How could she be gone?
Severus Snape hadn't even flinched upon seeing the body of James Potter, his old school rival, lifeless and cold upon the floor of his home in Godric's Hollow. However, seeing him there had caused a feeling of dread to spread deep from within his heart, for he knew what it would undoubtedly mean.
They were all supposed to have been protected here. Severus couldn't understand what had gone wrong; Albus had promised him that they would be protected and yet it was clear that they had not. James was dead and that could only mean one thing.
Snape simply stepped over the man whom he resented so much, caring very little for what had happened to him. He cared nothing for James Potter; it bothered him very little that the man was dead. Potter's death by the look of it had been quick, painless even; he had died protecting his family, and it was at least an honourable death.
Severus' throat was so dry that he struggled to swallow. His heart was beating fiercely in his chest, knowing what he was going to find as he ventured further into the house, but he couldn't turn back now; he had to see with his own two eyes, otherwise he would never believe it to be true.
His feet felt like unmovable blocks of lead as he forced them, one at a time, up the wooden staircase, steeling himself for the worst. He had been to this house only once before in his lifetime. He had come here on Lily's request to see her and her new-born son, Harry, when he was only two months old. It had been an attempt to salvage their precious friendship and it had worked to some extent. However, times were tough and there was a war raging, a war where he needed to appear to be on the opposite side than Lily.
He knew where he was going when he reached the top of the staircase; he knew where Lily would have died protecting the most precious thing in her life, her little boy. Harry, the child who had inherited her stunningly beautiful emerald green eyes and James' scruffy black hair and was named after Lily's grandfather, whom she had loved dearly.
Despite his certainty about what he was going to find, he couldn't help but fall to his knees when he reached the room where she lay. Her lifeless body wide eyed and motionless on the floor. The life that had once filled her was long gone and in it's place a look of terror on her face.
It was true, she was dead. She had died while protecting her son, her only child. It looked as if she hadn't even drawn her wand to try to fight Voldemort off when he had come for her, simply accepting what she couldn't change. Severus couldn't bring himself to turn towards the crib in the room, sure that the child would be dead too.
The child would have been the last part of his lovely Lily to remain, and yet he had been snatched from his grasp too, leaving nothing of her behind. There was no way that the Dark Lord would leave the child alive and he had no wish to look upon Harry's tiny lifeless body.
Tears filled Severus' eyes as he stared only at Lily, unable to bring himself to touch her, knowing that her warmth would be gone and her skin would be cold. He so desperately wanted to hold her, to cradle her lifeless body in his arms, to stroke her flaming red hair and to vainly will the life back into her body. It crushed his very soul to know that he would never hear her laugh, never see her smile, never feel her embrace him, ever again. All he had now were his memories, thoughts and feelings that he would treasure until the day he died.
A small and unexpected whimper from across the room drew his attention to the crib as he realised, for the first time since entering the room, that he wasn't alone and for a moment he feared an attack.
He found himself speechless when he realised that the child, who he believed would be dead, was not; little Harry was, instead, holding on to the bars of his cot, standing and staring at him. The fifteen month old baby boy was looking at him with an intense fascination through eyes that were all Lily.
For whatever reason, Voldemort had failed in his task to kill the child and Severus was surprised to realise just how profoundly grateful he was for that. A small part of the woman he had loved so deeply lived on in her son. The Dark Lord had not spared her, as he had once sworn that he would, and Severus knew he would never know love like what he had felt for her again; however, the child was alive. He looked upon the boy with love and affection but there was also pity. Harry's life would not be easy. Orphaned, alone and never understanding why.
It took only a moment to decided. If it had taken any longer then the outcome could have been vastly different for them both. The roar of an approaching motorcycle made him jump into action, not even pausing to think it through, there was no time for that. He snatched up the little, dark haired, child into his arms, glad when Harry accepted his hold without any fuss or tears.
The young boy was already dressed in a thick cotton romper suit of baby blue but Severus made sure to wrap the child in the knitted Gryffindor red blanket as well, to ensure that Harry would be warm enough on the cold October evening. It was the blanket that Lily had knitted for him, while she had been pregnant, and Severus remembered fondly how she had told him proudly that she had insisted upon doing it the muggle way without using magic at all.
As his gaze went back to the young boy, who lay so still, snuggled trustingly into the crook of his arm, he saw the angry red scar on Harry's forehead. Severus knew from the sight of it that Voldemort had tried, and failed, to kill this child. The boy was special, unique even, and if they stayed here then Albus Dumbledore would no doubt use the boy mercilessly for his own power and gain, or for whatever greater good he wanted to achieve next.
Severus knew he could not allow that to happen to the innocent child, not to Lily's child, and have his conscience remain clear. It was rapidly dawning on him that this was his last remaining link to his beloved Lily and he could never let anyone hurt him. Severus would take it upon himself to care for the baby, to hide him away from the world that would seek to use him, to hurt him and he do everything and anything in his power to protect Harry.
Severus simply didn't trust anyone else to do so. He knew why Lily had given up her life and he would ensure that it hadn't been in vain. Harry was so small and innocent; whatever plan Dumbledore would inevitably have for this child, Severus wasn't going to let come to pass. Albus could not be trusted; he had made that mistake once and Lily had ended up dead. He would never make that mistake again.
The roaring of the motorcycle engine was growing increasingly louder. Something in the back of Snape's mind reminded him, somewhat snidely, that Sirius Black had a motorbike. What if it was him? Severus had to act quickly, otherwise his spontaneous plan would be ruined before it even started; his plan to protect Harry would be foiled and who knew what would happen to the infant then.
If Black arrived and caught him with the child then all hell would break loose. They had never been the best of friends, in fact quite the opposite; their school yard rivalry lived on into adulthood and Severus couldn't allow it to overflow into this house. No, he had to leave and he had to leave now.
