- Character Bashing
- Matters of Prophecy
Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, always found the first few weeks of a new school year very hectic. Making sure the new students were taken care of was the main focus but there was just as many other concerns to be seen to as well. He couldn’t forget the other students or ensuring his staff had had all their needs filled. So, he appreciated Sunday mornings where he deliberately ignored all the papers on his desk and went to breakfast in the Great Hall and then spent several lazy hours casually gossiping with his staff and students.
The second Sunday of the new term saw several empty places at the tables. Dumbledore smiled benignly as he noted them. The students were settling in nicely and many were obviously sleeping in and finding their own pace within the school environment.
The staff too was settling into the new school year. He looked along the head table and frowned when he couldn’t see his potions master. Severus usually did appear at least to one breakfast on the weekend and Albus was certain Severus had not been present yesterday. Professor Quirrell was missing too but the man rarely appeared on the weekends preferring to remain in his rooms.
Albus looked out over the students. Most of the first years were present and his eyes were automatically drawn to the Gryffindor table. Harry Potter sat there surrounded by several of the other first year boys. The boy was quiet and watchful, green eyes flickering around the room as if still disbelieving he was there, but wary as if looking for danger.
Albus sighed slightly. He knew Harry had little knowledge of magic and the wizarding world, but he didn’t understand where the boy’s wariness came from. The boy often had such a look of wonder in his eyes, but it never lasted, always shifting into caution and unsurety as if it was going to disappear at any moment.
Given the expectations of the wizarding world, it was probably just as well he was wary, although Albus really hoped that he would soon make friends and lose that wariness. It was possible, he mused. The Weasley boy was always near him, and Gryffindor had always fostered strong friendships. Albus smiled as he recalled the boy’s father and how strong the friendships he’d made had been.
And Harry would need strong friendships when the future that had been foretold came to pass, Albus mused. There was time before then for the boy to make a couple of good friends, ones who would support him later.
Albus watched the small pack of boys finish breakfast and wander out of the Hall. He looked around the room and saw many other eyes watching the small boy leave. While most were curious there were several that were decidedly unfriendly and Albus made a note to mention it at the next staff meeting. It wouldn’t do if the boy-who-lived was bullied.
Albus stood and made his way out of the Great Hall and onto the grounds. Students ran about and several teachers wandered the grounds. He smiled as he saw Sybill Trelawney walking out of the castle doors. The Divination Professor rarely left her rooms, so it was rather a nice surprise to see her out in the fresh air of an Autumn morning.
“Sybill my dear, how are you this lovely morning?” he asked as she came closer.
“Quite well Albus, quite well. I had an urging in the tea leaves this morning,” she told him as she stopped by him. Her eyes, enlarged by her large glasses, blinked carefully at him and her hands wove through the numerous flimsy scarves around her neck. “It was most peculiar,” she added. “Even the cards told me to leave and seek the village.”
“You’re going to Hogsmeade?” Albus queried with a small frown. Sybill hadn’t left the castle grounds in over a decade.
“Indeed, I am,” she replied. “Do you realise that I haven’t been to Hogsmeade since my interview with you.” She tugged at one of the charms that hung around her neck. “Its best I go today. There’s no chance of that Slytherin being there this time.”
“Slytherin?” Albus asked. “You mean Severus?”
“Of course I mean that dreadful man. He listened at the door last time, but he’s not there today.” Sybill looked towards the gates. “I’ll be back later; the cards say I shouldn’t be gone for too long.”
“Severus wasn’t there to harm you,” Albus reminded her.
“I know that. It was his fate to be there just as it was mine,” she said before frowning. “But he taints the memory and the cards have said now is the time I should go and clear that shadow from my Inner Eye.” Sybill squinted at him. “You should try and clear the shadow as well. Perhaps some incense and tea will help.”
“Your tea is too sweet for my taste,” he murmured politely.
