AN: Thanks for reading! Unfortunately the next few updates are going to be quite sporadic. This chapter contains some reworked material taken directly from The Deathly Hallows.
Adam February 25th 1998
“Adam…” Ginny began as they made their way tiredly back across the grass towards the main gates of the school. “You’re not thinking of giving yourself up to him, are you?”
“No,” Adam replied, squeezing Ginny’s hand. “I’ll have to face him at some point, but not until the snake is gone. I’m not going to charge off to my death.”
“I…” Ginny began. “I don’t want to lose you.”
Adam wanted to promise her that she wouldn’t lose him, but he couldn’t. It was, he realised grimly, entirely possible that he might die.
“I don’t want to lose you either,” he replied softly as they continued walking cautiously back towards the school, keeping watch for any remaining Death Eaters that had not obeyed Voldemort’s orders to retreat.
As they reached the castle and entered through the doors, it seemed unnaturally quiet.
“Where…” Adam asked hesitantly, “Where is everyone?”
In response, Ginny grabbed his hand and pulled Adam towards the Great Hall. However, once they reached the doors, Ginny froze and gasped.
Adam could only stare in horror, crowds of people were gathered in the hall, and, in the middle of the hall, lay a row of bodies.
“Oh… no,” he murmured.
He was shaken suddenly by Ginny letting out a harrowing wail. She then dashed at breakneck speed across the hall, towards where the Weasley family were gathered… around what appeared to be someone’s body.
Adam suddenly felt sick to his stomach and he took off across the hall towards the Weasleys. Please, he silently pleaded with himself, let them all be alright.
By the time he reached them, the family were all clustered around Ginny, who was being hugged fiercely by her parents. As he approached, he saw Ron give him the strangest look, a mix of joy and anger. Adam immediately understood his reaction, he’d told Ron that Ginny was dead… and he must have told the family that, too.
Adam stood awkwardly just outside of the Weasley family group, not knowing quite what do to, or what to say.
Suddenly, he felt an arm around his shoulder and Adam looked up to see Mr Weasley standing at his side. As he stared at the man, Adam realised, from the way he was looking at him, that Mr Weasley knew.
“M-Mr…” Adam stammered, feeling his cheeks fill with shame, “Mr. Weasley…”
Mr Weasley didn’t respond, but instead he silently pulled him towards the rest of the Weasleys.
“You…” Ron began, as soon as he saw him, “You told me…”
“I…” Adam faltered, not quite knowing what to say, “I thought… but she wasn’t…”
“How?” Ron enquired, and Adam wasn’t quite sure if he was still angry or not, but, before he could answer, someone else grabbed him.
“Oh!” Mrs Weasley exclaimed, pulling him into a crushing hug. “You’re okay!” she cried. “You’re both okay!”
“Mrs Weasley,” Adam began, finding it a struggle to speak.
“Oh!” Mrs Weasley repeated, pushing him away slightly. “Let me look at you!”
Adam stared uncertainly at Mrs Weasley as she just seemed to stare at him for several long seconds.
“It is you…” she said softly, her voice quavering. “You’ve grown! I’m so glad you’re alright, Adam,” she paused. “When no one had seen you, we thought…” She choked back a sob. “We thought we’d lost you too… and then… and then Ron told us that you were Harry and then we thought that Ginny…” Mrs Weasley rambled. “I’m just so glad you’re both okay… we’ve already lost Fred and I was just so scared that we’d lost the two of you, too.”
At Mrs Weasley’s words Adam felt his insides lurch. “Fred?” he gasped, feeling completely hollow inside.
“He… he…” Mr Weasley stammered, “He was hit by falling debris. Percy and George were with him… they were lucky to escape…”
Adam found that he couldn’t speak. He just felt so guilty.
“We…” Ginny said, suddenly appearing at his side, “We could have helped them.”
Adam could only nod numbly in response.
“Oh… Fred!” Ginny sobbed and Adam pulled her into a hug, resting his forehead against her hair.
The Weasley family and Adam stood there in silence for several minutes. They all stared numbly at where Fred’s body lay covered by a sheet. None of them seemed capable of speech.
“Harry… err… Adam,” Mr Weasley spoke after what felt like an eternity, “Why… why didn’t you tell us?”
Adam stared at him. As he thought back over the previous years, he tried to rationalise why he hadn’t wanted to tell the Weasleys.
First it was because Dumbledore told me not to, Adam thought, Then I feared they would treat me differently once they knew. I thought they’d blame me for the attack on The Burrow, the things that had happened to them because I’m really Harry Potter.
But now that he thought about it, those reasons all sounded really stupid.
“I…” Adam began and then he looked away, realising that he had no answer for Mr Weasley. “I’m sorry.”
“It was all Dumbledore.” Ginny spoke up suddenly in his defence. “He hid who Adam was from him for two years, and then when he finally told Adam… it was so hard to tell anyone.”
“I…” Adam began, “I-I was afraid you…” Adam stammered looking to Ginny for help.
“Adam was afraid you’d treat him differently,” Ginny supplied.
“We wouldn’t have!” Mrs Weasley exclaimed. “It must have been a terrible shock to you.”
“I… I know you wouldn’t have,” Adam replied, hanging his head. “As time went on, it just got harder and harder to tell you…”
An awkward silence once again descended over the group.
“H-Harry,” Bill spoke up eventually, “what are you going do about You-Know-Who’s deadline? You’re not going to give yourself up, are you?”
“No, he’s not!” Ginny snapped, suddenly disentangling herself from Adam’s arms and turning to face him.
