Heart of Darkness

Harry looks for Snape’s hiding place. It’s not a very nice place. In fact, it’s not a place at all.


2. 02





After a while, you leave the dying tree, shedding its half-withered leaves like tears upon the water.


You gaze at the child hanging onto your left hand and debate asking Healer Smethwck if he is one of the safe ones who may be prevailed upon to be your guide. Smethwck had stressed many times that your survival in Snape’s mind would largely depend on your ability to insinuate yourself to a sympathetic character, seeing as the rules of a dream realm would follow no established principles for physics or magic.


Your young guide seems content to follow rather than lead however, so you continue your aimless walk. The water disappears along with the checkerboard floor, turning into a blackened field strewn with half burnt leaves. The air is clean and cool.


You take out a small parchment and unroll it. Pursing your lips, you dig around for a pen and write:


I found a child. Is it safe to bring him along?


You roll up the parchment and put it back into your pocket.


‘It’s not safe,’ Severus tells you, his eyes staring straight ahead as he walks.


You suppress the urge to stare at the boy and force yourself to continue walking in the same slow, deliberate pace. ‘Not safe for us? Or not safe for the Dark Lord?’


‘Not safe for Severus Snape,’ the child says in a matter of fact voice, prompting you to look sharply at him.


‘Why? The Dark Lord is dead. What threat remains?’


‘The Dark Lord does not like to speak of death. He lives…‘ The little boy taps his own head again.


You stop walking and gently cup the small, pale chin in your hand. ‘If there is a horcrux here, Severus, I must find it.’


The child’s dark eyes clouds over. ‘What’s a hor-crux?’


‘It’s a secret. It can be a secret item, like a diary or a locket. Sometimes, it can even be a secret person. Will you help me find it?’


‘Nobody tells me any secrets.’


‘That’s ok. Maybe you’ll remember something you’ve seen.’ You pet the unruly mop of hair, but the child suddenly flinches and moves away from you.


‘What’s wrong?’


You inhale sharply as you see dark welts suddenly forming on the exposed areas of the boy’s pale skin. They bloom like purple flowers blotched with green, vanish beneath his skin, and then bloom again- spreading all over his hands and face. Cuts appear and disappear, his lips tear and heal. You scramble for your wand, only to find your pockets full of blackened leaves instead.


‘Severus, I need my wand. I need my wand to help you.’


Blood begin to pour out of the child’s nose. You sit him on the ground and try to steam the scarlet stream with your sleeves.


‘Severus, give me my wand.’ You dig into your pockets again, but it remains empty.


‘Severus!’ you yelled to the wind. ‘My wand!’


You heard a scream and a crack, and see with despair that the boy’s wrists had broken. Desperate, you crawl on hands and knees, scrabbling through the grass and leafs until you finally spot your wand lying a few feet away. You stumble forward to grab it, almost gasping in relief as your fingers curl around its magical core- still working.


You run back to the child, but find instead a young man lying on the ground. His eyes are closed and his skin is pale, unmarked ivory, framed by wreaths of long, dark hair.


You drop to his knees in relief. ‘Thank Merlin, you’re safe.’


As you recover your breath you take in the new adult that Severus has become. Perhaps sixth year or slightly after; slender, colourless, and rather beautiful in repose. His lips are slightly parted, as if his dreams are sweet.


You smile a little at the vision before you, for Snape had not been a beautiful youth.  




Then the young man opens his eyes, as red as beetroots, as red as blood.




‘Hello,’ you say, ‘I’m glad you’ve healed up nicely.’


The young man sits up and gingerly examines his wrist, but the voice though husky, is undeniably female.


‘He’s very talented in his madness. One might say it far surpasses his sane exploits.’


‘He’s very talented,’ you agree, eyeing the beautiful girl; who had a very languid air about her. ‘Are you here to help me or hinder me?’


The red eyes glint with amusement. ‘Do you have a preference?’


You haul yourself up and offer your hand to Severus. ‘In the real world, you are twenty-four hours from being trialed as a Death Eater and given the Dementor’s kiss.’


She does not look perturbed by the news. ‘If there is a horcrux in my head, my death should take care of it rather satisfactorily, don’t you think?’


‘Surely you don’t want to die,’ you point out in your most reasonably voice, ‘-after all that work.’


‘Surely I don’t mean that much to you, either way.’


‘Like I said, I have a saving people thing.’


‘Hmmm,’ is all Severus says, although her smile is knowing. You are the first to slide your eyes away.


‘You mentioned… a Dark Lord.’


‘Harmless,’ the female Severus waves a negligent hand, ‘and the least of your worries.’


‘The little one didn’t seem to think so,’ you point out.


‘The little one is easily frightened. Like all children, he fears the shadows and prefers to do as he’s told.’


‘And you?’


A husky laughter escapes her lips, and her ruby eyes are coy behind their dark curtain. She is, you realize, really quite beautiful.


‘You should check your pockets,’ she tells you.


You draw the parchment out again and open it.


It’s a trap. Turn back now, we can still extract you.


Your eyes flicker from the note to find the girl watching you, her lips a red, wet curve.


‘You were never any good at following instructions.’


Ruefully you shake your head. ‘Like I said, I have a people-saving thing.’


‘Where angels fear to tread,’ thrills Severus.


‘You’re very sardonic,’ you tell her. ‘I much preferred the boy.’


The female Severus laughs. ‘So do I.’



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