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Alethea27: Four caskets. When the Death Eaters arrived they cornered Eileen who hexed Tobias. They assumed Tobias was dead too. Dumbledore thought it safer for Tobias to remain "dead"
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Severus finished his apprenticeship as expected by Dumbledore. His orders were to brew potions and create original spells for the Order. He rented a flat in London in a strictly muggle neighborhood. Lily moved in with him. The flat was small, only two bedrooms, a bathroom and the living room. It was very different living with Lils. She had a freakish habit of cleaning everything and making sure the fridge was stocked. She nagged him about his robes and about washing dishes. Sev endured it and soon magicked things away when she was not looking. She hated that. Lily sang in the mornings. She was a chirpy morning person he discovered it two weeks into living together. She had been very sad that first week without her parents. She needed time to heal and accept that they were gone.
That second week she started singing. Lils could not sing. He smiled however because it meant she was closer to healing. Severus thought about his mum constantly too. He missed her a lot but he had mourned her in his own time. He tried to busy himself with work so it would hurt less. His dad was not so lucky. He was idle and had spare time to think about his dead wife. He was coping. Augustus and the other children distracted him well enough. He visited the Burrow every Sunday, as did Lily. Molly was very closed off at first but after a month of tranquility she had relaxed and welcomed them to her home. She announced she was pregnant with Ron during late June. Lily smiled delightedly as did Tobias who congratulated the young woman. Arthur looked happy too.
"I want a little girl." Molly said wistfully. She showed Lily her collection of pink knitted clothes. Lils seemed to enjoy that. He could not tell if she played along for Molly's sake or if she truly enjoyed the pink, fluffy clothes.
Severus enjoyed these visits. Dad was a little better now. It had been two months since Mum died. He shaved now and was teaching Arthur about muggles. The pureblood was a very excited pupil.
Tobias smiled, "He gets giddy when I speak about the mail. Arthur is a character. He truly is. Molly is very bright too. I am giving her tips on how to save some money now that the she's expecting again. Did you know about Molly's clock? It is fascinating. She truly is gifted, just like my Eileen was." Severus waited for his dad to retract and brood but it did not happen this time.
"Augustus did magic." He said with a bittersweet smile.
"You had your first bout of magic at that age too." Tobias recalled. "I remembered how scared Eileen was. I imagined her reaction now. How happy she would have been, her eyes would have shone and her hair… Eileen had beautiful black hair and her smile. She would have been happy to see her Gussie bouncing up and down the grass. I was scared and then I saw Charlie do the same. Molly was ecstatic and so was I. Augustus looked so happy Severus." Dad reminisced.
Severus did not what to say. He was happy, dad was recovering and accepting more magic. He had been so very scared after mum died. The young Slytherin thought his father would succumb to alcohol but Tobias proved him wrong. He was standing, adapting, fighting for Gus and him.
"I want to apologize once more son, for being scared, for being afraid. I want to apologize, because if I hadn't become a drunk. If I hadn't alienated your mother and you I would have had more years of happiness with her and you." Dad said as they walked with Augutus.
He stayed quiet and dad did not ask him for anything. They were drinking some tea it was getting late. The Weasley children and Augustus were asleep.
They received a patronus a phoenix with Dumbledore's voice, "All defenders report to Diagon Alley. Death Eater attack." Severus got to his feet. So did Lily and Arthur "You have to stay back. Both of you." He intoned with a commanding voice.
Molly was quick on her feet too. "You are not a defender. You work in the ministry Arthur."
They were wasting time. He still had to walk out of the wards in order to apparate. He looked at his dad and said and used his wand to give him a parcel. "Use it. They will torture them and the kids. Dad, you have to use it. Aim for the head, they won't even know until is too late." Tobias looked puzzled but grabbed the parcel.
"Molly is right. You stay here." He then looked at Lily who seemed ready to counter all of his arguments. Severus felt a great lump in his throat. "Stay close to me and do not get near any ranking death eater." He pulled her and they ran to the apparition spot.
Severus found the rest of the Order. Elphias Doge was there to meet them. "This is the address. You will be stationed at the back." The young Slytherin was confused. Ever since the attack in King's Cross he tried to remember and write down all the major attacks. He remembered the Diagon alley attack very vaguely. He remembered it did not take place in the magical place but outside of it. The Order drove the death eaters out into the London streets. The young potions master had been ensconced in a Transylvanian mansion learning about inferi and their use. He learned about it the day after through the Daily Prophet.
Lily took his hand and they apparated. It was an ambush. The Order knew before hand. He wondered how that could have happened. Then and now he had no viable answer. He saw their attack group situated. They had evacuated all the people around the area. It had not been difficult according to Dedalus Diggle. Severus saw his partners in the fight and was not surprised to see Black, Potter and Frank Longbottom. Longbottom Sr. had a civil reaction to him now.
"Lily, Snape. Get low." He pulled Lils next to him. Severus crouched low too.
