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The Slytherin's Sacrifice

Chapter Text

Severus Snape was dying.

Not from a giant snake's bite. No, he had been saved- barely, but still- from that.

Not from a killing curse, or any visible wound.

It had nothing to do with the now-dead Voldemort, the scattered, embittered Death Eaters, or even from an idiot Longbottom finally stumbling onto a fatal potions mixture (as he knew would happen someday).

No, it was because of Harry Potter.

Well, not because of him, but rather for him. Now that everything was finally reaching a close, Severus could keep his Unbreakable Vow- his promise- to Lily, the only woman he'd ever loved.

But in order to fulfill that Vow, he had to break another. Hence, the dying.

"H-Harry…" Snape weakly coughed as Harry frantically tried to figure out what was wrong with Severus, what he could do to help, because dammit Snape wasn't dying now, not after everything. Because it just wasn't fair.

"Mr. Potter!" Severus snapped, finally gaining the attention of Harry. Snape sighed. "Good. Now listen… very carefully… I don't have," a hoarse cough, followed by a trickle of blood, "a lot of time. But you need to know, I promised your mother…" If he didn't have the boy's complete attention before, he did now.

"Do try and repress your damned Gryffindor tendencies, and try not to interrupt, brat." But it lacked its usual venom and spite. Harry nodded, tears forming in his eyes. Snape smirked slightly, almost fondly, taking the sting out of the words, before he continued, taking a deep breath.

"Dumbledore is alive." He raised his hand when Harry opened his mouth to protest. "Listen! He's alive… because he Polyjuiced another wizard and Imperioed him into acting like Dumbledore. And I know that this doesn't make sense, because you've always looked up to him, and why would the kindly old man abandon you when you needed him most?" Harry nodded in agreement to his questions voiced aloud.

Severus coughed again before rasping, "Because he's an evil, manipulative old bastard, almost as bad as Voldemort. The Dark Lord never made a secret as to his ambitions, and was ruthless and cunning and cruel, but almost always honest, because what did he really have to hide? But Dumbledore… he twists your affections and your emotions so that you'll rely on him, fight for him, believe in him. But he never, ever cared for you Harry, I promise." Snape sighed; this was going to be the hardest part.

"Dumbledore knew about your relatives Harry." Severus felt Harry stiffen almost immediately, emerald eyes pained and face tight with repressed emotion. "He sent you to them, knowing what they would do to you, knowing how horribly you would be treated, but planning on the fact that you'd fall into and hero-worship the first pair of arms that rescued you from that hell-hole. Then he sent you back every year to keep you beaten down and subservient to him and him alone. Because, after all, wasn't it always Dumbledore who'd rescue you?" Harry was shaking his head in denial, but he could see in Harry's eyes that he knew the truth.

Harry hoarsely whispered, "I think I knew…" Severus raised an eyebrow in typical Snape-fashion, a look that clearly said 'do tell Mr. Potter', and made Harry smile for a second before continuing. "When… when I got my first Hogwarts acceptance letter… it was addressed to 'Harry Potter, Cupboard Under the Stairs'. I'd never told anyone about that… and a voice in the back of my mind wondered why, if someone knew, I was still forced to stay there. For a while…" Harry swallowed thickly and bowed his head. "I thought that it was my… punishment." Here Snape growled. "For being such a worthless freak, for being the reason that my parents were killed, for being the reason the school was in danger almost yearly. I figured, Dumbledore must think that I deserve it. And, for a while, I did too, especially after Cedric."

Snape grabbed Harry's chin and forced him to look at him. "It's not your fault, it never was, and by thinking that, you're playing right into that old coot's hands." Harry nodded, eyes still shining in tears. His voice broke as he asked, "What about Dumbledore? Now that Voldemort's dead, I'm safe right? There's no more reason for me to be manipulated, right?" And Harry's heart sank as he saw Severus shake his head.

"No Harry. He wants control of your vault, along with all the fame and glory for defeating Voldemort. In order to accomplish this, he's going to…" Severus violently hacked up blood. He began speaking faster. "He's going to try and kill you, then manipulate the fact to make it seem like you killed him, and that he'd arrived in the nick of time to kill the Dark Lord. And it wouldn't take much convincing. Only recently everyone thought that you were insane, and that bastard is beloved by the entire wizarding community. Everyone would believe him."

Harry shook with this new-found knowledge. He grasped as straws, anything that would help him keep his hold on his rapidly crumbling reality. "M-my friends wouldn't believe him. They'd stand by my side, I know it."

