“I’ve been summoned Black. You know, called to Voldemort’s side. Do you get it?” Even in times of panic and fear, Severus still managed to be curt with the framed convict.
“I know what being summoned means Snape,” said Sirius. “You’re not going to go, are you?”
“Of course I am,” said Severus as the pain in his arm subsided. “I have to.”
“No you don’t,” said Sirius. “It’s too dangerous. You’ll put everyone in danger.”
“Dumbledore and I already discussed this,” said Severus. “I’m going to the meeting. I’m going to spy for Dumbledore once again.”
“Because it’s my job to do so,” said Severus as he walked out of the kitchen. “I was saved from Azkaban by Dumbledore. He gave me a job. I owe him a great debt.”
Sirius followed Severus into the living room. Harry watched the two men from the couch.
“Professor?” said Harry as he stood up from the couch. Severus stopped midway up the stairs to look at Harry. “Where are you going?”
“A deatheater meeting, Potter,” said Severus. “I’ve been summoned.”
“You’re going?” exclaimed Harry with wide eyes. “Professor, you can’t go.”
“Yes I can Potter,” said Severus as he continued up the stairs. “And I am.”
“But they’ll kill you,” said Harry as he followed Severus up the stairs. “They said they would. You can’t go.”
“I don’t think they’ll kill me Potter,” said Severus as he turned to block Harry from following him. “And if they do. . . come what may.”
“But professor!” cried Harry as he continued to follow Snape. He was stopped by Sirius grabbing the back of Harry’s shirt.
“Harry, let him go,” said Sirius. “He’s not going to not go. He’s made up his mind.”
“Potter,” said Severus from the hallway. “I’ll be fine. I’ll get my mask and then I’ll apperate from outside the wards. When it’s over, I’ll apperate to the other side of town, just incase I’m followed back.”
“I’ll wait for you as Padfoot then,” said Sirius as he walked past Harry and into the hallway.
“And leave Harry by himself?” said Severus as he walked back from his room with a silver mask in hand. “I think not.”
“Alright, but you had better damn well make sure no one follows you,” said Sirius as he walked back downstairs, followed by Severus and Harry.
“I’m not thick Black,” said Severus as he put on his black cloak. He walked toward the door. “I’ll be back as soon as possible. Keep an eye on Black for me Harry.”
Severus apperated onto a dark street. Not the usual abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. He looked up and saw a dark figure looming in one of the windows of the building.
The meeting place.
Severus started up to the floor where the meeting was. He placed his mask on his face and prepared himself for what he was about to face. Truthfully, he didn’t know what was going to happen. There was a good chance that he could die. He didn’t know how Voldemort would react to his reappearance. He did have a good excuse planned, he only hoped that the Dark Lord would believe him. There was a good chance he wouldn’t.
Severus, as he was walking up the stair of the old building, came upon other deatheaters on their way to the meeting. At least he wouldn’t walk in on his own. He walked into the room and saw that there were already about twenty deatheaters. With the group he walked in with, it made about twenty-five. Voldemort’s forces were small still, but Severus knew that was going to change. It didn’t take long for him to recruit followers the first time around. It was just a matter of time before more would join.
He looked around the room and saw that his usual place in the circle was still there. Maybe Voldemort did expect him to return. He took his place and waited for the others to do the same. It didn’t take long for the deatheaters to situate themselves. Now it was time to just wait. This was the worse part for Severus. Was he waiting for death? He almost started to wish that he had listened to Black and Potter and refused to come.
The wait didn’t last long. Wormtail appeared and Severus couldn’t believe his eyes. He knew what Harry had said the last two years, about Pettigrew being alive, but this all proved it. So Black really was innocent. Who would have thought?
After Pettigrew came Voldemort. Severus had to keep his utter shock from being heard by the people in the room. What Harry had said hit him like the Hogwarts Express. Voldemort really had risen. He was alive, if that was even what you called it. He was hideous to look at. His skin was red and looked raw. He looked like a skeleton with raw and beaten skin stretched over it. His face looked more like a snake’s than anything else.
He looked like a living nightmare. And to think that Harry had faced this man. . . could he still be considered a man? Harry had faced down this thing four times and come out alive every time. A new respect for Harry dawned on Severus at that very moment. His thoughts were brought back to the present by the figure in front of him and all the deatheaters.
“Welcome back my faithful,” said Voldemort in a hushed but frightening voice. “I see some new faces. . . as well as old.”
Severus could have sworn that Voldemort’s slitted eyes looked in his direction at that statement. The next statement confirmed that.