“Nonsense those sherbets of yours will rot your teeth first.” She stepped away from him and looked towards the gates again. “It is safe for me to go now. I doubt the Hog’s Head has much changed,” she remarked as she began walking. “The one with the power to vanquish… my, how the words resonate now.”
Albus stood stock still as she left, his mouth open in shock. After a long moment he turned around abruptly and headed straight to his office, his mind whirling in disbelief.
He dragged out his pensieve and placed the last few minutes of his conversation with Sybill in it. He dipped his face into the bowl and watched again as she walked towards the gates while quoting the words of her prophecy.
He fell back into his office and staggered into his chair.
Seers didn’t remember their prophecies. It was a well-known fact. All prophecies appeared soon after being spoken in the Hall of Prophecy in the Ministry of Magic where they stayed, unable to be touched by anyone but the people involved. It could take decades or centuries for some prophecies to happen, or some came true within days, but the seer who made the prophecy would never remember it.
Unless it came true.
Albus stared sightlessly around his office. He paid no heed to the rustlings of the portraits or the curious noises coming from Fawkes.
How had it happened? How could Sybill remember the prophecy if it hadn’t happened. After all, Albus had seen Harry Potter eating breakfast not more than half an hour earlier. How could he have vanquished the Dark Lord … Voldemort without Albus knowing about it?
The boy knew next to no magic, hadn’t left the grounds, hadn’t even been dared to try the Third Floor yet (and he knew quite a few boys had), and – Dumbledore was almost certain – had no knowledge of who the Dark Lord even was.
How could this have happened? He stood up and paced bac and forth in front of his desk. This should not have happened. Something had changed. Something had happened and he had been caught unawares. Completely unawares. He hadn’t even heard a whisper of anything, and he had been prepared.
With Harry entering Hogwarts this year he had reached out to several old contacts hoping to get enough warning should Voldemort or his Death Eaters make any movements. He frowned. Severus.
He stopped pacing and summoned his patronus, sending it off to Severus and demanding he come to the Headmaster’s office. He paced to the windows and looked out. It was a perfectly normal Sunday. He’d always believed that the death of Voldemort would occur with much drama and trauma and war.
He glanced at the clock. Severus typically replied within minutes and he hadn’t.
“Tapet!” he called, and a small house elf appeared.
“Find Professor Snape and tell him I require his presence in my office immediately,” he directed, and the elf bowed his head.
“Tapet goes,” he said and popped out silently.
It took longer than Albus expected before the elf reappeared.
“Tapet is not finding Potions Master Snape,” he announced with a small bob of his head.
Albus was puzzled. “What do you mean you can’t find him? Is he in Hogwarts?”
Tapet shook his head. “Tapet search everywhere. Potions Master Snape be not anywhere.”
“Find him!” Albus ordered. “I want him here. Immediately.”
Tapet bowed and left.
Albus began pacing his office again.
An hour later and the elves still hadn’t found Severus Snape.
Albus left his office and prowled through the castle. He checked the dungeons and found everything as it should be except for his missing potions master. He went through the grounds checking for Severus’ magical signature and found no recent trace of the man.
By the evening he was very worried. Sybill Trelawney had returned and he had confirmed that she did recall her prophecy.
Albus looked out over the students having their dinner. Harry Potter was there looking no different from this morning. Nothing seemed to have changed. Albus kept looking around the Great Hall.
He never saw the surreptitious looks the boy everyone was calling Harry Potter was giving him.
Ravenclaw’s Housemaster and Professor of Charms Filius Flitwick retired to his rooms after ensuring his ravens were all safely in their dorms. He sat in his chair by the fire and pondered on the flames for a long moment.
“Mould,” he said softly and a small house elf appeared with the quiet pop. Dressed all in black and scowling he made a small movement which could have been perceived to be a bob of his head.
Filius studied the little elf. “Your Master is not in the castle and the elves have not been able to find him,” he said carefully and watched as the elf lost his scowl and looked remarkably impassive for an elf.