Snape's eyes held unimaginable pain for the one in whose arms he was now dying. "I'm sorry Harry… but they're only using you too. Here, take this…" He pressed a vial of swirling gold and silver mists. "These are all the memories you'll need to tell you the truth. You can have my pensieve. This is why I'm dying Harry. I made an Unbreakable Vow to Dumbledore under duress to never betray him, because I needed asylum from Voldemort and, at the time, I believed Dumbledore was my safe harbor. I didn't realize just how far-reaching my Vow would be. But I made an Unbreakable Vow to your mother, Lily, as well. To protect you, to keep you safe from harm. You haven't exactly made it easy…" Here Harry smiled a bit, and Severus smirked back. "But I have tried my best. But now… this is the only way. I'm keeping one Vow by breaking another, but I know I made the right choice, and this is the only way. I'm so very sorry… Harry…" His body convulsed violently, and Harry gripped him tighter, sobbing openly now. When the tremors stopped, Snape regained his breath. "I… loved you like a… son Harry… And I'm so sorry… that I couldn't tell you… or show you. Please… f-forgive me…?"

Harry nodded frantically, crushing Severus to him. "Of course! Of course I forgive you, just please, don't leave me Severus. Please! Who can I trust? What can I do? Please Severus! Please…" Harry's voice trailed off in a heart-broken whimper.

Severus caressed the weeping face above him, every line of his face etched in agony and remorse. "I don't know… I'm so very sorry. All I can offer you is… there's a rumor, about the Potter line… a secret inheritance passed down, that skips every other generation. Your grandfather had it… but he mysteriously disappeared one day. You'll come into it on your… seventeenth birthday." Snape now cried… tears of blood flooding his onyx eyes. "Maybe you can escape… maybe it can help… but you'll have to stay at the Dursley's until then. It's not safe for you… at Hogwarts… But you're still a minor… so you can use that excuse to stay there… until you come of age. You're going to be in so much danger… and I don't know how to help you… and I'm so very, very sorry. The only people… you could've trusted have all died. Sirius Black- hexed into the Veil, not by Bellatrix, but by the… G-Granger girl. Remus Lupin… who survived the final battle… but was slipped silver into his Wolfsbane potion by D-Dumbledore… who had me under the Imperious as I delivered the potion to him. A-and even Peter… I just found out… recently that D-Dumbledore had been the secret keeper, convinced Sirius that… Peter was the keeper… then told Sirius where to find Peter. So Peter did the only thing he could… hide.

"And Sirius believed the… whole thing during his twelve years in Azkaban, and the pieces practically fell into… place themselves after that… and Peter went to Voldemort, the only person who'd… believe him… for protection. But they still haven't caught Pettigrew, although… if they did catch him… it'd be only too easy to… lock him up without a trial or Veritaserum… if Dumbledore was involved. He wanted… control over the 'Savior of the Wizarding World'… and he knew that'd never happen if your parents… were alive. Y-you… can probably trust… Draco. He's… probably the only one… who'd understand. Everyone… betrayed… used… manipulated… but none more than… you Harry. I'm sorry… so so sorry… I… love you…"

Harry's tears fell on Severus' face, mingling with his blood. "I love you too… for the record…" And here Harry gave a watery, weak smile. "You'd have made a wonderful dad."

Severus smiled in happiness and love before his whole body seemed to buckle and collapse in upon itself. There was the agonizing sound of every bone in Severus' body snapping at once, and Snape let out one last, painful shriek before slumping boneless in Harry's arms. Dead.

And Harry threw his head back and screamed an agony-filled, heart-wrenching cry of pain and soul-crushing hopelessness to the empty, cold blackness of Snape's chambers.

Chapter Text

"Hurry young Harry."

Harry's head shot up in surprise as he heard the unknown voice. He looked around frantically, still clutching Severus' broken form to his chest.

"Up here little one."

Harry looked towards the voice. It was a portrait, the one above the fireplace. But it had always been empty, displaying a still-life of a grand and illustrious room in green, silver, and black hues.

But apparently it was a magical portrait, the occupant was just missing.

An occupant who was, apparently, none other than… "You're Salazar Slytherin." Harry gaped in surprise and awe.

Salazar inclined his head in acknowledgement.

