Cauldrons and Lilies

Chapter 29

I don't own Harry Potter

This chapter is dedicated to all of you who have reviewed so far. I cannot stress how much your words mean to me. Thanks also to those who are reading, favoriting and alerting this story.

Many of you are aware; it is Harry Potter Weekend . I have been glued to my TV since Friday afternoon. The half-blood Prince is about to end so I knew it was time to finish editing and time to post (I have worked on this chapter since early afternoon.) I don't know about you guys but I feel so nostalgic and inspired when I see the HP movies especially when is time for the last film. Alan Rickman's portrayal of Severus Snape is simply too perfect for words Enjoy and review

Chapter 29

He performed a disillusionment charm on himself and reached Malfoy Manor. It was late at night. He needed to speak with Narcissa. She would know, Lucius told her everything. She had to know. He stepped into the wards and did not care that the alarm sounded so. He didn't care if Lucius saw him. He could take Lucius if he wished to. It would be easy to disarm him and get to Cissy if needed.

As it happened both Malfoys were home. Narcissa had her wand at the ready and Lucius was in front of her covering her expanding belly.

"What do you think you're doing in my home?" The patrician man said silkily.

"I need to speak with you Cissy." Severus did not care to engage Lucius.

Lucius turned to his wife, "Don't even think I will let you alone with this filth."

Narcissa nodded but looked so conflicted. She could not let her husband look bad in front of him.

"Lucius, I." She began weakly.

Severus glanced at her robes; her belly was rounded, rounder than Lily's. "How far along are you Cissy?"

"My due date is in June." She said happily, forgetting about the tension in the room.

Lucius however was not as easily distracted. "Why are you here? Leave at once." He said quickly, not used to being disobeyed.

The man aimed a curse at him. Severus deflected and bound him to a chair. Lucius was a picture of outrage. Severus silenced him. The man he once considered a friend of sorts was now spluttering silently and trying to undo the ropes around him. He looked at Narcissa anguished. He thought he was going to harm her.

"Severus, what are you doing?" She sounded scared, alarmed and clutched her belly. He came close to her. "Sit down Cissy. Forgive me, but it's the only way." He said desperately.

She looked at her husband and avoided his stare. "What is it? Why have you come here tonight? I haven't heard from you since you married that mudblood."

He winced, "please don't call her that." It was not the time to go into that issue. He needed to know if the Dark Lord knew about the prophecy. He performed the muffliato spell and looked at Cissy right in the eyes.

He went right ahead, "Do you know about the prophecy?" Cissy fidgeted with her robe and looked at Lucius.

Severus turned her face toward him. "What do you know about the prophecy?"

"Not much. I swear. The Dark Lord spoke with Lucius in confidence. I'm truly scared Severus. Lucius relayed the words to me. We are safe, our Draco is safe, the boy, he will be born as summer dies. My Draco will arrive during spring. I am sure." She cried weakly.

"What does the prophecy say? What is he planning?" Severus asked anxiously.

"You can't expect me to tell you. Severus, the Dark Lord did not trust anyone with that information. Lucius is privileged, among the closest to him. He trusts him implicitly. I can't betray that trust." She said proudly.

Severus was getting exasperated by the second. "He does not care about your husband. Lucius, Draco, you, all dead and he wouldn't care." He looked at her and willed her to tell him all she knew at once.

Narcissa cried. "They all think the Dark Lord is wonderful. Bella, Lucius all my friends but I fear him. He tortured Lucius. Lucius came home soiled, bruised. He tortured my Lucius. Bella watched as they did so. My husband wouldn't tell me." She cried. Severus hugged her.

"Cissy, something bad will happen. I know it so."

She cried, "I can feel it too Severus."

She wiped her tears. "He is targeting children who will be born once summer's ended." Severus knew this.

"Why? Why has he been led to believe such things?" Severus asked frantically. Last time, it had been him. He revealed half the prophecy. He needed to know if the Dark Lord knew the contents of the entire prophecy.

"He has a spy. The Dark Lord has someone who is passing information from Dumbledore's side." She looked unhappy and touched his face with her hands. "I thought it was you at first, so did Lucius. He was hopeful but then one night Lucius came back and dashed our hopes." Severus nodded.

"Cissy, it is imperative you tell me what you and Lucius know." He said urgently.

She nodded. "The Dark Lord learned about the boy a month ago. All we know is that he thinks this boy born at the end of summer has to die." Narcissa clutched at her pregnant belly. Draco will be born in June. It's not even close to summer, let alone the death of summer." She said with a hint of desperation.

