This story contains spoilers for the first four Harry Potter books. All characters are the property of J. K. Rowling and her publishing company. No money has been made off of this story, which was written solely for entertainment purposes. Do not repost anywhere without the permission of the author!

The author would once again like to thank Lissy from the bottom of her heart for keeping her on target and for some aid in editing. Many scenes would have been quite different if not for Lissy's guidance.

Episode 4: The Return of Snape
Kelly M. Grosskreutz

Harry let go of the key and stood in the almost perfect darkness, trying to catch his breath. Using a Portkey to apparate may be pretty quick timewise, but the journey was always so rough and the arrival so abrupt, it always took him a minute to recover. He was relieved to see that he had, at least, been able to remain on his feet this time.

He looked around him, trying to get an idea of his surroundings. The first thing he saw was the outline of a banister to his right. It was then he realized that the darkness wasn't absolute. Turning, he looked out the window and saw moonlight. Far from streaming inside, however, the light seemed unable to touch the house in which he was standing.

He caught a glimpse of a shack and some buildings farther away when a soft voice made him turn back. "So, Potter, you did come after all. I wasn't sure if you would show up."

Darn! Harry thought. I walk into what's probably the most dangerous place there is, and I go and leave my back unguarded.

Turning around, he was barely able to make out the figure of what had once been his Potions teacher. Snape was standing about two paces away. Since Harry hadn't heard anything, it made him wonder if Snape had been standing there all along and he just hadn't seen him. That thought made Harry cringe inwardly.

"Yes, I came," Harry said disdainfully. "You said you wanted to talk. So let's talk."

Snape opened his mouth to reply, but just then Harry heard the one voice he had been half hoping, half afraid to hear. "Are you planning to bring him in here, Severus, or did you decide to kill him in the hallway?"

Snape flinched and turned towards the door at the end of the hall. Light seeped through the crack at the bottom of the door. "Yes, Master, I'm bringing him in now," he called, reaching out and grabbing Harry's arm.

Harry tried to jerk away, but Snape's hold was too strong. Gripping his arm painfully, Snape drug Harry down the hall, opened the door, threw him into the room, and shut the door behind them both.

Harry, sprawled on the floor, lifted his nose off of the tasseled end of a rug and saw that he was in what appeared to be a sitting room. A fireplace was lit, providing the only source of light. An armchair sat on the rug, facing toward the fire. He didn't get to see much else, because just then the owner of that dreaded voice rose from the chair.

Harry couldn't stop himself from shuddering slightly. It was Lord Voldemort. Realizing that he was on his knees before him, Harry scrambled to his feet.

Voldemort didn't even seem to notice. His red eyes were focused on Snape. "You didn't have to be so rough on him, Severus," he chided, a mild rebuke in his voice. "Is that any way to treat my grandson?"

"Your grandson?" The question was asked normally enough, but Harry, curious to see Snape's reaction, was surprised. Instead of shock, Snape, strangely enough, looked angry. I thought he'd be kind of satisfied to know that I was related to the most evil wizard that ever lived.

"Yes, Severus." Voldemort almost sounded like he was gloating.

Harry had had enough of being talked about like he wasn't there. "What do you want, Grandfather?" he asked crossly.

Voldemort smiled triumphantly. "Ah, so you have finally admitted the truth, Harry."

"If you mean that you are my biological grandfather, yes. But that's all you are to me."

Voldemort frowned slightly. "Now you sound just like your father. He said almost exactly the same thing. He continually refused to see me or talk to me, his own father!" Voldemort's voice took on a threatening tone. "He paid for that defiance with his life. Don't let the same thing happen to you."

Harry drew in a deep breath, gathering his courage. "If you want to try to kill me, then go ahead, because I will never join you."

Voldemort pulled out his wand and began to play with it in his hands. "Don't tempt me, Grandson. If you choose to be stubborn, I will do it."

Harry pulled out his wand, readying it in his hand. "Then let's quit wasting time, Voldemort. Prepare to meet your doom."

Voldemort laughed, that high, cold laugh that Harry had heard in his dreams too many times. "You honestly think you can defeat me? A little whelp like you, taking on the greatest wizard that ever lived? You might as well lay down your wand right now, boy, for you have no chance."