"Yes young one. But you must hurry. Severus told me of his plan… and of all that's happened. I've managed to convince the other portraits in the Headmaster's office to stall him, but Dumbledore usually visits Severus in about an hour. So, at the most, you have an hour and a half… maybe two hours, but that's pushing it. The pensieve is beneath the couch, under a stone. Severus didn't want Albus to know that he owned one."

Harry nodded, steeling himself. He gently, tenderly placed Severus' body on the stone before grabbing his wand, roughly swiping away his tears.

He cast a wordless Wingardium Leviosa at the couch, moving it aside effortlessly. He missed the look of appreciation that Salazar sent him at this display, but both were too caught up in the gravity of the situation for Salazar to voice his thoughts.

Harry quickly found the stone and again used his wand. Once the stone was removed, Harry reached inside and grabbed the first thing his hand came into contact with.

He pulled, expecting the heavy weight that the stone pensieve of the Headmaster's possessed, but was surprised by the lightness of the object that now sat in his palms.

It was beautiful. Delicate glass snakes slithered around the clear bowl. The liquid inside was silvery-black, swirling with memories and secrets. A letter that had been spell-proofed to resist water floated on the top, Harry scribed in Severus' neat, flowing scrawl across the front.

"Harry." He tore his gaze away from the pensieve when Salazar addressed him. "You must hurry. The bowl is filled with memories, as many as Severus could give you. There are from his school days, everything that he can remember of James, Sirius, Remus, himself, and… your mother. There is a spell 'Memoras Preserva' that will allow it to become a pendant so that you may watch them at a later date. The letter is also to be opened at that time. But for now… the memories in the vial that Severus gave you are what you must watch now. They are by far the most imperative, and you cannot leave this room unless you know. Your very life will be in danger." The seriousness and graveness in his voice didn't allow for Harry to voice any objections. He merely nodded before opening the vial, preparing to pour it into the swirling liquid.

Harry paused first.

"Why… why are you helping me sir?" Harry tentatively asked.

"Because you are my heir. My last heir. And the heir of my good friend Godric Gryffindor. Just remember, not everything that you have been told is true, not the least of which is the true relationship between me and Godric. I will tell you all in due time, but for now, hurry!"

Harry nodded, mind reeling with this newly acquired knowledge, before pouring the glittering, pulsing liquid into the pensieve. Harry took one last, deep breath, mentally steeling himself for this venture, before plunging his head in the bowl.

He immediately was lost in a chaotic cacophony of voices, cries, whispers, screams. The blackness swirled around him, interspersed with flashes of gold and silver, snatches of memories and secrets there and gone faster than he could catch them.

Suddenly, he pitched head first into the first memory. And as he looked around and took in his surroundings, he realized that no amount of preparation could have prepared him for the sight that met him.

And he realized that everything he knew was about to be swept away.

Chapter Text

Harry stared in shock as Severus- a much younger, handsomer Severus- was snogging a… HOLY SHIT that's my mum!

And it was true. Severus Snape- hair shoulder-length and silky, undamaged by potion fumes, nose straight and unbroken, accentuating his features perfectly, eyes onyx and glittering, and dazzling, carefree smile making him look positively, devilishly delectable- was alternating between kissing passionately and gazing soulfully into the eyes of one Lily Evans, muggle-born witch.

Harry was frozen in shock and confusion, but he remembered that this was important, so he watched avidly.

After a few more soft, chaste kisses Lily smiled and cuddled into Severus' chest, long red hair flowing down her back, green eyes- so like my own, Harry thought with a pang- sparkling with happiness and… love.

"Sev, I'm so glad that we're soul mates," Here Harry gasped in shock, sinking to the ground, legs unable to support him any longer, "it I had to put up with James and the headmaster trying to match me up with that idiot I'd have gone insane."

Severus chuckled warmly, carding his fingers through Lily's shining locks. "I couldn't agree more love. I was alternating between being disgusted and amused as he tried to earn your affections. Sirius, Remus, Peter, and I all though he was a dense fool. But everything's worked out, and I couldn't be happier." Severus then cleared his throat- is he… if I didn't know any better I'd say he was nervous. But Severus Snape is never nervous- and shifted so that he was facing Lily. "In fact, to prove just how happy I am to be blessed with you, my Lily-flower, I got you something."

Harry watched, tears leaking down his cheeks, as Severus lowered himself onto one knee before a stunned Lily, whose hands were covering her mouth in shock as he pulled out a forest green jewelry box.