He knew that he wouldn't be able to go home to Spinners End, he would he too easily found there, he couldn't even go there for supplies, he would just have to run. He would find somewhere new for them to lay low for a while, where no one knew them. They could hide away from the wizarding world and he could raise Harry as his own, treasure him, protect him and love him like a father.
As the idea took hold in Severus Snape's mind and in his heart, he began to tear through the nursery in a panic, careful to avoid the body of his darling Lily in the process as he packed as many things he thought he might need into a large changing bag that he charmed to be bottomless with a quick wave of his wand.
It was a little tricky to manage while still holding Harry in one arm, but he wasn't going to risk putting the boy down for even a second in case they had to make a quick getaway. He hastily shrunk down anything that would not be missed when the Order of the Phoenix came searching for the boy, taking all the essentials he knew they'd need. Though, he was no expert on children and had no clue if half the stuff he packed would be useful or not.
He did know, however, that the Order of the Phoenix would come, and probably sooner, rather than later. The scar on Harry's forehead told him that Voldemort had fulfilled the prophecy and marked Harry as his equal. It marked him as a future pawn in a war that was many years in the future. Severus was not naive enough to believe that it was over and that Voldemort was gone, he knew better than that.
Severus knew of the prophecy; he knew what it meant for the sweet, innocent child that had dozed off so peacefully in his arms. He wasn't going to let it happen. Lily's son would not become another of Albus Dumbledore's weapons.
From the sound of it, the motorbike had arrived; whoever had sat astride it would soon be there and Severus knew that they had run out of time. He was vaguely aware that it was the point of no return, but the only thought that really came to him was that they had to go.
Whether he had everything they needed, or not, Severus didn't have any choice. It was now or never; if he didn't leave now then he would be caught. Throwing the changing bag over his shoulder and shoving his wand into the specially designed pocket within his robes he cast one more longing look at his fallen soul mate. At least she was at peace now; she wouldn't have to feel any more pain.
"Time to go," Severus whispered softly, as he ensured that Harry was safely tucked into his arm, the knitted blanket secured tightly around him. "Say goodbye to your Mama, Harry." He hated that his voice cracked slightly at that; it felt so wrong to just leave Lily there alone. However, he knew she would have been yelling at them to go already, if she had been alive to do so, telling them to run and for him to protect Harry in her stead.
Harry slept on, oblivious to what was going on around him, unaware that the last time he would lay eyes on his mother had just passed. He didn't even stir as Severus Snape disapparated, stealing him away from Godric's Hollow and changing both of their futures forever. Severus, however, felt all too aware of everything; he was aware that he had just made himself responsible for a small child and he was aware he might be followed by those who wanted the child for themselves.
He disapparated again as soon as they had apparated into field in the middle of nowhere. He did this again and again, terrified that someone, anyone, would find them. He apparated them all across England and Wales , even going across the sea to Ireland for a short while. Harry slept through it all but Severus was becoming too tired to carry on; he didn't want to risk splinching himself or hurting the baby in his arms; he just had to hope it had been enough.
It was Halloween night and the harsh October winds, which signalled the coming of the winter, were bitter against his face as he travelled. He drew Harry closer to the warmth of his body, tucking the blanket around him tighter to shield him from the elements. Still the infant didn't even stir; the sight of the tiny child made Severus' heart ache. The reality of what he had done was starting to sink in and he knew that he had made the right decision.
Though, he had to be extremely cautious. Once or twice he had passed through towns and there were rumours everywhere, whispers that Voldemort had been killed, that their tormentor was somehow gone and no one knew exactly why or how.
Severus was all too aware that the Dark Lord's loyal Deatheaters were still out there and they would be desperate to hear of any news of certainty about the whereabouts of their master. If he was caught literally holding the child that had brought about the downfall of Lord Voldemort, then they would both be killed without hesitation.
Unsure of where he was going, but knowing that he had to keep moving, Severus carried on. He was in a muggle village but that was all he could be sure of; he knew he was somewhere in England, Yorkshire he supposed, but it didn't really matter. He had to get off the streets and find somewhere to rest for the night. Being out so late in the icy winter winds would not be good for the infant, who still sleeping deeply in his arms. He drew his cloak around them as much as he could manage, the weight of the child growing increasingly heavy the longer he held him.
He knew that all of Voldemort's most loyal Deatheaters would be searching the length and breadth of the country for their master; they would want answers to their questions regarding what had happened, what had gone so terribly wrong? However, there was one family who he knew feared for their own child's safety more than their own lives and had wanted to escape the Dark Lord as much as he had.
Severus wasn't sure that he could trust them for longer than a single night but their boy was the same age as Harry, almost; Draco Malfoy had been born at the beginning of June, almost two whole months before Lily had given birth. They would have everything he needed to care for Harry. He wouldn't have to be there long at all but he knew that they would help him.
Narcissa and Lucius had wanted him as Godfather to Draco and he had accepted the honour, vowing to protect him; hopefully they would be able to do the same for little Harry. Lucius might not understand but he knew that Narcissa would. He had so few options open to him that he had to take the chance.
He took a deep breath a steadied himself and, with a great of effort, Severus Snape disapparated for the last time that evening, or so he hoped. He just had to hope that, in all of the confusion, the Malfoy's would be left alone by the authorities; at least for one night. He needed to stop, to take a breath and give himself time to think. He hadn't had even a moment to form any kind of plan when he had taken Harry into his arms and decided to leave with him.
He needed to work out what his next move was and he couldn't do that on practically no sleep, with a young child and on the run. He needed time to think everything over or neither of them was going to survive the week, maybe not even the day.