"I have no chance?" Harry asked quietly. "I have every chance, Grandfather, and you know it. For I am a Child of the Heir of Slytherin, and your defeat was foretold."

Voldemort sneered. "Perhaps someday, you could defeat me, Grandson, but not yet. You're not powerful enough. Why, you haven't even graduated from Hogwarts! Your overconfidence will be your undoing and, with your death, there will be no one able to defeat me. I will finish what I began decades ago!"

"You may take me down, Voldemort, but you still won't win!" Harry shouted, no longer thinking what he was saying, only wanting to erase the gloating, triumphant, laughing look off of Voldemort's face. "My sister-"

As soon as the words left his mouth, he realized he'd said too much. He'd never meant to bring her up to Voldemort!

He saw that he wasn't the only one who was shocked at the revelation. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Snape give a violent start and glance at Harry, an unreadable expression in his eyes. Snape caught hold of himself quickly, however, and turned back to look at Voldemort.

Voldemort did look surprised, but there was also a calculating look in his eyes that Harry did not like one bit. "Sister..." he mused, using that same strangely gloating tone he'd used on Snape earlier. "So, you have a sister. That means that if you choose not to join me, perhaps she will."

"You'll have to find her first!" Harry said with more bravado than he felt.

"Ah, but, my young grandson, I am quite skilled in finding people that are supposed to be hidden. Aren't I, Severus?" he asked, turning to Snape with a cruel smile on his lips.

Snape said nothing. He just glared at Voldemort, hatred and fury emanating from every pore. But Harry thought he caught the slightest look of fear in Snape's eyes as well.

Voldemort must have seen it as well, because his smile grew even broader for a moment. Then it disappeared as he turned back to Harry. His eyes now holding a serious, deadly look to them, he murmured, "But perhaps my search can be easier this time around. Tell me where she is, boy."

"And why should I?" Harry asked, trying a desperate gamble. As long as he could keep Voldemort talking, there was a chance that something would come to his mind that would save him.

Voldemort smiled, a tight-lipped smile that had no mirth at all in it. "Because, my young grandson, telling me everything you can about your sister is in your best interest." At Harry's questioning look, he continued on. "Oh, no, I'm afraid that you're still going to die. That is, unless you have changed your mind about joining me."

Harry shook his head adamantly.

"Yes, you must die, then. Your potential of fulfilling the prophecy demands your death. But the manner of your passing isn't set in stone. If you tell me where your sister is, I will grant you a quick, merciful death." Voldemort's face was now wearing the most malevolent look Harry had ever seen on it. "If you do not, I will have to torture it out of you, and if I have to go through that extra amount of work, I will make sure that your death is a thing of nightmares." He hissed this last.

Harry knew that he had run out of time. He could think of nothing else he could say or do to put off the inevitable. And Snape looked like he was going to stay out of the entire proceedings. Well, he thought, looks like this is it. I'm going to die. No one is going to help me. I'm on my own. He's right, I'm not powerful enough to take him out. The best I can do is to somehow not show him how afraid I am.

Harry drew in a deep breath, then put away his wand. "If you're going to kill me, Voldemort, you might as well go ahead and get it over with, because I don't know where she is."

Voldemort sighed almost regretfully. "You have chosen poorly, Harry. You have too much of your father in you. But, never mind, I see you've made your choice. So be it, Potter."

Voldemort pulled out his wand and pointed it at the defenseless Harry, smiling evilly. Harry braced himself, expecting Voldemort to use the Imperious Curse, but he could never have braced himself enough for what came next. "Crucio!" cried Voldemort.

Harry had been subjected to the Cruciatus Curse once before, when Voldemort had first come back into power. He'd thought he would never forget how badly it had hurt, and nightmares still plagued him. His dreams and memories, however, were nothing compared to the pain he was now experiencing. All he could do was writhe helplessly on the floor, every nerve ending on fire. It seemed that even his bones were screaming in agony.

Through the pain, he became aware of a high, cold voice shouting, "Where is your sister?" It seemed that he'd been hearing that question for awhile now. Somehow, he wasn't sure how, he knew that if he answered the question, the pain would stop. He would do anything, anything, if only the pain would stop.

