Descent into Darkness

BY : Athey1024
Category: Harry Potter AU/AR > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 69308
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.


 



Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter. JKRowling does.



First Beta Pass by Clemex



– –



Severus Snape knew that there was something going on with Harry Potter. He had thought that he sensed the barest indication of Dark magic from the boy several months prior, but he had dismissed it as nonsense, and figured he was probably just detecting it from one of the Slytherins in the class. Aside from Potions, he never had to get close enough to the Potter brat to have the opportunity to detect anything like that. But the last two weeks were different.



The magic was strong and powerful, and it was not all Potter's. Some of it was clearly the magical residue of having been around when someone else cast some very powerful, dark magic, and that someone else was oddly... familiar. He just couldn't quite place it...



He had considered informing the Headmaster of his concerns, but had not yet found an appropriate opportunity. He also knew that Albus would never even consider the possibility that Harry Potter was dabbling in the Dark arts, unless he had some sort of evidence. But he knew. There was definitely something going on with Potter.



Yet despite these concerns, Severus never even considered that Harry Potter could have had anything to do with the letter he received at breakfast that morning. It was delivered with the rest of the post during breakfast, by an unfamiliar owl, in an unremarkable envelope, and with unfamiliar writing.



Severus took the letter cautiously and waved his wand over it to detect any enchantments that might be cast upon it. When you were as unpopular a teacher as he was, one simply did not open unexpected mail without being cautious. One spell did appear to be cast upon it, but it was a fairly common one that wasn't threatening. It was merely a charm that would make sure that only the intended recipient – Snape, himself – could open the letter. Aside from that one spell, there did not appear to be any other spells cast upon it so he broke the wax seal and opened the letter.



Something about the parchment felt off; almost slightly greasy beneath his fingertips, but he dismissed it at first. That is, until he actually read the letter.



Severus Snape,



By this point, you may have noticed that this letter has been soaked in Coridoted Solution. Being the potion master that you are, I assume you know what that means. You have twenty four hours to administer the antidote. If you want it, you will have to meet me in the Hog's Head tonight at 11:00pm. Simply arrive and tell the barman that you are there for the private room. I will be waiting.



Through the solution I am binding your actions. Tell anyone – Dumbledore or any of your colleagues anything of this letter or the meeting and you will die. This would be most unfortunate as I do not desire your death, merely your presence. There are important matters that we must discuss, but I do not as yet trust you to keep this meeting to yourself without added incentive. Hopefully measures such as this will not be necessary in the future.



Only you can read the print on this letter, and should anyone else be unfortunate enough to touch it, they would not live beyond the day, therefore I recommend you destroy it immediately, but that is up to you. It will dissolve on its own by the end of the day.



I'm looking forward to speaking with you tonight.



I suspect that you will find the things I have to say, most enlightening.



It was unsigned. Severus suddenly realized that his hands were shaking as he stared down at the parchment laying on the table before him. He had dropped it the moment he read the first line about the Coridoted Solution – but of course, by then, it was already too late.



Deadly poison, and a powerful compulsion, all mixed in one. With this solution he really wouldn't have any choice but to show up. Even without the threat of his impending death and the promise of an antidote, the compulsion magic built into it would drive him mad if he did not go.



Knowing that touching it again would not change anything, Severus picked it back up and quickly sniffed at it. He closed his eyes and grimaced when he clearly detected the scent of fel essence and grell blood. He almost groaned aloud, but managed to restrain himself.



It required a masterful brewer to properly prepare the Coridoted Solution. Severus himself would probably have a hard time with it, although it would be a challenge he would relish.



Slowly, Severus folded the letter and returned it to its envelope. He would run one more test to confirm that it really was true, but he already knew it was. He had no choice. He would have to go to the meeting. All he could do was hope that the sender of the letter was being honest and truly did not wish for his death.



– –



Harry stood to the side of the base of the stairwell in the Hog's Head bar under his invisibility cloak and with a silencing spell cast upon himself so that he wouldn't make any noise on the creaky wooden floor. He had already arranged for the private room, while under a glamored disguise, and had just visited it to prepare a privacy ward and place an object in it. Now he just had to wait for Snape to show up.