He couldn't even think any further ahead than that, not now, there were just too many uncertainties. It just wasn't safe, the whole world was dangerous and people would be looking for them; granted it wasn't likely that they would be looking for them together, but there was one thing he was sure of. He needed to remain hidden with his newly adopted son.
Dumbledore was a man much in demand this evening. The wizarding world was in uproar. The Potters were dead and the Longbottom family had been tortured to the point where they had lost their sanity. He had been informed that Neville Longbottom had been injured, though not badly, in the attack on his parents. Everyone was demanding answers and they were demanding them from him like he was the Minister for Magic; it was, of course, to be expected given his considerable talents and knowledge .
He had taken control of the situation quickly, asking Hagrid to collect the Potter boy and to deliver him to his Aunt and Uncle's house; but it had been a huge blow to be informed that the fifteen month old, Harry Potter, was now missing. That he was not where he was supposed to have been, was extremely odd and rather infuriating; it seemed that someone was meddling in his plans, which he didn't like one bit.
Upon learning of the Potter boys disappearance, the aging man had then travelled personally to see the Longbottom's child. He had to think of something quickly before someone noticed that something was amiss. The prophecy bothered him a lot more than he would like to admit; he had a great mind, it should have been clear to him what to do and he would not tolerate being made to look like a fool.
The Dark Lord would mark him as his equal. Well Tom had clearly decided upon Harry in that respect, but the Potter boy was gone. That was when the idea struck him; he was always amazed at his own genius. Neville Longbottom would have to take his place; he would become the boy-who-lived in Harry's stead.
In the meantime he would have time to figure out what had happened at Godrics Hollow. Right now, however, there was no time; the Ministry needed answers, everybody did. It would be simple enough to convince them of what had happened, his version of events at least.
He would ensure that the wizarding world knew that Lord Voldemort had fallen in his attempts to kill the Longbottom family. Those who had actually tortured Alice and Frank Longbottom would be sent to Azkaban, without trial, and charged with the murders of Lily, James and Harry Potter.
Everyone would be too busy celebrating soon enough; no one would notice him going about his business, doing what needed to be done. He would make all the arrangements, let those that needed to be told know and he would keep the truth to himself, telling only those he trusted to keep his secret. Neville Longbottom's fate would be set in stone once he was finished setting everything into place.
If the Potter boy really was alive, which wasn't likely at this point, then he would be found eventually but it couldn't be his priority; that honour would rest with Neville. As there had been no sign of Harry anywhere, Dumbledore could only assume that he had been killed or at the very least kidnapped, but by friend or foe he couldn't be sure. The state of play being the way it was, it seemed more probable that it would have been a foe.
It didn't matter either way to Albus, as long as he had one of them, that was all that mattered. The Longbottom child would be powerful; as the son of two prominent Aurors, he made a fine candidate for becoming the hero of the wizarding world.
Harry Potter would just become another of those lost to the war, no one would miss him. Well perhaps Sirius Black but then he was the only one who knew that it had actually been Peter Pettigrew who had been the Potter's secret keeper rather than him. Sirius could easily be disposed of in Azkaban along with the other Deatheaters. No one would question it. Everyone wanted to see justice done.
Remus Lupin was too busy trying to find answers to his Werewolf curse abroad and would have no clue about what was going on until it was too late to do anything about it. By the time he got back from wherever his travels had taken him on his quest for answers it would past the point when he might have been able to stand up for Sirius.
The werewolf would of course mourn his friends and hate Sirius for his betrayal; Dumbledore didn't care about such things, as long as Remus didn't meddle in his plans he cared very little for the state of the man or how he coped with the loss of everything he held dear.
Dumbledore smiled to himself, humming happily. He had a lot of work to do but he was satisfied with his plan. He popped a sherbet lemon in his mouth, sucking upon it leisurely as he went about his business. He may not officially have been Minister for Magic but the power and the control was ultimately his and he felt giddy on it.
Oh, how he enjoyed to pull the strings of those around him, dictating their lives as if he were a puppet master. Manipulating Neville to his own purpose would be easy, he was a fresh young mind after all, easy to mould into a hero as he grew up; someone that Dumbledore could be proud of.
He was getting to be the master manipulator, a fact that he was very proud of. He had manipulated Severus almost artistically; using the man's ridiculous infatuation with Lily to ensure the man brought him any information he could gather from the Deatheaters and Voldemort.
Of course his loyalty might waver a little now in the face of her death, but Dumbledore would have no trouble pinning the blame on Black and letting Severus' intense hate of the man do the rest of the work. He was confident that he would still have a firm grip on the man's loyalty when this night was over.
Severus Snape apparated between the tall and beautifully manicured yew hedges that bordered both sides of the driveway of Malfoy Manor, landing directly in front of the wrought-iron gates, where the wards preventing trespassers from entering began.
As a close friend of the family he could pass through them without trouble but no one could apparate within them. Harry wasn't perceived as a threat, given he was only a baby, and so the two of them were able to pass through without hassle.
The manor loomed over him ominously as he made the straight walk from the gates to the front door; the only things in his way were the lavish displays of wealth, including marble statues and albino peacocks that strutted around majestically.
The building itself was imposingly large and grand; it was rather pretentious, in his opinion, but none the less, there was no denying it suited the family well. It was a home he had visited regularly, it was one the Dark Lord believed suited his own stature and Deatheater meetings were frequently held here.
Even if Lucius wasn't home tonight then Narcissa would be; she had become somewhat obsessive about keeping young Draco out of harm's way, shielding him from the world that was becoming a dark and dangerous place to live.
She rarely left the safety of her home; she never needed to go anywhere anyway, not when everything they ever needed was brought to them by the many house elves in their service. Narcissa never wanted the Dark Lord anywhere close to her precious son and Severus could not begrudge her this; even less so now that he had Harry in his care.
