Snape anxiously turned to the older man and bore into his eye in an attempt to get a hint as to what Lucius was about to reveal. "What?"
Lucius gave an almost giggle "Don't be upset Severus. The Dark Lord did not forget your pleas with him about sparing the Potter's –"
"-Not all of them" Snape retorted in his slow manner.
"Either way" Lucius voice deep and malicious "He has found them and has gone tonight"
Snape's eyes went wide "Where?"
Lucius scoffed even louder than before "Like I would –"
Severus grabbed Lucius by the scruff of his robes and pressed his wand to the elder Malfoy's neck "Where-are-they?"
"G-go-god-rics-Ho-hollow" Lucius choked and gasped for air as Snape released him and stormed out into the rain "You can't abandon your post!"
It was useless Snape vanished into thick black smoke and soured off into the night.
"You set up the spells!" Lucius shouted at the thin air "What am I meant to do?! – I can't detect anything!"
Snape landed at the end of Godrics Hollow and marched until he reached a church. A little further down the street sat a house with all its lights out. The rest of the street had the odd light on from bedrooms or living rooms, pumpkin lanturns flickered on window sills of some due to Halloween yet no children walked the streets knocking on doors – it was as if they knew a real monster was on their road tonight.
A spine chilling bellow came from the house causing Snape to run as fast as his slender legs would carrying his tiny weight. He smashed through the front door that was already open causing it to bounce on its hinges yet stopped as he nearly tripped over the lifeless form of James Potter. Glasses askew, blood stained mouth and mangled limbs. He did not feel remorse yet he was neither joyous at the sight of his childhood bully dead at his feet.
A woman's scream came from upstairs sending Snape flying up them two steps at a time. He stopped at the top of the stair case and stepped on something strange. He looked down at his boot to see he had trodden on a foam letter 'H' and it was only until he looked at the sole door that was open, that the word 'arry' was stuck on the front. Like the rest of the house debris was strewn about the place, bricks and roof tiles scattered the floor and furniture had been unturned in what must have an immense struggle.
Snape cautiously approached the nursery and saw his Master standing with his back to the door; bald, snakelike skin and flowing black robes. At The Dark Lord's feet a cowering woman was screaming in agony.
"Crucio!...I can make it all stop if you tell me where he is"
Was he really that deluded to think a caring mother would give up her child's location? Then again Snape was sure Voldemort could not have had a great mother to believe such a thing.
This was going to kill him he was sure of it - I don't care.
"My lord!" Snape ran to his master's side and using all his might to occlude his mind for what he was about to say "Both boys have been spotted My Lord, Lucius and I we found them"
Voldemort slowly turned his slits for nostrils flared; clearly not happy by this news "Severus, are you…sure?"
This was it, Voldemort was trying to find the lie "Yes my Lord…but Lucius is unsure of his next actions as I had set up the location spell should any of the boys enter that village you sent us to…he think I misjudged"
"Did you?" he asked looking down at his recent victim curled up unconscious.
"No my Lord, Lucius is waiting for you"
Please, please just leave. Don't finish what you started just leave.
"I was rather enjoying prying information out of the mother" Voldemort smirked "I trust you can clean up here - burn my mark into the sky?"
Snape pulled out his wand and bellowed out of the smashed window without hesitation "Morsmordre!"
The magnificent skull and snake began to form overhead illuminated by a brewing lighting storm. Snape felt a sharp icy breeze catch him across the back of the neck and when he turned he realised it was from Voldemort apprating.
Snape immediately feel to his knees beside the comatose woman "Lily?"
She looked as if she were asleep. He gently shook her which grew more violently in an attempt to wake her up but he was stopped by the sudden cries nearby. The boy…
Snape whipped his head around to the sound and headed for the cupboard; it was hot with magic energy. He carefully opened it with his wand at the ready only to find a moving bundle of coats on the floor. He pulled the coats to one side revealing a tearful one year old baby which upon seeing Snape began to cry uncontrollably. She had put a silencing charm and several delusion charms upon the door – very clever.