He'd been stunned that Voldemort trusted him with such an important task. Part of him realized that it was his first assignment as one of the Dark Lord's servants, since he didn't personally count any of the things that he did with the man in the manor.



Did this officially make him a Death Eater?



The sudden thought almost made him laugh out loud. He supposed he was a Death Eater. He hadn't technically been marked, but he hadn't removed the branded leather cuff since he first put it on all those weeks ago. He'd even cast water-proofing charms on it in the shower, he was so unwilling to remove the thing.



Still, it was strangely odd to put the label upon himself, even in his own silent musings. It was one of those moments he had from time to time – although they were becoming increasingly rarer – where he realized just how much his life had changed. How much he'd changed.



He shrugged the thought off with a silent chuckle and refocused on the door. It was another five minutes before Snape arrived. He looked nervous, although he was clearly trying to hide it. It was quite strange for Harry to witness his professor in such a state.



He went directly to the barman and spoke in a hushed whisper. The old man began to work his way around the bar and led Snape up the stairs with Harry following behind. He opened the door and held it there for Snape to slip inside. Harry slid past as well, and the two were left alone in the small room. There was a table in the center with two chairs around it. On the center of the table was a small glass ball that had actually been placed there by Harry earlier that evening.



Snape, of course, was under the impression that he was still alone in the small room, and the impatient scowl on his face made it obvious that he didn't like the idea of being kept waiting. Harry smirked and silently moved to the corner of the room and aimed his wand.



Imperio! Harry silently cast. He was filled with the rush of Dark magic and grinned gleefully as he felt the spell take hold. He knew that Snape would try to fight it, but he was confident that he could keep it place long enough to do one thing...



He willed Snape to walk to the table and pick up the ball... and it worked. Snape's movements were jerky and stilted, making it clear that the man was fighting the curse with all his might, but his fight wasn't enough to prevent him from reaching down and picking the small glass ball up from the table. A faint yellow light flashed around him the moment he touched it, and that was the moment that Harry released the imperius.



Snape blinked and wobbled on his feet for a second before fury and rage spread across his face and his wand was instantly drawn.



"SHOW YOURSELF!" He snarled angrily.



"Ah, ah, ah, Severus. I wouldn't go throwing around hexes yet. Don't you think it would be prudent to find out what that object you just touched is, first?" Harry said, still beneath his cloak.



Recognition dawned in Snape's eyes and the fury only grew.



"POTTER!" he spat.



Harry pulled the cloak off with one hand, keeping his wand hand out and aimed directly at Snape. Voldemort insisted that he would be safe, once Snape had activated the glass orb, but he still wasn't about to risk anything.



"Why don't you take a seat, sir," Harry said. Snape made a move as if he were about to storm towards Harry with his wand drawn but came to a sudden halt. He began to sweat and his face contorted in mild pain. "Now, sir." Harry said, in a much harder and more commanding tone. Jerkily, Snape moved and sat down in the chair. He looked almost as stunned as he did livid.



"What the hell have you done to me?" Snape hissed in a deadly low voice. "What is that... thing!" he asked, motioning at the glass ball that was once again resting on the table.



Harry strode over and sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the table.



"I'm afraid that I don't actually know all of the details about the orb you just touched. It was crafted while I watched, but that doesn't actually mean I understand how the damn thing works. I'm not ashamed to admit that it's a magic that's a bit over my head. Same with that potion. The... what was it... ah, yes, the Coridoted Solution. It was really fascinating to watch it being brewed, though. Even if I didn't have the faintest clue what was going on half the time," Harry shrugged and leaned back in the chair, assuming a rather relaxed pose. He still kept tight hold of his wand though.



"What the hell is the meaning of this?" Snape hissed. Harry could feel the anger rolling off the man in his magic and was mildly impressed by its intensity.



"I was sent here to ask a few rather important questions, and relay a few bits of equally important information."



"Sent?" Snape snapped. "By whom, exactly?"



"The Dark Lord," Harry said with a smug grin.



Snape froze and his face went a bit pale. "What are you talking about?" he snapped in anger, but the force had distinctly reduced, to be replaced a bit by disbelief and confusion.