Whenever the Dark Lord had taken up residence at Malfoy Manor, Narcissa had found solitude in young Draco's nursery, which Severus knew to be warded. She was not a witch to be trifled with; she possessed strong magic and used it to protect her first born son, not only from Voldemort but also her tyrant of her husband, who had become an increasingly cruel man since their wedding day.
Severus' brain was working on overdrive as he strode purposefully toward the imposing house, trying to come up with a vague but plausible story that he could tell Narcissa when she answered the door. He didn't want to put her in any danger by telling her too much. He trusted her, they were friends but he could not tell her the identity of the child.
As he raised his hand and knocked on the large door, Severus' heart was beating hard in his chest, anxious about the welcome that he would receive. He was surprised that the loud thumping of his heart in his chest had not woken the slumbering child as he held Harry so close to him.
If Lucius was home he would not be able to linger longer than a moment. Coming here had been one hell of a risky gamble to take, one he really hoped he didn't come to regret.
As the grand door to the stately home was opened, it was neither a house elf that greeted him, nor anyone he had expected to be there. In fact the face that met him now was not one he cared to see ever again. Fellow Deatheater and occasional friend to the Malfoy family, Fenrir Greyback, stood before him, barring him entrance. The werewolf's golden eyes were darting about, scanning the terrain behind Severus, scouting for any potential threats.
"Get inside, quickly," Greyback said in his rough, bark like voice. The werewolf reached out and grabbed Severus by the front of the robes, practically throwing him through the open door by the scruff of his neck, as Greyback continued to look outside warily, as if expecting attack at any moment.
The action of the Werewolf had been so sudden and violent that baby Harry had almost toppled from Severus' arms. Steadying himself just in time, he adjusted his hold upon the child and saw that Harry slept on, blissfully unaware of what was going on around him.
The front door was hastily slammed shut the moment Severus and Harry were across the threshold, the sound reverberating off the walls of the large entrance hall. Severus brought the infant closer to him, covering Harry's ears so that it did not disturb the slumbering child at all.
Fenrir turned to look at the potions master, with a displeased sneer on his handsome, strong face and then his eyes drifted down to the bundle of blankets in Snape's arms; a glittering look of interest sparked in his golden eyes. Inhaling deeply, the werewolf cricked his neck and smiled, baring his teeth.
"What are you doing here Greyback?" Severus asked, feigning annoyed disinterest, all the while his insides knotted with anxiety at having the monstrous man so close to him and Harry. "The Dark Lord will be displeased to see you have deserted your post," he said, in his usual cool drawling voice, his head held high as he met the werewolf's eyes with unwavering confidence.
Severus Snape knew full well he was one of Lord Voldemort's most trusted servants, that he easily outranked the Werewolf, who could be considered, at best, a lower level Deatheater. Greyback hadn't even had the so called privilege of the Dark Mark being branded onto his left forearm; not that Fenrir cared about this at all.
The werewolf was infamous all on his own, though it was perhaps not all truth but he didn't mind the stigma that came attached to the rumors as it meant people left him alone. He had joined the ranks of Voldemort for the carnage and the bloodshed, for access to victims and the chance for revenge for what had happened to his pack. A pack that was now dead.
Fenrir had few friends and with his pack slaughtered by Ministry Wizards he had sworn to get revenge, something Voldemort had offered to him but had so far not delivered. Though, if the rumours were true and the Dark Lord was gone then it was a good excuse to escape from it, he didn't want to be under the thumb of any man, especially not Voldemort. He had plans in mind, to get away from the wizarding world and start again.
Severus drew Harry closer into his body as he recalled that Fenrir had had a disturbing obsession with young children as of late. He knew that the Werewolf had a desire to start a pack of his own and seemed to be biting young children for that purpose.
"Have you not heard, Snape?" Fenrir mocked, taking a step towards the potions master; Severus held his ground despite how uncomfortable it made him to be so close to such a vile creature.
Every instinct he had telling him to run a mile and keep Harry as far from Greyback as possible, but Narcissa Malfoy was still their best hope and that meant standing his ground. "The Dark Lord is gone," Fenrir went on, inhaling deeply again and not taking his eyes from Harry, "dead according to rumour." Though Fenrir put very little stock in rumours.
Greyback had never had the presence of a pleasant man and never pretended otherwise. On the contrary in fact and he rather enjoyed having this air about him. When you looked at him you could tell he was not the kind of man to be messed with and he liked that.
He was a big, over six feet tall, overly muscled, with dark blonde hair that fell to his shoulders with large golden eyes. He neither cared what he looked like nor came across as being well groomed. He had worn the same brown leather jacket, which reached down to just above his calves, over a bare, well defined chest since the first time Severus had laid eyes upon him. Even in the dead of winter the Werewolf never wore a shirt, the elements did not affect the species as much as it did everyone else.
"I have heard the rumour," Severus said carefully, keeping his eyes on the aggressive looking man, not liking the way that Fenrir never once took his eyes from the bundle of blankets that contained Harry.
He felt the young child stir in his arms; Fenrir's golden gaze had not faltered from the child since they had entered and this didn't change now.
The beast of a man was on some kind of vendetta against the world, seemingly wanting to populate the world with his kind after he had lost his pack. He had taken to biting children to see if they were strong enough to survive the change. Most were not strong enough, unfortunately, but those that were, were often left to fend for themselves, suffering once a month as they grew up with a monster inside of them.
What Fenrir planned to do with these poor children, Severus didn't know, nor did he care. It was none of his concern and he wouldn't waste time concerning himself with the inner workings of the beast's mind. He had other more important things on his mind and one of those was keeping Greyback away from Harry.
