Chapter 4: An Unexpected Turn
When they arrived at their destination it was quickly obvious that they had NOT port-keyed to The Burrow. They hadn't even arrived at Grimmuald Place. Looking around in a panic, taking in his surroundings, Harry quickly drew his wand and aimed it at his greasy professor.
"Where are we?" he snarled.
"Calm down Potter!" sneered Snape, though he held his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender. "The Burrow isn't safe, nor is your Dogfathers abode. I have brought you to my cottage, though I cannot tell you where it is for your safety."
"What do you mean The Burrow isn't safe? Dumbledore and the Order had it warded before I went there last year. It's just as safe as anywhere else. How do I know this isn't a trick so you can hand me over to your little Death Eater friends?" shouted Harry.
"The Burrow isn't safe because Dumbledore will know you are there. He isn't to be trusted Harry. He is after you. I cannot tell you how I know, or even what I know but you MUST trust me," implored Snape.
"Why would I trust you? You hate me!" reasoned Harry.
"If I hated you Potter, I wouldn't have brought you into my home. And even if I did 'hate' you, my hatred for Albus Dumbledore is far greater."
Harry was beyond confused. Sure Headmaster Dumbledore was a bit meddlesome at times. Last year he was even infuriating, but Professor Snape owed the Headmaster his life. It had been Dumbledore after all, who had saved the bat of the dungeons from Azkaban.
"How can you hate him when you owe him so much? He saved your life! You'd be locked up to rot in Azkaban if it weren't for him!"
"Not all is as it seems Potter. I can say no more. You will simply have to trust me for now," and with that Severus Snape walked off leaving Harry alone to his thoughts.
"I have to change the world. I had to come back in time. The Harry Potter of my world, who watched everyone he loved, his entire family, and all of his friends, die, is not someone the world will long survive. He was just a boy…a boy who left alone, became a true horror to behold."
"Professor? May I ask you a question?"
It had been three days since Harry had arrived at Professor Snapes' cottage and neither had said much beyond the common courtesies of 'Hello', 'Thank You', and 'Goodnight'.
"If I say 'no', will you go away?" Snape sneered.
"No," replied Harry honestly.
"Then you might as well ask. I have very little patience, and am awaiting a very important floo call."
"How do I tell the difference between visions and dreams?"
Snape gawked a Harry for a good thirty seconds before he regained his composure.
"I thought Dumbledore advised you to close your mind to the Dark Lord. Obviously once you sabotaged the Occulmency lessons I so graciously tried to give you, you deemed the task too unimportant to continue," jibed Snape.
"I didn't sabotage them!" screamed Harry.
A few uncomfortable moments of silence passed.
"I'm sorry Professor. That was rude of me. And this has nothing to do with Voldemort. These are something else. It's like…someone is talking to me, but I can't see their face. I can only hear her. It's a girl. And she's always talking about the same thing, but what she says never makes any sense. She talks about things that have nothing to do with me," said Harry.
"What kinds of things Harry?" asked Snape.
"I dunno. I've dreamt of her several times. The first time it was like she and I were talking. She mentioned the prophecy and something about Horcruxes. I can't remember it all now, it's been weeks ago."
Harry noticed that Snape had paled at his mention of Horcruxes.
"Is something wrong professor?" he asked.
"Harry, where have you heard of Horcruxes?" Snape asked softly.
"Well…I haven't. I was going to ask Hermione when I got to The Burrow. Why? What are they?"
"Horcruxes are very evil, very dark pieces of magic. They have not been taught at Hogwarts for over 1,000 years. There are in fact, only a handful of books that even mention them, and most of those are only found in private libraries. I would not expect a child, not even a pureblood child, to know of such things. What did she say about these Horcruxes?"
"Well, I can't remember. And what does it matter? I mean, it's all just a dream right?"
"Potter! I NEED to know what was mentioned, and if you will not tell me then I WILL resort to less pleasant methods to retrieve this information!" barked Snape.
Harry sighed and shut his eyes trying to remember. He recalled all too well the pain he felt when Snape had entered his mind during their failed lessons. It was not something he wished to experience again.
"We were talking about Voldemort, and the prophecy. She mentioned something about Dumbledore. She kept mentioning the line 'neither can live while the other survives.' She said something about hunting these Horcruxes. And how that was the key to the prophecy. She said it was all a bunch of rubbish and that Dumbledore didn't care about me, at least 'not where she came from'. I don't even know what it means. It doesn't make sense. She tried to make it sound like Dumbledore was lying about something. She mentioned my parents. Said James wasn't really my dad, something about him protecting me cause of an oath he made to two of his closest friends. But that would be Remus and…and Sirius. That's why it doesn't make any sense. What do they have to do with anything?" Harry asked.
Snape just shook his head. "What else did this girl say?" He asked.
"She said death was upon us, and that a war was coming. That if my mum and dad had stood aside and let Him have me, that they would still be alive…that Voldemort was going to let my mom live." A single tear ran down Harry's cheek. "She mentioned the number 7. Said…said that I was an accidental Horcrux. That it was a mistake. She said I had to d-die, and that…that V-Voldemort had to be the one to kill me."
Snape slowly thought over everything Harry had said. "Did she say anything else? Anything at all?" he asked.
"Not that time no. Like I said, I've heard her several times in my dreams, but I don't recognize her voice," replied Harry.
