Death by Elder Wand

A collection of Harry-Potter one-shots :) The title refers to the most recent one.

Chapter 1

"Sometimes I think they sort too early, Severus." -Dumbledore

A bat-like figure, with long, greasy hair and coal black eyes, tread towards the tree.

It was the same tree that, so many years ago, his enemies had lured him towards, seeking to murder, or else transform him. Now, more than seventeen years later, he came again, summoned by the face of evil, itself. Again, death was a possibility. The sick, burning irony of it all was that this time, he was the one risking his life for Potter.

The mark on his arm seemed to make all the muscles in his body tense, with each passing minute. Lord Voldemort was waiting.

The wand in his pocket seemed hollow, useless. He had attempted to retreat to the headmasters office, or at least find Harry, but everywhere he turned, old friends were sending jinxes at him, and students were shouting profanity. The irony of that made his heart sore. It was a heavy price to pay, to defeat the dark lord. Everyone he knew hated him... But what else is new? , a nasty voice that sounded to him like petunia whispered in his head.
The dark night seemed a year away from the commotion in the castle at that moment, and Severus had to stop himself from flashing back to the night where all his living enemies had been together as one, and he'd been so close to destroying them all at once. He was still unsure how he felt about his actions, whether he should have exacted his revenge, or had gone mad. Potter seemed to think the latter.

The tattoo burned so deeply that his arm recoiled. The Dark Lord will not be kept waiting, it seemed to hiss. Severus could feel it: he was displeased. Swallowing his fear, he waved his wand, pressing the knot which allowed passage into the tree. His long feet stepped forward, one after another, in an almost mechanical motion. What was his master so angry about? He winced, as he was called one last time. Then, before his body could do something to escape, he was standing before Voldemort himself, staring without emotion at Severus Snape.


A thick, cold sheet of ice froze over the headmaster's heart. It's origin couldn't be traced: was it fear? Anger? Urgency? All that mattered now, was that he explained to Potter that... that...

"Severus." The snake-like voice viewed him coldly. It pulverized every emotion he was capable of having, so that anything besides an empty gaze back into he who must not be named was, at least for the moment, impossible.

"My lord?" Severus replied calmly. For the slightest fraction of a second, he thought he saw respect in those blank eyes. Then it was gone, and Voldemort was merely watching him with a dangerous testiness.

"The battle is going well, I presume?"

Snape nodded once, hoping, against all common sense, that this was the sole purpose of his summons.

Voldemort licked his lips, although his tongue was dry. He was hesitating.
"..and Potter. Is he there? Is he alive? "

His hairless eyebrows contracted together, and the Dark Lord was inches from his face. "Yes--although I haven't seen him in the past half hour, my lord.. Perhaps I should-"

The scattered and splintered soul held up one finger, touching it to Severus's face. "No. You are needed here, Severus."

The rude awakening of arguably the most evil wizard in the world touching his face made panic arise from the ice in his stomach. "My lord, Surely I am needed more where Hogwarts is concerned? Their resistance is crumbling."

This made his masters pale lips turn downwards. "And it is doing so without your help. Skilled wizard though you are, Severus, I do not think you will make much difference now. We are almost there... almost."

This was not what he wanted to hear. I won't make much difference, now? He daren't of guessed what that meant.

"Let me find the boy. Let me bring you potter. I know I can find him, my lord." Thinking that this might irritate Lord Voldemort, he quickly added "Please."

The dark lord's eyes narrowed. Was he actually considering his request? No. The elder wand was slid carefully out of his robes. Severus stood, realizing what it meant, and stepped closer to his escape route. Voldemort's indifferent face watched the foolish, fearful movement without amusement.

"I have a problem, Severus," he whispered.

"..My Lord?"

He raised the elder wand, displaying it like one would a criminal.

"Why doesn't it work for me?"

Severus was taken aback. Terrified, even. If his master had guessed this much, then it was only a matter of time... And Potter still didn't know! He racked his mind for a sufficient answer, but didn't find one.
"My--my lord? I do not understand."
Voldemort watched his eyes closely, and Severus couldn't help but think he knew he was lying. "You--you have performed extraordinary magic with that wand."

Disgusted, he said "No" venomously. "I have performed my usual magic. I am extraordinary, but this wand..."

He held his breath, waiting for him to decide it was good enough.

"...no. It has not revealed the wonders it has promised. I feel no difference between this wand and the one I procured from Ollivanders all those years ago."

Each soft word felt like it needed an exclamation point. The dark lord was in a dangerous, dangerous mood.

"No difference," he repeated, as if addressing himself, this time. Was it shock? Fury? Hatred towards his most devoted spy?

The further Voldemort's voice lost control, the more rapidly his brain scrambled for the right words to soothe him. Suddenly, he thought of Dumbledore. If he died that night, he would have failed. And after all those years, undetected by Voldemort himself... The realization that his acting skills were astounding wasn't exactly appropriate at the moment.

The possessor of the elder wand began circling him like a shark. "Do you know why I have called you back from the battle?"

It was an obvious no. " No, my Lord, but I beg you will let me return. Let me find potter."

Too late, he realized his mistake. The dark lord's wrath was at it's peak. "You sound like Lucius," he hissed, almost mockingly. "Neither of you understands Potter as I do. He does not need finding. He will come to me."

The irony of that statement slapped Snape in the face. If Potter came to him, Voldemort would kill his last horcrux. If he let him go back, and explain to potter what he must do, only then would Harry Potter come waltzing up to him and allow himself to die.

