The room was silent as Harry slipped inside, followed by Remus. It had taken them a full ten minutes to break through all the charms and wards on the chambers of Severus Snape which had been so very well hidden under the dungeons. Harry felt that, as he had followed the trail to them, that they must be somewhere under the lake. Remus had agreed with him on that front which only set Harry off thinking about the Chamber of Secrets.
They both felt uncomfortable in Snape’s rooms, though they didn’t know why. Remus wondered whether it was because the room knew that they should not be in there; perhaps it could recognise that they were neither Severus nor part of his house. Either way it reminded him eerily of the way the books in the Restricted Section moaned when an intruder ventured into their midst.
“So what exactly are we looking for?” Harry asked as they looked around the room. It was not the way Harry had imagined it. In his mind’s eye he had seen green and silver, perhaps accompanied by a sprinkling of Dark objects over the room. He had supposed that it would be like another version of the Slytherin common room, but it was not. It wasn’t even entirely black in colour, as was his secondary assumption.
“His rooms weren’t going to be green and silver, Harry,” Remus said with a slight smile as he noticed Harry taking in his surroundings. Secretly, Remus was almost disappointed that the room wasn’t very Slytherin; it would have been excellent proof that the man had been extremely biased until the day he left. Not that it mattered any longer though. He went on to answer Harry’s question, “We’re looking for anything that might give us the slightest clue of Voldemort’s current location.”
“Would Snape really have been as stupid as to leave something like that lying about his personal quarters?” Harry asked, raising an eyebrow.
“No, but it’s an excuse to go through Snape’s things,” Remus answered truthfully and wished he hadn’t at Harry’s slight smile. “That and, if we later found that the information concerning Voldemort’s whereabouts had been here all along then it would be extremely infuriating, and therefore foolish not to look whilst we can.”
Harry shrugged and turned away, glancing around the room again before he wandered over to Snape’s desk in the corner of the room. He could easily see why Slughorn had rejected the rooms as his own quarters, even if he had the magical ability to manipulate their decoration to his will. It was just the fact that both Remus and Harry felt the odd crawling on their skin and the prickling of unease as the hair on the back of their necks stood up.
Remus, on the other hand, didn’t follow Harry to the desk though it was the most likely place for any information to be found. He was more interested in surveying the room of the man who had gone on to betray the Order and the very person he believed in more than any other.
The room they were in appeared to be some kind of main living room. It was a combination of kitchen, dining room and living room all in one. A kitchenette took up the corner to his left, leaving the rest of the room as something which vaguely reminded him of Grimmauld Place. The large fireplace was made with black marble, intricate carvings covering its surface, though the fire which it once would have framed had long since gone out of its own accord.
The fireplace was the darkest part of the room; the walls themselves were a deep blue in colour, a paler, greener border running around the wall. Remus had felt it odd that Snape had requested a room so far from the dungeons but not when he saw the view through the large window of the land beyond. It was surely one of the nicest views of the Hogwarts grounds and Remus had wondered momentarily whether or not it had been charmed by Filius Flitwick earlier on. He found it had not upon his opening the window and yet the scenery remained as the cold autumn wind raced in.
Remus glanced over to Harry who was running his eyes over a small leather-bound book in his hands. It had the appearance of being some kind of diary though he would not imagine that Severus would have been so careless as to leave it lying about, even if it had been within his own near impenetrable quarters. It didn’t particularly matter; it was just a chance for them to look a little deeper into the life that had been Snape’s before he had given up on them all. Perhaps he had always been with Voldemort and had never truly been under the command of Dumbledore.
At the same time that seemed so very difficult to believe. It had only taken a few careful glances at Snape when he had been either talking to Dumbledore or taking orders from him to see that he genuinely cared for the older man. There had to be something there, or was Remus’s memory playing tricks on him, trying to make him see what had never been there?
He read over Harry’s shoulder and was intrigued to find that it did appear to be the diary of one Severus Snape, though the dates were old. They appeared to be from around eight years ago, the year before Harry had joined the school. It was just another teaching year for him, another set of first years to terrorise and seventh years whose failure he predicted incessantly. He had never been close to the teachers, though he mentioned them more often than specific students and there was no reference made to any of the Marauders or Harry. Then again, he’d had no reason to think of them for so many years, had he? Not until the son of one of the deceased came wandering into the school.
“When does it end?” Remus asked and Harry flicked to the back page and then turned back twice until he found the final date.
…but then why continue to write a journal filled with such inane entries when nothing of any interest ever occurs within these walls? Each and every single day is the same as the last one; there is no one of any intrigue in the school, nothing to make the day more varied than the last. The detentions continue, and my intense boredom resurfaces frequently.
So this is where it all ends, I suppose. Unless something worth writing down arises (and I seriously doubt that will ever happen in this wretched place) then this will be the last diary kept by myself, Severus Snape.