Snape put his wand away and gingerly picked the squirming baby up, struggling to keep him still, but he did not have time for comforting the boy as Voldemort would surely hunt Snape down shortly. He was the only person that could deceive Voldemort due to his natural talents of Occulmency. Voldemort would believe Snape over Lucius any day but should the evidence mount up that Snape was lying he would surely be hunted down like the Potter's.
Snape was on his knees beside Lily and placed Harry beside her. He then shot a silver doe from his wand and watched it bound out of the smashed window towards the now fully formed Dark Mark and out into the night sky. Snape then held Lily tightly to himself and placed a firm grip upon Harry's leg before apprating.
He landed in the same position upon the muddy ground before front gates of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Snape gasped in relief as figures came running from the castle meaning Dumbledore must have reacted to his Patronas at once. Hagrid scooped Lily up in his arms without a word or even looking at Snape and Madam Pomfrey did the same with Harry as if looking at Snape was a cause for Voldemort to attack them.
Snape stayed on his knee's staring up at the illuminated castle, watching the half giant and nurse carry away the mother and child he had just saved. He was out of breath most likely in shock at his defiance against Lord Voldemort. A hand gently touched his shoulder causing him to leap up in fear only to come face to face with Professor McGonagall. The thin witch with a fashionable pointed hat bore a stern expression of worry and anger, most likely hidden hatred towards him, but she titled her head to usher him to the castle.
"Professor Dumbledore is waiting for you Severus" she spoke just has she had done when she taught him at school. He had not seen her for three years not surprising that it was hard for her to look at him as nothing more than a student; not wanting to see him as Death Eater.
Snape brushed off the dirt from his black robes before entering the castle that was welcomingly warm and glowing orange from the torches lining the walls. McGonagall rushed off ahead as if she did not want to be within close range of Snape yet he did not care, all he wanted to do was go and see if Lily was going to be alright.
He remained silent even as the gargoyle leapt aside revealing the staircase to Dumbledore's office. He had only been there a few weeks ago pleading with Dumbledore to move the Potter's to a safe house. Whoever was there secret keeper…most likely Sirius Black, he was the Potter's most trusted friend…
The office was empty as Snape stood before Dumbledore's desk with his hands held behind his back as if about to be carted off to prison for what he had done. McGonagall lingered behind him wearily but not for long as Dumbledore emerged from the stair case behind the desk taking a seat in front of it.
"Sit down Severus" he calmly said then looked to McGonagall "Minerva you may go to the Hospital Wing and check on our guests"
She seemed all too happy to get out of the way as she hurried out of the room "Now…"
"-No" Dumbledore stopped Snape in his tracks but remained calm and spoke softly "I will do the talking…You said in your Patronas that James was killed, Lily and the baby were alive and you were coming here" Dumbledore paused "What happened to Voldemort? Where is he now? Has he tried to contact you since?"
Snape took a deep breath and looked at his former Head Master through his long black curtains "The Dark Lord went to a village in Suffolk under the impression the children of the Potter's and Longbottom's are being hidden together. He could still be there for all I know and no, he has not tried to summon me as yet"
Snape then explained in full detail everything that had happened from his duties with Malfoy upon the hill looking for the children to apprating here.
Dumbledore had a strange stare in his eye "Very convenient wouldn't you say Severus? That James perished and Lily survived"
"If you are insinuating that I allowed that to happen you are very mistaken" Snape hissed "He was dead before I arrived and yes, I admit I do not feel any pain over his death…but I am still not delighted either."
Snape leapt out of his chair and grasped his left forearm with his right hand "He is summoning me"
"Don't go" it was a simple softly spoken word that numbed Snape's pain momentarily, staring at Dumbledore as if he were a madman.
"I must" Snape spat readying his wand to apparate to wherever his Dark Mark would take him.
"Ignore it Severus" Dumbledore ordered "You have first rate Occulmency skills, you can easily conjure an excuse to him later and in fact I must stress that you do this or the plan I have will not work"
Snape sat down and put his wand away ignoring the burning sensation in his arm but refused to pull up his sleeve to reveal it to Dumbledore. Instead he focussed his concentration on every word Dumbledore spoke.