“Ahh,” Filius murmured. “You have found him, and I am not asking you where he is. I just wish to know that he is well and safe.” Filius tilted his head. “You know Severus is one of my closest friends,” he added leadingly.
“And you is being Master’s friend,” Mould replied. Mould stared at the half-goblin with shrewd eyes while his face remained blank. “Master is being well and safe.”
“Thank you Mould,” Filus replied. “If… if that changes and he needs any help, you will tell him that I am here if he needs me.”
Mould remained still for a moment. “Mould will,” he agreed and disappeared silently leaving Filius to contemplate the fire again.
Filius smiled after a several minutes. He had heard Albus demanding the elves to bring Severus to him. As the elves had not been able to do that, it meant Severus had found a way to circumvent that order and there were only a few ways in which that was possible.
“Prophecy is an exact science,” Mefus declared as he entered the room where Severus Snape and Harry Potter lay in their beds.
He was greeted by scoffing noises from Severus and from Hawthorn who followed him into the room. Mefus shook his head at them both and leant against the foot of Harry’s bed.
“It is,” he insisted. “Prophecies are only open to interpretation before they are fulfilled. Once they have happened it is always completely obvious what the words meant. It is divination that is more liable to be mis-interpreted. Despite what we Seers like to declare we lose aren’t completely impartial when reading the leaves or stars. What I read in the leaves may be different to what another Seer may see. There is no certain way to know which interpretation is true, unlike prophecy.”
Hawthorn rolled his eyes and sat in the chair near Severus. “If it was an exact science then we would know when and where a prophecy originates,” Hawthorn pointed out. “And we don’t.”
“Magic,” Mefus reminded him. “Magic is the source of prophecy because Magic is not limited by either time or place. It has the ability to be in all times, all places at once. It is because we are limited that we don’t always understand what the visions mean so we use language we’re familiar with to describe what we see.”
Severus watched the two Fey enjoy what was obviously a familiar argument. Severus took a moment to examine the seer. He had met the dark-haired Hawthorn briefly but hadn’t seen his friend until now.
Mefus was as tall as Hawthorn, slender as all the Fey were reported to be. Where Hawthorn’s long dark hair was pulled back into a neat tail, Mefus’s hair hung loose held back from his face by a thin silver circlet. From above his left eye there was an inch-wide streak of white hair that almost shone against his black hair. Both wore comfortable leathers and Hawthorn had his sword at his hip, long fingers resting on the hilt.
Severus glanced over at Harry. He was watching his mentors with an indulgent smile. The young man appeared quite relaxed and he looked much better after several hours of natural sleep. Severus admitted to himself that he too felt much better. Getting rid of the Dark Lord had been so exhausting that they’d spent the last three days unconscious recovering.
His eyes dropped to his bared arms. No longer carrying the Dark Mark he had no fear in exposing his left arm, although the new mark wasn’t something he wanted to share with too many people just yet. He had thought he had known what the Dark Mark had been, but the new mark was a puzzle, and until he knew exactly what this mark meant he would keep it hidden. Because he knew that once Dumbledore found out he’d have no peace from the old man.
“Wait,” he interrupted with a frown as the conversation in the room combined with his thought of the Headmaster and something struck him. He sat up abruptly. “The prophecy has come true?” He looked from one Fey to the other.
“Several have come to pass with the death of the Dark Lord Voldemort,” Mefus said thoughtfully as he studied the pale visage of the potions master.
“Several?” Severus repeated with a frown and Mefus nodded.
“And there are more that are believed to deal with what happens after Voldemort has been destroyed,” Hawthorn murmured.
“Its why I and the others were taken,” Harry added.
“Too many prophecies could be relevant for either before or after the Dark Lord’s demise,” Mefus said to him. “But you were the subject of most of them as you know. Prophecies cover certain events; they don’t cover everything. Magic doesn’t do everything for us, it does require our active participation its care and protection. I believe that the more important a future course is, the more prophecies there will be to ensure concerning it.”