"He's back. The Dark Lord is fully resurrected, and has been for quite some time now. I'm sure you recall the day back in mid March when your mark hurt and then glowed? Surged with power and then quietly died down?"



Snape's lips parted slightly but he kept most of his emotions masked away; refusing to give away anything. Harry continued on.



"That was the night. He's been back ever since."



Snape's mouth floundered and it was obvious that he was searching for the right words ask, but not quite finding anything satisfactory.



"I was there. I helped," Harry continued, still grinning.



Snape's jaw snapped shut and his eyes flew up to meet Harry's. Disbelief and shock was written across his usually impassive face. "You lie."



"No. I was there. He needed my blood for the ritual. It was the reason I got entered in the Tri-Wizard tournament in the first place. Originally the plan was to kidnap me during the third task since it's apparently going to be taking place outside the wards of the school in some giant maze. They were going to rig a portkey or something. Anyway, through the course of the school year, I realized what was going on. Who it was that had entered my name into the cup, and what the Dark Lord's plans were for me. But in addition to all this, I also discovered some things about Dumbledore, learned some rather fascinating bits of magic, and came to the conclusion that I was on the wrong side and so I willingly went to the Dark Lord just after the second task. I volunteered my blood, and my participation, and the Dark Lord accepted."



"You joined the Dark Lord?" Snape sneered in disbelief. "James Potter's son, working with the Dark Lord?" He scoffed.



"Lily's son," Harry said, giving the potions master a pointed look. Snape flinched and glared back at Harry, angrily. "Besides," Harry continued, unphased, "do you honestly think that I could have brewed the potion used on your letter, or created that," he motioned towards the small orb on the table that was still glowing faintly, "on my own? And what reason would I have to bring you here? Tell me, Severus, aside from yourself, who else do you know who could brew the Coridoted Solution?"



Snape's posture grew rigid and his face thoughtful for the briefest moment before he looked back into Harry's eyes and sneered. "The Dark Lord."



Harry smirked. "Precisely."



"So why the hell did you bring me here, and what is that thing?" Snape asked, nodding down to the orb.



"The orb has has several layers worth of magic on it. One is a powerful compulsion charm that makes you follow my basic commands as long as you're still in this room. That part was basically so I could make sure you sat down and actually listened to me, and to keep you from instantly throwing curses. The other half of it is some sort of advanced memory charm. When you leave this room, I will have two options. First one, I allow you to leave with your memories in tact. Alternately, if things don't go well, you will leave this room with no memory of anything ever taking place. You will think that you got stood up and wasted your time. You found the antidote sitting in the center of the table but no one else ever came. Which reminds me..." Harry paused and dug a small vial out of his pocket before tossing it across the table.



Snape snatched it out of the air and eyed it skeptically for a long moment. He removed the cork and gave it a hesitant sniff.



Harry rolled his eyes. "It's the antidote. Even if things don't go well, we don't want you dead. At least, not yet. Just drink the damn thing."



Snape scowled at Harry and let a drop of the fluid drop onto his pinky before dabbing it on the tip of his tongue, experimentally. A moment later he seemed satisfied that it was what it was supposed to be and drank down the vial.



"Third," Harry began once Snape was clearly finished, "the orb prevents you from lying."



At this proclamation, Snape's lip curled into another angry sneer, and Harry just grinned.



"So, I suppose we ought to get this show started. First question, did you agree to spy against the Dark Lord for Dumbledore back in 1980, when you found out that I, and by association, my mum, were the target's of the prophecy?"



Snape's eyes widened and there was the briefest flicker of fear before it was replaced with anger.



"Answer the question," Harry said in a commanding voice and he watched as Snape struggled against the compulsion and the truth spell.



"Y-y-yesss." he ground out through clenched teeth.



"Alright, we already figured that, but it's good to confirm. Did Dumbledore make you do some sort of unbreakable vow in association with this arrangement?"



Snape's face betrayed a bit of his surprise, and he was still clearly fighting the magic, but not quite as hard.



"Y-yess."



"What was it?"



The fight was clearly back as the man struggled not to answer, but Harry could see the moment he lost the battle. "I... swore to... always do everything within my p-power, to p-prot-tect Lily's b-boy," Snape ground out.



