Hey everyone! I'm so sorry that I haven't updated in forever. If I'm honest I'll blame my own forgetful tendencies and the fact that I'm taking 4 science classes this semester and they are kicking my butt! I hope this chapter clears up any confusion that you might have had about the last chapter. Remember to review this chapter, it really motivates me to update faster. Best of luck to all of those who have finals coming up, mine are next week and at this point I'd rather face Voldemort than try and take them!
This was the first happy Halloween Severus had had in years. In fact the last happy Halloween he'd had was when he was 15, the last he spent with Lily. Lily had insisted they both dress up and Severus had dressed as a vampire. One of the few Slytherins to do so, not that Severus had been surprised by his classmates hatred of him by his fifth year. He had made his stance on Muggleborns clear and they hated him for it.
So it was with a heavy heart that a week ago he discovered that someone had told Lightning about Halloween. He supposed that it had been Black but he couldn't prove it. The 12 year old had come to him ask with wide eyes asked if it would be wrong to celebrate Halloween even if it's the day his parents died. That of course couldn't stand by in Severus' book after assuring the boy that his parents would want him to celebrate the holiday the boy had asked why Severus didn't celebrate it.
Severus didn't celebrate it because the day Lily died was the day he felt all of life's meaning slip away. It occurred now to Severus years later how creepy that was. But at the time the only thing he had loved was Lily. He had pinned his life on her and driven her away. After her death Albus had done his best to bring Severus out of that state and had nearly succeeded. Severus considered himself friends with most of the staff at Hogwarts and Albus more like a father figure.
The final nail in the coffin however was Lightning. Letting that small boy into his life had broken down all the walls he'd built up. So it was with a not so heavy heart that he agreed to play dress up that Halloween. When Lightning arrived that morning to the castle it was with excitement. Severus was waiting for him at the gates, as was Black and Lupin.
Albus had given the two idiots jobs here. Lupin was the new care of magical creatures professor and Black taught the flying class. Both of the older professors having retired that year. Severus had never hated the man more for anything. The two were constantly talking to him. At least once a week Lupin would be done in the dungeons to ask about his potions. Three times a week Black would invite him down to Hogsmeade for a drink. They sat with him at every lunch and tried to get him to participate in their 'stimulating' conversations. He only spoke with them when Lightning was in the castle.
Lightning had moved back into the forbidden forest. Severus had succeeded in creating a potent brew of the cure. Now all of those snakes instead of curing 210 people every 3 days that same amount of venom could cure 2000 or more a day. Globally the magical governments of the world had been putting together free international portkeys for werewolves and they were arriving by the hundreds every day.
So Lightning would spend his day in Hogwarts curing Werewolves and then in the evening he'd go home and spend time with his snakes. Severus still got to spend the most time with him as he was the one who delivered the potions every few hours. Black and Lupin tried to spend time with him at lunch and dinner but Lightning was consistently busy.
However today he had taken a day off. It was Halloween and he wanted to dress up like human children did. Albus had sent messages to portkey centers to let them know that anyone they sent to Hogwarts today would not be cured as Lightning was taking the day to recover slightly. After all the boy was curing hundreds of people of day that was a lot of magic for one person to consistently expend day after day.
"Good morning Sevrus!" Lightning shouted as he walked up the steps to the castle. "How are you?"
"I am well Lightning. Thank you for asking, how are you?"
"I'm feeling a little sad."
"Hey pup!" Black cut in. "You ready to start the Halloween fun?"
Severus kept himself from rolling his eyes. The man was so excitable and he had the attention span of a gnat. No wonder the Gryffindor was a dog animagus. Lightning nodded excitedly and Severus kept the smile off his face. Thirty minutes later the boy was outfitted in a pirate costume. The entire school was dressed up in costumes. It seemed that Lupin and Black had manipulated kids into dressing up. There were pirates, vampires, hags, inferi, and all sorts of scary things filling the castle.
Albus had charmed baskets to float around the school. The baskets were filled with candy and were magically refilled every time someone took some. Severus hated teaching children in general but children hyped up on sugar were the worst. The only thing that kept him sane was the knowledge that Lightning was very happy. He was even interacting with the other students like a peer.
Today he ate at the Slytherin table with Draco. Draco was dressed up as some famous wizard whom Severus didn't care to identify. Lightning even attended classes with Draco. The boy was exceedingly protective of his snake speaking friend. Apparently Lightning had told him of his real name and Draco seemed to think it imperative that his identity be kept secret. Severus couldn't help but agree.