"Gideon and Fabian will face the first wave inside Diagon Alley. Remus, Alice, Shacklebolt and Moody are with them. We expect them to disapparate as soon as they encounter them. Dumbledore placed antidisapparation wards they will have to leave through the Leaky and get here. Knocturn Alley has been blocked and there is another group of fighters there. The second wave will have to apparate here too." Frank explained concisely and gave instructions. "Moody's fighters will join us here." Severus listened carefully, concentrated on remembering but he could not recall anything. Longbottom was an excellent fighter. He made sure his fighters knew what to do and where to be.
Fifteen minutes after they got into their positions death eaters came through The Leaky Cauldron. Severus recognized Rowle, Dolohov, McNair and Rabastan Lestrange. Gideon and Fabian fought two masked men. Moody had Rosier Sr. They took their positions and tried to help the first wave of defenders. Soon the second wave of death eaters arrived. Severus faced a masked death eater that could have been Regulus Black or Barty Crouch Jr. He fought off. Lily battled Dolohov while Alice took care of Igor Karkaroff. He could tell his fighting style.
Barty or Regulus retreated. He did not aim to kill although his pursuer did. It had to be Barty then Reg, like Draco could not kill. He did not have the stomach for it. Severus fought him off and stunned him. Lily kept Dolohov at bay. He was about to help her when Bellatrix stood in front of him and cut his cheek with a hex. The young Slytherin paired off with her. Lestrange aimed more than one cruciatus curse his way. He deflected them easily and tried to stun her. Bellatrix was as beautiful as he remembered her. Her long shiny black hair fell in curls around her face. She had been stunning, deadly beautiful. He was distracted for half a second and she got him with a stinging hex. He pushed through the pain and aimed another stun her way. She smiled and floated away from it.
Black had finished his opponent and joined him in pursue of his dear cousin Bella. "Long time no see Bella."
He hexed her again. Black laughed and aimed again. Bella egged him on. "Did you see Reg? I saw you with him. Did you kill your baby brother cousin?" She got him. Black slipped and she cruccioed him. Severus threw flurry of hexes and managed to confuse her into retreating. He pushed Black aside and fought off with Bellatrix it was clear the death eaters were overpowered. Severus let a sigh of relief when disapparation sounds echoed in the empty streets.
The Light caught thirteen death eaters, among them Mulciber and Rosier Sr. Lily helped Black with the after affects of the cruciatus. The first words out of the mutt's mouth were "check, the hooded boy. Tell me what happened to him is it Reg. Go check." He said with a strained voice before he shook. Potter looked at him, he was dirty and bruised but whole. Remus attended to Alice's cut by her eyebrow. "I don't know what he looks like."
Severus did not spare any words and moved immediately to where Black pointed. The hooded figure lay twitching. It was not Reg. The man did not speak English but French. Severus silenced him and called Moody. The auror rounded him up and gruffly nodded at him. At least this time around Alastor Moody did not look at him with disgust, only distrust.
Sirius Black looked at him. Severus shook his head. "Foreign recruit." He saw the marauder's face flooded with relief. Lily finished healing Black and moved to Frank who had received the end of blasting curse to his left leg. "This will hurt." She said and set the aurors leg and then flicked her wand. Frank yelled and Alice winced.
Remus gathered them. "We have got to go. The aurors will be here any moment now." Potter helped Black up. "There will be a meeting for all defenders. Our flat, Dumbledore is there."
Lily grabbed his hand and they disapparated. He scowled from the moment he set foot in the property. He hated the place from the moment he saw the furniture and the messy living room. He suspected his own flat would have looked like that if Lily had not moved in with him.
Dumbledore arrived in less than thirty seconds. He waved his wand and the room became a standard meeting quarters, with the long table included. He sat next to Lils and was glad when Remus sat next to her. Alice sat next to him. Frank limped to her side. Potter, Black, the Prewett brothers and Kingsley filled the other seats.
The older man spoke to them for about an hour. Black was antsy. He kept glancing at the clock. He could not help but try legilemency on the mutt. He saw Reg. Black planned to go to his ancestral home and check on his little brother.
The leader of the Order of the Phoenix finished his speech with recommendations for them and asked to have a word with him. Severus followed Dumbledore and they disapparated. He recognized the house as an old headquarters for the Order.
"I have tracked the locket to a possible location." Severus's eyes rounded. The locket had been the hardest to track or so he thought. While they had an idea with the cup and the diary, the locket baffled them because there was no apparent connection with Voldemort.
"How did you find it?" He asked baffled by the fact that Dumbledore had found another artifact without involving him with the process.
The older man grabbed his hand. "I had spy." Severus's blood turned cold. "Who?" He asked with a small voice.
"Surely, you do not believe I will give you the answer to that question Severus. He was a brave young man who realized the errors of his ways but alas it was too late. The young man took the mark and was entrusted with the locket. He came to me for help but he had made his path. I assured him his position, as a spy would be beneficial to mend his mistakes. Sadly he expired.
Severus tried to think and then realized who it was. Severus Snape chose to spy for the Light because he wanted to protect Lily. He could admit to himself now, years later that if Lily had not existed her would have probably defected years later. He had been dazzled by power and recognition. It had to be Regulus.
"Regulus Black. He was your spy." The young Slytherin raged. "He's dead."