Their eyes met, and Adam felt his mind whirring. He knew he wouldn’t just give himself up, but it might be a good way to get close to Nagini… but first, he needed to view Snape’s memories. He had given them to him for a reason and Adam needed to know what that reason was.
“No…” Adam began, his mind still wiring as he tried to puzzle out how he could kill Voldemort’s snake. “I’m not going to just give myself up.”
He paused, glancing at each of the Weasleys in turn.
“Ron…” Adam began uncertainly, finally realising who was missing, “where’s Hermione?”
Ron’s face suddenly paled. “She’s with Madam Pomfrey. She got hit by a Cutting Curse, I…” he hesitated, suddenly looking guilty, “I said I’d only be a minute and then I’d be back!” he rambled. “I need to go and check on her, I was only going to come and see Mum but…” he trailed off.
“I’m sure she’ll understand,” Ginny added softly.
“Ron,” Adam said seriously, “look after her, yeah? I think you should go check on her.”
Ron nodded. “I will.” He shook his head. “I shouldn’t have left her… Adam, Ginny will you come? I know she’d like to see you.”
Adam paused, his gaze settling on Ginny. “No, you go with him, Ginny. I need to… there’s something I need to do… I’ll be back soon.”
With that, before any of them could say anything else, Adam turned and strode quickly back across the Great Hall. As he walked away, he heard Mrs Weasley shout his name, but he ignored it. It would be too tempting to just stay with the Weasleys. He had a job to do.
However, even before he had left the hall, he felt a tug on his back and he turned to face an angry-looking Ginny.
“You weren’t going to wait for me?” she snapped.
Adam paused for a second before replying, “I…” he hesitated, “I thought you’d stay with your family… They need you.”
“They may need me, but what about you?” Ginny replied, still sounding angry. “Oh, Adam. You are far too selfless sometimes. You always think of others but never yourself. My family have each other, but who do you have?”
Adam hesitated. “You?”
“Damn right!” Ginny said, her anger seemingly draining away. “You’re the most important person in the world to me and you should never think that I’d choose not to be with you. I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Adam said softly, taking Ginny’s hand. “I’m sorry.”
At this Ginny spontaneously leaned forward and kissed him, taking him by surprise and making Adam’s head spin momentarily.
“Now,” she said with a grin, “those memories?”
“Yeah,” Adam replied, heading at a quick pace out of the Great Hall. “I was going to try to use the Pensieve in Dumbledore’s office.”
Ginny nodded in response. “I was also thinking about Voldemort’s deadline. Might be a chance for us to try and get close enough to kill the snake.”
“I was thinking the same,” Adam replied, as they began climbing the marble staircase. “But let’s see what Snape’s memories tell us first. We still have just over half an hour, by my reckoning.”
As Adam and Ginny moved quickly towards the Headmaster’s office, they found the castle completely empty, even the ghosts seemed to have disappeared. Even so, they ran without stopping, Adam still clutching the flask of Snape’s last thoughts.
When they reached the gargoyle that guarded the entrance to the office, Ginny gave the password that she’d heard Snape use earlier that evening which, much to Adam’s surprise, hadn’t been changed and the gargoyle slid aside.
Adam charged up the stairs and burst into the circular office. Entering the room, he paused and looked around; he couldn’t remember the last time he’d been in this office. It brought back so many memories… Dumbledore telling him about his identity… Dumbledore telling him about the Horcruxes and the final confrontation between Dumbledore and the Minister, before he was removed from Hogwarts.
However, now, unlike the previous times he’d been in the office, the portraits that hung all around the walls were empty. Not a single headmaster or headmistress remained, all, it seemed, had dashed away, desperate to have a clear view of what was going on.
Looking around the room, Adam saw that the stone Pensieve lay in the cabinet where it had always been. Adam heaved it onto the desk and poured Snape’s memories into the wide basin with its runic markings around the edge.
“What do we do with it?” Ginny questioned.
“We just dive in,” Adam said softly, looking down at the Pensieve. Inside the bowl, the memories swirled, silver white and strange. Without hesitating, Adam dived in, pulling Ginny along with him.
They fell headlong into sunlight, and Adam’s feet found warm ground. When he straightened up, he saw that they were in a nearly deserted playground. A single huge chimney dominated the distant skyline. Two girls were swinging backwards and forwards, and a skinny boy was watching them from behind a clump of bushes. His black hair was overlong and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate: too-short jeans a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smock-like shirt.
Adam, with Ginny following him, moved closer to the boy.
“That’s…” she said with amazement, “That’s Snape!”
Adam realised suddenly that she was right… Snape looked no more than nine or ten years old, sallow, small, stringy. There was undisguised greed in his thin face as he watched the younger of the two girls swinging higher and higher than her sister.
Adam turned his attention back to the two girls, just in time to see one of them leap off the swing at the very height of its arc and fly into the air. The girl flew skywards with a great shout of laughter, and instead of crumpling on the playground asphalt, she soared through the air, staying up far too long, landing far too lightly.
“Mummy told you not to!” The other girl snapped, stopping her swing and leaping up, hands on hips. “Mummy said you weren’t allowed, Lily!”
“Lily!” Ginny gasped. “Adam… could that be your mum? Is that why Snape left this memory?”
“I think so!” Adam said, a sense of strange excitement filling him. “She’s got red hair like I remember!”
“But I’m fine,” said Lily, still giggling. “Tuney, look at this. Watch what I can do.”
