Title: Apprentice: Chapter 1 (02/?)
Pairing: None yet, previous Snape/OC
Warnings: Violence, child abuse, manipulative but not evil Dumbledore, OOC-ness
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn’t belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: The war had been over for several years, and Harry’s life did not turn out the way he expected it. He ended leaving England and travelling the world. That’s where death found him, but he was the Master of the Hollows and second chances were a given. He would not waste them.
THIS IS AN AU STORY (AUAlternate Universe), even though I try to follow the original novels as close as I can.
Not a native English speaker writing.
Characters might be Out Of Character (OOC)
There might be spoilers for all books.
Author’s Note: When I started writing this story, book five was not yet out, so this entirely based on the first four books.I want to thank Phoenix Angel for editing this chapter.
“Of all the harebrained things you have asked of me through the years, Albus, THIS one tops them all!” The furious Potion Master glared at the older man. They began talking shortly after breakfast, sharing some tea in the headmaster’s office, while playing wizard chess. However, currently, Severus was pacing the office’s length like a caged and furious wild animal.
“Severus, my boy, this is the best option for the both of you, now that your situation has changed,” the older wizard said in a pacifying tone of voice that usually worked well with the younger man. Although, this time, it did not seem to be calming him.
“The best option?” He sneered in disgust and stopped his pacing right in front of the headmaster to give him one of his trademark death glares. “Are you forgetting that I am, at the moment, in every Death Eater’s ‘top ten’ list of things to do? Torture or kill Severus Snape, then send his carcass to the Dark Lord as a present. I really can’t be responsible for keeping ‘Gryffindor’s-Golden-Boy’ alive; I’ve enough to do with keeping myself alive.”
“I haven’t forgotten, my boy. I’m well aware that Harry holds the number one position on that list, and knowing Voldemort, you hold the second.”
“This is a serious matter Albus; it’s nothing to make fun of!” He huffed indignantly at the thought and resumed his restless pacing. After all, it was his life they were talking about. He personally did not give a damn for Potter’s, but he knew the boy had an important part in the future war against the Dark Lord.
“I wasn’t making fun, merely stating a fact. Both of you are in danger everywhere you go in the wizarding world. As long as you remain inside Hogwarts grounds, or even at one of your hideouts you’ll be safe. Think of it, Severus. It’s much better to keep the two of you together, were we can keep an eye on both of you, than to have each of you going separate ways,” he explained to the other wizard, although he was sure this explanation was not going to end the discussion. It would take much more to convince Severus or at least make him grudgingly accept the order.
“I don’t like this Albus. As I told you, I can take care of myself. I DON’T need protecting. But you know Potter, the boy’s a magnet for trouble. I don’t want to spend 24/7 bailing the spoiled brat out of it, I’ve done that enough times already,” he said, disgust coating his voice. He made it no secret that he positively disliked ‘the-boy-who-lived’.
“And you don’t attract trouble my boy?” Albus asked with a twinkle in his eye.
“I’m an adult now, Headmaster,” he sneered, not wanting to go down memory lane. Some parts of that trip were quite painful for him.
“I seem to recall a certain youth with quite a mischievous streak…”
“As I just said,” he sighed. If Albus wanted to go that way, it was not going to be easy to sway him away from it; might as well get prepared. “I AM an adult wizard now. I can take care of myself, as you have been able to confirm on several occasions. Besides,” he then allowed his face to show a very small, pleased smirk. “I haven’t played a prank in years!”
“You haven’t? Really? I seem to recall that last term a certain pair of twins ended for about two weeks praising the Slytherins as well as their head of house, while they changed colors depending on their mood and left everything they touched colored as well*.”
“Oh?” He said raising an eyebrow. “I… seem to recall the incident; something of that nature was more than late in coming. I’m glad some of my boys were able to get back at them for all the other pranks they played on Slytherins.”
“Well… I know for a fact that no student played that prank…” he let the implications hang on the air. For just a scant second, Snape looked like a child caught with his hands in the cookie jar. He recovered quite fast, a talent he had made use of during his spying career; it had literally saved his life several times.
“So… it wasn’t a student?” He decided he would still fake ignorance, although he really had enjoyed getting back at the twins for some of the pranks they played on him since they first attended Hogwarts.
“No, it wasn’t. You don’t, by any chance, happen to know who it was, do you?” There it was again, the mad twinkling in his eyes.
“No. Should I, Headmaster?” he drawled, sounding rather uninterested.