Snape was preparing to respond when his floo flared green signaling a call.
"I must take this Harry. Return to your room and try to remember anything else of importance you might have heard in these dreams. I will summon you when I am finished and we will resume our conversation, now go!"
Harry slowly got up and left Snapes' study, noticing that when the doors closed behind him they were oddly enough sealed with magic. Snape was obviously up to something.
Snape turned back to his floo to see the head of his longtime friend Lucius Malfoy.
"Lucius," Snape greeted.
"Severus," Lucius sneered, "may I come through or shall I sit here all day?"
Snape stepped aside, allowing Lucius entrance into his study.
"Do you care for a drink, or is this an unofficial stop old friend?" Snape queried.
"Officially, I was never here. I do however have time for a drink. I have informed my secretary to hold all calls for the remainder of the day and told the Minister that I was out of the country on business and was not to be disturbed," Lucius replied.
"What have you discovered?" asked Snape.
"Nothing good," sighed Lucius. "This cover up goes back decades, at least to when The Dark Lord was a boy. It will take months to sort it all out, and months, as we are all aware, are something we do not have. Dumbledore is a slippery snake and I fear he will slither away before we have an opportunity to apprehend him. To think the great leader of the light would taint his hands so. If I didn't know any better I would say he is really championing for the dark and has used Voldemort as a ruse."
"We need something to get him on now! We can work on the rest once we have him!" moaned Snape. "Has your solicitor any advice to offer?"
"He has found nothing more immediate than a few minor memory charms. Nothing that the old fool can't get himself out of with a few well-chosen words."
"What we need is some proof of black-mail, or cover up. Surely Dumbledore knew of SOMETHING somewhere and just happened to forget to mention it?"
"I doubt very much he would have been so careless as to leave his tracks uncovered. He has even 'failed' to mention thus far that he has LOST the Wizarding World's Golden Boy," Lucius mocked. "What I want to know is how suspicion was raised in the first place. Some well-placed somebody must have caused a stink for my services to have been required," mused Lucius.
"That I do not know. I was simply alerted to the fact, as were a select few other parties, that certain people in high positions were not to be trusted. Did the Minister tell you nothing of what set him off?"
Lucius snorted. "That imbecile wouldn't know where to find his head if it wasn't attached. He simply said he had received a request for information from the Daily Prophet about the mishandling of death eater trials during the first war, but couldn't tell me any specifics or whom actually sent it, nor could he find the letter."
"Doesn't that sound a bit odd? I mean we all know Fudge is hopeless, but isn't that a bit too bumbling idiot, even for him?"
"What are you suggesting Severus?"
"Has the Minister himself been checked for memory charms?"
Lucius raised one perfectly sculpted eyebrow.
"I think my out of country business meeting is over. If you'll excuse me, I have urgent business at the Ministry." And with that Lucius left.
Sitting in 'his' room, Harry closed his eyes and thought back to the girl who had plagued his dreams for the past few weeks. Try as he might he just could not place the voice. He was almost certain he had never met this person, or even heard of such a person in all his life. And then there was the reaction that had come from Professor Snape. Surely mere dreams could not put a frightened look on the potion masters face. As far as Harry knew, Snape feared no thing, and no one, so what in Harry's words had caused the man's pale complexion to lighten even more?
"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 ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives ... the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ..."
Something about the prophecy had been a farce. What was it she had said?
'Dumbledore never cared for you.'
He had already touched on that.
'Where I come from you were raised like a pig for slaughter. Kept safe and in the dark until the right moment came.'
Harry very much doubted Snape could help him with that, so he'd file that piece of the puzzle away for later.
'And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.'
Right. That tied into the whole horcrux thing and going to his death courtesy of ol' Snake Face. A choice between him and Neville?
'Born as the 7th month dies.'
Neville was born 30th July 1980. Towards the end of the month, but not the true end.
'Born to those who have thrice defied him.'
Harry didn't know anything about Neville's parents, and that had never been a topic of discussion for either boy. How had Harry's parents defied Voldemort for that matter? In retrospect, he knew very little about the people who had brought him into this world and loved him, and who had in the end, died for him. He could see going into hiding and dying as defying the Dark Lord, but what was the third way?
Snake Face had given him a lovely lightning bolt scar for everyone to stare at, thus marking him as his equal, but what was this 'power the Dark Lord knows not'?
The girl in his dreams had said that it was rubbish, that his power was nothing more than love. How was love going to help him defeat the most evil wizard since Grindlewald? He doubted very much that it was.
This dream girl seemed to know that everyone kept him in the dark though. She said she was telling him all 'this' because no one else would. But if he wasn't old enough to be told, how did she know? She sounded no older than him.
Just then there was a knock on his door. 'Come in," he said quietly, the beginnings of a headache seeping behind his eyes.
"Lunch is ready Potter. I figured we could finish our discussion over sandwiches and tea," offered Snape.
"Can we just eat? My head is killing me from all this thinking," replied Harry.
Snape quirked an eyebrow.
"Yes," he replied dryly. "I imagine it must be so hard without Granger, having to think on your own and all. I can hardly see you being able to form a coherent thought all by yourself. Lunch, Potter, now. And our discussion will continue immediately. I shall simply retrieve a tonic for your head."
And with that Severus Snape left the room.