He opened it, revealing a delicate silver and gold band. They entwined around a delicate, pearlescent flower, where a vibrant, glittering ruby was nestled. As Harry looked closer at the ruby, he saw that there was a small flame, burning brightly, within.

Severus again cleared his throat, "Lily Evans, I have never been so blessed or happy until you entered my life. Like a ray of sunshine, you chased away all my demons and cobwebs and became my personal savior. Because of you, I have three amazing- if not completely idiotic- friends, a family. Until you came, I never smiled, I never laughed, I didn't think I could. But it seems like you enjoy proving me wrong, my strong-willed Gryffindor. As long as I live, this flame will burn as bright as my love for you. Lily… my angel, my delicate flower… will you do me the honor of being my soul-bonded?"

"YES!" Lily screamed in unbridled joy and tackled Severus to the ground, smothering him in a kiss.

"WHOO-HOO!" Suddenly, Remus, Peter, and Sirius- Harry's heart panged when he saw his beloved godfather- stormed through the door of the Room of Requirement and tackled Lily and Severus, resulting in one massive dog pile.

"Get off you worthless mutts!" Severus roared from the bottom of the pile, but happiness and amusement colored his voice.

"Hey!" Peter pouted upside down from his position beneath Remus and Sirius, "I resent that!"

Remus and Sirius laughed before getting up and dragging Peter up as well. Sirius clapped Peter on the back. "C'mon Wormy! Pay up!"

Peter pouted before handing over 5 galleons. Seeing Severus and Lily's questioning look as they picked themselves off the floor- Lily with her arms still firmly around Severus- Sirius explained.

"Peter bet 5 galleons that you'd get nervous and chicken out or stutter. I told him 'Are you kidding? A Prince is nothing if not determined and articulate' and I was right! Score!"

Severus rolled his eyes fondly. "Just because you were clever and perceptive this time, mutt,does not mean you've suddenly become the pantheon of intelligent and intuitive observations."

"YEAH! Wait… what?" Everyone laughed at Sirius' wounded puppy-dog look. He whined, "Remy, he's wounded my tender feelings. Oh please my champion, save me from the horrible snake!" And he promptly threw himself into Remus' arms, bewailing the evil serpent and pleading for his handsome knight to rescue him.

Everyone snickered at Remus' bright red cheeks. He cleared his throat, turning to Severus, "Congratulations you two! I'm very happy for you."

Sirius rolled his eyes at Remus' obvious change in topic and gently kissed him on the cheek, not noticing Remus turning even more red before turning to Severus. "Yeah you slimy snake! It's about time!" He clapped Severus on the back, grinning like a fool.

Peter grinned and hugged Lily tightly, "I sosososososososo happy! Oooh when is the ceremony? Who's coming? Who's your guys' witnesses? Do you want kids? How many? Boys or girls? What will their names be? Oh, that's if, you want children. I mean, you'd be a great mum, but if you don't want to, y'know, you don't have to. But if you DO want to, you'll be bloody fantastic and… oh! Severus! Yeah, you'd be a great dad too, I'm sure and all that but…"

Severus laughed heartily at young Peter's rambling. He was two years younger than the rest of them, and he'd become sort of the little brother of the group.

He ruffled Peter's hair before hugging and kissing Lily passionately, ignoring the catcalls from Sirius and the embarrassed throat clearing from Remus. Peter just giggled.

After the kiss was done Lily smiled before hugging Severus tightly, cuddling into him. "We'll figure everything out later. For right now, I'm content to just be happy with my fiancé, and my best friends."

She bent down and picked up the green felt box from where it'd fallen during their tumble. She pulled out the ring and slipped it onto her left hand. It fit perfectly, as though it'd been made especially for her.

She smiled, "From here on out, everything can only get better."

And as everyone smiled and agreed, Harry felt the pull and watched with deep, heart-broken sadness as the image faded away, colors and faces bleeding out around him until he was once again lost in the silver and gold darkness.

Suddenly, it wasn't beautiful anymore. Because he knew- he knew- that those memories around him were the story of how that family was torn apart, and their world destroyed.

He didn't want to see it, he didn't want to know. But what he wanted didn't matter, never did.

And so he could only watch with resignation and soul-crushing sorrow and misery as the next memory came into focus around him.

And he cried.

Chapter Text

Harry grunted as he landed in the next memory. He took a moment to gather himself, wiping the tear tracks from his face, before looking around.

