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The Grey Man by Girlforeverlost
Chapter 1 : No One Really Wins
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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This fic was written for InspiredL’s “First line Challenge.” The quote, "I am a sick man . . .I am a spiteful man." – is by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground (1864; trans.Michael R. Katz). Thanks for reading!

“I am a sick man...I am a spiteful man,” muttered Severus Snape.

In a matter of hours he had become responsible for the eminent death of his only love, Lily Potter. It seemed so long ago that he had woken up and set out to his task imposed by the Dark Lord. He was to follow Albus Dumbledore, trying to get information about the Order of the Phoenix. This morning Severus had been confident that the Dark Lords influence would continue to ooze through England, seeping into the wizarding world like a shadow and making sure muggles were frightened of the unseen terrors and mysterious oddities that plagued their world. While not exactly proud of what he was doing, Severus felt confident knowing that the people who had always been his friends, from school years to now, were there for him and he was on the winning side of the wizarding war.

Severus groaned and buried his face into his hands he had never felt more disgusted in himself than he did at that moment. He had followed Dumbledore willingly, not only this day but for the past week, because he had always felt betrayed by Dumbledore. The old man had never helped him when he was being humiliated by Potter and Black, he had never put a stop to the constant teasing. Severus knew he had to of known what was going on in his own school, and had chosen to ignore it. In fact, he had bypassed him as the obvious choice for head boy and appointed James Potter. James Potter, who was his number one tormentor since the moment he set foot in school, who was an arrogant, pompous, toe rag. Severus had wished to make the old man suffer, to find out crucial information and proudly present it to his Master, and be rewarded. He was hungry for the final acknowledgement of how great he was, not just in potions, but in everything Severus put his mind to.

It had been boring, terribly so, today. As with the other days, Dumbledore had done nothing of importance. He hadn’t even visited the area where the Death Eaters had assumed was the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. So when Severus had followed him earlier that night to the Hogs Head bar, he had settled down, ordered a drink, and not expected much. As he watched, Dumbledore had met with an eccentric looking woman, and headed up stairs to a private room. Intrigued, Severus had followed. It was only after he had situated himself discreetly outside the room that Severus had the horrific thought that Dumbledore was meeting with a scarlet woman. While the unease of thinking of the old man’s sex life had sprung into his mind, he had heard the unmistakable sound of someone prophesising. Forgetting all pretences, Severus had boldly hovered near the door, listening to the woman groan and gasp before speaking of her vision.
“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 ... “

With the prophecy ringing in his ears, he had been caught eavesdropping by the owner of the Hogs Head and promptly thrown out. Not that it mattered, he had heard all the was need to be heard, and he quickly apparated to the Death Eaters headquarters and touched his mark to inform his master of what he had heard. The Dark Lord had been pleased, and happier than he had been in a long time.

“You are certain this is what you heard, Severus?” He had asked unnecessarily, he could tell Severus was certain.

“Yes, my lord, I am certain,” Severus had replied, bowing deeply to his Master.

“Then I must figure out who this prophecy refers to.” Voldemort had mused, certainly more to himself than to Severus. However Severus decided to speak up, and enlighten the Dark lord to who he thought the prophecy referred to.

“My Lord, if I may, I think this prophecy refers to the Longbottoms. They have a baby due at the end of July, a pureblood, and they have somehow managed to escape you before.” Severus had said.

This had earned him a cruciatus from his master. There was nothing more painful than the cruciatus curse from the Dark Lord, who had certainly perfected the curse. The feeling of white hot knives piercing every inch of his skin, all the way top the bone had left him unable to speak or move after it had been lifted.

“Yes, a possibility. The child could be what this speaks of. However, there is another family who this could speak,”

The burning sensation in Severus’ blood had turned to ice at those words. He knew exactly who the other family was.

“Master, the child is a half blood!” Severus had exclaimed, struggling to his knees.

“Yes, it’s true Severus, he is, But I do not wish to harm the pureblood. Even with his parents, once I rule the Wizarding world absolutely, I can show him where his true allegiances lie. Yes, it is the Potter child that I will have to eliminate.” Voldemorts mind had been made.

And Severus’ heart had shattered.

He knew Lily, his wonderful, loving, and kind Lily would never let any harm befall her family, and especially her own child. She would risk her life to save his. He did not care if Potter died, or truthfully even the child, who was probably going to be just like its father, but Lily did not deserve it.

“I see your...affection for the mudblood. There are plenty of them to be your plaything, Severus,” Voldemort had said, disappointment laced in his tone.

“Yes, My lord. She is special.” Severus had muttered, still on his knees, he had not trusted his strength to help him stand.

“Then, as a favour to you for the information you have given me, for which Lord Voldemort is grateful, she will be spared.” Said the Dark Lord.

Severus’ heart had soared.

“Thank you, my lord! Thank you!” he had exclaimed.
“If she does not interfere.” The Dark Lord had added, almost as an afterthought.

“Yes, my lord.” Severus had replied, and apparated home soon afterwards.

He knew Lily would die, because she was too much of a Gryffindor to step aside when her child was in danger. Severus now realized that the Dark Lord would not care if he murdered Lily Evans, even though it would destroy Severus.

When Severus had hoped for a favour, he had not been greeted with one, and now the doubts had begun.

Severus pulled his head up out of his hands and glanced around. The steady sound of the clock, ticking away the seconds, screamed at him. To him, it was now the sound of his only loves life ticking away, second by second. He had been spiteful, wanting to hurt the Order of the Phoenix, to hurt Dumbledore, when he had run the information of the prophecy to his Lord.

Now, he sensed that the only person who could help him was Dumbledore. He would contact Dumbledore, meet him, and tell him what he had done. If Lily’s life was going to end, he wanted her to know that he had done all he can to stop it.

The clock kept ticking. Severus felt his blood pressure rise, the panic flowing into his veins. He didn’t know how long he had until the Dark lord would make his attempt on the Potters, he had to act quickly.

Standing up, he strode to his writing desk and pulled out parchment. Dipping his quill into the ink, he jotted down his message to Dumbledore.

Potters in trouble. Meet me.

Maybe, just maybe, he wasn’t such a sick, spiteful man.

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