Most of the students either stared at the snake king in awe or were afraid of him. Lightning had hard time speaking to anyone who wasn't a Weasley, Granger or Malfoy. Malfoy seemed particularly happy to be friends with Lightning. Probably because Lightning was the boy's only real friend, aside from the Weasleys with whom he was on rocky terms with. Today however Lightning was just another child in a castle full of children and that was truly all the boy had ever wanted.
That night Lightning met Severus in the dungeons and asked if he could stay the night on his couch. Apparently the boy had a really strong head ache and didn't feel very well.
"I don't feel so well Sevrus." The boy said rubbing his head.
"That's what you get for eating so much candy. Come in. Where is Black and Lupin?" He asked with a light sneer.
"They went to get something from Poppy. Medicine I think."
"Nonsense. I have perfectly good potions here."
"That's what I told them." Lightning stated. "I didn't want to go to the infirmary but they didn't seem to listen."
"Get onto the couch and I'll get you a headache draught."
"Thank you Sevrus."
Severus rolled his eyes. He knew the boy could properly pronounce his name. He'd ignored it earlier but now he wondered why the boy continued to call him Sevrus. He summoned a headache draft and looked at it to ensure that the draft would work properly. He opened it and handed it to the boy. Lightning sniffed it once before gulping it down.
"You should start feeling better within the next minute or so." Severus stated. "Would you answer a question for me?"
"Why do you call me Sevrus? My name is Severus."
"Do you want me to stop?" Lightning asked.
"I'm merely curious."
"You have lots of names." Lightning stated as if that would answer the question.
"I only have the one."
"No. The students call you Professor Snape and lots of other names I won't repeat." Lightning began. "My mum called you Sev, Albus and Minnie call you Severus and Padfoot and Moony call you Snape. That's a lot of names."
"What is your point?"
"I call you Sevrus. It's my name for you. It's special cause no one else calls you that. I like that cause it's different. No one else is going to call you Sevrus, just me."
"And you think you need to have a different name for me?"
Lightning nodded before frowning.
"My head is hurting worse."
Severus frowned and pulled out his wand and cast a diagnostic spell. It didn't show anything untoward, not that that meant much when it came to headaches.
"Where does it hurt?"
"On my scar." Lightning said moving his bangs out of the way to point out a pulsing red scar.
Severus hissed. That…was not a good sign.
"When did it start hurting?"
"It started itching a few weeks ago but it didn't start hurting really bad until a few hours ago."
Severus quickly rolled up his left sleeve and gasped at the now nearly full dark mark. How had he not noticed this? The Dark Lord was returning and soon. Lightning was looking at the dark mark in interest.
"That is the mark of a follower of the Dark Lord. You remember that I told you I spied on him?"
"Yes. Why does it have a snake on it?"
"Voldemort can speak to snakes just like you can but unlike you he uses that ability for evil."
Lightning's face took on a harsh look for a moment before his eyes filled with pain and he grabbed his forehead. At the same time Severus' mark burned awake and he grabbed his arm. The call, he had all but forgotten what that felt like. The burning, crawling awful sensation that took away his concentration for a moment. Lightning was whimpering and crying in pain and Severus saw that his scar was open and seeping blood. Severus stood up and stumbled over to the floo. He grabbed some green powder and floo called Albus.
"Albus. Get down here now! It's an emergency!"
The old man appeared within moments his face grave.
"Albus. He's back." Severus said showing the man his flaring mark.
"Are you ready to return Severus? I won't send you there if you feel the danger too high. You are more important than any information you may get."
Severus took in a deep breath. Before all of this he wouldn't have believed the man but he knew Albus meant it. He nodded and roughly summoned his death eater robes.
"Watch Lightning Albus. His scar reacted when I was called."
"He had already been given a headache draft and it had no effect. You cannot give him a sleeping draught for another thirty minutes without risking negative health effects. Only give him the sleeping draught if something worse happens." Snape instructed as he began pulling the robes on. "Call Madam Pomphrey down here and get him someplace comfortable and secure. We don't know how far this connection goes. He may very well have visions or feel the after effects of curses Voldemort casts."