"You are to tell Lord Voldemort that the moment he left to meet Malfoy, I turned up." Dumbledore paused to see if Snape reacted and continued " You are to wait until later before returning to him and you tell him that while you were finishing his work I apparated and disarmed you where you then pretended to break down in front of me and begged me not to send you to Azkaban. Following so far? Good. We then take Lily to Hogwarts, you do not mention the child, where I then offer you an ultimatum of either going to Azkaban for your crimes or you swear that you have reformed"
Snape could not believe what he was hearing "I am meant to spy for you?"
"You will spy for me but have Voldemort believe you are spying for him" Dumbledore smiled briefly "Your defiance to Lord Voldemort has proven to me that you are willing to accept these terms…that and I did not fail to notice your Patronas…The doe. You must care very deeply for her"
"Headmaster…" Snape had been aching to ask since he arrive and ignored the Head Masters comment on his feelings towards Lily "Who was the Potter's secret keeper?"
"I haven't a clue" Dumbledore's voice was a whisper clearly having been in deep thought over it also "I had offered myself as their secret keeper yet they put their trust into one of their friends"
Black… Snape's blood boiled, he did not care about the Dark Lord at this point "May I see Lily?"
Snape entered the Hospital Wing that was barely illuminated except for a couple of torches at the end of the room where a curtain had been pulled around one of the beds. Muffled voices were heard but none were Lily's.
He cautiously made his way to the bed where he first greeted by Madam Pomfrey who looked at him with knowing eyes. I didn't do this to her!
"I have given her a sleeping draught" Madam Pomfrey stated "She will not wake until sometime tomorrow"
"Can I see her?" Snape asked but was greeted by McGonagall who appeared from behind the curtain.
"She will not wake Mr Snape" McGonagall spoke to him as if telling off a student – it had only been three years since she had seen him but he was certain his lifestyle with the Dark Lord had aged him. "I suggest you have Hagrid show you to a vacant room for you to stay in"
"Where is the boy?" Snape asked ignoring her last statement and looking around not seeing Harry anywhere but his question was answered as heavy footfalls behind indicated the Hagrid had entered the room and in his arms cradled a sleeping baby.
"Good as gold lil' 'arry 'ere" Hagrid said handing the sleeping child to Madam Pomfrey who placed Harry in a crib beside his sleeping mother "Fell 'sleep as we walked 'round second floor"
"Thank you Hagrid" McGonagall said noticing Snape's eyes focussed on the foot of the bed visible from behind the curtain "You may sit with her if you may Severus but you must not try and wake her"
"Or the baby" Madam Pomfrey insisted checking the clock on the wall.
It had gone midnight but Snape did not care as he slowly made his way towards Lily. McGonagall left with Hagrid while Madam Pomfrey settled at a desk near the back of the room looking at different vials of medical potions. As Hagrid was Keeper of Keys at the school he had left Snape a tiny silver key to a room in the North Tower for the night, not that he planned to use it.
Snape saw Harry first sleeping in a wooden crib beside his mother. Lily was pale and her red hair had fallen over her face as she too was now resting peacefully. He took a seat between the bed and crib turning his back to Harry and staring contently at Lily. Snape silently performed a silencing charm around the bed so Madam Pomfrey could not hear. It still took him a few moments of silence to muster the courage and find the words to speak.
"I tried…I tried Lily" His manner was slow and careful as if he was sure she could hear him "I know you hate me and I understand why…I swear I will not mess up again."
Snape closed his eyes remembering the last time she had seen him. It was a summer's night in Surrey and the Dark Lord had sent his followers including Snape to capture a spy yet they were ambushed by the Order of the Phoenix. During the battle Snape found himself knocked back to the ground where his hood and mask came off, he rolled over to grab the mask to find himself face to face with Lily who too had been knocked back by a Death Eater. It was as if the entire battle had frozen as these two locked eyes in panic at each other, it had ended shortly after but Snape was terrified to attack so remained on the defence at all times not wanting to harm Lily. That was the last image Lily had of him – a Death Eater.
