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Severus grabbed the Granger girl from Potter's body. "Get up girl." He grabbed her and went to the infirmary. Harry Potter lay dead on the ground. He sacrificed himself so that the Dark Lord could be defeated. The boy did not calculate correctly. The snake was alive and Lord Voldemort held her closer to him than ever. It was a haze of bodies, sounds and lights. As soon as Potter died all hell broke loose. The Order fought Death Eaters, many dissapparated. The Dark Lord gave them another ultimatum. "Bury your dead and choose the right side." The megalomaniac's voice thundered through the halls of Hogwarts.
Granger fought him and tried to get back to the Great Hall but Severus was determined to get her to safety. She cried and kicked but he was stronger and got her inside the infirmary.
Molly Weasley had her wand up his neck before he could say a word. "He's in our side." Minerva came to his side. He was surprised when the woman hugged him. "Oh my boy."
Severus let her hold him. He had been deprived of touch for so long. "Minerva, please explain." Arthur said wearily. He was by Ron's side. The boy was in a bed; he looked sedated and in very bad shape.
Granger ran to his side and cried, kissed his forehead. "He knew about Harry, the prophecy, everything. He's been protecting all of us." She said quickly and checked over for injuries in his body. "I'm fine Minerva." He hissed. Although he liked her sudden quasi-like maternal worry it was interfering with his image.
"Professor, you cursed him hours ago and forced him to flee the castle." George said hollowly.
"It's all been a plan. He's on our side." Minerva said unflinchingly. Severus went along with her explanation. She must have seen the memories in the pensieve.
The Weasleys relaxed. Molly went back to Ron's side. Poppy fussed over him but he waved her away.
"This is all we have." Minerva said quietly. "It's the only way." She whispered to him. Her hair was askew and her left hand was bleeding profusely.
He sat down in a bed as far away from the Weasleys as possible. He could see Percy, Ginevra and Fred Weasley on the floor, dead. Ron was not in such as good shape either. He could tell young Weasley would not walk, not matter what Poppy did or how much she waved her wand over the boy's legs and then he was crying. "Oh God Hermione." Severus frowned probably lamenting the unfairness of it all.
"Harry is dead." The boy cried and hugged Granger as much as he was able.
Molly and Arthur cried too, he imagined for their children and for Potter too. Severus thought about the boy. He thought about the snake and all it would take to kill the Dark Lord. It would take months to plan. By this time the Dark Lord knew he was not on his side. He was not answering summons and the skin on his arm burned like hell.
He needed to apparate out and think. It was survival now. He needed to leave England. Harry Potter was dead, he failed and it was time to cut loose and hide. The Dark Lord would try and kill him as soon as possible. He thought him to be the master of the Elder wand. He might as well be dead.
"We have to do something." It was William Weasley. Severus saw the scars on his face.
Minerva nodded. "Albus had an idea; something to do as a very last resort. I believe this is the end of it. I am afraid we have nothing left." Minerva said with a shaky voice. She was trying to be strong for their sakes but he could tell she was struggling.
"What do you propose Minerva?" Severus asked; interested in what Albus had in mind.
She pulled out a pendant necklace. "Time travelling."
Minerva smiled, "yes Ms. Granger." She said fondly. Granger always had the answers.
"Minerva, elaborate please, for our sake." Severus pointed out.
"Albus had this time-turner for four years. He'd been perfecting it and gave it to me last June, just before he died. Albus gave it to me with instructions to only use it case Harry died." Minerva teared up.
"I'm sorry." The witch apologized.
She gave the time turner to him. Severus understood. Minerva wanted him to kill the Dark Lord before he became the Dark Lord.
"He doesn't know how to use it. He doesn't know anything about He Who Must Not be Named's childhood." The Weasley boy said.
He was correct. Severus hadn't taken runes, and the pendant was in Ancient Runes. "Mione, you do."
She nodded. "I'll go with you."
"Oh no Hermione." Molly said.
"Albus warned me. He never finished tinkering with the time turner. There is only one chance, no room for errors or a way to come back." Minerva said cautiously.