To his shock, he found himself in Dumbledore's office. Everything was kind of stilted, as if he was smaller and looking up to a great height. Harry peeked around and found a rat hidden in the gap between two bookshelves, a lemon drop firmly clasped in its little paws. It seemed like he'd snuck in for a treat, but had been unable to make his escape in time.

Now, Harry had never been a fan of rats – for rather obvious reasons – but he had to admit that Wormtail was actually pretty cute. A soft mousy brown, silky layer of fur covered his body, flecked with white; almost as if someone had taken a toothbrush, dipped it in white paint, and ran their thumb over the bristles, resulting in a random pattern of spots. Right between his ears, however, was a symbol curiously shaped like a candy wrapper twisted at the ends, and Harry guessed that this was his animagus tell. The picture was completed by soft, slightly wet chocolate brown eyes and an adorable pink nose, and Harry just wanted to pick him up and coo over him.

That was, until he noticed that Peter was trembling almost violently, and scrunched up as far as he could into the corner.

Harry whirled around, and noticed two people. One, the Headmaster, sitting benevolently behind his desk and sucking one of the aforementioned lemon drops happily, twinkling at one James Potter. But James – his father – was nothing like the pictures that Harry'd been shown during his early childhood. James' face was twisted into an ugly sneer, his eyes glinting with malicious cruelty, and his hair obviously styled with about a pound of hair gel. Apparently, James' tousled hair wasn't natural, like Harry's.

"Where the fuck is that bitch?" James snarled, crossing his arms and tapping his foot impatiently.

"Calm down my boy, Lily Evans shall be here soon. Everything shall work out in the end." Dumbledore hummed before popping another of the muggle sweets into his mouth.

James humphed. "It better. You promised me that mudblood whore, and I mean to have her. I can't believe that she chose that half-blood bastard over me." The hatred and fury contained in that vicious snarl had Harry flinching back violently.

"Yes yes." Dumbledore nodded. "I'm sure it's nothing but a mistake. I'm sure that Ms. Evans will come to see the error of her ways."

Somehow, the twinkle in those blue eyes didn't comfort Harry any. If anything, it, combined with James' malicious smirk, only succeeded in sending a cold chill down Harry's spine.

But before anything more could be said, the door opened, revealing a suspicious, red-headed Lily Evans and a – James snarled and leapt to his feet and Dumbledore frowned disapprovingly, although both had a satisfied glint in their eyes that told that this was exactly what they wanted, that all was going to plan – tall, regal, dark Severus Snape.

"What the fuck is slimy, greasy Snivellus here?" James yelled, pointing his wand furiously at the calm but dangerously armed Slytherin.

"Calm down my boy." Dumbledore then peered over his half-moon spectacles at Lily, completely ignoring the two men/boys facing off against each other. Then, his voice heavy with disappointment, he began. "Ms. Evans, I believe that I called this meeting in hopes of helping you in removing yourself from dark influences, but it seems as though he's got you firmly under whatever spell he's placed upon you, if you're not even allowed to visit your Headmaster without his approval and presence."

Lily's eyes widened and she jerked back. Her eyes flickered to the equally frightened Severus – though the only sign of emotion on his otherwise passive face was the glint in his onyx eyes – before they both whirled around and made for the door. But with a flick of Dumbledore's wand, the door slammed shut and locked itself firmly. And with another, Severus and Lily were firmly bound, their wands removed, to separate chairs.

"Let us go you fucking bastard! We're soul mates. Soul mates! And, for that matter, soul bonded, you meddling old fart!" Lily snarled viciously. "And even if we weren't, I'd never choose that self-righteous, egotistical, malicious, fucking two-bit loser toe rag!"

James snarled and backhanded Lily viciously, the Potter Ring on his finger catching the light and making a long, painful scratch on her cheek.

"LILY!" Severus yelled. He then turned his burning onyx eyes to James. The hatred, power, and pure fury caused Potter to take a step back. "Keep you fucking hands of my wife, you incompetent, imbecilic fool!"

But James just smirked, raised his wand, and said calmly, "But she won't be yours for long, Snivellus. Crucio."

Severus managed to withstand thirty seconds without making a sound, writhing and convulsing in his chair so violently that it fell over, not two inches from the frozen, horrified Harry.

"STOP! Please just stop!" Lily screamed, unable to hold herself back when her soul bonded began screaming in pain. A pain that was like white-hot knives stabbing all over his body, tearing him from the inside out and exposing him, making him bleed.