“I would certainly expect you to, since the potion used WAS perfectly brewed and quite complex. I have it from a good source that the twins have yet to reproduce it. It was no amateur work,” he saw the hint of a pleased smile, and knew that would be the only sign of an admission he would ever get from his former student. He might try to hide it, but there was still much of his former self hidden behind the cold walls his Potions Master had built around himself. “Well, going back to the matters of your new apprentice…”
“Albus, I… am… NOT… going… to… do…it. I do not intend to take an apprentice, now or in the future. I’m not a social person, and you know it. Because of that, I certainly DON’T like having people close to me all the time. Even in the remote case that I changed my mind, and believe me I won’t, you can be certain that it WOULD NOT BE Potter. That boy is all courage and no brains. Ms Granger would be a much better choice; at least she’s smart and competent, although not gifted in potion brewing. Heck! I would even accept both Weasley twins.” To the last admission, Albus had to raise his eyebrows; coming from Severus, this was a shocking surprise. But if he thought about it, the twins had to have some talent to create the things they did for pranks. The Potions Master explained, “I… have to admit those two have potential for becoming Potions Masters, if they can take things seriously.”
“So you’ll be inviting them to take special potions seminar you’re planning? I suppose you’re going to ask Ms Granger too?”
“The Weasleys? Yes, they’re too good to let them waste the talent, and they enjoy it,” he grudgingly admitted. “Ms Granger I’m not sure, she seems to do well for grades sake, not because she enjoys making potions. I’ll have to think about it. There are other students who would probably appreciate the course more than she would.”
“What about Harry? Where you planning on having him on the course?”
“Of course not Albus! The boy’s mediocre in potions as well as in everything else, I really don’t see where’s this great potential everyone thinks he has.”
“Are you sure you haven’t seen that potential Severus? The boy has been against Voldemort several times already and has always escaped. One time can be labeled luck, but not four. I know Harry is smarter than he lets on. Now be truthful, have you really graded his work in potions fairly?”
“What are you implying?” His voice was dangerously low. He did no like the Headmaster’s accusation, although there was truth there, at least during Harry’s first and second years.
“We both know you were not exactly fair to the boy, but since it has not done any damage I haven’t mentioned anything.”
“Albus, his work’s mediocre at best, although he manages not to blow or melt cauldrons on his own as much as Long bottom does.”
“But was his work mediocre in the beginning?” This caught Severus a bit by surprise and he had to think back to four years of potion classes. He was usually fair with his grading, but he had not been in either Potter or Granger’s case. Actually, Potter’s work was not mediocre in the beginning, it was… quite good to be truthful, but he never gave him a good grade during his first two years. By the end of the second year, the work was passable but not what it used to be. His face must have betrayed his thoughts because Albus went on. “I suspect he saw no point in presenting good work if they were going to earn him the same marks as those badly done, don’t you think? Harry’s smarter than he lets on; he just doesn’t want to add more to all the attention his name brings him.”
“Really? He doesn’t seem to be doing a great job at being inconspicuous.”
“He does try, but he’s a bit reckless and, as you pointed out, he’s a magnet for trouble. But I’m sure you’ll be able to coach him in that area.”
“Albus, why me? I’m sure there are a lot of people who actually LIKE the brat, and are quite capable of doing this. Why not that mutt of a godfather?”
“Sirius isn’t an option. He might love the boy, but he hasn’t been cleared. He is still an escaped convict. There’s also the fact that although he’s an Auror, he never took a Mastery. And… well, he’s too impulsive; he acts before he thinks…”
“Black thinks? Now Albus, this is some piece of news! You better inform the Daily Prophet of this unprecedented event,” he told the headmaster in a voice that dripped sarcasm and dislike for the man.
“Now Severus, there’s no need for sarcasm.” The younger wizard just sneered. “As I was saying, letting Black take care of Harry is not an option, it’s too risky, and he can’t train the boy in what’s needed.”
“And I can?”
“Yes Severus, you can.”
“But… what about Lupin? He’s not a bad Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.” Admitting that cost him. Nevertheless, he had to admit that it was the truth. “And I’ll keep him supplied with wolfbane’s potion. Or maybe Minerva, she likes the boy, or even Alastor Moody. I recall you trust the man. There are of course some of the members of the order that might be quite able…”
“As much as I would like Remus to take Harry, he’s not a master either, and would leave Harry vulnerable during the full moon. Minerva is a master, but I can’t spare her. I really need her to work here at Hogwarts and for the Order. Alastor’s a master too, but Harry doesn’t really know him. He knew Barty Crouch Jr. posing as him, but not the real one. Besides, he’s of more use to the order if left to roam at will; the same applies to other Order members.”