The next thing he became aware of was another voice screaming, "I don't know!" He barely recognized it as his own. The high, cold voice became more insistent as it kept demanding to know the same thing over and over. The voices lost meaning to him as the pain continued on and on, becoming the only important thing in his universe.

Then a third voice spoke over his pain, a voice that seemed familiar to Harry, although he could not place it. " on Severus Snape," it urged. " him you must...the one thing that will save you..."

No longer aware of what he was doing, only wanting the pain to stop, Harry screamed, "Snape! Snape, help me! Please help me, Snape, help me, make it stop, Snape, make it STOP!"

And then, miraculously, the pain did stop. Harry lay on the floor, gasping and moaning, trying to recover himself. Voldemort laughed, that same laugh that had haunted Harry's dreams. He opened his eyes to see Voldemort standing over him, lowering his wand, still laughing. He turned his head to look at Snape, now standing next to Voldemort. Snape's face was expressionless, but his breath seemed to be coming faster and, although he appeared to be looking at Harry, his eyes were abstracted, as if deep in thought.

"Your last plea, although truly touching, is wasted. Severus is mine now. He has admitted his error in leaving my service, and has been properly chastised. You, however, are another matter."

All mirth left Voldemort's face. He raised his wand and calmly pronounced, "Now, young Potter, you will die."

No! Not like this! Harry's mind screamed. He tried desperately to struggle to his feet, but he'd only managed to push himself onto one elbow before Voldemort started to utter the Killing Curse. "Avada Kedav-"

A flurry of black jumped between Harry and Voldemort before the final syllable could be uttered. "No, Father!" shouted Snape as he leapt on Voldemort, knocking them both to the floor. "You killed my mother; you are not killing my nephew. No more!"

Harry's mouth fell open as he watched the two men grapple. Were his senses muddled, or was what he was seeing and hearing really happening?

Voldemort, struggling to get out from underneath a Snape gone mad, yelled, "What do you think you're doing, Severus?"

"I'm doing something I should've done a long time ago!" snarled Snape.

Voldemort finally managed to break free of Snape, throwing him away from him and lunging for his wand. He and Snape got to their feet at the same time, but by this time Snape also had his wand. Both held them at the ready, neither taking his eyes off the other. They seemed to have forgotten that Harry was even in the room.

Voldemort looked intently at Snape "Severus, you're being a fool! I took you back when I would have killed anyone else. I killed the one person you hated most in the entire world. I offered you power beyond your wildest dreams. And now you would throw it all away over the son of James Potter?"

"Don't speak of James Potter like he's nothing to you!" spat Snape. "I know better than that. I found out the truth my first year at Hogwarts. I also learned you'd been giving money to Potter and his family. They didn't need it, or even want it, but you gave it to them anyway. What about us? Mum and I could've used it far more, but you didn't give us one single Knut! But what hurt even more is that you didn't confide in me. I kept silent, waiting for you to tell me the truth, but you never did."

Snape took a step closer to Voldemort, an anguished, tortured look on his face. "I stayed with you then, Father, even knowing that you were lying to me. I was your strongest supporter. Do you know how proud I was the day you asked me to become a Death Eater? Finally, you'd seen my worth, I thought. I would've followed you to Hell and back!

"But then you ordered me to kill my own mother! A loyalty test, you called it! You had my loyalty!"

"If you were truly loyal to me, my son, you would have done what I ordered without a second thought," growled Voldemort. "You failed your test then, and you've failed it a second time by protecting this boy, a boy you don't even like!"

"Yes, you're right, I don't like Harry Potter." Snape then sighed wearily. "I don't like him, and I hated his father. But he is still my nephew, and therefore I am bound to protect him."

"So, what are you going to do, Severus?" sneered Voldemort as he and Snape circled each other. "Kill me, your own father?"

"Yes, Father," replied Snape firmly, looking for an opening, "I am."

"But you can't!" exclaimed Voldemort. "Only the boy or his sister-"

Snape snorted, but the serious, determined look never left his face. "Whatever gave you that idea? The prophecy said you would meet your match in a Child of the Heir. Last I knew, I was your child." Snape's lips twisted into something approximating a smile, but there was no hint of amusement in his black eyes. "It appears that committing patricide is turning into something of a family tradition."