I was another minute – a minute in which both Severus and Lily screamed and Harry covered his ears, tears streaming down his face – another minute that Dumbledore just stood calmly by, quietly observing while sucking on one of those damned lemon drops – before James removed the curse.

The abrupt silence was nearly as deafening as the screams had been.

Severus trembled and took deep shuddering breaths from the floor while Lily sobbed silently in her chair, both of their wrists and arms raw from where the ropes chafed against their skin.

"Now," Dumbledore spoke, as if continuing a previous conversation and giving no sign that he was in any way effected by the previous actions of James Potter. "If you will be willing to cooperate, I trust that everything can be ironed out without much fuss. Please, sit down Mr. Potter." And James sat comfortably, arrogantly, in the seat the headmaster indicated.

"Please…" Lily sobbed. "Please… let us go… leave us alone… We're happy; can't you see that? Can't you just leave well enough alone?"

James smirked, taking malicious pleasure from the red-head's pleas. He mocked them, pretending to contemplate it for a moment, before shaking his head in mock sorrow. "Sorry Lily-flower," Both his condescendingly worried tone and use of the intimate nickname caused the still-trembling Severus to snarl in rage. "But I'm afraid we can't do that. You see, you're not really happy. You're under a spell, or most probably a potion, so you really can't be trusted with your own feelings. But don't worry," And here, he leaned forward, and tenderly stroked Lily's face, only to slap her when she tried to bite him. "You won't be held responsible for your current actions. We're going to free you."

Both Lily and Severus gaped at him, wondering if he was really that desperate, that obtuse. But, looking towards the Headmaster, and seeing no hope of assistance there, they knew that he was- they were. And Severus couldn't help but wonder, what the old coot's motivations were, what he wanted.

But that was something that he'd spend the next decade pondering and brooding over; but at the moment, all other thoughts were driven from his mind when the Headmaster pointed his wand at him.

"I know that this half-blood has placed you under Dark influences, Lily, and after extensive research in the Potter Library, that James was only too helpful and eager to provide, I've found the most suitable solution to both free you and punish Mr. Snape for his most heinous act."

Dumbledore waved his wand, and the binding vanished. A few more and Severus was chained spread-eagled to the floor. The Headmaster then stood and began rummaging in one of his many cupboards as James pulled out an ancient book and began drawing a circle around Severus' prone, snarling, swearing form; sketching runes and symbols around the circumference. As soon as he was done, James moved and stood over the scowling Severus, smirking victoriously. He then leaned down and tore open Severus' shirt, revealing toned abs and pectorals.

"Pathetic." He muttered, before spitting in Severus' face and giving him one last kick in the ribs, "For old time's sake." He said.

By this time, the Headmaster had returned, bearing with him a silver and emerald chalice. When Severus' eyes widened, Dumbledore smirked- an expression that the frozen Harry had never seen upon the once-thought benevolent face- and nodded. "Yes, this is Slytherin's Chalice. You see, while Salazar possessed a great many talents, binding rituals was probably one of his least recognized. But this cup was used in a great many ceremonies- from blood adoptions to marriages to soul bindings. But the most important to what we're doing here would be… the master/slave bond."

Despite the fear in his eyes, Severus scowled up at the Headmaster. "Even if you did that, even if you became my 'Master', you couldn't interfere with my soul bond with Lily. Nothing has the power to interfere with soul mates."

Dumbledore, to Severus' shock, just nodded in agreement. "Of course you're right my boy. But you see, there's an ancient law that says that a man can only serve two masters, two bonds. One for me, and one for Lily. But you see, there's another man wandering around, marking and branding people," He smirked at the rapid paling of the Slytherin's face, and James cackled. "And I hear that he'd been coveting a Potions Master… And, of course, the oldest bond, the soul bond, will not accept you serving two masters… and the terrible curse that you've used to bind Ms. Evans to yourself will be broken."

"NO!" Lily shrieked, startling all the men in the room (evil, bound, animagus, and future alike). "YOU CAN'T! PLEASE DON'T, YOU JUST CAN'T! PLEASE, I LOVE HIM, HE'S MY SOUL-BONDED, MY HUSBAND! PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Please…" She sobbed and begged, until James rolled his eyes and cast a silencing charm on her. It was heartbreaking for Harry to watch his mother sob in the corner, cry and plead, yet make no sound.

Both Dumbledore and James turned back to Severus, completely ignoring the sobbing muggle-born bound behind them. And, for the first time, Severus allowed himself to show fear. "Please… please don't." But Severus knew, it would do no good.