“Why is it so important that they be a master?”
“Because my boy, only a master would be allowed to decide what he wants to teach his apprentice without the Ministry meddling in the affair. All others must adhere to what the Ministry has labeled appropriate for a boy Harry’s age. You know they are not too keen in letting us, and I mean Hogwarts teachers, decide what should be taught*. And that boy needs to learn more than simple charms and hexes if he’s to fight Voldemort again and live.”
“Ok, I understand that part. But are you forgetting that boy hates me and that the feeling’s mutual?”
“I don’t think Harry hates you. I know he doesn’t like you, but then again, with the way you have treated him for four years, that’s only to be expected. And… you don’t really know the boy, Severus. Give him a chance; you might be surprised that he’s not what you think.”
“What’s there to know? He’s just like his father, almost disgustingly so.”
“They look a lot alike, but believe me, he isn’t like James. There are some traits he inherited from his father, but there are a lot that he inherited from his mother too. And as I remember you were friends with Lily while you were students.”
“Yes, she was a good friend, but come on, Albus. There surely is someone else you can saddle with the boy. You know I’m no good with children.”
“Really Severus? A fair percentage of Slytherins would not agree with you in that respect. In fact, I know of a few from other houses throughout the time you have been head of house that would agree with the Slytherins. You’ve helped them cope with difficult situations and kept quiet.”
“I was merely more observant and listened to them; Minerva and the other teachers did the rest of the work. There really must be someone else better suited to deal with ‘Gryffindor’s Golden Boy’ than me,” he insisted.
“There really isn’t Severus. You have three wizarding Masteries; I also know you have a muggle one in their science. A wizard with three is uncommon enough, and adding a muggle Mastery completely unheard off. You’re also an excellent duelist, and Harry needs to learn that from the best available. You can also teach him to defend himself without magic; few wizards or witches can do that. Your knowledge of Voldemort and the Death Eaters is also invaluable, and to top that, you can do wandless magic, even if you keep that a complete secret. Need I keep going?”
“How… did you find that out Albus?” he asked suspiciously. No one knew about it. His ability to use wandless magic was something he kept quiet about, to use as his final card in case of extreme danger or as an advantage in an otherwise lost situation.
“I have my ways, my boy, but don’t worry. I’m the only one who knows about this, besides Matilda. And before you ask, no, she didn’t tell me. Severus I’m also asking you this because I know I can trust you to keep the boy safe.”
“Damn it Albus, that was a low blow. Why are you so sure I won’t end up killing the brat?”
“I just know. In fact, I believe you’re going to end up changing the way you think about him.”
“I don’t think so. Actually, I don’t know why I would want to. Besides, I don’t think the Ministry is going to let you do this. Just imagine ‘the-boy-who-lived’ apprenticed to an ex-Death Eater. My spying record won’t help you there.” This was his last card and he hoped it would give him the winning hand.
“Actually, you’re wrong Severus. The Ministry officials were… ‘grateful’ for the services rendered. They couldn’t deny you this ‘reward’ for risks you ran while working for them…” Snape started sputtering and for a moment, he was completely unable to utter a word. This just made Albus eyes twinkle madly in amusement.
“What the hell did you do Albus?” He finally asked pausing at each word to make emphasis. He was suspicious.
“Oh nothing, just mentioned your work record for us, as well as flaunted that there are few wizards with as many Masteries as you have. It’s only your due to choose a suitable apprentice, and Harry Potter happened to be the one.”
“Why do I feel there’s more here than that?”
“Well there isn’t.” At this, Snape raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Really my boy. They already sent me the required documents to sign the apprentice contract, as well as the custody documents that would be necessary since Harry’s underage. The only thing that’s missing is your signature, Harry’s, and his aunt’s, since she’s the one that currently holds the custody, not Mr. Dursley, as most people think. So… it’s not midday yet, so why don’t you go and pick him from his relatives’ house? You’ll just have to explain the situation to his aunt. I’m sure she won’t have that many reservations.” With these last words, Albus had trapped him neatly. There was no way out; he had just acquired an apprentice. “And please Severus, do try to be polite and non-threatening, there’s no need to antagonize the Dursleys.”
* Just a reminder that this is AU, so I’m taking some liberties. This incident supposedly took place during Harry’s fourth year.
* Believe it or not I was really surprised when I finally read the Order of the Phoenix.