Harry blinked. "You made an unbreakable vow to protect me?"



Snape's lips curled into a disgusted grimace.



"No vows about staying loyal to Dumbledore?" Harry asked.



"No."



"Huh. Well that makes things a hell of a lot simpler. Now for the part where I get to fill you in on some fascinating details," Harry said leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table, while folding his hands together under his chin.



Snape's brow furrowed slightly and he leaned back in his chair, just to maintain some more distance between he and Harry.



"Are you aware, that the prophecy you overheard being spoken by one Sybil Trelawney, to one Albus Dumbledore, fifteen years ago in this room, was in fact, a fake?"



"Fake?" Snape echoed incredulously.



"A fake."



"The Dark Lord himself viewed the memory. He was sure it was real," Snape said.



"Dumbledore had Trelawney under the Imperius. He forced her to act out the whole interview and the fake prophecy, just so that the spy that he knew Voldemort would have at this tavern, would overhear it and take it back to the Dark Lord. Dumbledore used you. I mean, honestly – how often does Dumbledore actually hold his staff interviews at a freaking pub?"



Snape looked stunned.



"Trelawney was excessively loud about who she was coming to see, and who she was, when she first entered the pub, wasn't she? Caught your attention right away. Someone who descended form the great Seer Casandra Trelawney, coming to meet Albus Dumbledore? Sounds potentially interesting. Something that the Dark Lord would definitely want to hear about. So you slipped up the stairs and started to listen in.



"The whole thing was staged. Dumbledore had had the real job interview with Trelawney the day before in his office, where he almost always holds job interviews. And it was during that interview that Trelawney made the real prophecy. In the privacy of his office, where there was no one but Dumbledore and Trelawney to overhear it."



"And how exactly do you know this?" Snape snarked skeptically.



Harry smirked. "I read it straight from her head. I used legilimency on her. Dumbledore was afraid to tamper too much with her memory for fear that it would screw up her already very-iffy Seer skills. And since she didn't remember the real vision anyway, he left it alone. All I had to do was know where to look and presto; complete, real prophecy.



Snape scoffed. "You used legilimency? I hardly believe that you could ever hope to learn the mind arts," he hissed with his voice, dripping contempt.



Harry rolled his eyes. "Believe what you will. The Dark Lord has seen both the full, real prophecy, as well as the full fake prophecy. The fake was was created by Dumbledore, and intentionally leaked to Voldemort in hopes that he would come and kill me. Dumbledore wanted Voldemort to kill me. He still does. It's why he keeps orchestrating, or allowing to continue, these situations that keep throwing me right at him. He keeps hoping that one of these years, the two of us will come together and complete the part of the real prophecy that he wants fulfilled."



Snape's eyes were wide and his face was just barely betraying some of the shock and disbelief he was undoubtedly feeling. "And what is that?" he asked in a hush.



"For either to die, it must be at the hand of the other for neither can die while the other survives..."



Snape's brow furrowed and puckered as he thought over the line.



"The Dark Lord and I share a powerful magical connection. Our souls and blood are linked. The reason he didn't die fourteen years ago when his body was destroyed is because as long as I live, I anchor him to this world. He thinks it would be the same in reverse. As long as he still exists in the world, I cannot completely die either. We make each other immortal. In order to die, we both have to die, and only by each other's hands."



Snape's face went pale and he looked utterly stunned. There was no masking it now. "How is that possible?"



"It's complicated," Harry said, shrugging nonchalantly and leaning back in his chair again. "What's important is that it's true, and the real prophecy confirms it. Dumbledore fully understand the original implications of the full prophecy in the start though, and his actions actually caused everything to be set into motion, rather than bringing it to it's end. When I didn't actually die after the Dark Lord's attack, and I was marked," Harry reached up and tapped his scar, "Dumbledore must have realized what it really meant, because that event was actually mentioned in the prophecy, he just hadn't realized what it meant until it had actually happened. He also had to have realized at that point that, since I was still alive, that the Dark Lord wasn't really dead either. That he would come back. So he manipulated everything around me to guarantee that he could have control over where I was placed and how I was raised.



