Categories > Books > Harry Potter > What Now, Severus?

Team Evil's Progress

by Emilie_D 1 review

Snape visits his Death Eater associates and chats with Voldemort.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Romance - Characters: Snape - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2006-10-24 - Updated: 2006-10-24 - 3069 words - Complete

Snape Apparated to a different part of the grounds of Riddle house than previously. The sun was fairly low in the sky, and he stood for a few minutes, mentally preparing himself. He would have another destination after this one, and he hoped this visit would not be difficult.

He foresaw greater difficulties in the future, and wanted this to be quick, although he knew well that nothing went according to his wishes when he dealt with the Dark Lord. The air was cool, but he was unsure whether the slight chill he felt was the result of the temperature or anticipating his meeting with the Dark Lord.

The kitchen was dim and empty when he entered, but sounds emanated from a doorway that seemed to lead to the cellars. He paused, holding his wand ready, and suddenly the giant snake, Nagini, slithered in through another door and halted before him, scenting him with her flicking tongue.

"Please tell your master that I am here," he muttered in a low voice. "I shall be in the cellar."

The snake turned and left through the same door it had entered through. He watched it depart, and stepped cautiously down the stairs to the cellar.

A cold, shrill voice was rhythmically chanting, "Damn you, Snape... Curse you, bloody Snape... Damn you to hell, Snivellus... Curse you, Snivellus..."

A vicious smirk transformed Snape's features. Whatever unpleasant surprises might lie in store for him, he had certainly displeased Peter Pettigrew. He reached the bottom step and discovered the Animagus sweating over an enormous cauldron. A huge table stood nearby, with immense amounts of ingredients in various stages of preparation, along with a battered copy of /Moste Potente Potions/.

"Pettigrew, is this all the progress you have made?" he queried in a chilling tone. "I had thought you more competent. My third year students are more handy than you."

Peter Pettigrew jumped, and a look of shocked dismay flashed across his face, hastily mastered. He hoped Snape had not heard the childish chant he had adopted since this assignment had begun. "Snape! I've made excellent progress, considering that it took so much time to assemble the ingredients."

Snape allowed his eye to roam across the disorder on the table, then to gaze at the frustrated, sweating, little wizard stirring the cauldron. "You shall be the first to sample this potion, so be sure that there are no mistakes." He glanced into the cauldron to assure himself that it had been started correctly.

Pettigrew stared resentfully at him. "How do you propose to get pieces of actual Hogwarts professors so you can actually use this bloody Polyjuice?" he muttered. "Do you think you can just waltz in and pluck a hair from McGonagall?"

"Do not worry, rodent," Snape drawled, "That is why I am in charge and you are merely my assistant. When the time comes, rest assured I should have what is needed. Now, precisely how long until the Polyjuice will be ready for use?"

"I only began brewing it this morning," Pettigrew snapped. "I estimate a full month from now it will be complete."

"Excellent," Snape murmured condescendingly. "You must remain in close attendance, since the Dark Lord will not wish to delay his plans because you are unable to complete a simple potion."

"I shouldn't have to brew this all by myself," he whinged, considering a whole month trapped in this filthy cellar, tied to a cauldron. "It's not fair! You should be tending it, not I. This is a job for a house elf!" He began flexing his silver hand compulsively as though to reassure himself that he too had power.

"Do you question my authority?" Snape asked menacingly, as he moved a step nearer to the smaller wizard. He glared disgustedly down and hissed, "/To me you are a tool, rat/, and your ownership of that silver paw does not impress me in the slightest." He loomed over Pettigrew in silence, watching for a sign of resistance, and when there was none he said, "If I hear one more disrespectful word from you I shall Transfigure you and feed you to kneazles. Now, have you a problem with tending this potion to completion, Pettigrew?"

"N-no," he stuttered meekly, cringing.

Snape wished he could roll his eyes. This was indeed revolting. He murmured icily, "No? Did you forget something?" His cold eyes bored into the Animagus, who gulped and squirmed.

No, Sir!" he choked, his beady eyes glowing with resentment.

"Better, Pettigrew," he said softly. Snape smiled horribly as he condescendingly praised the former Marauder. "Remember your place and I believe we shall serve the Dark Lord splendidly together."

"You seem to have everything under control, Severus," hissed an icy voice from the region of the stairs.

"Master," Snape murmured respectfully, unsurprised by his appearance. "Pettigrew and I are discussing the timetable for the Polyjuice Potion to be completed."

Voldemort emerged into the dim light of the cellar and stared intently at both wizards. "Excellent," he said. "Wormtail, if you will excuse us, I must confer with Severus regarding our plan. I assume he will be with us for the evening if you should need to consult with him later."

Pettigrew's resentment looked as if it would burst from him, but he quelled his anger and muttered, "Thank you, Master."

Voldemort led Snape up the stairs to the sitting room, where they were alone. His gleaming red eyes fixed on Snape's empty black eyes, and he asked, "Are you still confident of your plan?"

"I believe it has a strong possibility of success," Snape replied honestly. "There is much that I must do and many questions to be answered. Time will pass quickly, so I must not waste it."

"What questions?" Voldemort asked.