Albus' face was grave. Between the two of them Severus had more knowledge in the study of curse scars. Severus knew quite a bit about curse scars from his studies of the dark arts over the years. Severus looked over to Lightning who was looking at him with wide fear filled eyes.
"Don't go, Sevrus." He pleaded.
"I must Lightning. We all have our jobs to help protect the world and this is mine. I will return I promise. Stay here and be brave alright? Do everything Poppy tells you to do. Don't leave the castle until I return. Voldemort is going to want to find Harry Potter first thing and you need to stay safe. I'll be safer if I don't have to worry about you understand?"
"Promise you'll come back?" He asked his voice piteous.
"I swear it." Severus said giving the boy's should a squeeze. "Albus let the wolf and the mutt know about Lightning's curse scar. If they want access to my rooms you may give it to them but they are not allowed in my lab or my bedroom."
"Go Severus and be safe."
Severus picked up his white mask and left the rooms at a run. He took three or four secret passage ways and cast a notice-me-not charm on himself to ensure the students didn't see him. Once he was outside he sprinted to the apparition point. The moment he was at the point he slipped the mask on and turned on his heel. Severus gasped in exhaustion when he appeared in an unknown forest. That had been quite the distance and he knew that without the magic of the mark he would not have made it.
As it was he struggled to walk upright through the forest and into the clearing with how extensive his exhaustion was. Severus was glad that the mask covered his face for no one would be able to see his face of horror. Quickly he strengthened his occulmency barriers and began to bury everything important, most importantly the knowledge that Lightning and Harry Potter were the same. Any conversations that spoke of the two in the same breath were buried deeply beneath more personal secrets. He'd rather Voldemort see his first time with a woman than learn of Lightning's identity.
He found himself in his position in the inner circle as if he'd done this only yesterday. On his left was Lucius and on his right Nott. Both men were clearly as exhausted as he. There at the front of the circle not five feet from him was Voldemort, at his feet the dead body of a young wizard Severus didn't recognize.
Voldemort's skin was bone white, unnaturally so. He lacked any kind of body hair and he looked to be mostly bone. His eyes were sacks of glowing red liquid that didn't seem to have a visible pupil. The robes he was wearing were ragged and old. The clearing smelt of death and blood. It took all of Severus' skills to remain impassive. It took fifteen minutes for Voldemort to decide that anyone who was going to arrive was here.
Severus hardly listened as the monster began to wax poetic about his triumphant return and as he berated them for their inability to raise him back to life themselves. Apparently the body over by the cauldron was a muggleborn wizard who had been tricking into raising the monster back into life. By the time Voldemort had finished speaking most everyone was shaking in fear and Severus was sure that some of the younger ones had voided their bladders.
It was then that the torture started. Severus himself was hit with the cruciatus 4 separate times. The pain was just as horrid as he remembered, all the more poignant because he knew that Lightning might be feeling the same pain. Eventually after what felt like an eternity Severus began to send followers away one at a time. Severus stood his limbs screaming in pain waiting for his dismissal. Except it never came.
"Severus." The man hissed. "My dear potions master."
"My Lord." Severus said dipping his head.
"You are still loyal to me are you not Severus? What have you been doing?"
"Following your last orders My Lord." Severus said kneeling down at the monster's feet. "You ordered me to gain the trust of Dumbledore and stay at Hogwarts as his teacher so that I could gather information on the Order for you. I stayed at Hogwarts and continued my mission waiting faithfully for your return. I knew that you would return and that when you did you would want me to be at Dumbledore's right hand."
Severus prayed to every deity that Voldemort would buy it. An eternity passed, which in reality it was closer to 30 seconds, and finally the snake faced man spoke.
"Rise Severus. You are truly loyal to my cause. I see that." The man ordered.
Severus stood ignoring his aching limbs and waited his back ramrod straight.
"Severus. What do you know of Harry Potter?"
Severus had two layers of Occulmency barriers. Voldemort knew of the first outer layer but had never detected the second layer where Severus held and protected his most sensitive knowledge. Severus easily lowered the first barrier and felt Voldemort's slimey mental touch. He barely stopped himself from shivering at the feeling of the man rifling through his mind. He reminded himself that it would only last a while and that that monster in front of him would never find the second barrier. Severus swallowed and spoke.
"He disappeared at the age of four my Lord. He was sent to live with his maternal aunt and uncle. Albus believed that Potter would be safe with his only living relations and sought to create blood wards to protect him from you. It seemed however that the muggles were not willing to cooperate." Severus began allowing his hatred for Lightning's relations to seep through. "He disappeared after three years there. I and a few other Order members were sent to investigate."