Voldemort, his back now turned to Harry, snarled, "I'll be happy to continue on another family tradition, the one where I get rid of traitorous, defiant sons!"

Harry knew he had to do something, and fast. Snape was prepared to uphold his vow, but Harry believed that Voldemort was powerful enough to destroy Snape. His wand already in his hand, having been looking for an opportunity like this, Harry forced his aching muscles to point the wand at Voldemort's back and whispered, "Zingus boltia!"

A blue bolt of lightning shot out of Harry's wand, hitting Voldemort in the rear end and setting it on fire. Voldemort let out a shriek of surprise. He tried to keep his wand trained on Snape, but found it impossible to do so and put the fire out at the same time.

The diversion gave Snape the few seconds he needed. He shifted his wand off to the side and shouted, "Portalis Abyssia Takhisis!"

Black smoke shot out of Snape's wand and quickly coalesced into what appeared to be a rather large black hole. Just looking at it was enough to terrify Harry. It was like being surrounded by dementors, only worse. The hole seemed to suck not only all happiness and joy from the room, but also seemed intent on claiming his very soul.

A shriek full of rage and fury rang in Harry's ears. He forced himself to turn his attention away from the hole and back to the confrontation. Snape had caught hold of Voldemort's arms and was forcing him towards the black hole. "You wouldn't!" cried Voldemort. "You're not capable of such a thing!"

"Oh, yes, I am," panted Snape as he pulled the struggling Voldemort closer and closer to the black hole. "This is where you always sent those of us who had betrayed you; this is where I'm sending one who has done far worse. I can't think of a more fitting end for you. Farewell, Father."

With these words, Snape shoved Voldemort as hard as he could at the portal. The moment Snape released him, Voldemort pointed his wand at Snape. Harry screamed out a warning, but it was too late. Voldemort pressed a button, and the same blade that Harry had seen once before shot out. The sound of tearing fabric and flesh filled the room along with Snape's sharp intake of breath. Harry closed his eyes against the sight of the blade, glistening with blood, protruding from the back of Snape's robes. This did nothing to stop the momentum of Snape's push as Voldemort, still grasping his wand, reeled backwards into the portal. The blade slid cleanly out of the wound, and the last thing Harry saw was the inky blackness closing around the tip of the bloody blade.

Harry lay there, stunned. Time slowed as he stared at Snape, who stood unmoving for a moment, left hand clutching his chest. His wand slipped out of fingers suddenly gone slack. A second later, Snape collapsed.

The dull thud jolted Harry back to reality. Forgetting the pain in his own body, he crawled over to kneel by Snape.

His eyes were closed, his face sweaty and pale. Harry quickly tore off a strip of his own robes and covered the wound. Snape moaned in agony, one hand reaching out to grab Harry's wrist. His grip was painfully tight, but Harry didn't try to break away from it, continuing to keep pressure on the wound.

Snape's eyes opened. His grip loosened to a more comfortable level. "Potter," he murmured.

"Professor Snape, it's going to be all right, I'll get you back to Hogwarts, Madam Pomfrey will be able to do something..." Harry was rambling without any idea what he was saying. He only knew that he had to say something, to do something, that would stop Snape from bleeding to death before his eyes.

"No, Potter, there's nothing you can do," said Snape quietly. "I'm dying. Nothing can stop that now."

"No, Professor, you can't die, not now, not after..." Harry stopped, not knowing how much he should say, fearing that if he said too much, Snape would become furious and tell him nothing.

"What are you going to do, stop death?" said Snape with a trace of his normal acerbic tone. "I don't think even the great Harry Potter can stop death." His eyes flashed angrily for a moment, then clouded as pain hit him again.

Regaining control of himself, Snape looked at Harry once again. "But enough of this. I have more important things to talk about than my condition."

"I have to know," Harry burst out, no longer caring if Snape became angry, "is it true? Are you-"

"Yes, I'm your uncle," Snape bit out, annoyed at the interruption. "Suffice it to say that your father and I are half-brothers. We discovered this fact during our first year at Hogwarts, but never told anyone."

Snape opened his mouth to continue his story, but was taken by another spasm of pain. He squeezed Harry's wrist so tightly that Harry thought it was going to break, but the spasm eased before that could happen, and Snape loosened his grip again.