"He manipulated my entire life in an attempt to control the outcome of the prophecy. Every action was taken with the end goal of destroying Voldemort. I guess he decided that it didn't matter how many lives he completely fucked over, as long as he achieved that goal."



"For the greater good..." Snape mumbled quietly.



Harry quirked an eyebrow. "That a Dumbledore quote?"



"He may have said it a time or two," Snape said, scowling at Harry.



"The fundamental thing here is that Dumbledore used and manipulated all of us. He controlled Trelawney. He used you. He tricked the Dark Lord. His actions painted a big huge target on my back, and my parents backs. In fact, you could say that Dumbledore was directly responsible for their deaths. The true prophecy may have ended up being fulfilled through some other set of events if he hadn't done anything, but it's also possible that it wouldn't have happened at all. None of this would have ever happened if Dumbledore had just ignored the first, true, prophecy.



"But he couldn't do that because he saw within it, an opportunity to destroy the Dark Lord. He saw the chance and he grabbed onto it; no matter who had to die, and who he had to use, in the process.



"And now it sounds like, not only did he use you to deliver the fake prophecy to the Dark Lord, but after you came to him, hoping to save my mum's life, he used you even more. Used you as a spy, and to try and protect his precious weapon. Because that's all I have ever been to him. I'm just a weapon. The tool that he hopes to use to destroy his greatest mistake. I'm an expendable weapon. It's my job to die to kill the Dark Lord.



"But the thing is that the Prophecy told of two different possible outcomes. The main reason that Dumbledore went to so much trouble to try and manipulate my whole bloody life was so that he could try and force me down one specific path. Or rather, force me to think that I chose that path.



"The true prophecy says 'He will have two paths from which to chose. From one path, the End will fall upon us all. From the other, we shall be saved. The Dark Lord and his Equal will either rule together, or destroy each other.'



"That's what it says. Dumbledore, obviously, assumed that the path where the End befalls us, is the one that results if me and the Dark Lord join forces, but we have to disagree with that assessment. After all, it doesn't actually say which path is associated with which choice, and the wording used is rather curious. Personally, I'm going to place my bets on the option that lets me live forever, instead of the one where I forfeit my life to save a corrupt, ass-backwards society that I fundamentally disagree with."



Harry folded his arms across his chest and gave Snape a quiet minute for everything to sink in.



"So, Severus," Harry began with a smirk, and Snape scowled angrily at Harry's use of his first name, "this is your time to make a choice. Your one, last chance. You have to chose your side – now. Where will your loyalties lie? With the Dark Lord? Or with the manipulative, deceitful old coot who lied to you, tricked you, and used you?



"If you cannot honestly answer me tonight, your memory gets wiped and you will not get summoned when the Dark Lord calls his Death Eaters to him. You will also not likely survive the year. After all, the Dark Lord does not tolerate betrayal."



The amalgam of expressions that passed across the potion master's face was almost amusing to Harry. The man usually limited his expressions to anger, fury, and perverse enjoyment at someone else's misfortune. Now his face was betraying a far wider range of emotions.



"Obviously, the orb will still prevent you from lying," Harry added airily as he began to examine his fingernails.



Snape's face twisted into another angry scowl as he glared daggers at Harry.



"I don't have all night here, and I still need to visit the Dark Lord to tell him the results of this little meeting, so do please make up your mind. Is it honestly that hard of a choice? This way you get to keep your vow of trying to protect me, and you get to go back to the Dark where you belong. I mean, you cannot possibly have been happy or satisfied with your life working under bloody Albus Dumbledore?" Harry finished incredulously.



Snape's face went almost blank, but Harry could tell that it was probably a thoughtful expression for the greasy potions master. Finally his expression was replaced with determination and he sat up straighter in the chair.



Harry smirked slightly and waited.



"My loyalties lie with the Dark. I will stay faithful to the Dark Lord," Snape said without even the slightest hesitation. Harry's eyes flickered to the orb and it glowed slightly, confirming the truth of the statement.



"Do you swear that you will not reveal anything about me or my switch in loyalties to Dumbledore?" Harry asked, sitting up straighter and looking eager.