"Come with me. You have to run away from here. They will harm you and your baby." Severus said, thinking it wasn't safe for Cissy, not anymore. It wouldn't be. Lucius would not switch sides. The torture sessions had not started for Lucius until the very end of the second war. Things were escalating quickly. The events from his first lifetime blurred seamlessly, making him unsure of so many things.

She shook her head delicately. "I will not. My place is next to my husband. It can't be. You must go now." Cissy wiped her tears away. Severus hugged her. He did something very foolish, he shouldn't have but the idea of Cissy so close to danger and Draco being so unprotected left him afraid. He kissed her cheek and produced a piece of parchment. He wrote his address in London and transformed the piece of paper into a portkey. "Should anything happen. If you come to your senses, go here, and tap this parchment three times. It will take you somewhere safe."

Narcissa hugged him some more. "Take care." She said.

Severus nodded and pointed to Lucius. "He won't remember my visit but you will. I don't want to obliviate you Cissy. Think about Draco. This is not a path you want him to follow."

He disapparated. It was raining, as it always seemed to be in London. Severus had an idea where to start looking for Pettigrew. He was sure it had been him; there couldn't be another spy. Severus wouldn't go to Dumbledore yet. The prophecy had been said but the man had chosen to not disclose any information. White, blinding rage fueled him.

The young man remembered Lily commented Pettigrew still lived with his widowed mother. Where did the rat live? Leeds or Bristol. He couldn't quite recall. He apparated to both towns and swept the areas until he found the rat's home. He stealthily climbed up the stairs of a modest home.

He entered the room and found that scum asleep, without a care in the world. "Get up." He hissed and trapped him in a cage as soon as he opened his eyes and tried to transform into the rat that he was.

"Help." He wailed pitifully.

"No matter how much you yell. No one will hear you." Severus grew relentless.

He didn't want to reason with the rat. "Legilimens." He hissed and looked into the cowardly man that was this wretched human being.

Severus saw, fear, inadequacy, envy, jealousy and cowardice, mingled to create the wretch that was Peter Pettigrew. He was a spy. He did not bear the dark mark but he had been passing information along to Rookwood, Rosier and Malfoy. He looked and looked; he searched and saw as the Peter's body gave out to his intrusion. He saw a sick fascination with James and Sirius. He feared Remus. Severus looked deep and saw him groveling, twitching and transforming into a rat in front of Voldemort but nothing. He hadn't heard the prophecy; he did not know the contents. The young man saw as Pettigrew informed the Dark Lord about pregnant witches who worked for the Light. The Dark Lord took an unhealthy interest in Alice Longbottom; the only fighter pregnant at the moment. Severus pushed the rat down.

"If you as much as say anything about tonight. You will be dead. I will come at night and kill you in your sleep. Do not think you can hide from me. I will find you and kill every rat in the bloody United Kingdom if you as much speak to anyone about this. Your days as a spy have come to an end vermin." He grabbed his wand and tapped the rat's arm thrice. "Consisto" He muttered, a charm of his creation. The rat could not transform to his animal form for at least three days. He did not plan to leave this excuse of a man unpunished.

Severus apparated out of the house. It couldn't have been a spy from the Order. There wasn't anyone but Pettigrew. Severus walked through the Leaky Cauldron. He ordered a drink and sat down. He must have stayed in that spot for at least three hours. Tom, the barkeep asked him to leave. He was closing shop. It was 3:00 AM. He went into Diagon Alley. There couldn't be another spy. Reg was dead. He went over all the people who could have been in the Hog's Head.

Severus recalled the day the overheard the prophecy, it was early June. It was different, what if the prophecy was different. He had a glimmer of hope.

He went deep into Knocturn Alley, looking for lowlifes who traded secrets in and out. He needed to find the contents of the prophecy without Albus knowing. He spent the better part of the night and the next morning tracking unsavory individuals who could have had been in Hogsmeade in the last 2 months. He approximated that to be the timeframe. He stayed in the dingiest, filthiest spots and inquired about thieves, drunkards, and peddlers. His search yielded results two nights later. Severus had stayed in Knocturn Alley disconnected from Lily and anyone. He needed to learn the contents of that blasted prophecy. He found the informant to be a woman of slight build. He'd never met her. She had been sent to spy Dumbledore by Barty Crouch Jr. Somehow Barty had learned that Trelawney was to be interviewed for a position at Hogwarts. He had his interview for Defense Against the Dark Arts post the day before. The witch was weak minded and addicted to the Draught of Peace. Her addled brain had not made sense of much of the prophecy but some snippets of it were still accessible.