"Believe me, child, that I am truly sorry that I was unable to save you from the Dark. But this is merely the first step to redeeming yourself." And Dumbledore raised his wand, and began chanting:

Liga et catenarum Severus Snape animam Albus Dumbledore umero cum invisibilis Salinator

Severus arched up off the floor, screaming as his aura- a purple so dark that it was nearly black- rose up out of him and connected to Dumbledore's wand and his shoulder. Mixed with the ugly, infection-green aura of the Headmaster, it burned and scorched the flesh of Severus' shoulder. An image of black flame was revealed before it vanished, now invisible to the naked eye.

Lily Evans occultum sub vinculo anima eu libero nisi mors mortis

James leaned over and focused on the flower-shaped bond-mark that had appeared once Severus and Lily acknowledged each other as mates. He took out a knife and slashed an 'X' straight through the faint mark, ducking quickly as Severus yelled again as the red and gold and silver chord of his and Lily's bond appeared in the air, linked between Severus and the shrieking, still-silent Lily.

Harry actually threw up as he watched the Headmaster's aura join with the bond, the sickly, virus-like tendril weaving through the bond.

Obsequio erga aeternum Albus Dumbledore

"NO!" Severus screamed as the Latin leaked through his pain and terror-wracked mind.

"Yes!" James cackled in glee, leaning forward to lick the tears from Severus' cheeks before spitting in his face again.

Mors aeterna obligari iuramento infrangibile

"No…" Severus sobbed. He turned towards Lily, linking eyes with her for what would be, for them, the last time. "I'm so sorry Lily-flower… I love you, I'll always love you… Remember our fire…"

Severus barely saw Lily mouth back to him, 'I love you too', before James moved and blocked the sight of his love, still beautiful even now, flushed with tears and pain.

Ita anima in sanguine fiat simper

With this final incantation, James forced Severus' right hand over his heart. The Headmaster leaned over and placed his hand over Severus', before stabbing his wand through both, straight through to Severus' heart. The magic flared and sparked as Severus screamed in pain and convulsed, and Harry threw up again in horror.

Then, everything was silent. The only sounds in the room were Severus' shuddering, gasping sobs. The only magic in the room was the link between Severus and Lily, though Harry knew that only Dumbledore and himself could see it; since they could see magical currents and auras. It was pulsing sporadically, and Harry watched in disgust as the sick tendril of Dumbledore's forced vow attempted to strangle it. But the soul bond fought back, remaining firm.

Suddenly, James burst out laughing. Lily, Severus, and Harry flinched at the sudden sound. But the Headmaster merely stood after wiping his wand off on Severus' robes, as though to remove filth.

"Stand back James," The Headmaster ordered, and James obeyed without a word, grinning like mad. "This next part's extremely sensitive. Then we can proceed with freeing your bride."

Severus' eyes widened and flickered to Lily, who'd started sobbing again. But, as soon as his eyes and thoughts alighted on his love, Severus winced slightly.

Dumbledore noticed. "Anytime that you think of, speak to, or look at Ms. Evans, you will feel unimaginable pain. The Bond won't take effect until the curse that you used to link yourself to her is completely broken. For that, we shall need one more person. James, fetch him."

Potter practically skipped to the next room, and Harry had never felt more ashamed of sharing blood with another person- not even Voldemort. But soon, all too soon, James returned, dragging an unconscious Lucius Malfoy. Harry barely had time to think that he looked remarkably like an older Draco before James tossed him down beside Severus and moved to unlock his chains.

No sooner had the first arm and leg been freed than Severus grabbed James' hair and kneed him in the face, before slamming his face into the stone floor. While he was dazed, Severus stole his wand and unlocked his other limbs. All this within a second.

But before Severus could free Lily, Dumbledore spoke one word, "Stop."

And just like that, Severus was frozen. The wand dropped from his limp fingers. James stood up and punched Severus in the nose, breaking it, before kicking him in his loins.

But still, besides a muted grunt, Severus remained frozen.

Dumbledore moved over, shaking his head in disappointment. "Severus Severus Severus… I'm very disappointed." And with that, he placed his hand on Severus' shoulder, right over where the invisible brand lay. But, what should have been a merely a motion to restrain a respected pupil, turned into a form of torture and Severus shrieked and collapsed at Dumbledore's feet, clutching his shoulder convulsively.