“Severus Snape,” said Voldemort as he walked in front of the potions master. “I never expected you to return, though I still held out hope. Do you have an explanation for your absence the last time your arm burned?”
“Yes my Lord, I do,” said Severus with a cool calm voice. “I was protecting the mission you carried out during the tournament.”
“Really?” said Voldemort with a laugh. “How so?”
“I stayed back at Hogwarts, even though my arm burned me so, to keep Dumbledore’s suspicion away from the deatheaters. If I had apperated from the school, he could have followed me. The whole mission could have failed.”
“But it did fail Severus,” said Voldemort. He was no longer laughing. “Potter is still alive. But never the less, I can see your point. I did have the intention of making you pay dearly for not coming to me when I called. But you will not die. . . tonight. I believe that your loyalties lie with someone else Severus. You will need to prove otherwise. Is that understood?”
Severus nodded. “Yes my Lord.”
Severus dropped to the floor in pain. He tried his hardest not to cry out. He never did. He had been under the cructius curse many times, and he never gave Voldemort the satisfaction of pleas for mercy. It would only make things worse. Finally, the curse was lifted and Severus wavered to his feet.
“Ah Severus. Always my silent one. Now, tell me. Do you know where the Potter brat has scampered off?
“My Lord, he got on the train to leave school and he rode home with his relatives. My only guess is that he ran away from his relatives. I know he has a hatred for those muggles and my guess is that he wanted away from there.”
Voldemort contemplated his words for a few moments.
“So you are telling me that Dumbledore has nothing to do with this ‘disappearance?’”
“I don’t think he has my Lord. I would have known if he had.”
“Interesting. You will keep an eye out for anything that happens, won’t you Severus?”
“Do you think he’ll be okay Sirius,” asked Harry. The two had been sitting in silence for a while, waiting for Severus to return.
“I’m sure Harry,” replied his Godfather. “He knows what he is doing. . . I think.”
“I hope he’s okay,” said Harry simply as he got up to look out the window. It was dark outside still and then he realized that it was only 12:30 in the morning.
“What’s with the change in attitude Harry?” asked Sirius. “I mean, you never really like Snape. You always complained about him to me.”
“I know,” said Harry. “He’s different away from school though. You have to admit that he’s been really nice to me.”
“Speak for yourself,” said Sirius with a snort.
“Yeah, that’s because you two are always fighting. What do you expect?”
“I know,” said Sirius. “Well, I’m glad that your summer hasn’t been so miserable. What with being away from your friends and all.”
“I’m away from my friends every summer Sirius,” said Harry as he sat back down on the couch. “I mean, it sucks that I won’t get to see them but at least I’m not at the Dursleys.”
“What are they like Harry?” asked Sirius. “The Dursleys. What else have they done to you?”
“Sirius, I really don’t want to talk about it. What I’ve already told you is about the extent of it. Really, I don’t wa-.”
Their quiet conversation was interrupted by a loud knock on the door. Sirius jumped off the couch and started towards the door, his wand out in front of him.
“Harry, get down,” whispered Sirius as he reached the door. Harry crouched behind the couch, peaking over the arm. Sirius grabbed the doorknob and opened it just a crack.
“Merlin! What happened to you?”
Sirius flung the door opened, revealing a very bruised and battered Severus Snape. Harry jumped up from behind the couch.
“I’m perfectly healthy and fine Black, or can’t you see that,” said Severus with very tired sarcasm.
“Is it really time to be a smart ass Snape?” said Sirius as he moved so Severus could walk in the door. He limped in but didn’t make it far. He was saved from crashing to the floor by a pair of arms behind him. Sirius caught Severus under his arms and brought him back to a standing position. He half helped, half dragged, Severus over to the couch and laid him down on it.
“What happened Professor,” asked Harry as he looked at his battered teacher. “Are you okay?”
“Do I look okay Potter?” said Severus weakly.
“No, you don’t,” said Sirius as he started to walk to the kitchen.
“What happened Professor Snape?” asked Harry for the second time.
“Oh, you know. I was under the cructius for a few minutes. Then, as I was walking out of the building, I was pushed down the stairs and beat by several of the death eaters. Voldemort’s orders. He thought that it would be a fitting punishment, since I had obviously let down some of my fellow men.”
“Well, at least your alive,” replied Sirius from the kitchen.
“Oh, I love you too Black,” said Severus. His eyes started to flutter shut and Harry knew this wasn’t good. He bent down next to Snape.
“Come on Professor,” said Harry as he gently shook Severus’ shoulder. “You can’t go to sleep. You probably have a concussion. You can’t sleep. Come on, wake up. Professor? Wake up.”