"What do you know about your sister?" Snape asked, his voice much softer than it had been moments before.

The question caught Harry by surprise. "Er, not very much," he stammered. "I know that my dad sent my mum into hiding when they found out she was pregnant because they were afraid that Voldemort would kill us. My sister was hidden away shortly after we were born to keep her safe. That's about it, really. No one seems to know who hid her or what happened to her."

"I do, Harry," Snape murmured. "I am the one who hid her."

Harry gasped, stunned. "You hid my sister?"

Snape smiled at Harry's surprise. "You never would have guessed, would you?" Harry shook his head. Snape continued on, his voice sounding slightly bitter. "No one would. James Potter, give his daughter to a man he hated? A former Death Eater? Absurd!"

He paused again as another convulsion racked his body. When he resumed speaking, the bitterness had left him. "I was shocked myself when he asked me to hide her. He begged me to take her to a place where she would never be found, and not to tell anyone where she was, not even him."

Snape's hand loosened until he was barely holding onto Harry's wrist. His eyes stared into the past. "I remember holding her in my arms as I stood outside her new home. Her eyes looked up at me with such trust. No one had ever looked at me like that before. I vowed then that my father would never harm Carrie as long as I lived."

Snape's eyes focused once again on Harry. "I saw her settled in with her new family, a Muggle couple, and cast the Fidelius Charm. No one would ever be able to find her. I was the only person who knew her identity and whereabouts. Even her adopted parents wouldn't remember her true name until I divulged the secret to another, thanks to the Memory Charm I put on them."

Harry couldn't take this anymore. "Who is she?" he cried.

"Hermione Granger."

Harry's mouth fell open. He'd thought he'd passed the point of being surprised by anything anyone could tell him, but this just seemed too weird. "Hermione?" he gasped. "That can't be!"

Snape did not reply. He just looked at Harry, but with that one look, Harry became convinced what Snape had said was the truth. Snape's eyes drifted closed, but his chest continued to rise and fall. Then his lips moved.

"She's safe," he breathed, smiling. "I did it, I kept her safe." The smile slowly faded away. The lines of hatred and bitterness that had been etched into his face smoothed, leaving behind a look of such profound peace that it was a few minutes before Harry realized that Snape's hand slipped off of his wrist.

Harry reached up a bloodstained hand to wipe away tears, and it was only then that he realized he was crying. Of all the reactions he'd thought he'd have to Snape's death, this was not one of them.

Why am I crying? he thought. He hated me. He hated my father. He made Potions class a living nightmare. He was mean not only to me, but to everyone else, unless they were Slytherins. He constantly tried to get me expelled. I should be happy that he's dead.

Even as he tried to harden his heart and stop the tears from coming, other thoughts came in, unbidden. But he did save my life more than once, even though he hated me. He did have the strength to stand up to his own father when other family members were in danger. It didn't matter to him whether he liked them or not. He still was willing to give his life to save them, did give his life...

"And you protected my sister," he whispered aloud. "Hermione." He paused, once again marveling that one of his dearest friends had been his sister all this time, and no one had ever known.

He drew in a deep breath. "I have to be honest with you. I don't know what to think about you. It was so much easier just to hate you, but that doesn't seem right anymore. Yet I know I will never like you, or have any pleasant memories of you. I'm crying for you, but I don't know why. I can tell you what I do know, though." He picked up Snape's wand, placed it on his chest, then rested Snape's hands on top of it. "I know that your part in Voldemort's downfall will be known to everyone, and that Hermione will be told the entire story."

He dragged himself to his feet and looked down one last time at Snape's body. "I have to go now. I'll send someone back for you as soon as I can. Until then, farewell...Uncle."

Harry walked out of the room, down the stairs, and outside into the light of dawn.

Back to Episode 3 | On to Episode 5

Copyright December 17, 2000 by Kelly M. Grosskreutz.

Disclaimer: All content is made up, and no profit or lucre is expected, solicited, advocated or paid. This is all just for fun. Any comments, please e-mail the author or Wookiee Hut directly. Flames will be ignored. This story may not be posted anywhere without the author's knowledge, consent, and permission.