Dumbledore just stepped over the shaking Slytherin disinterestedly. He grabbed a chair- the same one that had restrained Severus only moments earlier- set it down in front of Severus and the stupefied Lucius, and looked down at the trembling boy gazing up at him with onyx eyes filled with betrayal and hatred and contempt.

But that didn't matter to Dumbledore, since the black-haired half-blood would obey him anyway.

"This is what you are going to tell the Dark Lord." He ignored Severus' horrified gasp. "You and Mr. Malfoy were spying on me giving an interview to Sybil Trelawney, who gave her very first prophesy tonight in the Hog's Head. But, unfortunately, by fool brother Aberforth saw you spying and, after stupefying a resisting Lucius, kicked you out of the pub after only hearing half of it. Hoping to use this information as a ticket to the inner circle, you convince Mr. Malfoy to take you to Voldemort so that you can inform him of the prophesy. This is all that you heard:

'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…'

Now, no such prophesy exists, but no one outside of this room will ever know that."

Harry collapsed against the book shelves, trembling in horror. He dry heaved a couple times, but there was nothing left in his stomach to expel. In his shock-numbed mind, he briefly wondered where the vomit went while he was in the pensieve. He immediately expelled that thought from his mind as unimportant.

He looked down and saw that the violently shaking Wormtail was suffering from the same problem of having nothing left in his stomach.

Meanwhile, the Headmaster continued. "Now, you are going to Floo with Mr. Malfoy to the abandoned apartment behind Hog's Head, and then go directly from there to Voldemort's hideout. After telling of the prophesy, you will become a Death Eater. This act of taking another Master with effectively break the bond with Ms. Evans, as you cannot serve more than two Masters." Severus, Harry, and- silently- Lily, sobbed in horror and anguish. "You will then be my spy in the inner circle, reporting only to me. Voldemort will be unable to see anything that has transpired here in your mind, and after you've accepted the Mark, no one will believe your innocence. I will then hold the only key to your 'freedom'. Oh, and the best part," The leaned forward gleefully, as if to tell of one of his best ideas; and the motion was so similar to Harry that he dry heaved again. "I've planted the exact memories in Mr. Malfoy's head that I've just told you. You are forbidden from telling the truth, and Mr. Malfoy knows nothing of the truth."

Severus was horrified, hardly breathing. He frantically searched for anything, anyone, to help him, but there was no hope. He looked down and noticed Lucius' bare forearm. "WAIT!" He yelled in desperate hope. "Lucius has no Mark… how would he know about the Dark Lord's hideout? This plan does you no good." Severus slumped in momentary relief; that is, until the Headmaster's next words.

"Ah yes, of course. You see, as I was sifting through Mr. Malfoy's memories, I found out that his father, Abraxas, is forcing him into accepting the Mark this evening. Mr. Malfoy was spending one last evening with his best friend before being forced into servitude, before you 'stumbled' across the prophesy. Oh yes, Mr. Malfoy is as much a pawn in this as you are, my boy." Then, voice ringing with authority and demand, Dumbledore gave his order.

"All that I have told you since the ritual, you will do. Everything, to the letter, and you are not allowed to tell anyone about this evening."

"NOOO!" Severus screamed in pain, denial, heartache; but it did no good. All there knew that he would have to obey.

And, as James cackled in the background, Dumbledore ordered, "Go, now. The address is Number 13, Hog's Way, Hogsmeade."

And Severus stood, tears streaming down his face, and grabbed Lucius before dragging him towards the Floo. But, as he passed the sobbing Lily, he dropped his blond friend and, ignoring the pain, sunk his hands in Lily's fiery-red hair and leaned down into a passionate, teary, desperate, final kiss.

For one final moment, they were connected, soul bonded, eternal; before James snarled and shoved him away from Lily. "Get going, Snivellus."

Severus gave one last, lingering, longing look towards his emerald-eyed angel, before once again dragging Lucius to the Floo.

A chocked address, a flash of green flames, and a broken sob from Harry, and Severus was gone.

The bond continued pulsing from Lily, now pointing towards Hogsmeade. But now, it was flickering, weak, anguished, as though it knew that, soon, it would be broken, shattered, extinguished.

But the pain, the horror, was not done.

As James turned a lascivious smirk on Lily, who shuddered, Dumbledore turned his wand on the trembling red-headed muggle-born.

"Now, Ms. Evans, to completely free you from Dark influences and tie you to your true love." And, as one, both unheard and silent, Lily and Harry screamed in denial and pain.