“Wha. . . stop shaking me Potter. I’m awake,” said Severus. A moment later, his eyes shut again. Harry tried shaking him again, but it wasn’t working. Instead, he grabbed a glass of water off the table and splashed it in Snape’s face.
“What the hell,” cried Severus as he sat up quickly. The sudden movement made him cry out in pain and crash back down on the couch.
“Sorry Professor,” said Harry. “You were trying to sleep. You can’t go to sleep.”
“Alright Potter,” said Severus as he rubbed his head with his hand. “I’m awake. I won’t fall asleep.”
Sirius returned to the room with a large bowl of water, a rag, and a brown bottle.
“I should get some shampoo,” said Sirius as he noticed Snape’s overly damp head. “Here Harry, hold this.”
Sirius handed Harry the brown bottle of rubbing alcohol and placed the large bowl on the floor. He sat down on the floor, next to Snape, and began washing the cuts on Severus’ face.
“Black!” shouted Severus as Sirius dripped some of the warm water in his eyes. “Is there someone else who can do this. Personally, I don’t trust you with any aspect of my well-being.”
“Oh shut up Snape and hold still,” said Sirius as he continued to wash the potion master’s wounds, though a little more roughly. “Do you think I enjoy doing this anymore than you do? Besides, I’m all you got.”
“What about Potter?” asked Severus as he looked in Harry’s direction. “Can’t he do it?”
“I’m sure he could, but he doesn’t have first aid training like I do.”
“You don’t have first aid training Black!” cried Severus as he pulled his head away from Sirius.
“Sure I do. I was in the hospital wing with quidditch injuries than Harry. Plus, my neighbor growing up was a muggle and she cleaned my scrapes and scratches all the time. Now hold still.”
Severus let out an angry sigh and held still while Sirius cleaned the gash in his forehead and the scrapes on this chin and cheeks, as well as the cut on this lip.
“Are you bleeding anywhere else Snape?” asked Sirius as he wrung out the rag. “Any broken bones?”
“No, just bruised. I don’t thing I’m bleeding anywhere else. I got most of the blows on my face. Are you finished?”
“Nope, gotta clean them now,” said Sirius as he grabbed the brown bottle from Harry.
“What? You just did.”
“No, I washed away all the dried blood and dirt. Now I have to sterilize the wounds.”
“What are you talking about? What are you going to do it with?”
Sirius shook the brown bottle in front of Severus’ face.
“What is that?” asked Snape as he tried to read the label on the bottle. “Is it some kind of potion?”
“Nope,” said Sirius as he opened the bottle. “It’s a muggle product. Rubbing alcohol.”
“What is that going to do?” asked Severus. He soon found out. Sirius dumped a little onto the rag and dabbed it on to the gash on Severus’ forehead. “AHHHH!!! What the hell is that! Ouch! That stings!”
“Shut up you big baby and hold still,” said Sirius as he addressed the rest of Severus’ wounds. Severus was good at keeping Voldemort from hearing his cries of pain, but the rubbing alcohol was torture. He had to cry out in pain. It was brutal. “Shut up Snape. The whole town will hear you if you don’t. There, I’m all done. Sheesh, could you have possibly screamed louder?”
“Not as loud as you’ll scream when I get my hands on you,” said Severus as he moved to get up, but the pain in his kicked ribs kept him from moving any further.
“I doubt that will be soon,” said Sirius as he stood up. “Here Harry, can you take this in the kitchen?”
“Sure,” said Harry as he grabbed the bowl and bottle.
“I hate you Black,” said Severus.
“Is that anyway to treat the person who just about saved your life?” asked Sirius with a smile. He almost felt sorry for Snape. . . almost.
“Saved my life my ass,” said Severus as he crossed his arms over his chest.
“Whatever Snape. Do you have any of those fancy pain relieving potions with you?” asked Sirius as he started up stairs.
“Oh, you know, so Harry and I can get drugged up and have a party. Why do you think? You’re in pain, aren’t you?”
“Yes, I am. They are in the little leather pouch on my bedside table. Get me the two blue potions.”
Sirius walked up stairs and into Severus’ room. He found the leather pouch, pulled out the two blue potions, and walked back downstairs.
“Hey Snape, is it these two?” asked Sirius as he rounded the corner of the couch. Severus didn’t answer, owing to the fact that he had fallen back asleep. “Wake up Snape. Come on greasehead, wake up.”
Severus opened his eyes and looked at Sirius.
Severus nodded and accepted the two bottles from Sirius. He uncorked and downed both. Sirius walked away and towards the kitchen. He didn’t hear the sleepy thanks Severus gave him as the Potion Master drifted to sleep.