It had been dated the middle of April in 1990. There was nothing more on that page. The pages which followed were blank though Remus tested them for any kind of concealment that he knew of.
“I wonder if school became any more interesting for him once I joined,” Harry mused aloud and Remus smiled slightly.
“I’m certain that it did from the accounts I’ve heard from various people,” Remus told him. “I’m sure that he was so busy plotting against you that he had no time to write a diary.”
“We’re really not going to have any luck with this, are we?” Harry asked as he twisted round and looked at Remus who shook his head.
“It doesn’t look like it,” Remus sighed. “We might be better off just giving up now. I seriously doubt that there’ll be anything left in his bedroom. Minerva told me that the entire thing was burnt before he left. I would be willing to bet that anything incriminating would have been in there at the time, though it’s worth looking, I suppose.”
“I don’t understand though,” Harry said as they rose to their feet and moved back towards the door. “Why would he go to all the trouble of charming the rooms shut so excessively after he left if there was nothing inside them of any value?”
“I don’t know,” Remus replied, wishing he could know that himself, “but some of the charms he had put on them were detection charms which should have alerted him if someone entered the room.”
Harry glanced at Remus oddly for a moment as they left the room. The prickling unease he had felt suddenly vanished and Remus instantly began to wonder whether or not Snape could sense their presence in the room from wherever he was. Harry asked him but Remus forced himself to reason before he responded.
“It doesn’t really matter if he did know we were in there,” Remus told him calmly as they trod the long and winding trail back to the main part of the school. “There’s nothing he can do about it and I’m sure he wouldn’t care anyway, why would he?”
But Severus did care. As he sat in his home at Spinner’s End he narrowed his eyes upon the entrance of Lupin and Potter into his previous sanctuary. He felt every single one of the spells he had put upon the door taken down though Lupin had not the sense to remove the ones placed inside the room itself. Perhaps he had not known or bothered to check. There would be very little that he could have done to them from that distance, granted.
Still, he was not pleased. Potter of all people should have been kept out at all costs. How he had gained entrance could only be through Minerva which meant he had been given permission to enter his former home. Merlin only knew what the boy wanted from his home, though…
Severus’s mind began to whir. It had been too long since he had actually been required to think. Too many months had he been kept in isolation away from everyone else. He had done it of his own accord however, and did not have any desire to associate with the Death Eaters. Voldemort thought he understood; Snape felt them beneath him, just as the Dark Lord himself did. Severus didn’t argue and Voldemort didn’t question. Not openly at least.
He had finally managed to rid himself of Wormtail however and for that he was very grateful. He had no idea what the overgrown rat would be doing now but it certainly would not be anything pleasant or enjoyable. Not that Severus had made life with him anything to celebrate.
He began to reason slowly as thought returned to him. If Potter and Lupin were in his rooms then they must have been there with Minerva’s permission. She was the only one with the knowledge of his refuge in that school; no one else but Dumbledore had been given the information at any time and Minerva would not just let them in for fun, to burn what was left of his last life that he had not burnt himself. If Minerva had let them in then she had something that she wanted them to do – they would be hunting for information, presumably the location of Voldemort, but if they were searching for that…
Then they must know the location of one of the Horcruxes.
Severus felt a chill down his spine and wondered whether it was a good or a bad thing that they were now searching for Voldemort. Knowing the location of a Horcrux was an improvement. Severus had absolutely no idea how on earth they had managed to find any of them; he knew only that they were so well hidden that Dumbledore himself had trouble finding them whilst he was still living. At the same time, they would have a very difficult time discovering just how they were destroyed unless Dumbledore had recorded just how it was to be done.
He strongly doubted that was the case. Dumbledore was much like himself in the way that he kept his enemies close but his allies at arm’s length. He would not have kept a record of the method he had used to destroy the ring that had almost removed his hand. If he had then Voldemort probably had it; Minerva would not. Nor would his portrait be of any use to them. It did not contain the information that Dumbledore himself had. The portrait would have only the vaguest memory of life, it would be able to recognise people also but it would be unable to tell them the precise location of a Horcrux or the best way to kill Voldemort. He would be unable to tell them how the Horcruxes ought to be destroyed, though the 2D Dumbledore would probably have remembered his favourite flavour of jam.
It was with an irritated but resigned sigh that Severus Snape got to his feet as the presence of Lupin and Potter in his mind faded away to nothing, telling him that they had left his quarters; empty handed, no doubt. He had to do something. He needed to speak to Potter and he knew of only one way that he could get so close to him that he might temporarily kidnap the boy.
“Master, I propose an attack upon Hogsmeade at the next Hogsmeade weekend,” Severus said calmly to Voldemort. The Dark Lord looked intrigued and almost faintly amused by the idea.
“It would be the best way to get the boy – whilst he is out with his friends in the “safety” of the Wizarding village which is so very close to the school,” Severus went on quickly.