Severus further understood. Minerva knew, she must have understood he was going to be persecuted, hounded until Lord Voldemort found him, tortured him and finally killed him.
Granger looked at the Weasley boy. "For Harry." They said at the same time. She cried and hugged him. "I love. I've always been in love with you, since we were twelve." The boy said as he kissed her forehead.
"I love you too." She sobbed and hugged him fiercely.
She hugged the rest of the Weasleys. Severus looked at Minerva. "I'm so sorry Severus." She said and then hugged him hard. "No one will know about the memories. I'm sorry for not protecting you, for turning the other way." She kissed his forehead. Severus could not deny her that little gesture.
Poppy hugged him too. She kissed his forehead too. "I'm sorry Severus." She said as farewell.
Granger grabbed the pendant and put it around her neck and his. It was awkward because of the difference in heights. "Be safe. Albus had a timeframe. Tom should be fourteen in 1940. You need to find him before he boards the train for school."
Granger nodded and turned to him. "We'll need to apparate to London, otherwise we will apparate in Hogwarts."
He grabbed her hand and apparated to King's Cross. It was so surreal. The world didn't change; there were people in the streets. Getting ready for their commutes, it must be close to 6:00 or 7:00 AM.
The girl looked at him. "Do not move." She took the pendant on her hands and rolled the circles quickly. Everything around him moved at neck-breaking speed. He got dizzy and so did the Granger girl, her hands were shaking and she was unsteady. "Look at me." He said in his best commanding voice. She did so; her brown eyes met his darker ones. Gazing at each other grounded them somehow.
"One more spin." She said and then the time turner felt hot. It broke, it kept breaking and suddenly the pendant was on fire and it burst.
Severus fell to his side and collided with a wall. Granger did not have the same luck and fell to the floor. They must have made a very odd couple, so oddly dressed. She wore jeans while he was wearing his long black robes. He needed to ascertain whether they had successfully arrived to 1940. It did not look like they had been successful. This couldn't be 1940. All the buildings were intact; there were no sacks around building, no lines for food rationing or any military men in the streets.
He helped Granger up to her feet. "We must find where and when we are." The young girl nodded. "We have to do something about our clothing." They had been through a war and it showed.
They were somewhat lucky to be in London so early in the morning. Severus grabbed her hand and pulled her to a darkened alley. He aimed his wand at her. She stiffened. "I'm on your side." He reminded her snidely.
She nodded somewhat mollified. He tried to remember those pictures Tobias had of his late mother. He conjured a simple black dress and matching gloves. He made a hat out of a piece of a rag. She looked to be mourning which could be said she was. Granger then pointed his wand at him and his clothing changed. He now wore black slacks, a white dress shirt and a black jacket. "You need a hat and a haircut." She said quickly. She was correct once more, men did not wear their hair as long as Severus did, at least not muggles.
The question of where in time they were weighed heavy in his mind. The London streets they walked through did not correspond to a war torn England. The streets were peaceful looking and the few men who walked the streets were not harried.
"Professor." The girl whispered and motioned to a man holding a newspaper. The Londoner folded the paper, grabbed a suitcase and boarded a train. Severus desillutioned the girl and sat on the empty bench. He glanced at the paper and saw the date. "May 1st, 1934." He growled. "Foolish girl, you have managed to strand us before the Dark Lord ever set foot in Hogwarts." Severus raged.
Granger held her chin up. "I did as I was told. Professor McGonagall approved the number of spins."
Severus paced and broke the spell on the girl. It would be strange if he paced and yelled alone.
He casted a muffliato around them. "It was a simple task, stupid, foolish girl." He would now have to kill a child. The only person he had killed had been Albus and he was dying already.
"Where is the orphanage located?" He asked her. He was convinced it was the only way.
The Granger girl nodded, it seemed for once they were in agreement. Tom Riddle had to die. "Harry and I apparated there a few months ago. She grabbed his hand and they walked to a deserted alleyway once more.
Severus felt the pull of apparation, side along apparation. They were in front of Wool's Orphanage in no time. They performed the charms around them and were to enter the orphanage and seek the Dark Lord when they saw four children leave through the front door. Granger gasped and prevented him from entering the orphanage.