“And balancing magic is the most important thing of all,” Harry agreed.
“Balancing the magic?” Severus asked, frowning. “The prophecy didn’t mention that.”
“Not all the prophecies do,” Harry replied. “You’re only thinking of Trelawny’s prophecy, aren’t you?” he added gently. Severus flinched slightly before meeting the steady green eyes.
“I know what you did,” Harry told him bluntly. “And I don’t blame you for it. Some things are fated to happen, and nothing was ever going to stop my parents from dying the way they did. If you hadn’t heard it, someone else would have.”
“How do you know that?” Severus asked.
“Because prophecies need to be heard,” Mefus remarked. “Magic would have ensured that all who needed to hear it would have. You were the messenger it chose. If you hadn’t heard it that night, I have no doubt you would have learnt it soon after.” Mefus stared at Severus for a long moment. “You needed to hear that prophecy because what you heard and what you did, changed you in a fundamental way. You would not be alive now otherwise. And you know that.”
Severus let his breath out slowly. Yes, he knew that. He’d become a spy and betrayed the Dark Lord. But if he hadn’t he had little doubt he would have died long before Lily had. Knowing that the Dark Lord would be defeated had given him hope and kept his mind firmly fixed on that end goal. No matter how many times he suffered at the Dark Lord’s hand or felt completely alone as he spied and risked everything for more information, just knowing that the Dark Lord had an end date gave him the will to keep going.
And now the Dark Lord was gone and so was the Dark Mark. The price had been high – and not just in the loss of the person he’d loved the best – and he thought it had been too high a price.
“So Albus knew the Dark Lord hadn’t been completely defeated because the prophecy was still active? And not because of anything else,” he realised.
“Yes,” Mefus agreed.
“Which means if you say that its been completed, Sybill Trelawney now remembers it,” Severus mused. “And she’ll say something to Albus and he …” Severus paused before huffing quietly and falling back into his pillows. “Albus will be demanding I present myself to him so he can question me about my Mark and my former associates, and anything else he can think of.” He looked at Harry. “And whoever the changeling is will also come under very close scrutiny.”
Harry smirked slightly. “Davy might look like an eleven year old human, but he’s Fey and older than he looks.” Harry grinned. “You knew that.”
“I knew he wasn’t Harry Potter; I didn’t know who he was. He didn’t have your green eyes,” Severus replied. “And his magic didn’t feel … right.” He looked at Harry. “And I couldn’t talk about it.”
“To everyone else Davy appears to have green eyes. You have Fey blood so you could see partway through the illusion,” Harry told him.
“Unless one is either Fey or touched by the Fey Davy is the Harry Potter everyone expected to see when he re-entered the Wizarding world,” Hawthorn remarked. “To protect both Davy and Harry, no-one could talk about the exchange with anyone – except to someone who already knew about it.”
“Which is why I couldn’t say anything to anyone but you,” Severus said as he turned to Harry.
“Yes.” The young man nodded.
“And he’s safe?” Severus asked.
“Yeah, Will usually follows him around,” Harry told him.
“The Headmaster can’t detect Fey magic,” Severus said thoughtfully.
“He can’t,” Harry agreed.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t been here yet,” Severus said.
“The wards at Gringotts are the best in the world,” Hawthorn stated blandly.
Severus rolled his eyes slightly. “In other words, he’s looking for me but can’t find me so he’s sending the elves and probably an hourly patronus with increasingly obvious demands for my immediate appearance.” He sighed. “I’m surprised he hasn’t sent Fawkes.”
“He hasn’t reached that point yet,” Hawthorn smirked. “But the elves have orders to bring you to him, and they aren’t able to pass through the wards here.”
“I thought house elves could pass through most wards, even into Gringotts,” Severus replied.