Snape looked like he wanted to scowl, but kept his face determined. "I swear it. I will not tell Dumbledore any of what I have learned here tonight."



Harry grinned widely now.



"Fantastic. The Dark Lord wants you to prepare a report on Dumbledore's activities over the last few years. Anything you've noticed from your side of things relating to all the nonsense that happened to me each year. The thing with Quirrell and the stone, the whole chamber incident; all of that. Oh, and as related to the Chamber, he said he wanted to know if Dumbledore ever showed you the diary I destroyed that day, or ever said anything about it to you. Additionally, he said he wanted to know anything that might still be going on with the Order. He wanted to know if any section of it is still active at all, or if there is some system in place for recalling the old members together, and how long you suspect it would take for Dumbles to get it going again once he realizes he needs to.



"The Dark Lord said to prepare as much information as you could manage on these things and to bring it to him when he summons you, which will probably be sometime late next week. This summons will be just you, and he doesn't want Dumbledore to be at all aware of it. Just sneak out of the castle's wards and the mark will take you through the wards into his headquarters. He's going to be doing a mass summons here real soon, and at that point, I think he's going to have you go to Dumbledore before hand and play up the whole 'resuming your role as spy' bit. Dumbledore will 'send you back' to the Dark Lord to act as his spy. That sort of thing."



Snape's facial expression slowly hardened as Harry rolled on. He didn't know what to feel at this point. He was still reeling from the concept that the Dark Lord had returned. He still hadn't fully wrapped his mind around the idea that Harry Potter had not only helped in the Dark Lord's resurrection but had actually joined him! And now Snape was going to be resuming his work as a double-agent. It was all just so stressful and overwhelming that he almost wished it were a dream.



But then there was that tiny voice, deep in the back of his soul, that wanted to rejoice. The Dark Lord had returned! The Dark would once again try to gain control over the magical world from the Light and restore order and balance to their world. The Dark cause would once again be fought!



He was wary that the muggle killings would start up again, but the Dark Lord had been slowly putting less and less emphasis on muggles the last few years of the war. He only hoped that trend would resume. He held absolutely no love for the filthy muggles, but he also knew there were more pressing matters to be dealt with without being distracted by slaughtering weak, ignorant muggles.



Finally Potter's instructions came to an end and he stood from the table. He draped his invisibility cloak over his shoulders and summoned the glass orb to him. He flicked his fingers over it and then reached out, offering it to Snape.



Snape rose a single questioning eyebrow and Harry just rolled his eyes.



"Touch it again and it'll deactivate the enchantments," he instructed impatiently.



Reluctantly, Snape reached out and pressed his index finger to the glass ball. It glowed again and then died away. Snape felt the magic dissipate around him and sighed as the heavy weight of the compulsion magic left him.



He was of half a mind to curse Potter into oblivion for what he had done, but he wasn't stupid enough to actually do it.



Harry pulled the cloak over his head, completely disappearing from view and told Snape that he was going to follow him out of the pub. Snape was told that if the barkeep asked any questions, that he should just say that he was stood up and the other person never came.



They left the room, and the barman did ask, and Snape answered appropriately. The pair left the inn and began to make their way up the path towards the castle. Just before they entered the wards Harry stopped.



"Well this is where I stop for now," he said as he pulled the cloak off. Snape looked back at him with confusion and watched in stunned silence as Harry pulled back the sleeve on his left arm. But there was no mark on his flesh. He would have been stunned to find one there. If it was their goal to keep Potter's allegiances secret, having him baring the Dark Mark would be foolish.



Instead, Harry was wearing a leather cuff that appeared to have nothing on it at all. Harry whispered 'Morsmordre' and suddenly the Dark Mark appeared on it, as if burned into it. Harry smirked at Snape's surprised expression before nodding his head, saying 'See-ya around,' and then hissing at the cuff, and disappearing with a soft pop, and left Snape to stand there, in shock.



This was most definitely the most shocking night he had in more than a decade.



He needed a drink.



Snape quickly began to march the remainder of the way up the path towards the castle with the intention of heading straight to his quarters and pulling out his personal stash of firewiskey. He was pretty sure he had a few hangover potions in his cabinet. He would definitely need one in the morning.



– –




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