He wanted to make everything right for her, he knew she would shoot him down when she wakes, so he savoured this moment of silence just sitting beside her. Snape hovered his hand over hers for a moment before gently placing it on top.
"I'm sorry" he whispered.
Behind him Harry began to stir and whimper in his sleep but instead of Madam Pomfrey heading towards the crib to comfort the baby Dumbledore was stood peering down into the crib. Both he and Severus's gaze met.
"I see you have not returned to Voldemort" Dumbledore said returning his eyes to Harry and ignoring Madam Pomfrey's gasp at hearing the name. "I think that is wise you rest Severus, it will not be easy convincing people that you have truly reformed and fatigue will not help"
"I won't sleep now" Snape said standing as he started to feel claustrophobic between the bed and the crib as Dumbledore towered over him.
"You have done a miraculous thing Severus" Dumbledore said moving the blanket up to Harry who grasped it now fully awake "Beautiful child don't you think?"
Snape glanced into the crib and saw James Potter's son staring back at him "Can definitely see his father"
"Except his eyes" Dumbledore added "He has his mother's eyes"
Snape then peered further into the crib and caught sight of the emerald eyes looking up at him "So he does"
"Harry Potter will have a great life and role in defeating Lord Voldemort thanks to you" Dumbledore was looking directly at Snape who could not meet the Head Masters eye but instead focussed on the baby that was slowly falling to sleep. "Lily will be more than thankful"
"She won't trust me" Snape snapped looking at Dumbledore now "You said yourself 'convincing' people I reformed will not be easy"
"Can you blame them?" Dumbledore retorted "You were not under Lord Voldemort's wing as long as others have been and have perhaps had minor roles in his work –"
"-I told him the prophecy" Snape hissed "It is my fault…"
Snape could not bring himself to say what he was to be blamed for but instead looked to Lily as she lay sound asleep in the bed.
"Severus" Dumbledore began "We have much to discuss and plan but first a good night's rest will do us all some good"
"I have damned the boy to life of misery" Snape spat pointing at the crib, his silencing spell had broken the moment he spoke to Dumbledore so now Madam Pomfrey was gawping in anger at his outburst "It is all my fault that James Potter died"
"I do not think so" Dumbledore said walking away from the crib not wanting to startle Harry "I'm sure Lord Voldemort would have found them regardless.
"I merely sped up the process then" Snape ran a hand through is black locks idly. His forearm was prickling from not attending his summons causing him to feel extremely agitated.
"Do you or do you not want what is best?" Dumbledore asked not wanting an answer "Do you or do you not wish to redeem yourself?"
Snape slowly nodded "Of course"
"Then do it for her" Dumbledore whispered "The only option you have in proving you have reformed is by acting as a spy for The Order – you cannot simply leave Voldemort"
"If you're not with him you're against him – I know" Snape nodded "I currently have residence at Spinner's End should I return there now and report back?"
"No, I think it is fair to say Hogwarts has welcomed you back" Dumbledore smiled then began to walk towards the doors "Get some rest Severus and should Lord Voldemort summon you…you know what to do"
It was as if that had triggered it as Voldermort's voice boomed inside Snape's mind
Snape collapsed to his knees cradling his head in agony while Dumbldore and Madam Pomfrey ran to his aid. Snape pushed them away and tugged back his sleeve revealing his jet black Dark Mark now burning at his skin.
Dumbledore and Madam Pomfrey watched in horror, Harry started crying and Snape pulled out his wand pressing it to the Mark and apparated into the night.
"He really has the power to apparate out of Hogwarts?" Madam Pomfrey's voice was shaken
"We're perfectly safe here" Dumbledore assured her but could not take his eyes off of the spot where Snape had vanished "He may be able to pull his followers away but he will not be able to send himself or others into the grounds."
Dumbledore turned around to leave to find himself facing two young men both clearly shaken.