"It's him." She said in a whisper. Severus looked at the children, three boys and a girl. One of the boys, the tallest walked faster than the other two who were clearly struggling to keep up.
"The tall one." Severus said and aimed his wand.
"No, wait, it's the other one. The one with black hair and dark eyes." She said. Severus and her followed the boys into a school. The girl went her way while the boys climbed the steps to the school.
The tall boy pushed the Dark Lord hard. The other boy seemed to not want any trouble and ran inside the school. "Freaks are not allowed to go into school." The tall boy punched the Dark Lord.
Tom Riddle's glare was powerful, suddenly; out of nowhere a rock hit the boy squarely on the head. The boy gasped and ran inside too. Finally the boy was alone. It was time. "He pointed his wand at the boy. Ava"
Tom Riddle stared right at him, he couldn't have. He was invisible. The boy wasn't looking at them. He was looking at another boy. This other boy seemed well cared for and a woman held his hand. She kissed his cheek and walked past Tom.
The boy glared at the woman and the child. Tom picked his raggedy book and walked inside the school.
"What are you playing at?" The Granger girl hissed.
Severus looked back at her. "You had a perfect opportunity and missed it." She screeched.
"He's a child." Severus replied.
Granger gulped, "He will grow up and destroy our world." She said as if convincing herself and him that it was the only option.
"We'll wait until school's out and do it then." Granger sat down by a bench and remained silent.
There was no reason for them to be anywhere else. Their bodies were running out of adrenalin and exhaustion was slowly setting in. "We could sleep. Set a timer and then do it." Granger said, her light brown eyes hallow.
He nodded somberly. The girl pulled out a tent from her beaded bag. She used her wand and then waved the wand around them "Salvio Hexa." She chanted and then got inside the tent.
Severus followed her and set a timer. "Five hours should be enough." The Granger girl did not hear, she was already asleep in her bed, curled like the child she was.
Sleep eluded him. He sat thinking about all they has lost because of Voldemort. "It is the only way. There can't be another way."
He heard the timer go off and woke Granger.
"Ms. Granger, wake up at once. The boy is walking back." She startled but was ready to shadow the boy before they could lose him.
Tom walked alone slower than his peers. He seemed distracted. "Do it now professor." Granger insisted.
Tom had a paper on his hands. He followed the scene and saw as the other boys snatched the paper. "Give it here freak." The tall boy said. He laughed and tore the paper in half. Severus expected an outburst of some sorts just like in the morning. He readied his wand.
The boy who would become the darkest wizard of all times balled his fists and wiped wayward tears. He expected magic to burst and the bully to be on the ground but nothing happened. Tom picked up the pieces of the paper and taped it together. It was the drawing of a house; just a simple London house.
The tall boy laughed and tried to kick Tom. Severus saw a woman come out of the orphanage to welcome the children it seemed. She watched the boys. "Again Tom. Get up and find some useful employment. Ungrateful scoundrel, your socks and pants are dirty. I really hope you like cold water and soap. You will wash those nasty clothes or go to school naked." The woman was the picture of outrage. Tom seemed resigned to his fate. He dust off some dirt and in the process soiled the woman's shoes.
"Insolent child." She raised her hand menacingly at the dark haired boy." This time it wasn't him or Tom who stepped in. Granger blazed by, eyes filled with fury.
"Good morning." Granger said with a saccharine voice. Severus walked and joined her, lest she made a bigger mistake. The aurors would come and investigate the incident. They would see traces of memory charms in the woman's mind.
"Good morning, I'm Mrs. Cole, we've written to each other. Please do come in." The woman said with an open smile as soon as she saw him.
"I trust you and your husband's travel was uneventful." She said as she led them to an office. Granger was as confused as he was.
"We have many children in our care." She said as an apology for her behavior toward Tom. "Some are more of a handful than others." She said jovially. The woman would not stop talking.
"Mr. and Mrs.? Oh, I seem to have misplaced your file. How silly of me?"
Severus waved his wand. It was a simple freezing charm. "What in the seven hells did you do?"
"She was going to hit him. He didn't do anything, they were bullying him." Granger said angrily.