There was nothing more he could do. He had spent the past four nights hunting, trying to form a clear picture of the blasted prophecy. It was almost midnight when he aimlessly walked along muggle London. He needed a drink badly. Severus did not drink often, he did not like not being in control. He would use that as an excuse but the reality was he was predisposed. The young man feared the bottle because of Tobias. He had seen his father lose his life over a bottle. Severus himself had been too close to becoming an alcoholic. Those few years after he lost Lily, before Harry started Hogwarts had been the worst. He drank himself to stupor every October 31st. He stopped drinking when Harry came along. He couldn't do it anymore, because he had to protect Lily's boy.

Severus walked to a pub and ordered a whisky. It was to be only one until he travelled to Scotland and reached Hogwarts. One became three. He couldn't stop thinking about what he could have done differently. He could have tracked Trelawney better. Why did she show up at the Hog's Head before June? Why had Dumbledore chosen to interview the woman so early in the year? His head was filled with conjectures. The man needed to speak with the headmaster. He was more reckless because of the alcohol. He apparated to Hogsmeade. The trek to the Shrieking Shack was short. He stepped out of the Whomping Willow and ran to the castle. He reached the gargoyles outside the Headmaster's office and tried at least a thousand passwords until he found it. "Licorice mice." The young man stepped in. The office was darkened. "Lumus." He said, his voice barely above a whisper. He looked at the portraits. "I need to see the Headmaster now." He said without affect.

"It is rather late young man. You best leave at once. I have no desire to know how you entered but I must ask you to leave now." Armando Dippet said authoritatively.

"I must speak with Dumbledore immediately." Dylis Derwent must have seen something in his stance because she disappeared from her frame. Severus hoped it was to the Headmaster's smaller chambers.

The young man paced until the Headmaster appeared. "Your wife is worried sick." Severus looked at the older man. He didn't acknowledge his words.

"Why did you not tell me about the prophecy?" He asked quickly, his pacing accelerating.

The older man sat down. "Why didn't you tell me Severus?"

Severus stopped on his tracks. "You have revealed too little son. I have observed you since that day in my office. I can only conclude you are not from this time."

There was no more point in denying it. "I have also come to the realization that you have only revealed what you have deemed necessary. I do not begrudge you. Not anymore, you have saved many lives Severus. I have relied on your strategies. The Order has done remarkable work and in part it is thanks to you and your work."

He grew exasperated. "Why did you not tell me?"

Albus looked tired all of the sudden. "I wished you could have trusted me more. I wish you could have said something Severus."

Severus did not trust him and in turn Albus did not trust him. He wouldn't be used as a pawn again. Albus asked too much, expected too much and gave too little. "Let's not dwell on past things my boy. You have asked me twice and I shall answer. I had no idea Sybill would push our interview date three months sooner. She owled and requested I meet her. I suggested the Three Broomsticks but her funds could not afford that particular establishment. I had my heart set in eliminating the subject from our academic core but alas I could not do so before interviewing Sybill. I did so and was surprised when she went into a trance like state. There was a commotion outside the room but the young woman was able to produce the prophecy." The old man said seriously.

Severus slumped in the chair in front of the Headmaster. "I need to know about this prophecy."

Albus nodded, "I must tell and ask you something first."

Severus was prepared to submit to whatever the headmaster asked of him in exchange for information. "I trust you. I do, I have come to the realization that your reticence and lack of faith is well placed. I suspect your previous lifetime and this one are too different at this point. You have realized this as well. Time is a fickle concept and time travel is even more erratic. Some events will take place; from your affect this prophecy is defining and has transcended both lifetimes. Little else has if I'm not mistaken." Albus's piercing blue stare did not leave his eyes.

The young man nodded. "We must wait until Voldemort makes his move. I must ask you something Severus, are you withholding anything that could change the course of this war?"

Severus felt an icy force inside his chest. "No." He would not tell him about that fateful night Lily died and Harry became a horcrux. It would simply not happen once more. Albus stood up from his seat and went into the pensieve. "See for yourself Severus."

He did not think twice and went inside the artifact. The scene was all too familiar. Sybill uttered the same words.

"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..."

The woman he found hours ago was thrown out the Hog's Head having heard a quarter of the prophecy, she had less information than he once had.

"Do you believe in the prophecy?" Severus asked once he was sitting in front of the headmaster.

"I believe in the power we place on events and predictions. Voldemort certainly believes the boy born as the seventh month dies to be a threat to him. He will try to extinguish the threat. I believe in your desperation Severus." Albus said sadly.

"You believe the boy to be your son." The man said without a hint of doubt in his voice.

Severus paled. "How did you know Lily is expecting?"

"She is wearing a Celtic triple spiral, a beautiful piece, from your mother's jewels I believe. I can only speculate Severus." Severus trembled.