"I came to see if Narcissa and Lucius had any more information on the matter," Severus stated simply, thinking that this was was the plausible excuse to be at the Manor at such an hour. It was a reason that he hoped would not be questioned.
Hearing approaching footsteps, Severus turned, instinctively adjusting Harry in his arms to protect him from the approaching threat, just in case it was someone else come to hurt the infant he had sworn that he would protect.
"Good evening, Severus," Narcissa said softly as she entered the entrance hall of her home. She had heard voices and come to investigate what was going on and been relieved when she had recognized Severus' voice. She had no reason to fear the potions master.
In her arms a sleeping child lay, draped in a luxurious cashmere shawl and sucking his thumb; he had wisps of blonde hair upon his head and looked as content as could be. Draco, Snape's godson, was beautifully perfect and so clearly a Malfoy; his mother, however, looked worn and ragged as if she had not been sleeping well.
The last few months had taken its toll on Narcissa. Her somewhat deranged sister, Bellatrix had been hounding her as to why she had not been at the Deatheater meetings and the Dark Lord had been threatening the life of her child, if she did not cooperate and do as he demanded. The stresses and strains were starting to drain the life from her; the only thing she lived for was the baby in her arms for she had very little else.
"Narcissa, I am sorry to arrive unannounced," Severus began, casting a cautious eye to Fenrir, knowing that he could not speak openly in front of him. Narcissa simply failed to acknowledge the werewolf, clearly unhappy with his presence in her home. "I was hoping that you could assist me with a matter that is somewhat personal to me."
"Fenrir, could you possibly give Severus and I a moment? I realise that Lucius has asked you to protect us on this most awful of nights but I assure you that Severus means us no harm." She spoke this request coolly and with eloquent calm, it was a quality that Severus had always admired her for, to remain calm and collect whatever happened.
Fenrir Greyback looked between the two of them suspiciously. He had been summoned to Malfoy Manor in order to protect Malfoy's wife and son and, while he did not take being ordered around by anyone very well, Lucius was something akin to a friend and so he had agreed. His vow to protect the man's family was not something to be taken lightly, but there was no reason to believe Snape was a threat and so he begrudgingly nodded. Though he was somewhat reluctant to let the child in Snape's arms out of his sight.
Lucius had, of course, heard the rumours that the Dark Lord had fallen and made quick work of summoning Greyback to him. He needed someone powerful to remain with his wife and child while he salvaged his reputation and good standing at the Ministry of Magic. He planned to claim that he was under the Imperius curse and spare himself from Azkaban. However, just in case his plan failed, he had wanted someone to protect his family.
Lucius Malfoy wasn't stupid, of course, and so he had forced the Werewolf to make an Unbreakable vow; it was the only way he could ensure that Greyback wouldn't infect his wife or son with his curse. It had helped that the werewolf had been promised a generous fee for his services too.
As it happened Fenrir was just glad that vow he had made did not stretch to visitors, since the unknown child who was held in Snape's arms smelt enticingly good. He had an aroma of dark magic to him, but beneath that there was more, so much more.
He hadn't even seen if the child that Severus Snape carried was male or female but that didn't matter to him, gender and sexuality meant very little to him; as far as he was concerned there was only dominant and submissive. A powerful werewolf such as himself could scent good breeding mates and that was what Fenrir sensed in the child. He knew he would have to turn him, no matter what it took.
Only once Fenrir had reluctantly exited the room, and left them to it, did Severus breathe a little easier. It had unnerved him the way the werewolf had fixated so intently on Harry. Perhaps coming here had been a bad idea, even if he had been completely out of alternative options. Either way, Severus knew he couldn't change that now and so he had no choice by to just hope that he wouldn't regret his decision.
"I think we should take this conversation upstairs," Narcissa said before he could say anything. She was looking at him curiously, glancing occasionally at the bundle in his arms with a questioning expression that demanded answers.
Narcissa Malfoy had a good sense for trouble. Whatever the reason Severus Snape had for turning up on her doorstep this evening, she already knew that it would be neither good nor joyous; especially given that he had come with a child in his arms. She knew that he neither had a lover nor a child and therefore she could see no reason for him have this child in his care.
They would need privacy for this conversation, somewhere she knew that they couldn't be overheard; and so she led him up the nearest staircase thinking that there was only one place that she could take him where she would happily lay Draco down to rest for a while, especially with Greyback in the house.
Without question, Severus began to follow her; what else was he to do at this point? And, while she was clearly suspicious, he had no reason to believe she would bring harm to either him or Harry. She lead him to the one room in Malfoy Manor that was warded with enough protection, silencing and privacy enchantments that no one, probably not even Voldemort himself, would be able to break them; which had been her intent. The nursery.
Only once they were inside the nursery, and the door locked and warded shut, did either of them visibly relax. Narcissa moved over to the large rosewood cot and settled a sleeping Draco into it. She gazed lovingly at her son, stroking the white blonde hair fondly. The small child, suckled noiselessly on his thumb as he stirred lightly in his slumber after losing his mother's warmth but slept on without a care in the world.
"I never knew you to have a child, Severus," she said gently; her eyes still on Draco, watching him with love and unwilling to look away from her little boy. She would do anything for her child, there were no limits to her love for him. She had already taken several beatings from Lucius since giving birth, all in the name of protecting her precious boy.
"As of tonight Cissa, I have a son," Severus told her softly, reminding himself that he had to keep things vague. He cared deeply for Narcissa, they were friends but he would not put her in danger by telling her too much. It would have been selfish for him to do that, especially considering that it would also put Draco in danger too.
He knew that her mind would not be a safe place for such knowledge. He couldn't tell anyone the entire truth of the situation, not without the constant fear of being discovered. This would be his secret to keep.