"Need I remind you that child will grow up to be the evilest creature in the century."
Granger matched his anger. "If that is so then why couldn't you cast the killing curse when you had the chance." She admonished.
He should have killed the boy. Severus couldn't however. He was not a killer; all he ever did was to keep Lily and Potter safe. He looked at the boy and his hand trembled. Albus would have said he was noble, he begged to differ. Severus was weak and his weakness led to being unable to kill the darkest wizard of all time.
He looked exasperatedly at his former student. She had that glint in her eyes, the one she had when she had the answer and he ignored her. "We raise him, make sure he is taught well, we made sure he doesn't grow up to be a dark wizard."
Severus had to laugh at that. He was no father material. He despised children. He would surely botch it up as his father and his grandfather had done.
"You cannot be serious. Do you understand the ramifications of what you're suggesting?"
"We would be saddled with him for the next 9 years until he becomes of age." Severus said, while refreshing the freezing charm.
"10 years. He turned 7 December 31st." The girl offered with uncertain eyes.
He would exploit that uncertainty. "What do you know of children?"
She glared at him. "More than you of course." She replied with haughtiness.
"You have illustrated my point. We lack the experience, the basic knowledge to take care of a child. Let alone a child as dark as Lord Voldemort." Severus insisted.
"You would kill him then?" She asked. "Have you thought about what it would mean to kill a relative innocent child? Think of your soul professor. What about the aurors? Someone would trace you, unless you frame me. How would anyone explain a healthy child dead, with a scared and surprised face. You would go to Azkaban. I think the Headmaster meant for us to go back in time and do exactly this. Pay more attention to Tom, make sure he did not stray or at least try to do so."
Severus gritted his teeth. He didn't like that she made a bit of sense. Albus was the kind to meddle with other's lives to the point of sending people back in time to fix his mistakes. If only Dumbledore had been more kind or placed Tom Riddle with a wizarding family. Granger looked at him expectantly. "Very well but I hope you understand what happens if we fail. If we fail, they will all be dead."
She nodded. "They might as well be professor. You heard professor McGonagall. We have no means of going back." Granger looked back at him unflinchingly.
"This is madness." He muttered darkly.
"We don't have anything else. You can go professor. I can confound her. She is under the impression we are a couple and want to adopt a child. Once we have Tom you could disappear if you'd like.
Severus shook his head. "No, we'll do this and hope it works because if not we will be the biggest fools in the history of wizarding kind."
He waved his wand and discreetly confounded the muggle. "You were telling us about our excellent file. Granger then replicated adoption papers from a nearby cabinet. The girl did have excellent skills.
"We have passed all checkpoints and are want to adopt Tom Riddle." Granger said to the dazed woman who seemed less confused by the second.
"Tom? But I've never put any papers for Tom." She said with a glassy look. "Mr. and Mrs. Snape, are you sure you wish to adopt a seven year old. Tom is rather peculiar too." Mrs. Cole said.
"We are sure. My husband and I just met him outside. He is a delightful boy. I have fallen in love with him." Granger smiled demurely, an actress to boot.
Severus nodded and signed papers left and right. Granger sat silent and smiling. "Now, I have to submit these papers and then you would pick Tom from here."
"How long does the process take?" He asked.
"A month or so." He looked into her blue eyes and willed her to open her mind. It actually took a week to finalize an adoption. "It will take you three days."
"We are going to meet Tom right now." He stood up and motioned for Granger to do the same. Mrs. Cole nodded; the spell was slowly wearing off. She led them through noisy corridors. The installations were clean but very modest. The children looked borderline sickly. He assumed it was how orphans tended to look. In reality Severus had never been to an orphanage but he guessed they were in the same spectrum as this place. Places with children who were lonely, needy, a rather depressing ambiance.
Granger's face revealed her uneasiness. "I'm not sure about this professor."
Severus scowled. "We'll just look at him and come for him the day after tomorrow." He said shortly. Mrs. Cole nodded and pointed to a small room, in there were two bunk beds. Tom sat writing by a desk. Not once did the child look outside. If he had done so he would have seen a couple watching him with cautious eyes.