A Dance Through Thyme [Harry Potter]

There are no strangers here; only friends you haven't met. An unknown man sends Hermione back to the Marauder's Era as revenge, however, the consequences are far more disastrous than what even he imagines when Hermione loses her memory of the past. Why did that man do this to her, and what secrets will be spilled? Who is the guilty party?

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37. Chapter 35: Die Mission Part 2

Part 2: Severus and Regulus

“Why did you have to involve me in this?” Regulus spat towards Snape as they waded their way through several rock-pools. The tide had not receded yet, and waves kept sloshing at their feet threatening to keel them over straight into the churning water.

Snape rolled his eyes at the younger man.

“I involved you because I know that you want a way to get out, and you have valuable information that we need to help you get out.”

“And then what? You will all chew me up and spit me out as the Dark Lord will do when he finds out what you and I are up to?” Even over the shriek of the powerful winds, Snape could hear the bitterness in Regulus’ voice. This was a young man who was accustomed to rejection, much like himself.

“Stop whining, Regulus. Clearly this is one familial trait that escaped neither you, nor your insufferable brother. Besides, we all know that this is the very thing that you were planning to do anyway. The Order just happened to beat you to the punch.”

“Shut up and stop acting so high and mighty. You’re no angel in this either,” Regulus shouted, feeling more and more angry as the conversation progressed. “You might not care that others will get hurt, but I do. Unlike you Severus, I have something to lose. I have something at stake here.”

Snape’s obsidian eyes flashed with a bolt of energy that Regulus had not been expecting.

“Don’t speak of what you can’t possibly understand. Just walk ahead of me and lead the way, like you’re meant to.”

The two men silently trudged on until they came to the mouth of a cave.

“How do you know that it is this one?” Snape asked. “There are half a dozen others around here.”

“I can feel it,” said Regulus, allowing his hand to touch the cold rock surrounding him. “It’s definitely this one.”

Without any hesitation, he stepped across the threshold into the cave.

Upon entering, Snape immediately felt a shift in the air. It was cold outside, but here the air seemed even colder. The air itself seemed threatening, and he knew Regulus was telling him the truth.

Regulus seemed like he had entered a trance. His eyes were wide open but glazed over, like he was looking without really seeing. Both of his hands were outstretched in front of him, feeling up the solid stone of the cave’s wall.

Snape’s own eyes widened when he saw the younger man take a knife from his pocket and hold it out to his forearm. Hot blood spurted forth from where he dug the sharp blade in, and Regulus calmly coated the fingers on his other hand with the crimson liquid. After wiping his fingers on the wall, he pulled a cloth from one of his pockets. It did not look all that clean, but it would have to do.

“What did you do that for?” Snape spluttered in shock. His stomach felt queasy at the act.

“We need to make a donation to pass through,” Regulus replied in a calm voice, wiping the last smudge of blood from his forearm.

As he spoke the wall seemed to blaze with light, and suddenly it was not there anymore. There was an opening in the rock that lead into absolute darkness.

Lumos,” muttered Snape holding his wand out in front of him. No matter where he seemed to shine the light, the darkness was so vast that everything seemed deeply out of sight. A quiet splashing sound could be heard, and within several footfalls Snape found himself at the edge of an enormous lake.

The middle of the water was illuminated by a green glow, and Snape found himself inexplicably drawn to it.

“Do not touch the water,” said Regulus quickly, and Snape dropped his foot back down onto the moist ground. “It is tainted with Inferi.”

Snape could not quite see the outline of Regulus’ face, but it did not stop him from whipping his head around to face the source of the voice.

“Inferi?”

“I told you that he was a crude and vile creature beyond our contempt,” Regulus couldn’t help but sniggering as though he were pointing out something very simple to his companion.

“Careful he doesn’t hear you, or worse, read your mind. We would be slaughtered before we could finish our thoughts,” muttered Snape, clearly valuing the sense of security that Dumbledore’s alliance caused him to have.

Standing at the edge of the lake, his toes millimetres from touching the water’s edge, Regulus held his hand out about the surface of the water. The touch of his wand to his closed fist brought an enormous chain shooting up and out of the water. It slithered through his fist, bringing up with it a seemingly heavy object. Snape looked on with wide eyes, wondering many things about this whole exercise, but nothing more than how Regulus seemed to go about it all with practiced ease.

“Hop in,” smirked Regulus. It was only then that Snape realised that the object summoned from the water was indeed a wooden boat. “The horcrux is just a short ride away.”

Snape had reached a point that was beyond questioning Regulus’ logic. He merely accepted what was happening, trusting that Dumbledore trusted this young man enough to allow him to undertake such an important task.

Placing one foot in the boat, Snape quickly realised that there would not be enough room for the pair of them.

“We can’t both fit in this boat. What am I to do there alone?” he sneered at Regulus. “Or was this part of a plan to maroon me to that island, and leave me to die?”

“Simple,” replied Regulus, a serious expression adorning his handsome features. “This boat will take you to the island. There you will find the horcrux in a basin of potion. You must drink this potion. All of it. Then bring the horcrux back to shore.”

“And it the potion kills me-“

“The potion will not kill you, Severus,” replied Regulus, his voice with a tone of finality to it.

“And how do you know that it will not?”

“I know that it will not kill because I am the person who created that potion. The Dark Lord commissioned me to do so. It is no coincidence that I know the location of this cave, or the tricks of how to get into it. I designed half of it in conjunction with the Dark Lord. Before I came along it was nothing more than a few simple spells. A first-year could have created a counter-curse thanks to the arrogance of the Dark Lord. Now be useful, and go and drink that potion.”

Snape watched as Regulus reached into a concealed pocket of his cloak. When he withdrew his hand, an object seemed to sparkle within his fingers, and Snape saw it soar through the air, landing at the bottom of the boat with a loud thud.

“Don’t forget to replace the real locket, with this fake one.”

Despite ever fibre of his being protesting, Snape did as he was bid. Stepping completely into the boat, he felt it jerk forward, pulling him closer and closer to the stone basin with Slytherin’s locket.

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