|Author: Athea (email@example.com)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Harry and Severus Snape
Title: The Child of Love, part one
Date: 23 December 2001
"What do you mean, its prophecy?" I had to have misunderstood the Headmaster.
"Back in 748, I think it was," Dumbledore said absentmindedly, "the Highpriest of the Druidic Caste had a vision during the Lammas festival." He turned another page and started muttering.
"Don't speak it, Headmaster." The cutting comment came from the man in the wing back chair beside me and I snuck a peek at him. "Remember what happened the last time you muttered?"
"Harrumph, yes, yes, I do remember. It was only a small infestation, Sev. I had it cleared up in no time at all." He smiled sheepishly at Professor Snape whose lips twitched once before settling back into the sneer that I usually saw.
Had he almost smiled? This was getting weirder by the minute. I surreptitiously pinched myself to make sure that this wasn't some strange dream. Nope, that hurt so I must really be here in the Headmaster's study while he looked up a prophecy that had something to do with me and my Potions professor. Weird didn't begin to cover it, I was beginning to think that scary was more like it.
"Here it is. On the last full moon of the year of Fire will the youngest and the hidden one come together to create a spell of conception. Thus will the future come from the past and the circle be cast in flesh. From this union will come the Child of Love reborn. Thou art the first, Thou are the last. And the Light shall triumph." He pushed his glasses up and looked at us with the beaming smile that usually made me smile too.
But I had a sinking feeling that I wasn't up to casting a spell with Professor Snape. Conception sounded dangerous and so did a circle, um, in flesh. I might be sixteen but I was still in the experimental stage of my life. I'd read some of the tantric spell books and enjoyed pleasuring myself in the bath but I wasn't ready to do it in front of anybody or watch anybody else, um, do it either.
Professor Snape interrupted my muddled thoughts with what might be a gasp in anybody else. He was always pale but he'd just gotten even whiter. "You can't be serious, Headmaster. Potter is too young and I am ... unable."
My head was spinning and it felt like a Quidditch match where I looked back and forth between the two of them. What did 'unable' mean?
"Severus, I don't understand. How could you be unable? You were a father." The headmaster frowned at the Potions Master.
"No, I can not. Not again." He was on his feet and even I could see him shaking with fine tremors that shook his whole body. "I am no one's whore, not even for the Light."
I froze right along with Headmaster Dumbledore while the professor all but ran from the room. It felt like an earthquake had just hit and I looked up at the feeling of deep sadness that radiated from the old man behind the desk.
"Dear Heaven, I think I finally understand." He took his glasses off and laid them on the desk in front of him, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Harry, there is some history that you need to know about events that happened about the time you were born. But first, I think we'll have some tea. I will find this hard to speak and you will find it difficult to hear. But we don't have a choice."
Muttering a quick incantation, he materialized a tea tray and poured out for us both. He offered me the plate of ginger cookies and I accepted two with a sigh of relief. Munching the treat, I dunked the last bite in my tea before devouring it. It was a long time until dinner tonight and whatever the headmaster needed to tell me was probably going to be very unpleasant.
His sigh brought my head up while he fixed those blue eyes on me. "A long time ago, the forces of the Light needed a spy in Voldemort's court ..."
"Hey, Harry, wait up." The voice behind me stopped my vague meandering toward the dining hall. Ron panted up and looked at me. "What's wrong, Harry? You look sick."
"Thanks a lot," I automatically said but in truth, I did feel rather sick. "I think I'll skip dinner tonight and go up to our study."
"You're skipping dinner? You must be sick." He said with a grin but I couldn't smile back. At the moment, I felt like I'd never smile again. There was a pain in my heart that just kept growing until I was afraid that I'd burst into tears right here in the hall.
"It's not that bad, Ron, but I really can't face the dining hall right now. I'll see you later." I hurried up the stairs, almost running to escape the others. I needed to be alone, completely alone and the only place I could guarantee that was in one of the small bathrooms where I could lock the door.
Stopping by my trunk for a towel and my pajamas, I went down the deserted hall and into the last door on the right. This one was the quickest to finally get hot water. While the tub was filling, I took off my clothes and hung them on the back of the door. With the greatest concentration, I did not think about what the headmaster had told me. Finally, I took off my glasses and slipped them in the pocket of my robe before stepping into the steaming hot water.
Soaping and rinsing took a few moments but somehow I knew that this feeling wouldn't be washed away so easily. Turning off the water, I laid my head back and finally brought out the memory of my tea with the Headmaster. Some of it I'd already known but not the part that Professor Snape had played. I couldn't get Dumbledore's sad voice from my mind.