Albus placed a hand on the young man's shoulder. "I assumed it was Alice's baby and Tom believes the child to be Alice's as well. You are not alone Severus. I will do all that is in my power to keep you and your family safe." He was sure Albus had the best intentions but the fear did not go away. The crippling panic settled in Severus's belly, he had been too complacent, too unguarded. He needed to be on guard and make sure his family was protected.

"Peter Pettigrew is a spy. He has been leaking information to Malfoy. Barty Crouch Jr. is a Death Eater. Those I know for sure. Rookwood, Yaxley and Mulcibers are death eaters too…" Severus tried to recall all the possible death eaters and their hideouts. It was time he took action and took matters into his own hands.

Albus nodded, and took notice of Barty Crouch and Petter Pettigrew. "I had hoped to enlist young Crouch. Do you have any proof?"

Severus shook his head, "Only that he passed half the prophecy to the Dark Lord."

The older man looked at him directly in the eyes. "You must stop calling him that. Only his followers call him as such. It is either Lord Voldemort or He Who Must Not be Named. It is vital you remember Severus, now more than ever."

"You must go back to your wife. She is terrified, thinking something's happened to you." Albus said quickly.

"I can't." Severus hung his head. "I need to make sure she is safe. We have to go away. I have to get dad, Augustus and Lily out of England."

"Severus, do not let your fears drive you. You will only make Tom more aware of Lily and you if you disappear."

"I can hide them. They will be safe until we find the remaining horcruxes and kill Voldemort." Severus hesitated at the name but managed to say it out loud.

"So you will. So will Frank but the fact remains that Tom's power increases by the minute. He will look at the magical records and fine comb through the magical births of this year. He will do so Severus there is nothing we can do about that. Those records are public and fairly easy to access. Tom has friends all over the ministry, people who do not fully grasp Tom's evil intentions."

Severus glanced back at the headmaster. It was fruitless to think he could hide Lily and the child away. "You have friends in England Severus. You have us, the Order. We will protect Lily and your child. It will be best if you stay. I can protect you better if you stay here."

"I want Kingsley, Potter, Remus and Black to protect Lily. You will place the Prewett brothers with Alice and Frank. The Fidelius Charm shall suffice. I will be the Secret Keeper for Lily and me. You shall appoint someone else for Frank and Alice. Someone trustworthy."

Albus agreed. "I shall devise proper safe-houses for you and the Longbottoms."

"My father will stay with the Weasleys. He is best away from us right now in case something should happen I want them away from all action."

"I would still need you to help me track the remaining Horcruxes. We have to search for the diadem, the cup and the ring. We have to destroy those before we target Lord Voldemort."

Severus understood the logic behind it. "The ring, we should start there. You found it last time, it's cursed and you touched it. Do not touch it this time. It will poison your hand." Severus's head pounded.

"Very well Severus. We shall advance our search of horcruxes. We're going to have a meeting soon. I have to take care of Peter." Albus said sorrowfully.

Severus held no pity. "You should look for him quickly or at least let the Order know. He's an animagus, a rat. Black is a big black dog and Potter is a stag. They will not believe you just yet. They would need proof."

Severus stood up and needed something to take the edge off. Albus did not partake but there was a cabinet hidden by the whirring instruments the old man liked so much. Severus went straight to it and poured himself a stiff drink. The headmaster seemed at loss for words. "Once more you surprise me Severus. I believe it will be best if you stayed the night. I have spare quarters in the dungeons if you'd like. I will owl Lily and let her know you're fine and will spend the night here in the castle."

The younger man laughed bitterly. He took one last swig of firewhisky and addressed the Headmaster. "I will wait for the meeting. If I don't hear anything about Pettigrew I will find him and trap him myself. He is not double spy material. He is a coward of the worse nature, a groveling man who will only look after him. He betrayed Potter and Black last time. He will do the same this time. I looked through his mind. He is not redeemable and you have no leverage with him." Severus had worked in the shadows for Dumbledore for so many years that he knew the older man needed a double spy, an agent in Voldemort ranks. He would enlist Pettigrew but Severus knew better. It would never work.

Albus tried to make him stay but Severus was adamant. He needed to leave; he wouldn't be trapped in the castle. He was unsteady on his feet and did agree to a portkey. He was under no condition to apparate.

He felt the pull of the portkey and the urge to puke once his body landed in the fields surrounding the Burrow. He walked slowly, his heart pounding, the lack of sleep and the alcohol made him sleepy and tired. He hadn't seen Lily in four days. It had been the longest he had gone without seeing her since his mother died.

Severus Snape worked the wards sluggishly; he should not have drunk so much. He should have stayed back in the castle. It was too late to turn back. He saw Remus and Sirius standing guard. He could see Lily crying with Molly by her side.