He would have to make sure not to tell anyone the entire truth, but he would tell her just enough to assure her assistance; but nothing more, and then he would be gone, meaning that she would be out of danger. There was no need to put Narcissa in harm's way if he could avoid it.
"Indeed," Narcissa said, turning to him with curiosity still in her eyes, but when he made no attempts to elaborate she went on; deciding she would just have to trust his judgement and she did trust him she realised, they had been friends too long for her not to. "Settle him beside Draco, then you can rest. You look tired, Sev, have you slept at all since the last time we spoke?" she asked.
Narcissa cared for Severus dearly, he had always looked out for and protected her, shielding her from the Dark Lord when it was needed and often more frequently than her own husband had. They had been friends for a great many years and it had been an easy decision to make, when she had chosen him to be Godfather to her child; even Lucius had been more than willing to bestow the honour on the man.
She was intensely curious as to how Severus had come to have such a young child in his care but he had never kept things from her without purpose and so she knew that he would have his reasons for not sharing all the details of his current predicament.
Severus Snape had the mind of a true and devious Slytherin; but, unusually, he was also an incredibly selfless man more often than not. If he decided to conceal something then it was for very good reason. She knew him well enough to know that whatever his reasons for having this child in his care then he wasn't doing it for himself.
Their lives had, for so long, been controlled by a man whom could delve into the deepest recesses of his servants' minds, and many of those servants were little better than the Dark Lord himself. She understood all too well that sometimes ignorance was for the best.
She had, of course, learnt that the hard way, as had so many of the Deatheaters and his victims alike. She hated the terror and uncertainty they lived in, and there was very little she wouldn't have done to escape from the Dark Lords grasp, taking her son with her. However, she still held out a vain hope that her husband cared for her; although it was becoming less and less likely every time he hit her and every time he forced himself on her.
Tentatively, Severus moved forward, adjusting his grip on Harry so that he could settle the sleeping child in beside Draco. The two young boys were so vastly different to one another; Harry's hair was as dark as Draco's was blond and even their skin tones contrasted, the Malfoy child's several shades lighter making the other boy look considerably tanned by comparison, even though he too was milky white.
Carefully, Severus adjusted the bright red blanket over Harry, who had squirmed unhappily when he had been put down but didn't make a sound. Severus lingered on him a moment, unable to help himself admire how adorable the two of them looked, sleeping side by side. Narcissa stood beside her friend, smiling down at the two boys and envying their innocence.
When large green eyes flickered open Narcissa gasped at their beauty. She had seen those eyes before but she couldn't for the life of her remember where or who they had belonged to and it took her a while to realise, without Severus saying a word, who this child belonged to.
She could see the angry red scar upon his forehead, the mark of dark magic. Shaped like a lightning bolt in dark crimson, the mark was recent and would scar horribly and permanently. The young child's dark mass of raven hair was all over the place. He could easily have been Severus' child but she knew that he wasn't. Narcissa wasn't naive, nor was she stupid; she knew that whatever had happened tonight, this child had something to do with it. You didn't gain a mark like that by accident.
That Severus had come to her for help on tonight of all nights had been enough to tell her that he probably wasn't suppose to have this boy and she thought that it was probably foolish for him to have taken him. Whatever the reason for Severus having this child however, she had to trust that he was making the right choice. She trusted the man, that she knew.
"It's true, isn't it?" Narcissa whispered softly, gazing down at the two infants, Severus by her side. She reached down with one hand, grasping at Severus' their fingers lacing together innocently
"I believe so," Severus said, giving her hand a squeeze, trying his best to reassure her. "He is gone … for now."
"And you are leaving with this child," she said calmly; it wasn't a question, merely a statement of fact. It would sadden her to lose her friend but even with so few words spoken between them she could see that this was what needed to happen. This child, he would be renowned and she could see that all Severus wanted to do was protect him from that and a life that almost wouldn't be worth living with all the danger he would be in.
She had suspected that it was Severus' intention to disappear when he had turned up here with an unexplainable child in his arms. Now it was becoming increasingly clear to her that it meant he would have to leave permanently and hide away from their world, leaving her behind.
It would be the only way that he would be able to protect this boy, who she could see would need protecting from so many people. Curiosity over what had happened, and how Severus had come to have the young boy in his care without being caught, was threatening to overwhelmed her but she wouldn't allow it to tempt her; the less she knew the better.
"I am," Severus confirmed and she nodded her head, understanding why he was being so vague and her role in this evening. She knew that she would help him without question; they were friends and if the situation had been reversed then Severus would have done the same for her.
"What do you need?" she asked him gently. It wasn't much, but those three words lifted Severus' heart; it was all he needed to hear to know she would help.
Narcissa may not have known for sure the reason behind why Severus was determined to leave with this child but he was a good man and whatever his reasons behind his actions she had decided to help him. Whoever this child was, and she had her suspicions, she would be glad to help.
Both she and her husband had been in Lord Voldemort's inner circle since his rise to power, though it had not been her choice to be. Due to how close she had been to Voldemort on her husbands request, she could make an educated guess as to who the boy was and exactly how much danger he was in, even with the Dark Lord gone.
"Enough of whatever is needed to care for the child for a week," Severus responded, giving her a grateful smile, their hands still joined together. "At least until we can settle down somewhere."
He knew that she would understand and give him aid without the need for a long and complicated explanation because that was who Narcissa was. A bright, intelligent witch who was taken for granted both by her husband and the master she unwilling served.
"Severus, I will gladly help you and give you whatever you need," Narcissa told him earnestly, "but I will not permit you to leave here until you have rested," she insisted stubbornly.