The other girl, Tuney, glanced around and, once she had determined that the playground was deserted apart from themselves, she trotted over to her sister, who was standing very close to the bush where Snape was hiding.
Adam watched from across the playground as his mother demonstrated something to the other girl, causing her to shriek.
“It’s not right,” Tuney exclaimed. “How do you do it?” she added, and there was a definite sound of envy in her voice.
“She…” Ginny commented. “That other girl, Tuney, is scared of the magic your mum does.”
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Snape suddenly spoke up, jumping out from behind the bushes. Tuney shrieked again and ran backward toward the swings, but Lily, though clearly startled, remained where she was. Snape seemed to regret his appearance. A dull flush of colour mounted the sallow cheeks as he looked at Lily.
“What’s obvious?” asked Lily.
Snape had an air of nervous excitement. With a glance at the distant Tuney, now hovering beside the swings, he lowered his voice and said, “I know what you are.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re … you’re a witch,” whispered Snape.
She looked affronted.
“That’s not a very nice thing to say to somebody!”
She turned, nose in the air, and marched off towards the other girl.
“This must be before she had her Hogwarts letter!” Adam said excitedly. “Mum was a Muggle-born, Snape must have known her before she came to Hogwarts!”
“It…” Ginny began hesitantly, “It’s amazing to see her. She’s so pretty.”
“No!” cried Snape, who had charged after the other girl. He was highly coloured now, and Adam wondered why he did not take off the ridiculously large coat, unless it was because he did not want to reveal the strange clothes beneath it. He flapped after the girls, looking ludicrously like his older self.
The two girls considered him, united in disapproval, both holding onto one of the swing poles.
“You are,” said Snape to Lily. “You are a witch. I’ve been watching you for a while. But there’s nothing wrong with that. My mum’s one, and I’m a wizard.”
“Wizard!” Tuney shrieked, her courage seemingly returned. “I know who you are. You’re that Snape boy! They live down Spinner’s End by the river,” she told Lily, and it was evident from her tone that she considered the address to mean something bad. “Why have you been spying on us?”
“Haven’t been spying,” said Snape, hot, uncomfortable and dirty-haired in the bright sunlight. “Wouldn’t spy on you, anyway,” he added spitefully. “You’re a Muggle.”
Though Tuney evidently did not understand the word, she could hardly mistake the tone.
“Lily, come on, we’re leaving!” she said shrilly.
Lily obeyed her at once, glaring at Snape as she left. He stood watching them as they marched through the playground gate, and Adam recognized disappointment in Snape’s expression. Snape had apparently been planning this moment for a while, and that it had all gone wrong.
“So…” Adam began. “Tuney must be my aunt. I guess. I wonder what happened to her… no one ever told me I had an aunt.”
“Oh, Adam,” Ginny said, giving his hand another squeeze. “I hope you don’t mind me saying, but she didn’t sound very nice!”
Adam was about to respond, when suddenly the scene dissolved, and before he knew it, it had re-formed around them. Adam now found himself standing on platform nine and three-quarters, and Snape stood beside him, slightly hunched, next to a thin, sallow-faced, sour-looking woman who greatly resembled him. Snape was staring at a family of four a short distance away. The two girls stood a little apart from their parents. Lily seemed to be pleading with her sister and Adam and Ginny moved closer to listen.
“… I’m sorry, Petunia! I’m sorry! Listen—” She caught her sister’s hand and held tight to it, even though Petunia tried to pull it away. “Maybe once I’m there — no, listen, Tuney! Maybe once I’m there, I’ll be able to go to Professor Dumbledore and persuade him to change his mind!”
“I don’t — want — to — go!” said Petunia, and she dragged her hand back out of her sister’s grasp. “You think I want to go to some stupid castle and learn to be a — a—”
Her pale eyes roved over the platform, over the cats mewling in their owners’ arms, over the owls fluttering and hooting at each other in cages, over the students, some already in their long black robes, loading trunks onto the scarlet steam engine or else greeting one another with glad cries after a summer apart.
“—you think I want to be a — a freak?”
Lily’s eyes filled with tears as Petunia succeeded in tugging her hand away.
“I’m not a freak,” said Lily. “That’s a horrible thing to say.”
“That’s where you’re going,” said Petunia with relish. “A special school for freaks. You and that Snape boy … weirdoes, that’s what you two are. It’s good you’re being separated from normal people. It’s for our safety.”
At this proclamation Ginny gasped. “What! That’s a horrible thing to say!”
Lily meanwhile had glanced toward her parents, who were looking around the platform with an air of wholehearted enjoyment, drinking in the scene. Then she looked back at her sister, and her voice was low and fierce.
“You didn’t think it was such a freak’s school when you wrote to the Headmaster and begged him to take you.”
Petunia turned scarlet.
“Beg? I didn’t beg!”
“I saw his reply. It was very kind.”
“You shouldn’t have read—” whispered Petunia, “that was my private — how could you—?”
Lily gave herself away by half-glancing toward where Snape stood nearby. Petunia gasped.
“That boy found it! You and that boy have been sneaking in my room!”
“No — not sneaking—” Now Lily was on the defensive. “Severus saw the envelope, and he couldn’t believe a Muggle could have contacted Hogwarts, that’s all! He says there must be wizards working undercover in the postal service who take care of—”
“Apparently wizards poke their noses in everywhere!” said Petunia, now as pale as she had been flushed. “Freak!” she spat at her sister, and she stormed off to where her parents stood.
“How…” Ginny stammered.
