“Severus,” he hissed. “What do you know about our friends James and Lily Potter?”
Severus blocked his mind with ease. “I was in their year at Hogwarts. They were in Gryffindor. Potter was an arrogant Quidditch player. Evans excelled at Charms and the two of us were top in Potions.”
The Dark Lord smirked. “That’s it? Mulciber and Avery stated that you had a friendship with ‘Evans,’ as you call her. And that she was a Mudblood. A fact you once vocally reminded her about in front of many classmates.”
Severus’s expression remained stony but he swallowed. “Yes. That happened in our fifth year.” He paused before choosing his next words. “I don’t mean to offend, my lord, but may I ask what this is about?”
The Dark Lord stood and walked to the roaring fire, his back turned to Severus. “We discovered that the Potters and the Longbottoms both have sons who were born as the seventh month died. The Prophecy must refer to one of them, as both sets of parents have been instrumental in our worst defeats.”
Severus felt a pinprick of panic in his gut.
“My lord,” he took a deeper breath than normal. “It must be the Longbottom’s son. They’re Pureblood. Nothing less could be deemed a potential threat to a wizard such as you.”
The Dark Lord faced Severus, but his expression was shadowed as the light from the fire radiated behind him. “Ah, Severus,” he said. “Never underestimate a Half-Blood. It may be difficult for Purebloods such as us to understand their mindset but…” he turned back to the fire, “they can be cunning.”
Now the panic rose up to Severus’s throat. “I seriously doubt James Potter could produce a child who was remotely intelligent enough to go wand to wand with you.”
“But his wife,” the Dark Lord swiftly walked to Severus and studied his face. “She was always an exceptional witch, wasn’t she? You said she was your equal in Potions. I know what you are capable of so I can only imagine her talent.”
Severus took a step back. “You truly believe it is her son?”
The Dark Lord nodded.
“What…what will you do to them?”
The Dark Lord’s smile was devoid of joy. “Find out where they are hiding, hunt them down, and kill them, of course.”
Severus stood frozen as the Dark Lord went back to sit by the fire, plans whirring in his mind about how to get to the Potters. To Lily.
“You may go, Severus,” the Dark Lord said with a flick of his bony white hand. “Thank you for your information. Despite your young age, you continue to be of invaluable service to me. Perhaps my greatest servant.”
But Severus did not exit. Instead, to the Dark Lord’s surprise, he approached and knelt.
“My lord,” he began and bowed his head. “If you appreciate all that I have done in your service, may I humbly make one request?”
The Dark Lord was curious. “You may.”
Severus did not raise his head. “If you only need to take the life of the son, please spare the life of Lily Ev – Potter.” He tried to control his breathing but it came out shallow.
“Severus, I was beginning to think you had no weaknesses I could exploit,” leaning back in his chair, the master laughed at the servant. “But how can I let one of my foes survive and not expect her to take revenge? I’ll hazard a guess that my killing of her family will not sit well with Mrs. Potter.”
Severus steeled himself before he looked into the Dark Lord’s eyes. “I will keep her. There are potions and spells I can use to…to control her.”
He fought his mind, which wanted to race with thoughts of her…her green eyes, her laugh. Severus wrestled it down, as he observed the Dark Lord in contemplation. He felt his mind being invaded yet he placed undetectable barriers wherever the Dark Lord tried to enter.
“I do not love her,” Severus mustered all the anger he had felt towards her over the years, all the pain from her soul-crushing rejection. He needed it there in his voice. “I want to make her suffer. Suffer for her arrogance, thinking that she…a Mudblood…was too good for me.”
At this, the Dark Lord appeared less wary. “Fine. You may have your reward.”
Relief washed over Severus, and he exhaled as he lowered his head again, “Thank you, my lord. Your wisdom and benevolence knows no bounds.” Severus stood and gave a bow before he turned to leave. He wanted to run for the door but made sure his gait was the same stride and clip. He knew who he needed to meet with before the night was over; there was one wizard powerful enough who could help Severus save Lily from the Dark Lord.
“Severus,” the Dark Lord said. He was staring into the fire when Severus turned around, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “A word of advice for when you receive your pretty prize.”
“Yes, my Lord?”
“Never fool yourself into thinking that all the potions and spells in the world will actually make her fall in love with you over time. If you stop forcing her to submit, I will kill her.”
Severus nodded. Again, he shielded his thoughts despite the rage wanting to boil to the surface. He would save that for later; now he had to save the life of the only woman he had ever loved, no matter the price either of them had to pay.