Snape allowed a faint, amused smile to cross his thin lips. "The rat asked me how I plan to acquire the necessary bits of Hogwarts staff to make the Polyjuice transformations."

"How will you do it?" The red eyes bored into his skull, waiting for the answer and searching for signs of treachery.

"I shall likely Imperius one of them during a visit to Hogsmeade, or perhaps one of the useless Aurors who are providing security," he replied calmly. "When I see a consistent pattern of behavior from Amycus's report I shall decide what is the best choice."

The Dark Lord nodded approvingly. "Have you any questions to ask of me?" he asked.

"I am concerned at having so few working with me," he said hesitantly, never before having been offered the chance to question the Dark Lord. "Although if you will indeed be with us at the moment we enter Hogwarts, your presence will assure our success. Are the rest of your Death Eaters all needed for the attack on the Ministry?"

A frown appeared on the monstrous face. "Bellatrix will need all possible assistance," he snapped. "Do you doubt your ability to accomplish this task with the resources I have allotted to you?"

"No. It shall be as you wish, Master," Snape murmured soothingly. "I shall give more of my time to assisting Amycus and Alecto in their surveillance of Hogsmeade then." He paused, and continued, "How many giants will assist us in the attack?"

"The wretches have decimated their own population over the years. There are only about eighty in existence, and some are so inbred and stupid that they are not functional for my purposes. I estimate that not more than twenty will be available to us," Voldemort said coldly.

Snape stared in shock at the dark wizard before him. "Twenty giants could practically dismantle Hogwarts stone by stone. How are you able to control them? Once they are aroused by the battle, how can you prevent them from completely destroying the castle?"

The red eyes gleamed madly. "They will undoubtedly damage the structure, but they will not destroy it completely. I am more concerned about the contents of the castle and grounds, Snape. We shall have no problem educating our future Death Eaters in less pristine conditions."

A slight look of dismay appeared in the black eyes, hastily quelled, but not before Voldemort detected it.

"You disagree with me?" the Dark Lord hissed dangerously.

Snape drew a breath before replying, "My apologies, Master. I appear to have become fonder of the place than I should be. But it is a masterpiece of the magical arts, and I do not wish to see massive destruction."

The Dark Lord was extremely pleased to have discovered an Achilles heel in this new, more powerful Severus Snape. An evil light shone in his eyes. "I did not realize that you would care, Severus. If you wish it, my faithful servant, we shall try not to damage the structure too significantly. I have considered..." here he paused and eyed the black clad wizard carefully. "If we succeed with this mission, you are my choice to be the new Headmaster of Hogwarts."

Snape could only stare at him. The dark wizard obviously thought he was offering the greatest prize imaginable to him, and he must proceed cautiously. "I am deeply honored that you would consider me for such a position. Thank you, My Lord."

"Of course, first we must take possession of Hogwarts, right?" The chilling voice sounded jovial. "What other questions do you have for me?"

"The Inferi," Snape replied, trying to collect his thoughts after the appalling offer he had just received. "How many are under your control?"

"Quite a large number," Voldemort said with an evasive smile. "I should be able to offer forty to serve in your attack. Will that be adequate?"

"I should think so," Snape said. "How are they controlled? Where will they come from, and where will the giants be when it is time to attack? The timing must be planned precisely."

"The giants are controlled by their leader, a filthy creature called the Gurg," Voldemort told him, "and the Gurg follows me."

Snape contented himself with a simple nod in reply to this statement. He had many questions, but knew that he had almost exhausted the madman's patience. "My Lord, how much of this plan for Hogwarts is known to Bellatrix and her associates?" he asked cautiously.

"She is undoubtedly somewhat aware of the plan, however I shall not share all the details with her. Does this cause you concern?" Again, Voldemort seemed amused.

"You must be aware that I am concerned. Her hatred of me may overcome her judgment, with disastrous results. I do not presume to question your choosing her to lead the attack at the Ministry, but I do not wish her to interfere with what will be a very precise mission at Hogwarts, with no room for error."

A manic gleam shone from the red eyes. "I am sure you will manage admirably, Severus," he said genially. "If there is no more, I must meet with Bellatrix shortly. I am pleased with your progress, and if there is anything you need, come to me."

They stood, and Severus nodded deferentially. He was aware that no one had shared any plans for the Ministry attack with him, however he could feel the red eyes boring into his back as he turned and left the room. Severus considered a few parting words for Pettigrew, but decided there was enough to do in spying on his cloddish spies in Hogsmeade. He left the house through the kitchen door, discovering that the light had almost failed. He concealed his Muggle clothing under his cloak, pulled his hood over his face and Disapparated.

The Shrieking Shack stood in deep shadows as Snape appeared behind it. He entered into darkness through a loosely boarded cellar door at the rear, and sat in a raddled old chair to consider his next move. He shuddered to think what Alecto and Amycus would consider stealthy behavior in their new career as spies. He felt rather hungry, but as a fugitive he could not stroll into a pub and order food. He consoled himself by thinking how delicious breakfast would taste when he was home again with Zelda. He relaxed for a few moments, then pulled his hood over his head, applied a Disillusionment Charm to himself and strode silently into Hogsmeade.

