Chapter 18 : Memories
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Snape was sitting behind his desk grading papers when Tom walked in.
"You're early," Snape said without looking up.
"You said not to be late sir," Tom replied. Snape's lip curled a bit, but he seemed to accept the response.
"Sit in that chair and give me your wand," Snape commanded.
Tom sat down obediently but paused before handing the Professor his wand," Won't I need it sir."
"No, Occlemency is a skill that needs to be learned without a wand. It is extremely advanced and if you think that you are incapable of following instruction then please leave now," Snape sneered coldly.
Tom didn't reply instead he simply held out his wand to the professor who took it swiftly.
"Occlemency is an art and it is of utmost importance that you first understand this. If you wish to learn the art you must first respect its difficulty. You are to dedicate yourself fully into mastering it. It will not bend to your will the way a spell would you must bend to its," Snape stated.
Tom nodded taking in his every word," I promised I would take everything seriously sir," Tom assured him.
"The trick to Occlemency is to clear your mind of everything. Empty yourself of all your emotions and thoughts. If they aren't there then your enemy will have no way of obtaining them," Snape explained, "I am going to use Legilimancy to enter your mind. If a wizard is particularly powerful they will be capable of doing this without speaking or using a wand. This skill is complex and few wizards have ever been known to achieve any level of success with it."
"Voldemort was one of them," Tom said.
"Yes and I believe Augustine York has also achieved some level of accomplishment with the skill. I don't know the extent of his skill; however, it is fair to assume that Voldemort was far better at it than he was," Snape said. Tom clenched his jaw at the mention of his father's name. It made sense that his father would know how to use Legilimency. It would explain how the man always seemed to know what Tom and his brother were thinking. It would also explain why Occlemency was one of the few skills they were never taught. It would have prevented his father from being able to keep tabs on the two.
"I am going to use the incantation to intrude into your thoughts. I want you to push me out. Don't let me read your thoughts," Snape said.
He raised his wand and pointed it at Tom. He had all of thirty seconds to brace himself before Snape cast the spell.
The potions master's office vanished and Tom felt himself being dragged back in time into his memories.
Scott stood in front of him with sweat dripping down his face. His hands had boxing gloves on them and he was holding them defensively in front of his face. Tom felt a padded helmet on his head as the two circled each other in the ring. Tom recognized the memory immediately as one he had made over the summer at boxing camp. That summer had been the happiest time of his life to date.
The scene changed going back a little bit more in time. Quirrell was standing over him. He was unwrapping the turban on his head exposing Voldemort who was living on the back side of the man's head. Tom felt fear starting to creep into him slowly.
The memory shifted again going even farther into Tom's past. He was reliving the nightmare that used to plague him every time he shut his eyes. Jonathan stood in front of his bed talking harshly.
"He did it I know he did," Jonathan was saying.
"Did what?" Tom asked sleepily.
"Killed her," Jonathan replied back harshly.
Tom started to become aware of the second set of eyes that were watching the scene. Snape was in this vision with him taking in his every emotion.
Tom shook his head, "He wouldn't do that."
Tom started to feel a panicked feeling in his chest. Snape couldn't see this. It was personal and private, no one else was supposed to know about this moment, it was his burden to bear. Furthermore memories like this showed weakness, weakness that he had learned could only give others leverage on him. Allowing this was against the very core of his survival instincts.
"Not everyone in the world is good Tom. Father isn't going to rehabilitate himself and we will never be your perfect family," Jonathan sneered, "I'm going to ask him. Let's see what he says happened."
"No," Tom replied panicked, "He'll hurt you."
The vision shifted, now Jonathan was staring at someone else with his hard eyes," Long live Harry Potter." He said it like one would say their final words. Not in a sad way, nor regretful, but rather with resolve.
Tom tried with all his might to push Snape out. He had to stop this before the end came.
That's when the fire started. Jonathan was no longer in Tom's sight, nothing was. Every inch of his body burned, screaming with pain, begging for relief. The fire took over his entire conscious.
The vision disintegrated and he felt himself in the chair again. Beads of sweat rolled down his forehead. He was breathing heavy from exertion.
Snape stood where he was a minute ago not looking exhausted in the slightest.
"I told you to clear your mind. Compartmentalize your memories. How do you expect to shield an intruder from your emotions if you have them so predominantly displayed for them to take?" Snape said. His dark eyes were hard and showed no sign of acknowledgment of anything he had witnessed.
Tom didn't know what to say to him. He had no excuse for being incapable to perform. He had never done a spell before and simply gotten no results. It was uncharted territory.
"Again," Snape said. Immediately he raised his wand.
A man with disheveled black hair that fell just past his ears stood three feet in front of him. The moon cast a dark shadow across his face making him look particularly menacing. On the ground a between them lay a crippled body. It was a woman, her body wasn't moving. She looked dead, but Tom knew better. She was alive, but only just.
"Try the spell again," the man barked.
"I-I'm tired," Tom complained. Judging from his short haircut he was probably about ten years old at the moment.
"Does it look like I care boy," the man said threateningly.
"Father-" Tom started to protest but he was cut off. The man waved his wand and Tom collapsed onto the ground writhing in pain. His screams filled the night air making the woman stir slightly. It continued like this for five minutes before the man lowered his wand relieving young Tom.
"Perform the spell," he commanded again not giving the boy any time to recover.
Tom gathered himself standing up and pointing his arm shakily at the muggle woman.
"Good lord boy," his father shouted frustrated. He moved and pointed his own wand at the woman," Avada Kedavra."
If the woman looked dead before she certainly looked dead now. Her body sagged into the ground losing any trace of life.
"That is how you do it boy," his father roared. Tom flinched the man was angry now and there would be no calming him.
"I-I'm sorry," Tom pleaded. His father's lavender eyes bored into him.
"One more chance," his father said. He grabbed Tom's arm and soon the two were in a forest. In front of them was a camp site, no doubt one inhabited by muggles. Tom's father dragged his son down to the lone tent that was set up in the center of the area. He pointed his wand at it and the thing unzipped silently. A single man lay in there asleep. His father leaned towards Tom.
"One try. That's all you get. If you fail I'll kill him. Then we can go find another. We stop when you do it right," he whispered. The previous anger in his voice had left. The idea of the kill was consuming him.
Tom's ten year old self was shaking violently as he pointed his wand at the man. His throat felt hot as he resisted tears.
"Avada Kedavra," he whispered. A green flash came from his wand.
Tom was suddenly back in Snape's office. His shirt was soaked through now and his hands were shaking in an identical way to the boy in his memories. He let his eyes meet Snape’s not bothering to hide the shame. Never in his life had Tom wanted to disappear so desperately.
"As I said you war your emotions too plainly. If you ever wish to become a master of Occlemency you must learn to control your thoughts," Snape said seriously," Learn to control yourself."
His words were not harsh or sarcastic by any means. The tone he used was completely out of character, "I'm sorry sir." Tom whispered.
"I am not Augustine York," Snape said simply, "You aren't going to get it on your first try. I don't expect you to. Children are simply to pathetically emotional for anyone to expect them to be capable of Occlemency. You insist on learning it though and have good cause. Over the next week practice compartmentalizing your memories and lock them away to a place where you can access them only when necessary. Perhaps next week you will make a miniscule amount of progress."
Tom nodded and stood shakily to his feet.
"Thank you professor," he muttered. Tom looked over his shoulder at Snape one last time before leaving. Written across his face plainly was a look of sympathy and understanding. Gratitude flooded through Tom's chest. This is why it had to be Snape. No other teacher would understand.
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