'Severus was such a bright soul with a lightness of spirit that made him one of the most popular of boys. A happy spirit that sang in the Light.'
'We needed a spy in Voldemort's court and Severus volunteered.'
'For seven long years he played his part. But the young man of twenty-one who returned to us was a darkened soul who hid from the Light even though he was of the Light and always would be. He wouldn't speak of his time with Voldemort but from that moment on, he became a solitary man who wouldn't reach out to anyone.'
I scrubbed my eyes hard and tried to keep out the images of a young boy who'd gladly volunteered to serve the Evil One and been trapped in a role that stripped his innocence from him and left him feeling like a whore. Dumbledore's reaction to his statement about whoring for the Light was tears. Voldemort had obviously raped him over and over while he played his part of a willing disciple.
How had he kept his sanity? I felt tears forming and I tried to pretend they were water drops but finally I let myself cry for the boy who'd sacrificed himself before I was born. Maybe some of them were for my parents and all the others who'd been lost during my short life but mostly they were for him, for the life he should have had that had been stolen from him.
They stopped eventually, tears always do. The world was awfully fuzzy without my glasses and at the moment, fuzzy was good. I stared at my toes peeking through the water and recited a spell to heat the water again. It worked perfectly and I sighed. This wasn't solving my problem.
Our problem, since it appeared the headmaster was certain that the professor and I were the 'youngest and the hidden one'. So we were going to have to work together for the prophecy to come about. And that meant that I had to go to him and convince him to cooperate. I wasn't going to rape him the way Voldemort had, I decided fiercely. He didn't deserve that. But then neither did I and I could admit to myself that I was frightened of the whole sex thing.
Would I have to admit that to him, too?
I was starting to wrinkle like a prune so I drained the water and dried off while I considered my body. I'd finally grown a foot so I wasn't the shortest anymore but I'd always be short. Quidditch had toned my body so I'd grown muscles in place of my baby fat but I was still skinny. Drying my privates, I decided that I looked okay. I wondered what other boys looked like but stopped that train of thought before it got to Snape. Several of Hermione's girlfriends had started eyeing me with little flirty looks. I'd been looking back with, what I must admit had been interest.
But now that was no longer an option, at least until this whole prophecy thing had been resolved. I sighed and dressed in my pajamas, wearing the robe over them since I was feeling a cold breeze seeping under the door. The halls were still empty when I left the bathrooms and hurried down to my study. But the cold followed me and I realized that it wasn't me who was cold. Closing my eyes, I followed the chill wind with my wizard's sight and found it coming from the chapel in the lower level of the Gryphon House.
Snape was down there, huddled against the cold that he'd lived in since he was fourteen. Throwing my damp towel onto the back of my study chair, I took a deep breath, then another before putting on my slippers and leaving my room to go down and talk to the man who figured so prominently in my immediate future.
I took the back stairs and saw no one. There wasn't even a candle lit on the high altar. I could feel him though, through those senses that I'd been training for the last four years. He didn't say anything at all when I sat down beside him on the long wooden bench. I didn't know what to say so I said nothing, just kept him company.
His whisper when it finally came was almost too low for me to make out words. "I hid inside my mind. I pretended that it was someone else he was taking and ... hurting. The books hadn't prepared me for what sex really meant. Are you better informed, Potter?"
"Probably not," I admitted. "I'm still at the stage where it sounds pretty scary to me. It's so ... um, personal."
His chuckle was more like a sob. "Personal ... yes, it is indeed personal. I'll go to Dumbledore and try to make him see that we must let this prophecy go for now. You don't deserve to suffer my unwanted attentions. Even if I could ..."
"You didn't deserve what happened to you, Professor Snape." I sat up straight and spoke fiercely. "He raped you and you thought you had to let him in order to spy for the Light. None of it was your fault."
He caught his breath and I wished that I could see his face. "That is very ... kind of you, Potter. Some days I believe that but most of the time I know that it was a flaw in me."
What could I say to make him see that it wasn't his fault? "I think you need to speak to the headmaster, Professor Snape. Would you do that still tonight? He really wants to talk to you."
"Yes," he shifted on the bench and stood with a creaky motion that sounded like it hurt. "Yes, I should apologize to him for my earlier outburst. I'll make him see that this would be a grave disservice to you."
My eyes had grown adjusted somewhat to the darkness and I felt him turn to me.
"We haven't been friends, Potter but not exactly enemies." He hesitated and I felt a hopeful twinge in my heart. "I will see you tomorrow in class." And he turned towards the altar only to disappear behind it.