“It must be hard,” Adam mused, “to have your sister be a witch and know that you can never be part of their world.”
“It’s still no excuse for behaving like that!” Ginny replied, but her voice wasn’t harsh. “She should be happy for her sister. If I was a Squib, I’d still love my…” at this Ginny gasped, and Adam guessed her thoughts had turned back to Fred, “my brothers…” she trailed of in a weak voice.
The scene changed again, and Adam now found himself amongst a crowd of Hogwarts students that were waiting in a stone room.
“Adam!” Ginny cried, pointing into the crowd. “There’s your mum and Snape!”
Adam started to make his way over to his mum, but suddenly something else caught his eye.
He saw his father. He was slight and black-haired like Snape, but with that indefinable air of having been well-cared-for, even adored, that Snape so conspicuously lacked. Slowly, ever so slowly, Adam approached the boy who would grow up into his dad and, standing in front of him, he drank in the sight of him. Then, with a jolt, Adam recognised the two people standing next to his dad. Remus and Sirius.
Suddenly, his dad took off across the room, working his way through the gathered children and soon reaching where Ginny was standing by his mother and Snape.
“Evans,” James said, running his fingers through his hair, “what house do you want to be in then? You never did tell me on the train.”
“She’ll be in Slytherin!” Snape responded in an angry tone.
“No way!” Ginny exclaimed. “Your mum was a Gryffindor through and through just like us!”
Adam watched as his dad’s expression momentarily fell, before he plastered a smile back onto his face.
“‘Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart!’ is the only house for me!” James exclaimed. “Trust me, Evans, you don’t want to be in Slytherin.”
“You already said that on train, Potter,” Lily replied. “And I haven’t decided what house I want to be in yet,” she continued shooting a look at Snape.
“See that, Snivellus!” James crowed. “She won’t be in Slytherin with you snakes!”
“I didn’t say that!” Lily exclaimed in a huff. “Arghh, I hate boys!”
With that Lily stormed off across the room, leaving his father and Snape to sneer at each other.
Before either of them had a chance to insult the other further, Professor McGonagall spoke up from the entrance to the room. “They are now ready. Please follow me into the Great Hall.”
Adam and Ginny followed them into the Great Hall and they soon stood facing the candlelit house tables.
Then, time in the memory seemed to swirl, and, before he knew it, Professor McGonagall called, “Evans, Lily!”
He watched his mother walk forward on trembling legs towards where Professor McGonagall was waiting with the Sorting Hat.
“And this is where it all started going wrong for Snape…” Ginny muttered.
Then the scene changed, and it seemed to Adam as if the students around them were growing older as the years began to pass in a blur of images. Suddenly, the shifting stopped and Adam now found himself standing in the Entrance Hall.
At first glance, the room itself seemed to be deserted but then Adam saw Snape. He now looked about Adam’s age, possibly a bit younger and he seemed to be lurking just outside the doors, as if he was waiting for someone. Almost as soon as they’d arrived, students started pouring out of the doors and heading off in various directions, presumably back to their common rooms.
Snape seemed to be scanning the crowed of students, and, when he saw a head of auburn hair appear, he dashed off across the room.
“Lily!” he called. “Lily!”
Adam and Ginny took off at a run and soon caught up with his mother.
“Your mum!” Ginny exclaimed. “She’s about my age, I think.”
Adam nodded enthusiastically, he loved seeing his parents, even if it was a bit weird when they appeared to be younger than he was.
“I wonder if Dad’s around anywhere?” Adam mused to himself.
Meanwhile, Lily had paused and glanced over her shoulder but, when she saw that it was Snape, she quickened her pace. She was obviously trying to avoid him.
Snape broke out into a run and chased after her, eventually catching up to her about half-way back to Gryffindor Tower.
“Lily!” he shouted, putting his hand on her shoulder.
“What?!” Lily snapped, spinning around and fixing him with a glare. “I don’t want to talk to you!”
“Lily! I’m sorry!” Snape pleaded. “I never meant to call you a Mudblood. I don’t want this to come between us!”
“Severus,” Lily snapped, then suddenly her expression changed to that of sadness. “We’ve been drifting apart ever since you were Sorted into Slytherin.”
“We can’t be friends just because I’m in a different house?” Snape exclaimed.
“No, Severus,” Lily replied. “We can’t be friends because you chose to be friends with people who you know are bad. You chose to join in when they practice Dark magic! You chose to call me a Mudblood!”
“I didn’t!” Snape pleaded.
“Well then,” Lily said huffing slightly, “you choose to call every single person with Muggle parents other than me Mudblood! Why I am different?”
Snape’s mouth opened and closed as he searched for words.
“But… Potter,” he stammered, “it was only because of him…”
“Potter did not force you to call me a Mudblood, Severus. He may be conceited and a bully, but he does not practice Dark magic, he does not target people just because of who their parents are!”
“You’re defending him!”
“No…” Lily said with a sigh. “I’m not… Potter may be a prat, but, Severus, your friends are much, much worse and I’m…” she hesitated, “I’m afraid that you’re becoming like them.”
“No!” Snape protested. “Lily! Please!”
“I’m sorry, Severus,” Lily said. “Our friendship is over. This had been coming for a while and when… when you called me that today… it finally made up my mind.”
“Goodbye,” she said, and turned and continued quickly towards Gryffindor Tower, leaving Snape standing in the corridor.
Suddenly, Snape seemed to realise that his and Lily’s confrontation had drawn a small crowd. So, emitting an angry snarl, he spun round and charged back down the corridor.