Voldemort smiled and rose to his feet. “When is the next Hogsmeade weekend?”
“Not until February, my Lord.” This displeased the Dark Lord but the idea had been a good one, and interesting also. He would think hard on Severus’s proposition, though both of them knew that he would accept and most likely go through with the plan. It had been a long time since Voldemort himself had been out killing. Too long.
“It will be done.”
Kingsley leapt over the dustbin as it was knocked into his path and easily continued racing down the street after the blond-haired man who was making his escape down Knockturn Alley. Lucius Malfoy had made an impressive escape from Azkaban – lights, killings and the appearance of Voldemort himself. A temporary prison was in place very close to the Ministry and now Kingsley, Tonks and two other Aurors had been charged with the duty of capturing Malfoy upon his appearance in Diagon Alley that afternoon.
The two other Aurors, negligent of their duty, had left the chase ten minutes previously as their pursuit through the twisting and dangerous Alley became tiresome. They had thought that they had very little chance of catching the man and privately Tonks and Kingsley had agreed. It was not for the Ministry that they chased Lucius though, it was for the Order. It would be very valuable for them to be able to question one of the head Death Eaters under Veritaserum. Surely he would know where Voldemort was at that moment in time.
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” The words were screamed and a jet of green light shot back towards Tonks who ducked and went into a roll just in time to avoid taking the curse to her chest. She carried on in the same sprint she had been in before, determined not to let the man escape as he had done so many times before. Just behind her, Kingsley was beginning to tire and his pace began to slow. Tonks pushed herself on, hoping beyond hope that she would be the one to catch him. She would prove herself to the condescending Aurors of the Ministry and the exasperated sighs that her clumsiness always brought from the Order when she broke something else.
Oh yes, she would prove herself… Her foot caught on a loose paving slab and she flew forwards towards Lucius. For a single moment she was pleading that she would land on Malfoy himself but it quickly became apparent that would not happen. She landed with a thud on the hard ground and Kingsley fell over her as she attempted to scramble back to her feet.
Kingsley glanced up just in time to see Malfoy dash around the corner and he sighed as he leant his head back onto the pavement, not caring that he was lying down in the middle of Knockturn Alley, only thinking that he had failed the Order and if he hadn’t been so careless then Malfoy would have been theirs.
“So what else has been happening?” Minerva asked, hurriedly changing the subject away from the failure of Tonks and Kingsley to catch Malfoy upon seeing the defeat on their faces.
“No one has been into the Riddle House,” Bill said assuredly. “Not in the last month anyway.”
It had been an entire month since they had last met and everyone had been busy; most of them still were. It was the middle of December and Christmas was quickly approaching. It had been arranged by all of them to return to Grimmauld Place that holiday and everyone was looking forward to being with each other again. The months had been hard, especially on the New Order and the Weasleys.
The latter had been dealing mostly with the fact that Bill was wanted by the Ministry for the theft of a highly valuable magical item. They still hadn’t caught him and hadn’t even so much as seen him since he had been to Gringotts one last time. Since then he and Ron had been spending a lot of their time keeping watch over the Riddle House for any unusual activity. There had been none and, towards the end of the month, Ron had taken to bringing books from which to conduct more research with him.
Mad Eye, along with Hermione and often with the help of Kingsley had been making plans to get into Gringotts and keeping an eye on Borgin and Burkes at the same time for any known Death Eaters entering the store. Originally they had been only trying to get into Gringotts to return the Frequency Counter that had been of such little use to them but when Hermione happened to catch it on floor ‘B14’ she saw the almost blinding white light that shone out at them. There was no mistaking what it had been.
The locations of three Horcruxes had been found, two had already been destroyed, and Voldemort and Nagini walked free. That was a total of seven. All the Horcruxes had been discovered, but there was no way for them to destroy those they had, or even to gain their possession. Not yet anyway.
“What about in Borgin and Burkes?” Bill asked Minerva suddenly. As she had found that Horcrux it had almost fallen as her responsibility to keep an eye on it and ensure that nothing happened to it. They should probably have considered a candidate with more time for the position but it hadn’t occurred to them at the time that a busy woman with so many other responsibilities in a school wasn’t particularly suited to the challenge.
“She hasn’t checked it in a while,” Phineas said loudly as the other portraits shushed him excessively. Minerva glared at him and the others in the room looked between her and the portrait. They could understand that she hadn’t looked at the Frequency Counter in a while and they were sure nothing would have happened to the Horcrux in so short a time. After all, Borgin would never sell it, would he?
“Be quiet, Phineas,” Minerva scolded as she pulled out the Frequency Counter.
“Oh, what a surprise! During the long time it’s been since you last looked at it the Horcrux has gone,” Phineas smirked and the horrified look on Minerva’s face was reflected amongst the group. It really had gone.
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