She could see how exhausted the man was, he had confided in her only last week that he had not been sleeping well; it was the effect that the Dark Lord had on his followers, even on a man as well practiced in the art of Occlumency as Severus. He looked even more exhausted now than he had then; she strongly suspected he had not slept one wink the night before. She could not in good conscience allow him to leave her home in such a state of exhaustion and with a young boy to care for as well.
"I will remember your kindness, Cissa, always," he told her bringing her into him and holding her in a tight embrace. She returned the hug gratefully, the contact a comfort to her. It had been so long since she had shared anything as innocent as a hug with anyone other than her son.
Lucius was not a man who enjoyed cuddling or showing any affectionate gestures whether in public or in private. He was not an romantic or a gentle man by any stretch of the imagination, not even towards his son, but she still insisted, more to herself than anyone else that she loved him regardless. If for no other reason that for the beautiful boy he had given her, the heir to the Malfoy name and estate.
Helping Severus tonight would at least distract her from what her husband was trying to do for his family; she was concerned that he would be whisked off to Azkaban the moment he set foot in the Ministry and she would be left alone with their young son. She had no idea how self serving her husband was being as he went about the ministry, saving his own skin.
Tending to her friend gave her a purpose and a welcome distraction; she wouldn't sleep until Lucius returned home and greyback was dismissed from his position as guard dog, this task would be a good use of her time until then.
In more than one instance Severus Snape had saved her from humiliation and on more than one occasion torture as well at the hands of Lucius and the Dark Lord and so she was glad she could be of assistance to her friend tonight. She owed him this and her silence on the matter too.
Fenrir Greyback couldn't stop thinking about the infant whom Severus Snape had brought to the Manor; he cared very little who the boy was, or where he had come from, but the scent of him had been burned into his werewolf brain irrevocably.
His mind was frantic with the desire to taste the child's blood, to sample that which ran in the veins of someone who smelled so deliciously tempting to him. That child would be bitten and infected, and he would be the one to do the honour.
He knew that the child could not be of Severus' own blood as he could smell no familial connection between them at all, but still he could not bring himself to care who the infant was. It made no difference and the only thing that was of importance now was that the child's future, when fully grown, would be as his new mate.
Fenrir had not scented anything or anyone as perfect or as pure as that child in his lifetime. Not even his last mate, who was long dead along with his two pups who had been growing in her belly and the rest of his pack. A pack that he had sworn vengeance for, revenge that Voldemort had promise and never delivered.
They had been killed by the Ministry of Magic for his apparent crimes or so he believed, there had been very little proof either way but it was clearly the work of wizards. He blamed himself every day for not doing what he should have done as the Alpha of their pack and as her mate, to protect them from harm.
He felt anger bubble in the pit of stomach as he remembered what had happened to them all, his precious pack whom he had cared for as any Alpha would. He had failed them all but he would not fail again, especially not now that the opportunity to take another mate and create another pack had arisen.
In his foolish, grief induced state he had joined Voldemort, so as to take revenge upon those that had killed his first mate and the two pups that had been growing in her belly. He had regretted that decision as soon as he had made it, of course, but that was all in the past and Voldemort was dead, if the rumours were to be believed. Everything he had seen so far led him to believe that they were true.
He was glad for the Dark Lords demise; he had hated that monster of a man more than he had hated anything in his life, including the disease that had killed his mother when he was a child. Voldemort had never smelt right, his soul fragmented and decaying. It had sickened Fenrir to see anyone in such a poor state of existence.
The Ministry was hunting him down and he had had no where else to go when his pack had been slaughtered so brutally. Werewolves were not welcomed into society but by accepting a place as one of Voldemort's henchmen it had given him a chance to get his revenge of some witches and wizards, to take his anger out on the victims he was offered and distract himself with violence.
However, in the end, none of it had helped him to forget. For years he had bitten children in the hope that they might grow up strong enough to build a new pack with, but his plans had fallen short as only a handful of them had survived.
Despite the Dark Magic, that lingered beneath the skin of the infant Snape had carried in his arms, he knew the heart that beat within was strong and pure. It would be virile enough to survive the initial bite, he was sure, and then the first change after that.
So many of the children that he had bitten had not but this one was different and Fenrir had decided that he had to lay claim to the child. He could see that when the child was fully grown he would make a fine wolf, there was no doubt about that. That was what Fenrir desired when he infected the younglings of wizards, a powerful pack of Wolves that would be stronger than his last.
Once he had bitten the youngster he would allow Snape to do whatever he planned to do, taking a back seat; he had no interest in raising the infant, he had no desire to be a father figure to anyone unless it was to his own pups.
He had something much better in mind for this particular youngling. Siring the child, giving him the blessing of a werewolf life would ensure that the youngster became like him and become strong. All he had to do was watch and wait for the opportunity to do what needed to be done and then he would just have to bide his time until the infant became fully grown and matured, only then he would step in once again.
Narcissa entered the sitting room where Fenrir had been lounging, pondering over the child, shaking him from his thoughts. She looked tired but by now it was the early hours of the morning and that was to be expected.
Narcissa was a beautiful woman, even sleep deprived with bags beneath her silver eyes but he couldn't stand her blonde hair, he much preferred brunettes. Though he still watched her carefully, it wasn't often that she was without her child and even now she seemed at a loss of what to do with herself as she moved through the room.
"Where's Snape?" Fenrir asked curiously, trying to keep all the tension and impatience out of his voice. He actually cared very little for Snape but he knew that Snape would never leave the child.
"Resting," Narcissa replied curtly, her mind clearly busy with other thoughts. She cared very little for Greyback, she knew that he would not hurt her, could not, thanks to the unbreakable vow that Lucius had insisted on. She had no fear in regards to turning her back on the monstrous man.