As he stormed off, the scene began to morph once more and time seemed to swirl. Adam and Ginny now found themselves outside of Gryffindor Tower. It was now nighttime and Lily, who was wearing a dressing gown, was standing with her arms folded in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady.
“It’s too late,” Lily snapped angrily at Snape. “I’ve made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends — you see, you don’t even deny it! You don’t even deny that’s what you’re all aiming to be! You can’t wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?”
He opened his mouth, but closed it without speaking.
“—to call me Mudblood? So you say. But you still call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus. Why should I be any different?”
He struggled on the verge of speech, but with a contemptuous look she turned and climbed back through the portrait hole.
“Good on her!” Ginny exclaimed.
Adam nodded in response, but what his mother had said had unsettled him. Why did Mum think Dad was a bully? Was he? Could my dad really have been a bully in school?
The corridor dissolved, and the scene now took a little longer to reform. It seemed to Adam as if he now was flying through shifting shapes and colours until his surroundings solidified again and Adam stood in Dumbledore’s office. Coming to his senses, Adam realised that something was making a terrible sound, like a wounded animal. Snape was slumped forward in a chair and Dumbledore was standing over him, looking grim. After a moment or two, he raised his head, and Adam saw the harrowed face of the now adult Snape.
“I thought … you were going to keep her … safe…” Snape cried mournfully, but when he continued his voice took an accusing tone. “You said you would protect her! You promised!”
“Do not lay the blame for this at my feet, Severus,” Dumbledore replied, his voice devoid of emotion. “Need I remind you that it was you that chose to deliver what you knew of the prophecy to Lord Voldemort’s ears?”
At that moment something clicked into place in Adam’s mind. Snape. Snape had told Voldemort about the prophecy. Snape was the reason Voldemort had targeted his parents. He felt a brief, all-encompassing fury consume him, but he tried to bottle it up. Snape had shown him these memories for a reason. He didn’t want to miss something due to his anger.
Dumbledore sighed heavily. “As it happens, she and James put their faith in the wrong person,” said Dumbledore. “Just like you had faith that Voldemort would spare her.”
Snape’s breathing was shallow and for a while neither of them spoke.
“Do you…” Snape began, “Do you know how…”
Dumbledore paused, and it looked to Adam as if he was weighing up two different options.
“The boy…” Dumbledore said eventually. “Harry. Somehow in the process of attempting to eliminate the threat described in the prophecy, the Dark Lord inadvertently caused its fulfilment.”
“But how?” Snape queried once again.
“You are aware there were two possible boys meeting the criteria for the prophecy.”
Snape looked confused for a second. “As soon as the Dark Lord heard of prophecy, he retreated to his chambers for several days. He then returned and proclaimed in front of all the Death Eaters that once the Potter child was killed, his victory would be certain.”
Dumbledore nodded. “Thus, in a sense, marking Harry and then, somehow, they destroyed each other.”
“So the Dark Lord is gone?” Snape asked faintly.
Dumbledore paused for what felt like an age before questioning, “He never showed any interest in any other boy?”
Snape shook his head.
“Then, I believe he is gone…” Dumbledore’s voice grew faint. “The prophecy has been fulfilled. It is just a shame it came at such cost…”
“Cost!” Snape roared, suddenly leaping out of his seat. “Lily is gone and you talk about cost!”
“And yet you feel no remorse for the loss of James and Harry?” Dumbledore responded coolly.
Snape snarled at this, but did not say anything.
“Can…” he asked and suddenly it seemed like he was pleading, “Can I see her… one last time?”
At this Dumbledore sighed heavily. “There was a large explosion, destroying the child’s nursery. It obliterated everything in the room…” At this Dumbledore’s face twisted in a strange express. “What was left of Lily… is not pleasant.”
Snape sagged back down into the chair, and put his head in his hands and, if Adam didn’t know better, he would almost say that Snape was in tears.
“What…” he spoke after a pause, “What of me?”
“Severus,” Dumbledore replied, he voice changing, almost like a parent talking to a child, “you must go on. Although your efforts to save them were for naught, that you tried leads me to believe there is hope for you. I find it ironic that you delivering that prophecy to the Dark Lord set in motion events leading to his downfall.” Dumbledore paused, as if deep in thought. “I will attempt to speak on your behalf to the Ministry. What happens from there will remain to be seen.”
As Dumbledore was speaking, his voice began to grow fainter, the office seemed to shimmer and Adam found himself and Ginny once again standing in the Headmaster’s office with Dumbledore and Snape. The only visible difference is that both were noticeably older.
“You are fortunate, Dumbledore!” Snape snarled. “As I understand it he bypassed all but the last defence of the Stone! If you had listened to my warnings!”
“We had no way to know that Quirrell would turn against us,” Dumbledore replied calmly. “How could I know that he had desires on immortality?”
“I warned you!” Snape snapped. “I told you he had changed. He had this…” Snape paused, “familiarity about him. This is more than just a rogue professor.”
“Severus,” Dumbledore replied, “what else do you think it could it be?”
“I don’t know, Headmaster,” Snape replied. “But I have noticed that you have grown lax. Since the fall of the Dark Lord, you have made yourself blind to the Darkness that remains in this world.”
Both men were silent.
“Severus, I had hoped that when Tom was defeated I would not see another Dark Wizard in my lifetime.” Dumbledore paused. “You are wrong about Quirrell, if a more sinister force was involved then I would know… but perhaps you are right that I have grown lax in my old age. I will be more cautious from now on.”
