Author's Notes:

This story is going to be AU from the very get-go!

In this story, Severus does not go to Dumbledore begging forgiveness. He does not spy on the Dark Lord. He does teach at Hogwarts for a few years after his graduation but was put there through positioning from the Board of Governors, not by Dumbledore.

It will contain a Dark!Hermione, Dark!Severus, Good!DarkLord and heavy Dumbledore!Bashing.

Again, please remember this is 100% AU.

There will be adult content in later chapters to include: violence, torture, death, and sexual scenes (no non-con, though.)

September 20, 1979
Spinner's End
Cokeworth, England

Severus Snape, Potions Master, and Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sat quietly in a wooden rocking chair that had once belonged to his mother, Eileen. Held in his arms was a newborn baby. A girl, swaddled in a knit pink blanket, with a cream hat perched atop soft brown curls. He smiled softly as he ran a thumb across her forehead, catching a swirl of hair between his fingers. Her Mother's hair.

He never imagined himself a Father. It wasn't something he strived for or even wanted. It was a bad time to have a child, with the war on Voldemort raging closer and closer each day. He hadn't had much of a choice, though.

After Tobias Snape, his worthless Father had died, his Grandmother had arrived at the small home that Eileen and Severus had occupied since his childhood. His Mother hadn't seen her own Mother in 16 years, since Severus' birth. He'd never met anyone in the Prince family before that day.

With her arrival, everything had changed for the two Snape's left. They'd been welcomed into the Prince family with open arms. It had been explained that the banishment of Eileen wasn't because she'd married a muggle, but because she'd broken a pre-existing marriage contract. With the death of her husband, her so-called sins had been absolved and the family was allowed to reinstate her.

Severus took his time (nearly a year, in fact) to come to terms with their reinstatement. He grew to love his Grandmother. He enjoyed the company of his aunts, uncles, and cousins.

When his Mother approached him on his 18th birthday, he was surprised to learn of his own marriage contract. With her's being broken, it had automatically passed to her child. She had been betrothed to Stanley Rosier, one of the first Death Eaters loyal to Voldemort. When she didn't marry the man, the contract had been left to Severus to fulfill, with the first-born daughter of the Rosier family. He went to Hogwarts with the Rosier twins. Evan and Evelyn. They were a year below him. Both were loyal to the Dark Lord, although only Evan was a marked Death Eater.

He'd raged about it for close to six months, but as a loyal Death Eater, in January of 1979, just over a year out of his schooling, he'd bitten the bullet and wed the Rosier daughter. He expected to loathe her, and did for a time, as she represented yet another loss of his own freedoms.

They'd consummated the relationship on their wedding night, and she'd fell pregnant immediately, something the Prince family magic guaranteed. In the months that followed, he formed first a friendship, then adoration, and even love for his wife. He had known love, in the past, his unrequited love of Lily Evans would stay with him forever, but the love he held for Evelyn, and for the little babe in his arms, would outweigh that in a single moment.

His wife had named the babe Hermione, from the Greek mythological tale of the Daughter of Helen-of-Troy. She chose the name after Hermione was born, when the healers told her she'd not be able to bear any more children. Hermione was the only child of the most beautiful woman in mythology, and Severus thought his Hermione was the only child of the most beautiful woman in his world.

He'd chosen his daughter's middle name. He immediately wanted to choose Eileen, to honor his Mother, but after peering into his daughter's dark eyes, her hand grasped around his fingers, he decided on Esperanza. Hope. It fit her perfectly. She was his hope for the future, and he'd spend his whole life protecting her.

November 1, 1981
Headmaster's Office
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Severus Snape was a wreck. He stumbled into the office of Headmaster Dumbledore, reeking of alcohol. His face was red and swollen, puffy from hours of hysterical sobbing.

In 24 hours, his entire life had been torn apart. His childhood best friend had been murdered, along with her husband, for a prophecy he'd overheard and given to the Dark Lord himself. The guilt was heavy in his chest. He knew the Dark Lord did not hold with prophecies and had no intention of giving this one the time of day.

He'd begged Dumbledore to protect the Potter family. All of them. Severus had warned the old man that Pettigrew wasn't to be trusted, but still, the wizard had allowed the rat to be secret-keeper for the Potters.

He'd never been so angry. When he'd apparated to Godric's Hollow with the rest of the Death Eaters, despair had filled his heart and his chest ached. He'd followed them through the house to find the damage and carnage wrought that night. The Dark Lord had disappeared, and the Potter's son was gone.

Voldemort had sworn to him, an Unbreakable Vow, that he would not harm, nor allow any of his followers to harm Lily or the Potter Family. The Dark Mark swirled in the sky, a pull that had called the inner circle, Severus included.

He did not understand, in that evening, what had happened. How could the Potter's be dead?

He'd apparated back to Prince Manor to find the building burning. His wife was dead on the front lawn. His Mother clung to life in the back gardens. His daughter was missing.

He'd come to Dumbledore immediately then. With the Dark Lord missing, he only knew of one wizard powerful enough to help him find his daughter.

He'd stormed into this office expecting to find the old man, but the room was empty. Severus knew the castle would alert the Headmaster to his presence, so he sat heavily in one of the chairs across from the large desk and cradled his head in his hands while he waited.

Dumbledore strode into the room just minutes later.

"My dear boy," he said gently to his Potions Master.

Severus choked back a sob, unsure of where to begin.

"So much death, tonight," Dumbledore spoke first. "The Potters... my boy I am sorry. I know you said Pettigrew couldn't be trusted. The Aurors arrested Sirius Black just hours ago, for the murder of Pettigrew and a dozen muggles..."

Severus held a pained look on his face.

"My family..." he whispered.

"What has happened, Severus?" Dumbledore inquired quietly.

"Gone. When I left Godric's Hollow, I went home. The house was burning. Grandmother is dead. Mother is clinging to life. I don't think she'll make it." he spoke in barely a whisper as if he were fearful of speaking the words aloud. "Hermione is gone."

He let out his tears then, loud gasping sobs filled the room.

"Help me find her, Albus," Severus pleaded, "Help me find her, please!"

Dumbledore rose from his chair, "I will do my best," he said, "You must go to your chambers, Severus. I'll send an elf to prepare them. You need to rest."