The two of them had never been the best of friends and he doubted they ever would be. It was Lucius who Fenrir was acquaintances with; neither man fully trusted anyone, so their acquaintance was one of convenience more than anything else.
Narcissa, on the other hand, merely accepted the werewolf's presence because of her husband, who she knew was only trying to protect his family. However just because she was happy to tolerate him did not mean she had to be overly courteous to him. Narcissa distrusted Greyback because of his love of biting and infecting children. She knew that he had made the vow not to hurt her or Draco, and yet she still could not bring herself to trust him.
"Is he staying long?" Fenrir demanded, watching the woman carefully.
He found himself thinking that he too could do with a rest but he would not leave his two wards unprotected, even for a moment, not until Lucius returned. He was nothing if not professional in everything he undertook, plus he had been told that he would be paid handsomely for his troubles.
Fenrir had welcomed the news that Severus was resting, it would mean the child he had brought with him would be without a guardian until he awoke. This was his opportunity, he just had to take it when no one was likely to stop him.
"Long enough," Narcissa said, "he has asked me to gather a few things for him before he leaves."
Fenrir nodded courteously as she bustled off to do what she needed to do; the woman never seemed comfortable in his presence, he had noticed, but that wasn't particularly unusual and he was hardly offended. Not many people were comfortable being around him, either because of his reputation, which was grossly over exaggerated, or what he was.
Greyback, realising that now might be his only opportunity, took his chance; the child would be sleeping and unprotected. Severus was resting and Narcissa was busy doing whatever the potions master had asked of her. He smirked to himself, anticipation brewing inside him as he stole silently from the room and up the stairs.
He edged his way slowly along the corridor, following the scent of the child he desired, past many doors, the delectable scent which hung in the air, almost intoxicating his senses directing him towards the nursery.
The wards around the room would have no effect on him; it was something which Lucius had insisted upon, so that he would be able to go anywhere and everywhere in the manor. The argument for this had been that if he couldn't enter a room then he would never be able to fully protect them if an intruder broke in, which was why Narcissa had eventually bent to the will of her husband and allowed Fenrir through the wards that surrounded Draco's bedroom, though she had done so reluctantly.
It was this that had brought about the casting of the unbreakable vow too, so that she could be reassured that the Werewolf wouldn't hurt her baby or infect him with his curse. He pressed his hand on the door and inhaled deeply, a smile forming on his face; yes, this was where they had predictably brought the boy.
Standing at the threshold of the room he pushed open the heavy oak door. Moonlight flooded in through the window as the curtains had not been drawn this evening. The room was huge, the rose wood crib, at the centre point of the space, where the heir of the name and fortune of Malfoy lay. Tonight, however, he was not alone, curled up beside him was another boy and they both slept peacefully.
Severus had fallen asleep in Narcissa's nursing chair in the corner of Draco's room; exhaustion had overcome him but he had refused to leave the room where Harry lay sleeping. He had been too afraid of going anywhere just in case something was to happen and he wouldn't be able to reach Harry in time.
Severus, however, couldn't have imagined the horror that was now creeping up on the precious bundle that he had sworn to protect, while he slumbered only a few feet away. A horror that was about to alter the course of both their lives forever.
The werewolf was not pleased to see the man had stubbornly remained in the room with the child but it did nothing to change his plans; he knew what he wanted and nothing was going to stop him. Moving, as swiftly and as silently as he could, Fenrir crossed the nursery, he took great care not to tread on any squeaky floorboards for fear of waking up the slumbering potions master and have his plan foiled at the last moment.
It only took a few paces of Fenrir's long broad legs to reach the middle of the room and when he did he peered over the rose wood crib bars. His golden eyes fixated on the dark haired child; the scent was even more intoxicating now that he was able to get closer. He took a deep lungful of the aroma and quivered with undiluted excitement. This was the child that he had been waiting for.
He brought a large hand down to gently stroke the mass of raven hair atop the boy's head. As he came into contact with the infant, large green eyes opened and fixated on him. Fenrir was surprised that there was no fear there, simply a glittering curiosity. This child was unique, that was for sure. In fact he was the first youngling that had not wailed for its parents at the sight of him. Oh yes, it was clear that this child was exactly what Fenrir was looking for.
The small hand of the child reached up to touch his own; there was a gleam of joy in the brilliantly intense emerald eyes and a contented grin upon the child's face. Fenrir gently clasped the tiny fingers in his grip, leaning over the bars of the cot, licking his sharp teeth, coating them with his infectious saliva.
It was regretful almost that he would have to break the skin and draw blood for the infection to be effective, which would surely make the boy cry but he knew that it must be done if he were to achieve his goal. He had done this many times before, he knew how to infect a person without injuring them too badly and he didn't want to scar his future mate at all.
One nip was all it took, his sharp front teeth, coated with infected saliva sinking into the soft flesh of the pad of the baby's left index finger. The baby screamed, of course he was bound to, as Fenrir had broken the skin and had tasted blood upon his tongue. He savoured it, enjoying the metallic taste as he lapped up every drop that he could, committing it to memory as well as the scent.
The instant that the little boy's shrill cries pierced the air, Severus Snape was on his feet, wide awake and with his wand drawn. Greyback let out a harsh laugh because he had already succeeded, it was too late and the deed had been done.
Horrified understanding dawned on Severus' face as he fired a stunning spell at the werewolf in a rage; infuriated with himself that he had fallen asleep and let his guard down, putting Harry at risk. He had been so foolish to even rest his eyes for a moment and give such a monster a chance to get close to Harry.
His heart sunk as he realised that he had failed so badly at protecting the child already. He was ashamed of himself and he knew that Lily would be too. The precious child that he thought he would be protecting by taking him from Godric's Hollow was now a werewolf, forever cursed and it was entirely his fault.