Once more the scene changed and Adam now found himself in Snape’s dungeon. Snape was alone, working at the teacher’s desk at the front of the classroom.
“Your last classes of the year finished, Severus?”
Adam glanced across the room, and saw Dumbledore standing at the far end of the classroom, next to the desk where he and Ginny always sat.
“Yes, Headmaster,” Snape replied, and, from the look of him, Adam thought that this memory must be within the last few years.
“Severus,” Dumbledore continued, walking up towards the desk where Snape was sat, “may I examine your Mark?”
“Again?” Snape questioned. “This is the third time this year.” He rolled up his sleeve.
“Still faded…” Dumbledore mused, as he examined Snape’s arm where his Dark Mark was located.
“Yes,” Snape replied, sounding exasperated. “It is the same as it was the day after the Dark Lord fell,” he paused. “Now, as I do every time you check my mark, I’ll ask you, why?”
Dumbledore seemed to hesitate.
Then, after nearly a minute’s pause, he spoke. “Harry Potter is alive.”
“What!?” Snape almost shouted.
“He survived,” Dumbledore said simply.
“Peter Pettigrew took him from the house and… hid him.”
“Hid him?” Snape questioned, seemingly baffled. “For all these years?”
“Hidden would probably be the wrong word. Disguised and then lost would be more accurate.” Professor Dumbledore almost seemed to chuckle. “In fact, he’s just finished his third year.”
Snape paused, and Adam assumed Snape was mentally checking off all the boys in Adam’s year.
“Winters…” Snape muttered with a groan.
“Exactly,” Dumbledore responded.
“Minerva’s little pet,” Snape almost sneered. “And he’s been hiding it from us for all these years?”
“Actually, Severus,” Dumbledore replied calmly, “until a few days ago, he didn’t even know he was Harry Potter.”
Snape was silent for several seconds.
“And is Potter’s miraculous re-appearance the reason you have been so paranoid of late?”
Dumbledore hesitated for a moment before speaking. “If Harry’s survival becomes public knowledge, he could be a target for retribution.”
Snape paused for a second before continuing with, “And?”
“This revelation has also led me to reconsider many things that have occurred over the last few years: Tom’s downfall, Quirrell and the opening of the Chamber of Secrets,” Dumbledore hesitated. “I believe that it is possible for the Dark Lord to return.”
At this Snape seemed to visibly tense. Then, he spoke again. “Will you enlighten me, Albus?”
Dumbledore sighed. “I realise now that I was blind to the possibility of Voldemort’s survival. When Harry was believed dead, admitting that Voldemort could have survived would mean admitting he had managed to destroy the one prophesied to destroy him… it would also mean that I had lost. In my mind, I could not accept that. I masterminded the fight against Tom and it was unthinkable at the time that I had failed.”
“Then what convinced you otherwise?” Snape queried, in a voice completely devoid of emotion, as if in shock.
“When I realised Harry was not dead. I began retracing my steps and I found evidence that leads me to believe that Tom had been experimenting with ways to defeat death itself. This has led me to the conclusion that the prophecy has not yet been fulfilled.”
“This could also shed new light on Quirrell’s actions, which is what I believe I told you several years ago!”
“Indeed you did, Severus, and I must apologise for not believing you. For now, I have instructed the boy to keep his identity hidden. This must go no further. In the coming months, if and when Tom returns, I will have some hard decisions to make.”
“Who else knows?”
“Other than the two of us and Harry, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.”
“Black!” Snape spat. “So the rumours that you helped him avoid capture by the Ministry are true, then?”
“They are, Severus, and I expect you to keep my confidences in these matters, as you always have.”
Snape grunted but did not answer.
“Severus?” Dumbledore prompted, his voice sharp.
“Yes, Headmaster,” Snape replied. “I will keep your secrets.”
“Good,” Dumbledore replied, his voice returning to its normal tone. “I also ask you to look out for the boy, as much as you are able to without attracting attention.”
Adam saw Snape’s face twist into a sneer, but, before Adam could hear what he was about to say, the scene twisted and Adam suddenly found Ginny clinging onto him as everything began to spin around them.
When the memory reformed, Adam momentarily didn’t know where they were. It seemed as if they were following Snape down a corridor. Then, as Snape approached a door, pushed it open, and stepped into another room, Adam instantly knew where they were.
They had entered what had been his hospital room in St Mungo’s. As his eyes roamed the room, Adam saw himself lying in the bed, apparently asleep.
As Snape entered the room, Dumbledore rose from his seat and greeted him.
“Thank you for coming, Severus,” Dumbledore spoke.
Snape paused for a second, his eyes seemingly glued to Adam in the bed.
“The boy will make a full recovery, but he will sleep for at least a few more hours,” Dumbledore continued. “He does look awfully like his father, doesn’t he? But he has his mother’s eyes.”
“I…” Snape began hesitantly, “I am aware of that. Do not mock me.”
“I apologise, that was not my intent.”
Snape did not respond to Dumbledore’s apology. Instead he stated blankly, “I was summoned last night.”
“I am assuming the Dark Lord was not harmed in the altercation, then?”
“He was unhurt, although some of the Death Eaters present were injured.”
“Good,” Dumbledore stated. “This whole situation is a result of my misjudgement in not telling him as soon as I was sure of his identity and refusing to tell him about the prophecy. The impostor, Crouch, told Adam everything he wanted to hear, using our estrangement to his advantage.”
“The boy is reckless and impulsive, just like his father. The blame lies with him,” Snape growled.