“Except the wards on the vaults within Gringotts,” Hawthorn responded.
“We’re in a vault?” Severus asked startled.
“No, we have just utilized those wards,” Mefus told him. “Although one elf has managed to get through.”
Severus almost smiled. “Mould.” There was a quiet pop and Mould appeared. He wavered and hunched over in pain before disappearing. Hawthorn stood up and left the room at a run while Severus pushed the covers back hurrying to get out of bed and follow him.
“Stop, Severus!” Mefus ordered and pushed him back into bed. Severus struggled to rise, still feeling weak. “Hawthorn will make sure he is well.”
“What happened? Why was he in pain?” Severus demanded.
“Your elf was able to pass through the vault wards because he is bonded to you, but we also have a small time ward in place as well and that has hurt him,” Mefus explained as he pulled the blankets tight around Severus with a flick of his hand.
Severus glared at the tall Fey. “He will be alright? And why a time ward?”
“He will be fine. Hawthorn and the goblins will take care of him. Elves are close to the Fey – we would never deliberately cause harm to any of them.” Mefus moved to stand at the end of Severus’ s bed. “And the time ward was set because we didn’t know how long you two would need to recover from destroying Voldemort. You were unconscious for three days and have slept for several hours after you woke up. Thus it would be almost four days since you were last seen. As it is when you leave here it will only be two days you have missed.”
“Which is Sunday night, so Albus has not escalated any search for me,” Severus realised. “What about Quirrell? Has anyone reported him missing?”
“Perhaps the headmaster will do that when he doesn’t appear for Monday classes. I don’t know,” Mefus shrugged. “Quirrell died as soon as he was possessed. The goblins will take care of matters for him now that his physical remains can be seen to.”
“Davy said Quirrell rarely appeared anywhere outside his classroom and at the dinner table,” Harry said. “And he was pretty much ignored by everyone.”
Severus sighed. “Yes, that damned stutter he had this year. He sat next to me at the Welcoming Feast,” Severus halted. “Normally he sits closer to the middle, but that wouldn’t have given as good a view of the Gryffindor table.”
“So he knew I was going to be a Gryffindor?” Harry asked.
“Everyone knew you were going to be in Gryffindor,” Severus snarked lightly. “Albus all but announced it at every teacher’s meeting once the invitations had been sent.”
“Davy said the Hat said he would do well in Slytherin,” Harry remarked with a grin.
Severus stared at the younger man. “That would not have been a good idea at all,” he spluttered in shock.
“Maybe not Harry Potter, but Davy would have been perfect,” Hawthorn said as he re-entered the room. “Your elf is fine,” he told Severus. “He expects you back before classes Monday, and he demanded that I pass on a message from the short one – that he is there if you need him.”
Severus smiled slightly. “Thank you.”
“Who is the short one?” Harry asked.
“Filius Flitwick,” Severus replied. “He’s half-goblin and an excellent dueller.”
“Davy likes him,” Harry remarked. “He’s a good teacher too.”
“Yes, Filius is one of the most intelligent people I know. He’s probably figured out where I am even if he doesn’t know why.”
“He must know Dumbledore is looking for you if he asked the elf to pass on a message,” Hawthorn pointed out.
“So Dumbledore knows a prophecy has been fulfilled and he wants Severus to ask him questions that Severus can’t answer if we want to finish this war,” Harry said slowly.
“Why can’t I tell him?” Severus asked with a frown.
“Because there are other prophecies that have to come to pass,” Harry explained. “We don’t want Dumbledore trying to influence them as well.”
Severus’s frown deepened. “I don’t think Albus cares about other prophecies,” he said. “All I’ve ever heard from him is how important Trelawney’s one was. He never told me the whole of it because he said there was a chance the Dark Lord would learn it. He had me learn Occlumency and despite that, never would tell me whenever I asked. I stopped asking.” He paused. “I don’t know if he’s even aware of there being other prophecies.”