Albus masked some of his surprise. "He is, Mr. Black was under the assumption that he could retrieve the locket alone and leave the place. He could not. He sent his house-elf to me, by the time we reached the place it was too late."
Severus did not remember the last time he spoke with Reg. He remembered the Dark Lord told his death eaters about Regulus's disappearance but there had never been a cause. He was presumed dead. Regulus Black had died a spy then. Had he been a spy in the other lifetime too? Severus would never know since he became a spy during the winter of 1980 when Dumbledore heard the prophecy. He remembered the date exactly. It had been February 1st. A Friday.
"We must go immediately Severus." He apparated to a cave by a seaside town. "I do not know if you are aware that Voldemort is a half-blood." Severus nodded; he knew the Dark Lord's blood status before he joined the death eaters. Ironically enough young Severus had thought he found a kindred spirit, both thirsty for knowledge and underestimated by their families.
"Tom did not know about magic until I interviewed him for the first time." Severus had not known that bit of information. He always thought the Dark Lord had grown up with his wizarding family.
"He was an orphan. This locket was his mother's passed from generation to generation. It is my belief that Hepzibah Smith bought it from Borgin and Burke's after Tom's mother sold it. He claimed it and murdered Hepzibah for the cup too. They made it to the entrance of the cave. It wanted blood. Severus did not hesitate and paid the sacrifice. The cave was dark and dank. The boat was big enough for only one of them. They had to fit inside and made it to the center of the cave with precarious luck. Dumbledore kept his wand arm high with a light to dispel the inferi that swam in the water.
In the center there was a basin filled with a substance that looked poisonus, under the substance was the horcrux. "One of us will have to drink." Severus made to drink again but his old headmaster stopped his arm. "This time it will be me Severus. I trust you can get us out of here safely. You must force me to drink. No matter what I say or do I must drink it all. You have to get the locket." The man said with a strong voice.
They began. Albus's face recoiled with pain after the first gulp. By the third glass he begged for death and mercy. Five glasses later the headmaster asked for forgiveness and asked after his mum and someone named Arianna. Severus was anxious but he kept feeding Albus the substance even when his mentor refused to open his lips. "It has to be done. He asked me to make him drink it all." He repeated in his mind.
Severus retrieved the locket from the almost dry basin and held it. This was it. He reproduced a copy and placed it on the basin. The substance filled again. "Water, Severus, get me water please." The older man sounded feeble. He had a flashback to that night in the tower. "Severus, please." Severus used a simple augamenti spell but the water disappeared before it touched Albus's lips. He tried other spells even a summoning one but nothing worked. Severus felt repulsed but understood that it had to be the only way. He scooped some of the water that surrounded them. Albus drank. He recovered a little but would need help to get to Hogwarts. He summoned the boat to him and then realized why Reg died. His almost friend rose from the waters and so did the rest of the inferi. Severus casted fiendyfire to keep them at bay, Albus leaned on him and they got into the little boat. The young Slytherin clutched the horcrux to him. He dragged Albus with him. He apparated them to Hogsmeade. Aberforth was the closest. He could not go to Hogwarts. The trip would worsen Albus's condition.
He entered the dingy pub. Fortunately the sort that gathered here was not reputable enough or simply did not care to see a young man with the greatest wizard of all times. Aberforth took a look at him and his brother and led them to a room.
"He needs a healer." Severus said with some trepidation. Albus muttered, "forgive me. Arianna, forgive me." Aberforth's eyes hardened. "Get Madam Pomfrey, she will sort him out." Severus apparated into the Shrieking Shack and got into the tunnel, Madam Pomfrey was about to get to sleep. He agitatedly explained his urgency and they left to the Hog's Head.
The matron fussed over Dumbledore and gave him potions. She chanted spells over his body and then looked at Aberforth and Severus. "He's been poisoned. I do not know what you two were doing Severus but he could have died. He's not young anymore. I have cleansed his body of the substance. There was very dark magic involved. You are lucky that you got here as soon as you did and I was able to pump his stomach." The wicth said with a huffy tone. He never stopped wondering how Poppy Pomfrey ended a matron at Hogwarts, the witch was formidable. She could have done almost anything in the magical medical field but chose to attend to whiny teenagers and their illnesses.
"He'll be fine by tomorrow morning. I have to go back to the school." She stood up and left. Severus then remembered the locket still in his hands. He looked at the Headmaster and then at Aberforth Dumbledore who helped his brother to some water.
"Tell the headmaster I will destroy it." The barkeep nodded.
He apparated to the old building they used to destroy the diary. He saw the locket and inspected it. It looked like the one they were looking for. He placed it in the middle of the burned room and cast fiendyfire. The thing defended itself; it let out a horrific scream just like the diary had done. The flames got bigger. He dissaparated. Dumbledore was not there to help him extinguish the fires. Once he was outside of the building he worked restlessly until the building was nothing more than ashes. Severus did not leave until he was certain the horcrux was no more. He was satisfied when the fire stopped and he could not find anything but bits of rubble and metal.
He apparated to his flat. He was tired and needed sleep. Lily hugged him and kissed him hard.