"Sirius, Remus" Dumbledore could tell they were both distraught "I sent an owl as soon as I heard"
Sirius was shaking "We just saw…please say we didn't just see…was that Severus Snape in here a moment ago?"
"Allow me to explain" Dumbledore began but even after leading them to his office and explaining the situation Sirius was fuming, he was hysterical at losing his best friend and more so that Snape had reappeared in the mix apparently reformed.
"I want to see my Godson" Sirius snapped "I do not wish to hear more about Snivillus"
They moved to Dumbledore's office where Remus was sat in shock staring at a sneakascope upon Dumbledore's desk. He had lost a dear friend and was now being told that a known Death Eater – whom that had fought on a couple of occasions – was now on their side. "He's probably dead too by now"
Sirius eyes snapped to his quiet friend "If you mean Snape then good"
"You're both very upset as lot of people are" Dumbledore spoke gently "But we must all remain calm and do what is best for The Order and for Lily and Harry Potter"
"They'll stay with me" Sirius insisted "Allow me to be Secret Keeper this time …I'll kill Wormtail"
"I think it is best they remain in the castle for the time being" Dumbledore retorted.
Remus muttered "Speaking of trust…You –know-who will probably be forcing the whereabouts of Lily and Harry out of Snape as we speak"
"I'm sorry Remus but I disagree" Dumbledore's expression was stern yet knowing as he stared out of the window into the night air "I'm sure he'll be getting an earful but will return shortly"
Snape was at the Malfoy manor in a large chamber. Before him was an overstuffed armchair facing a roaring fire that was the sole light source in the room. It's occupant a fuming Dark Lord gazing into the flames with a desire to cause destruction at a failed nights work.
"My Lord let me explain" Snape began feeling his knees buckle beneath by an invisible force so he was now kneeling before the chair that had its back to him. "Albus Dumbledore was there my Lord. He turned up the moment I created the Dark Mark over Godrics Hollow"
Voldemort was around the chair and before Snape in an instant "Go on"
Snape spewed out his lies about begging Dumbledore and pretending to reform and that the moment Dumbledore knew Voldemort was on his was way to the village sent out a warning to divert elsewhere.
"My word Severus you have had an eventful night" Voldemort spoke softly and paced around the kneeling Snape "So the location of the boys is still unknown?"
"Yes my Lord" Snape nodded occluding his mind with all his strength "Now do you understand why I could not return to your first call"
"I do Severus" Voldemort seemed deep in thought "What of the mother?"
"She's…well she's at Hogwarts my Lord" Snape cursed himself but needed Voldemort to believe him "For how long I do not know"
"Do they trust you Severus?"
"Enough to not send me to Azkaban"
"But not to provide you information" Voldemort brushed his cold hand across Snape's shoulder "Shall we make them trust you?"
"Are you suggesting I act as a spy My Lord?"
"That is precisely what I am suggesting" Voldemort was smiling now which was uneasy to witness "They believe you have reformed...provide them with certain information and in time you could lead me to both prophesied boys"
"What am I meant to tell them My Lord?"
"Obviously you cannot make up information they'll know you're lying eventually…how about names, names no-one cares about"
"So obviously not Malfoy for he works at the Ministry along with Crouch."
"Use you initiative Severus...little things that show you have 'reformed'" Voldemort gave a laugh, Snape had never seen him this excited before "Obviously do not tell them everything"
Snape heard the slither of Voldemort's pet snake Nagini somewhere in the darkness behind him causing him to flinch "Is that all My Lord?"
"Is it safe for you to return to the castle tonight?" Voldemort asked "Surely you will not be able to sneak back in"
"I'm sure I will be fine" Snape said still on his knees focussing all his energy of occluding his mind of thoughts of previous conversations with Dumbledore and seeing Harry in the crib safely tucked away in Hogwarts.
"Good" Voldemort forced Snape to stand with an invisible force "Go then but Severus…when I summon you, you come at once unless there really is not time to"
Snape gave a sharp nod before striding out of the room and into the entrance hall of the Malfoy manor where he nearly tripped up a House –Elf pressing his ear against the door.