“I find that very short sighted of him,” Mefus remarked. He paced the room and turned back. “He wouldn’t know of my prophecy. Fey prophecies never appear in the Hall of Prophecy in the Wizarding Ministry. Goblin ones do sometimes, but if you can’t speak Gobblydegook then you’d never understand them. Translation spells don’t work on prophecies.”
“And how many wizards speak the goblin tongue? None.” Hawthorn pointed out.
“If I tell the headmaster the Dark Lord is gone, he’ll put all his energy to proving it,” Severus said. “He won’t take just my word for it. He will concentrate on known Death Eaters and Harry Potter. He might come across the other prophecies then, or he’ll ignore that and concentrate on the Wizengamot and trying to get Death Eaters convicted.”
“We don’t need for him to never be aware of them, just for a few months really,” Harry said to Mefus. “You always told me that the war could be finished in six months once Voldemort was gone.”
“Yes I did, and it is still true,” Mefus replied.
“We’ll keep an eye on the headmaster and if he becomes a problem we will see what actions can be taken at that point,” Hawthorn said. “We don’t have to borrow trouble before we need to.”
There was silence in the room. Severus looked at the others. The two Fey felt deeply magical but his magic was more attuned to Harry. The harmonious nature of their magic tugged at him. He wondered if he should mention it now and decided to leave it until Harry and he were alone. The prophecy concerns seemed more important at the moment.
“What can I tell Albus?” Severus asked.
“That Voldemort died in a goblin ritual,” Hawthorn said immediately. “That will explain why the elves couldn’t find you.”
“If we say that Quirrell led you from the school to Gringotts, the goblins realised he was possessed and grabbed him, and during the ritual your Mark disappeared and you were unconscious for two days,” Harry added.
“And how did Quirrell manage to lead me from Hogwarts?” Severus questioned. “Albus knows I could hardly stand the man.”
“Potions ingredients? Very rare ones in his vault?” Harry shrugged. “What else could he have that you would even be interested in?”
“If you point out that Quirrell was possessed and that the Dark Lord knew it would be the only way to get you out of the school, that would explain your willingness to follow.” Hawthorn pondered. “At the bank there were no ingredients, but Voldemort revealed himself in Quirrell’s vault setting off a goblin ward. Which led to the ritual and his demise and your losing the Dark Mark.”
“Dumbledore will have to deal with the goblins to get his proof,” Harry snickered. “They will delay him for months.”
Severus smirked. Dumbledore would be at the bank every other day trying to get through the bureaucracy of the goblins. His focus would be split and whatever goals the Fey were working towards would be that much easier to achieve.
“What was your prophecy, Mefus? If I can ask?” Severus inquired.
Mefus smiled. “The rat will betray the hallowed heir. Summer’s kin must keep the heir safe and teach him. When Stone and changeling are under the Founder’s roof shall the Heir and Lost Prince bring harmony.” Mefus spoke carefully and Severus shivered, the weighty edge of prophetic magic still evident.
“I’m the Lost Prince?” Severus recalled being called that when they’d first come to Gringotts. Most of the prophecy seemed self-explanatory to him. The Fey were magic and it was no wonder that their prophecies were less convoluted than Wizarding ones.
“Yes. You should probably take up your Lordship before you leave here,” Hawthorn told him.
Severus let his breath out. He’d never expected anything from his mother’s side of the family. Her disownment had left a scar on her soul that had caused her pain until her death.
“How Fey is the Prince blood?” he asked.
“No matter how many generations, you would always be half-Fey,” Mefus announced. “It sleeps within you, and now that you know it will become more evident and awake. You will most likely become more attuned to elemental magics.”
“But the taint must be gone first,” he stated, not asking.
Severus sighed. “Then I shall accept the…” he stopped and stared at Mefus. “You said the rat betrayed the hallowed heir,” he accused.
“But Black was a dog not a rat,” Severus told him grimly.