Severus brought up the memory of meeting Vernon Dursley and cruelly entering his mind for the information he wanted. He felt sickened when he felt Voldemort's pleasure at the suffering of the muggle.
"The boy's muggle relations had brutally abused him and the boy had run away. He has not been seen since."
"What does Albus believe?"
"Albus believes that the boy is alive. His name still appears on the Hogwarts registry and he was able to send the boy an invitation to Hogwarts on his eleventh birthday. However the muggles kept Potter ignorant of his heritage and wherever the boy was he likely thought it a joke. He did not respond."
Voldemort went through his mind for a while before nodding to himself. It seemed the man believed him.
"What of the rumors I have heard of a young wizard called Lightning?"
Severus felt like making a run for it right at that moment. He knew about Lightning? How? Of course the werewolf cure was the only news anyone could talk about. The latest articles were calling for Lightning to be given an Order of Merlin. Imagine it giving a 12 year old an Order of Merlin. Especially a 12 year who had no concept of the worth of such an honor. Severus forced himself to focus on the topic at hand. He needed to stick to the truth as closely as possible in order to protect both himself and Lightning.
"I was the one who discovered the boy." Severus said honestly. "The boy been living in the forbidden forest in a tree house filled to the brim with different species of snakes. The boy's magic had apparated the boy away at the age of 5 or 6 away from his useless abusive muggle parents. He'd been taken in by a large yellow boa and raised as a snake. He spoke poor English and had little to no concept of most human customs or thoughts."
Voldemort was back in his mind with a fury looking at his memories of meeting Lightning. Severus had of course hidden all of the important, sentimental memories from the man's grasp. Voldemort seemed to run over the memories of the boy speaking Parseltongue to different snakes with a lustful zeal. Severus could feel the man's fanatic desire to have the boy, to own him. He forced himself to speak.
"It took six months, and an attack from a Wyvern to get the boy out of the forest and into the castle. The boy is extraordinarily powerful. So much so that he can do most any magic without a wand. Some magic he does I did not even believe possible." Severus continued. "With the proper training the boy would become an unstoppable force. I know Albus intends on keeping him at Hogwarts to try and mold him but so far the boy has resisted his manipulations. The boy only truly trusts a few people. Myself and the first werewolf he cured, Remus Lupin."
"Curing werewolves Severus?" The man paused his tone faking surprise.
"I apologize my Lord. 8 months ago the boy discovered a cure to Lycanthropy through the use of Parseltongue and certain species of snake, the Asclepius serpent. By this point the boy has cured nearly half of the global population."
Voldemort finally left his mind and seemed to think.
"I will have them both Severus." The man hissed. "Begin teaching Lightning my ways and ensure that he knows of my power. Follow Albus closely and report back to me what information he gets on Potter's whereabouts. Go now."
"Yes my Lord."
Severus turned and swiftly left the clearing. Using the mark as his bearing he apparated back to Hogwarts. He landed on the ground in a heap. He couldn't move. The only thing that had kept him upright was extensive fear and training. Now he was too weak to even keep his eyes open. He needed to get to the castle but he couldn't even send a message asking for help. Severus felt his eyes closing and fought to stay conscious. It was a losing battle however and soon he slipped into a deep unconsciousness in a heap near the edge of the forbidden forest. So much for this being his first happy Halloween.
Hissing was heard around his body as slowly more and more snakes emerged from the bushes around him. The snakes knew who he was. King Lightning had told them all that they could trust the dark two legger who smelt of strange herbs. They smelt him and could tell he was in pain. Slowly the snakes began to plan together.
After fifteen minutes of planning the large snakes began slithering under the unconscious man. The King had ordered them to never enter the castle so they carefully, slowly carried the man towards the hut of the forest guardian. It took nearly an hour to carry the dead weight of the man. When they arrived at the hut of the two legger one of the snakes snuck inside and woke the dog.
The large beast pounced on the snake and tried to grab it with its mouth. The snake managed to get outside uninjured. Moments later the giant forest protector opened the door and looked around his cross bow out and pointing at an imaginary enemy. The snakes were already escaping into the forest glad to have helped a friend of their king. After all the forest guardian would be able to heal the two legger, he could heal any animal.