"Get out of here" Snape hissed as the tiny House Elf scurried away whimpering at being caught eavesdropping
A nearby door opened and Lucius Malfoy stormed out but stopped when noticing Snape "Severus…I don't suppose you've seen my insufferable House elf Dobby have you?"
Snape shook his head "I'm leaving anyway"
"So soon?" Lucius smirked "You've gotten an habit of running off haven't you, leaving me to clean up"
Snape ignored his comments and headed for the front door, his meeting with The Dark Lord had lasted longer than he cared for, and he was eager to return to Hogwarts. Everything had happened in a matter of hours, his entire life turned upside down yet there was a tiny spark of light still left making him carry on; Lily. He would live for her.
He apparated outside the school gates where he was introduced to an unnaturally icy atmosphere. Shouting could be heard near the castle causing Snape to wield his wand ready to defend himself if needed yet he soon lowered it and stared in awe as the largely cloaked figures carried a screaming man from the castle grounds.
It was only until they were closer did Snape realise it was Sirius Black being escorted out of the grounds by two Dementors.
Sirius was kicking and screaming wildly and even more so when seeing Snape "Snape you Bastard! I'll kill you for this!"
Shame…I really fancied knocking his teeth back myself…
Snape entered the Entrance Hall and was greeted by a numb looking Remus Lupin. "Severus…"
"Lupin" Snape eyed him up and down expecting to be attacked "Just bumped into Black"
"Yes" Lupin nodded his voice very shaky "He's been arrested on the suspicion of murdering several muggles and is suspected of being Lily and James Secret Keeper…I've lost my three best friends in one night"
"Three?" Snape asked his stomach lurched automatically thinking of Lily.
"Peter" Lupin said rubbing his arms as if getting a chill but it was more from the shock "Peter Pettigrew"
Snape vaguely remembered the rodent looking boy that followed Potter and his mates around the school "What happened to him?"
"He's missing…presumed dead…they found his severed finger at one of the muggle crime scenes" Lupin then began to idly walk away "Excuse me…I need some air"
Snape silently allowed Lupin to pass him before hurrying up the stair case to the Hospital Wing. He nearly collided into a group of Aurors who were now stood outside the great double doors to where Lily was sleeping. Dumbledore crept out of the hospital wing not wanting to wake up Harry.
It seemed the news of him reforming had been an extreme matter of urgency as Mad Eye Moody stormed up to him and pointed a wand directly at his face "Do not move"
Dumbledore stepped forward "What did I say about Harry?"
"What?" Severus was confused.
"Answer quickly, before you left what did I say about Harry in the Hospital Wing?" Dumbledore snapped now reaching for his wand.
Snape then realised he was making sure Snape was not an imposter " He has his mother's eyes"
Dumbledore nodded and all those who had drawn out their wands put them away "Everything in order Severus?"
Snape nodded "If you'll excuse me"
Before Mad Eye could stop him Dumbledore placed an assuring arm on Made Eye as if to say 'leave him be'. Snape then entered the Hospital Wing, a dim light shone out of the back room where Madam Pomfrey must have been residing. Dumbledore followed him in where Severus quickly told him in a hushed tone what happened when he went to see The Dark Lord resulting in Dumbledore reassuring him he will be safe and can remain at the castle as long as he needed. But now Severus was alone and sat at Lily's bedside silently hoping she would wake not before long did his fatigue take its toll on him as his head slowly drifted forward and embraced slumber ever so willingly.
He was dreaming of a past time…at Hogwarts…Lily is with him…it was just how he remembered it just slightly hazing a the colours washed away…
He was in the Shrieking Shack, his sleeve rolled up where the Dark Mark had just been branded on him only an hour ago…back at the castle everyone was celebrating graduation…
Lily had found her way to him…they had not spoken in a long time…he quickly pulled down his sleeve to hide the Mark…
They are speaking but the conversation is muffled…he is apologising and she smiles…the rest of the dream passes in a blur…Dark Marks burning in the sky…corpses at his feet…Harry Potter in the cupboard under a pile of coats…