The streets were empty, and the place had the deserted air it always had when school was not in session. The windows of the Three Broomsticks glowed invitingly, and a few voices carried through the open door. Farther away a faint light shone from the open doors of the Hog's Head. He wondered, horrified, if they could actually be so stupid as to infest the filthy pub run by Aberforth Dumbledore. He feared he would be disillusioned in every possible way as he glided toward the place.

The Hog's Head seemed refreshingly pleasant after the Dark Lord's presence. It was dim and greasy, and when he slipped through the open doors he saw the usual smattering of hags and anonymous, cloaked patrons. Snape stood by the wall and watched, but nothing remarkable occurred. He was pondering other places to search when a chunky witch, completely covered by her cloak, tripped down the back stairs and landed heavily on her arse, swearing and giggling stupidly. He sighed, realizing in equal of parts panic and relief that they were even stupider than he had thought.

Alecto stood up shakily and staggered to the bar. She paid for a bottle of firewhiskey, which the barman handed over sullenly, and went back upstairs. Snape paused, noting with a pang, that this Dumbledore's resemblance to his brother was greater than he had thought previously. He gathered his wits impatiently and had begun to follow Alecto, when he realized that the barman had disappeared from view.

"Goin' somewhere, Severus Snape?" grunted a rough voice. Long fingers twined into the neck of his cloak and Snape found himself staring into familiar blue eyes that lacked the humorous twinkle he was accustomed to. "P'rhaps we'll have a chat first."
A wand was held to his throat, and Snape nodded slowly.

Aberforth pushed him through a doorway into a cramped office and shoved him roughly into a hard wooden chair. He circled the hook-nosed wizard before taking a position in front of him. "Whose side're you on?" he hissed.

"Don't you know?" replied Snape. He honestly had no idea how closely this wizard had been involved with his late brother and the affairs of the Order. His own interaction had been limited to occasionally acquiring bezoars from him.

"I could kill you now..." the old man muttered pensively, "or call the Aurors. But Albus was a deep 'un and he trusted you. I can't deal with them up at the school, but I wonder about you, Snape..."

Snape looked deep into the blue eyes and felt powerful Legilimency attacking him. He closed off all but his final dealings with Albus Dumbledore, and felt his attacker pounce on them. He allowed his conversation with the portrait Headmaster to remain accessible, and lastly, the moments in the Astronomy Tower when a dying wizard pleaded with him to finish it. In return he probed the old man's mind a bit, realizing that this was the most powerful natural Legilimens he had ever encountered. He withdrew and waited in silence.

Aberforth sat down behind his desk, no longer thinking of vengeance. He seemed grimly satisfied as he eyed the younger man.

"You're a Legilimens," Snape offered, feeling stupid. "I did not know."

"Never had much use for the wand wavin' nonsense," was the reply as the old man tossed his wand carelessly onto the desk. "Nor schoolin' neither."

"I see," Snape murmured, and having recently learned of Zelda and Michael's abilities, he did see. The glimpse of Aberforth's mind and emotions had given him food for later thought, but at the moment he needed to see if the 'other' Dumbledore might help him.

"Still spyin' then?" Aberforth asked grimly, shaking back his long, straggling gray hair.

Snape nodded.

"Reckon I can help you, if you want," he offered. "Them two in that room are up to no good, eh?"

Snape nodded again. "Obviously they don't know who you are, or even they would not have been so stupid as to come here. Have they been here long?"

"Couple days. Think they're bein' /discreet/." Aberforth snorted in disgust. "They always were stupid as shit."

Snape could hardly believe he was going to trust this strange old man with part of the truth, but his help would be valuable. "They are spying for me. The Dark Lord plans to attack Hogwarts several weeks from now, and he has ordered me to plan the attack. Those morons are my... /assistants/."

"D' they know, up there at the school?"

Snape nodded. "I hope to stay in contact and help them plan their defense."

Aberforth said nothing, merely staring at him for several minutes. At last he nodded, as if more than one question had been answered. "M' brother thought a lot of you. Reckon he knew what he was about. What can I do for you?"

"I must speak to those two clowns now, but after I leave, please make sure they are unhindered. They are to be learning the routines of everyone here and reporting back to me periodically. Allow them to stay here, lest they do something even more idiotically obvious."

A nod was his only response. Obviously Albus had been the conversational brother, Snape thought sardonically.

"Will you be able to warn the residents here so they can defend themselves or flee, if necessary, when the attack is near? Nothing has been said, but it would surprise me if he plans to spare Hogsmeade," Snape said. "I shall return again when I am able, to allow time to prepare."

Another nod, and the old barman gestured toward the door, signaling that they were finished for the time being. Snape stood and impulsively held his hand out to the other man, who hesitated briefly, then took it. "Thank you," he said, and watched an unlovely flush tint the old man's cheeks as he nodded one last time.

Aberforth went to resume his station behind the bar, and Snape headed for the stairs, crushing down the confused emotions that roiled within his mind. He still must go and offer direction to his team of spies. Leadership has drawbacks, he thought irritably.
Sign up to rate and review this story