At last, Snape came to the memory that he had been avoiding for a while now. The moment that, if he could go back and change anything, anything at all, he would redo. Though he donned a hardened mask, the guilt of his actions on this day was eating Snape inside, even now.
Voldemort paced in front of his Death Eaters, hands clasped behind his back.
“I have a vision of a world free from mudbloods, with muggles in servitude,” he rasped. “A world where we, the wizards, the rightful rulers, take our place. We will dominate the land and strike fear in the hearts of our enemies.” He came to a stop in front of Severus. “And nothing will stand in our way.”
Severus soaked in his words, imagining what it would be like to finally gain the respect for which he yearned so dearly. He could see the people parting to allow him to pass as he walked down the street, bending to pick up his garbage. Severus liked the image.
“Severus,” the Dark Lord said, stirring him from his vision. “Go to the Hog’s Head. I have arranged for you to meet someone, he will give you some ingredients for a potion I wish you to brew. Now.”
“Yes, My Lord,” Severus said, disapparating on the spot.
He arrived at the Hog’s Head and stepped into the shady bar, looking around for someone who seemed to deal in illegal ingredients. That left just about everyone. He took a seat at the bar, hoping that whoever it was would come up to him, hopefully knowing who he was.
“Can I get you something?” the bartender asked roughly.
“No,” Severus replied simply.
He grunted in dissatisfaction and moved down the line to the next customer. At a low growl in his ear, Severus jumped.
“You Snape?” a man huffed next to him.
“Yes,” Severus replied. “You have something for me?”
He nodded, pulling a small package from the folds of his oversized cloak. Severus pocketed it and heard the bell of the door ring as someone entered.
The man frowned. “Dunno why the old man can’ leave well enough alone. Gotta come over here an’ frown at everyone like he’s better ‘n us.”
Severus glanced over his shoulder to see about whom the shady man was speaking. He glimpsed the familiar grey beard of Dumbledore and immediately turned back, hunched over so that he hopefully wouldn’t be recognized.
“Ah, Aberforth, is someone waiting for me?” the man asked in his normal kind and calm voice.
The bartender looked up. “Second room on the right, upstairs. Nutcase, if you ask me, though.”
“Then it is good that I didn’t,” Dumbledore replied with a hint of goodnatured humor.
Aberforth merely grunted as Dumbledore swept off. Severus was certainly curious. He couldn’t imagine what the great and respectable Dumbledore would be doing in a place like this at near midnight. At last, this could be his opportunity to earn Voldemort’s respect.
Severus waited a few moments until he was fairly certain that Dumbledore had made it to the room upstairs. He casually excused himself, then waited until no one was looking and slipped upstairs, cringing at every squeak of the floorboards. Severus arrived at the second room and pressed his ear to the door.
“So, Sibyl, tell me about your qualifications,” Dumbledore’s muffled voice said.
In an overdone, by Severus’s estimation, mystical voice, she replied, “Well, I am a direct descendant of the Seer Cassandra.”
“Have the rest of your family been Seers?”
“Well, no,” Sibyl replied, hesitantly. “But it does tend to skip an indefinite number of generations, you see.”
“Ah, I see,” Dumbledore replied. Gullible old fool. “And have you any teaching experience?”
“I hav-” she cut herself odd with an odd sort of choking sound.
“Sibyl?” Dumbledore asked urgently. “Are you alright?”
In a strange, dry, raspy voice, Sibyl croaked, “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies-”
“Silencio!” Dumbledore voice came, cutting off what Severus could hear. His heart raced as he straightened back up. Was she giving a prophecy?
“Hey!” a rough voice came from the stairs. “What are you doing up here? Get outta here!”
“I was looking for the facilities,” Severus lied smoothly, miraculously able to keep his head. “It seems I have lost my way.”
“There are none here. Get out,” Aberforth barked.
Severus obliged, heading back down the stairs and out to the village of Hogsmeade. From there, he apparated directly to the Dark Lord. He arrived in front of the Dark Lord, immediately dropping to one knee.
“Get up,” he snapped. “What is it? Was there an issue?”
“No, My Lord,” Severus replied, straightening. “I simply wanted to report something I overheard between Dumbledore and a Seer. A prophecy, I am certain.”
Voldemort froze, looking at Severus with bloodshot eyes. “Tell me.”
Severus relayed what he had heard of the prophecy. “I am sorry, My Lord. He cast a silencing charm as soon as he realized what was happening. That is all that I heard.”
“‘The power to vanquish the Dark Lord’?” he hissed in surprised horror. “There is no one with such power. No one!” Voldemort growled, resuming his pacing. “I’ll find them and kill them, yes... kill them before they even have a chance.”
“It is advisable, My Lord,” Severus said.
“Who could it be?” Voldemort asked, thinking aloud.
“I do not know, sir.”
“Lucius!” Voldemort said, snapping his fingers. The blond haired man hurried over. “Look up all those born in the month of July. And figure out which have defied me three times.”
“Yes, sir,” he said, hurrying off.
Severus stood stock still as Voldemort continued to pace for several minutes, seeming to process the fact that he could be defeated.
“You did well in bringing this information to me, Severus,” Voldemort said, looking over at him. “Perhaps you will make a good Death Eater after all. One I can trust.”
“In fact, if I am feeling gracious, you might even be rewarded,” the Dark Lord said with an evil grin.
“Thank you, My Lord.”
“Now if that Lucius would only hurry up,” he growled, turning back for another pass.
As if on cue, Lucius returned. “I found only two that fit the criteria, sir. The Longbottoms’ son and the Potters’ son.”
Severus’s blood ran cold.
Voldemort drew in a deep breath. “Ah. Longbottom. They are too weak; a child of theirs could not possibly be a threat to me. The Potters on the other hand...Yes, they have a fight in them.” He smiled cruelly. “We’ll see how they fight when I head for their son. Yes... I do hope they struggle, I do hope they beg.”
Severus’s chest tightened. “Are you certain it is not the Longbottom boy? They are, after all, purebloods where Lily Potter is not.” It was dangerous reminding Voldemort that Lily was a mudblood but Severus had to make every effort. He knew what would happen if Voldemort decided they needed to be killed.
“That is a point,” Voldemort conceded. “Yet Bellatrix tells me that the Longbottoms cracked so easily under the Cruciatus curse. They are weak. Hm... but why should I not just kill both of them? Starting with the Potter boy.”
Almost unconsciously, Severus stepped forward. “My Lord, you thought to reward me? Do so by sparing the Potter girl.”
Voldemort looked at him, amusement flickering in his eyes. “Want her all to yourself, do you, Severusss?”
“Yes, My Lord.”
Voldemort grinned again and Severus had to fight back a cringe. “Very well then. I will spare her, unless she is foolish enough to stand in my way.”
Severus’s breathing eased ever so slightly. “Thank you, sir,” he said quietly, hoping that a promise from one of the most evil wizards to walk the earth would be enough.