I got up and peeked around the corner in time to see a hidden door silently close behind him. Odd, I didn't realize that there were so many secret passages here at Hogwarts. Sighing, I left the chapel and slowly made my way upstairs. Part of me was dissecting the conversation while part of me still had that hopeful feeling that maybe, just maybe, I was going to finally understand Professor Snape a little better.
Ron was in our study and full of questions so I shelved all the turmoil away in the back of my mind. We started studying and I managed to fend off any questions about my health. He'd brought me up an apple and I ate it slowly while going over my Potions assignment. I had the feeling that in class, our Potions Master would be his usual self.
Well, I'd been right about that, I decided, while my head spun with the new potion spell he'd given us. He'd been cold and cutting whenever anyone screwed up a potion. And yet, the hurtful note that always seemed a verbal sneer had been missing. I'd studied hard before going to sleep and done my potion perfectly while he watched over my shoulder.
He hadn't said well done or anything overtly nice but he had rewarded me with a harder puzzle and that was a vast improvement over the sneer. There was a faint air of melancholy about him but I was hoping that was an improvement over his self-hatred of the night before. Maybe he'd spoken to the headmaster and was finally beginning to realize that his past was just that.
Past. Over and done with. Finished.
I had a message to go to the headmaster after lunch so I ate hurriedly and turned in my dishes before walking quickly to his study. He was standing at the window, his hands clasped behind him. "Sir?"
"Come here, Harry, thank you for coming." He smiled at me then went back to the window. I joined him and saw that the window no longer looked at the Commons but into the past. "There he is, Harry, Severus at fourteen, still the happy loving child that I knew and loved."
The black hair was the same but the dark eyes were full of laughter and his lips were stretched into a grin. He looked happy and full of life. It was hard to see him like that while my memory of his coldness from class was still fresh in my mind.
"I wish ..." I sighed. "I wish he could be like that again."
"So do I, Harry, so do I." He waved his hand and it went back to normal glass. "Thank you for speaking with him last night. We had a long talk and hopefully, I was able to drain away some of the terrible despair that he's carried within him for so long. Come sit down. We need to talk."
"Yes, Sir." I followed him back to his desk. "Did he tell you what we talked about?"
"No, he kept your confidence." He looked at me strangely when I blushed.
"Um, he asked me if I was informed about ... sex." It sounded weird to be telling the headmaster this but he needed to know. "I haven't done any experimenting yet. I haven't even kissed anyone but I have been kind of having the urge to."
He nodded. "We keep most of the students too busy to do any of that sort of experimenting. Your mind and body grow at different rates. Sometimes the body is ready before your heart is. It should be a true marriage of them both or it's not lovemaking but sex only. And no sex is ever as good as making love with someone that you care about."
"How can this prophecy work then if we don't love each other?" I whispered my greatest fear. "Wouldn't it be the same kind of rape that he's already experienced? I don't want to hurt him or to be hurt either."
Dumbledore smiled approvingly at me. "You have a good heart, Harry. It would indeed be rape if you both didn't want it. How could a child of love be conceived from fear and pain? It couldn't, but what if you got to know each other? Had time to talk together and spend time that wasn't a lesson but a sharing."
I blinked. "Like a date?"
He chuckled. "Exactly. What if I was to send the two of you to my cottage in Scotland for a week of getting to know each other? Then you can decide if there is a chance of making this prophecy work or not. Would you be willing to do that?"
My brain was whirling. This sounded like a very long date to me, a week - a whole week without anybody else but the two of us. I blinked and really considered it. "Will he do it, do you think?"
"He's already agreed but with reservations. I never realized that his marriage had been so barren. I believe his greatest fear is that he'll become like Voldemort, the rapist of an innocent."
"No way could he ever be like Him." I sat up straight. "All right, I'll go."
"Thank you, Harry. You have a healing spirit. I hope that you can perhaps bring healing energy to Severus' wounded soul." He stood and motioned to me to join him by one of his bookcases. With a touch, it swung open. "Go through here and you'll be in Scotland. I'll cover your absence with both your instructors and your friends." He touched my shoulder. "Do your best, Harry. He needs you right now. He's been hidden in the darkness for much too long a time."
I nodded firmly. "I will do anything I have to do, Headmaster."
He smiled. "Listen to your heart. It's your best instructor."
Taking a deep breath, I stepped through the opening and found myself in a small sitting room. Curled up before the fire in the grate was my potion instructor. The look of hope and fear on his face drew me to him like a magnet.
"Hi, Severus, it looks like we're going to be roommates for a while." I said as jauntily as I could. The bookcase swung shut behind me. "I hope that you can cook."
And for the first time since I'd met him, he chuckled.
It sounded good. No, it sounded great.
Maybe I could at least bring back his laughter even if I couldn't heal anything else.