“No,” Dumbledore stated firmly. “The blame lies with me. My attitude towards Harry must change.”
The two of them stood in silence, while his past self slept in the bed.
“The Dark Lord has doubts about my loyalty,” Snape suddenly stated.
“What?” Dumbledore snapped, his attention now fully on Snape. “Why?”
“He is not convinced, due to the fact it is currently summer and there are no students, that I have a valid reason for not answering his summons the night of his resurrection.” Snape paused. “So he has set me a test.”
“Indeed,” Snape replied. “I am to arrange for your death, and for Harry to be delivered into his hands. My skills are too valuable for him to kill outright, and I doubt he actually expects me to fulfil this task, but until I manage to prove my loyalty, I will be watched and not privy to the Dark Lord’s counsel.”
Dumbledore hesitated. “I will think on this new development, Severus… but just so we are clear, the Dark Lord must, under no circumstances, get his hands on Harry.”
With those words, the scene changed once again and Adam found himself once more in the Headmaster’s office.
“That boy,” Snape exclaimed, “he is disruptive! Every bit as bad as his father!”
“Come now, Severus,” Dumbledore replied calmly. “You have done nothing to endear yourself to him. He does not trust you.”
“I don’t want to him trust me,” Snape replied flatly. “Why does everything always come down to this boy?”
“Indeed,” continued Dumbledore. “And you know very well why everything comes down to Harry, Severus.”
Snape snorted gruffly at this. “You place too much trust in this prophecy.”
“The amount of trust I place in the prophecy is largely irrelevant. What is important is that Voldemort trusts it. However, in the meantime, we have a developing problem.”
“Harry has taken to hiding in his persona of Adam.”
“That is hardly surprising,” Snape responded. “He has been Winters longer than he’s been Potter.”
“But our world needs Harry Potter, not Adam Winters,” Dumbledore responded. “I’ve tried to guide him, to give him a nudge to begin revealing himself to others, but he is resistant.”
“And why are you telling me this?” Snape asked.
“I feel the time will come when we need to give him a push,” Dumbledore continued. “We may even need to force him to reveal himself.”
“That will further alienate him,” Snape added.
“We may have no choice,” Dumbledore replied grimly, as the scene once more began to fade.
The next scene flashed into existence in a sharp rush of sensation, just like the feeling of Disapparition.
Looking around, Adam didn’t immediately realise the significance of where they were. Then he saw him. Ginny had obvious seen him at the same time, for she took off at a run towards the doors of the school.
“Professor Dumbledore!” Ginny cried, as she and Adam approached the crumpled form of the headmaster.
“I think I’ve just left him to find Snape and get the fang.”
“But where’s Snape?” Ginny asked.
“Headmaster!” A voice came from the shadows before Adam could answer, and suddenly Snape materialised from the dark.
“No…” Dumbledore wheezed. “Too late for me, Severus… Severus… Closer!”
Adam and Ginny crowded around and watched as Snape leaned down so he was close to Dumbledore’s face.
“I… have been foolish… I have…” Dumbledore continued, his voice barely audible above the wheezing sound coming from his throat as he struggled to breathe. “I have jeopardised everything.” His voice trailed away.
“No, Albus… there must a way.”
“There is…” Dumbledore said in an almighty gasp, bringing his wand up to his temple, and, in an almost exact duplication of Adam’s earlier encounter with Snape, memories spilled out.
Snape, hurriedly conjuring a vial, gathered the memories into it.
“Albus, what are these?”
“Watch…” Dumbledore wheezed. “Severus, my wand…”
“Is yours now… my gift to you…” Dumbledore seemed to be growing weaker. “…magic… intent is everything…”
“Of course, Albus,” Snape replied. “What… what can I do for you? Can I make you more comfortable?”
Dumbledore didn’t answer for what seemed an eternity. Then, in a voice that was barely audible, he wheezed, “Harry… will return soon… the world needs Harry Potter,” he paused, as if communicating these last words were a tremendous effort. “Our conversation, Severus… use this… give him a… push.” The final word left him like air escaping from a balloon and Dumbledore lay still, apparently desperately struggling to get his breath with a horrifying rattle. “Go…” Dumbledore finally wheezed.
Snape was rising to his feet as the scene changed with a flash and Adam barely got his bearings before he found himself being pulled down into a Pensieve.
“We’re in a Pensieve inside a Pensieve?” Ginny queried, sounding almost as baffled as Adam felt.
“I think so…” Adam mumbled in response.
Once they arrived in the memory Snape was viewing, Adam found himself, Ginny and Snape standing in the Headmaster’s office. As they orientated themselves, Adam saw Dumbledore standing up from behind his desk and walking purposefully into the centre of the room.
“Severus,” Dumbledore began speaking, “I am recording this message as one of my memories, as I trust no other method to communicate this if, for some reason, I am unable to do so directly.” Dumbledore paused for a few seconds. “I am entrusting this information to you to relay to Harry when the time is right. You must not tell him until the last moment, not until it is necessary, otherwise how could he have the strength to do what must be done?”
“Enough with the riddles, Albus!” Snape said softly.
Memory-Dumbledore, of course, could not hear him and continued, “Severus. There will come a time when Lord Voldemort will seem to fear for the life of his snake. If there comes a time when Lord Voldemort stops sending that snake forth to do his bidding, but keeps it safe beside him under magical protection, then, I think, it will be safe to tell Harry.”
Dumbledore took a deep breath and closed his eyes, almost as if he was dreading what he was about to say.
“You must tell Harry that on the night Lord Voldemort tried to kill him, his mother cast her own life between them as a shield, the Killing Curse rebounded upon Lord Voldemort, and a fragment of Voldemort’s soul was blasted apart from the whole, and latched itself onto the only living soul left in that collapsing building. Part of Lord Voldemort lives inside Harry, and it is that which gives him the power of speech with snakes, and a connection with Lord Voldemort’s mind that he has never understood. And while that fragment of soul, unmissed by Voldemort, remains attached to, and protected by Harry, Lord Voldemort cannot die.”
The room was silent and suddenly, the scene changed yet again.
“What…” Ginny stammered in a very small voice, now sounding terrified. “That doesn’t mean that you… that you’ll…”
Adam didn’t answer; instead, he was staring numbly at the new scene in front of him. Snape was standing in front of Dumbledore’s portrait, speaking with the Headmaster’s image.
He walked towards the portrait just in time to hear a few snippets of the conversation.
“Arthur Weasley and Minerva have left the Order choosing to side with Winters…” Snape was informing the portrait.
“ADAM!” Ginny screamed from behind him, roughly pulling him around. “Please tell me what Dumbledore said doesn’t mean what I think it does?” she pleaded.
Adam stared at her, seeing tears forming in her eyes.
Adam knew what it meant. He’d understood the minute Dumbledore had finished speaking, and he knew that Ginny knew too. It was unusually cruel, Adam thought with a strange sort of detachment, that if I’d been told I had to die when I still thought that Ginny was dead, then it perhaps wouldn’t have been too hard, but now I have her back, only to find out that we’re going to ripped apart again.
Ginny had obviously seen from his expression that she was right and that, in order to defeat Voldemort, he would have to die. She flung herself at him, clinging onto him with all her strength.
“No!” she cried. “You can’t! I won’t let you!”
“Ginny…” Adam moaned, holding her tightly. “You heard him…”
“No!” Ginny insisted. “I won’t let you. We’ll run away. Far away! Just the two of us! Please, Adam, please!”
“Ginny…” Adam stammered. “I…”
Suddenly the mention of Ginny’s name attracted his attention back to the conversation between Snape and Dumbledore.
“As instructed, I planted the idea with Yaxley,” Snape was saying, “that Ginny Weasley might be able to lead them to Potter.”
“Adam!” Ginny cried again, demanding his attention. “Listen to me. You can’t! Please — arghhh!” She broke off in a surprised shriek as the scene suddenly changed with a stomach-churning whirl and they were flung back out of the Pensieve.
Landing on his feet back in the headmaster’s office, Adam stared numbly at Ginny, who had lost her balance and landed on her back.
He almost couldn’t bear to look at her; doing so reminded him of everything that he was about to lose, but what choice did he have? People had died for him, his parents, Remus, Sirius, Fred… could he now back out of making the same sacrifice and doom the world to live under Voldemort’s control?
“Adam,” Ginny cried, sounding near-hysterical now. “Don’t… please… I need you. I can’t lose you!” she sobbed. “Adam!”
“Ginny,” Adam pleaded, “I don’t want to, but I have no choice.”
“Then at least let me come with you!”
“NO!” Adam shouted. He couldn’t let Ginny die for him. “Ginny…” Adam began.
“Your time is up.” Voldemort’s high, cold voice echoed through the office and Adam guessed he was speaking to the entire school again. “Harry Potter has not come forward. He has doomed you all to death,” Voldemort paused. “However, I will be merciful. Whoever brings me Harry Potter, alive and unharmed, will be spared.”
“Ginny,” Adam said, desperation now overtaking him, “I have to go… I need you to kill the snake. Please!”
“No!” Ginny screamed, suddenly flinging herself at him. “I won’t let you! I won’t let you!”
“Ginny!” Adam practically screamed, as he held tightly onto her. “I need you to be safe! Please!”
“NO!” Ginny shrieked, fighting to keep her arms around him. “You can’t die! You can’t! Please…”
The two of them fought against each other, Ginny desperately trying to keep hold of him, while Adam struggled to escape her grip. As he stood there struggling with her, a single thought crystallised in his mind: he had to die so that Ginny and everyone else in the Wizarding world could live. It was a simple as that… except that Ginny would never let him go. She wouldn’t leave him.
In that moment, a new determination filled Adam: he couldn’t let Ginny come with him. He was the one who had to die, not her. He had to make sure that she was safe.
So, steeling himself, Adam firmly pushed Ginny away. His sudden burst of strength took her by surprise, and she fell backwards onto the floor of Dumbledore’s office with a cry.
Ginny lay on the floor, her face streaked with tears, but then, as Adam watched, he saw a flash of something in her eyes and he knew that Ginny wasn’t going to let him go without a fight.
“Incarcerous!” Adam cried, as Ginny leapt back to her feet.
The conjured ropes bound her instantly, sending Ginny crashing back to the floor.
“Adam!” Ginny screamed, thrashing around on the floor, trying desperately to break free of the ropes. “LET ME OUT! YOU DON’T HAVE TO! YOU CAN’T!!”
“Ginny,” he said softly, taking a step towards Ginny, but stopping short of touching her when he saw the fury burning in her eyes, “I’m sorry… I love you.”
Upon hearing his words, Ginny expression dissolved into one of complete devastation. It broke Adam’s heart. But what choice did he have?
“Adam…” Ginny pleaded. “Let me come with you… Please…”
Trying desperately to keep control, Adam took one last, longing look at her, before turning and dashing out of the room with Ginny’s screams following him.