"I know his weakness, you see. His one great flaw. He will hate watching the others being struck down around him, knowing that it is for him that it happens. He will want to stop it at any cost. He will come."

He wasn't sure whether this was true or not. Either way, his master was building up to the words Avada Kedavera, he could feel it, and desperate-ness was inevitably creeping into his voice.
"But my Lord, he might be kill accidentally by one other than yourself--

"My directions to my Deatheaters were perfectly clear. My concern, at the moment, Severus, is what will happen when I finally meet the boy!"

A raw silence settled between the two. Should he aim a curse at the snake and be over with it? A weariness of life itself settled over his shoulders. It would be the best thing to do, except for Dumbeldore's orders... With an internal sigh, he chose to continue pretending, for Potter's sake.

"My Lord, there can be no question, surely--?"

Voldemort's frown looked like it was etched into his face forever. Was he wondering why his most faithful servant had suddenly become as stupid and naive as the Malfoys?

"But there is a question, Severus. There is."

He began fiddling with the wand, like a curious animal. "Why did both the wands I have used fail when directed at Harry Potter?"

Every time the wand turned towards his chest, the man held his breath. The Dark Lord knew he was keeping something from him. He knew something was amiss. And yet... If Snape was not to be trusted, then who else? There was nothing else to say: "I--I cannot answer that. ...my Lord."

"Can't you?"

It was no longer a game. It was no longer about exacting revenge on Lily's lifeless body, lying on the floor without a trace of blood, but so clearly stating the way of murder. The man's eyes looked away. How many times had he looked into the eyes of Lord Voldemort? How many times had this surge of violence, hatred, and everything else he felt that night, been unable to be expressed for fear of giving himself away? Silence was like torture, when all he wanted to do was shout profanity at the heartless being, and finally see Lily again.

Tonight was different. The Dark Lord suspected. Why not show him where his true allegiance lied? The thought was so tempting, he almost smiled at the creature before him, demanding answers.
But dumbledore, and Harry?

He couldn't do it. The only way to truly gain revenge would be by ending his life. Harry Potter depended on that. He depended on that.

And so once again, he tucked every feeling away into a place that could be controlled, allowing himself to remain silent. Voldemort, on the other hand, released his wrath a little more.
"My wand of of yew did everything of which I asked it, Severus, except to kill Harry Potter. Lucius's wand also, performed acceptable magic, except killing Harry Potter. "

"I--I have no explanation, my Lord," he replied, watching Nagini slithering around like a worm in the dirt. The tantalizing thought of killing it right there, right then, was almost too much. He knew how. If only voldemort would leave it's side, or turn away...

"I sought a third wand. The elder wand, the wand of destiny, the death stick. I took it from it's previous master. I took it from the grave of Albus Dumbledore. "

At the sound of his name, Severus snapped out of his snake-watching trance. Only one thing mattered. If he owed anything at all to Dumbledore, which he did, then finding Potter was absolutely essential. It clawed at his mind like an obsession, drowning out all other thought. "My Lord--Let me go to the boy--"

It was a fatal mistake. The third or fourth repetition wouldn't change his master's mind. If anything, it would enflame his anger. The Dark Lord didn't take him for a fool. If he wanted Potter so desperately, wouldn't he suspect there was more Severus hid from him than he first thought?

Snape could feel the color rapidly leaving his face. Voldemort continued as if he hadn't heard him, and yet the whispered, barely contained words seemed to be an answer to his pleading.

"All this long night, when I am on the brink of victory, I have sat here, wondering, wondering, why the Elder Wand refuses to be what it ought to be, refuses to perform as legend says it must perform for it's rightful owner... And I think I have the answer."

Severus's pupils dilated. The Dark Lord knew. There was nothing ahead of him but black death, and the long explanation on Lord Voldemort's part was as good as saying he no longer needed him alive. In fact, it was now in his best interest to have him dead.

And there it was. His mind finally spelled it out: he was dead. He was a dead man, breathing against the laws of nature, for if Voldemort knew, he would get his way, and he always got his way. Potter would never know, it was all over.

Then, he thought: what does it matter? They will all die eventually. Matters of the living world weren't his concern.

Somehow, the thought did nothing to calm his trembling body, still insisting on using it's will to live.

Realizing that a reply was expected, he spat out the words he'd used countless times, without meaning or feeling: "My Lord."

With an unsatisfied look of annoyance at Snape's slowness, he continued his tale, to the end. "The elder wand cannot serve me properly, Severus, because I am not it's true master. The elder wand belongs to the last wizard who killed it's last owner. You killed Albus Dumbledore. While you live, the elder wand cannot truly be mine."

"My Lord!" He cried, remembering that he would feel pain. Pain was inevitable, if he was to die.

"I must master the wand, Severus. Master the wand, and I master Potter at last."

As if he wanted Voldemort to master Potter! Too late, he realized the truth in this statement. He could not die. He should have never come. His hand jerked upwards defensively, baring his wand without much hope.

Voldemort slashed his wand through the air, but nothing happened. Relief swept over Severus's crumbling brain. Emotion was shooting every which way. It did not hurt to die. Was he dead?

The face of Nagini, grinning cruelly, although snakes could not smile, was moving towards his face. The realization struck him, and before the horcrux even began to attack, and his eyes widened so much that his eyelids might as well have vanished. Horror shot through his veins like an electric current, and he was screaming out against the pain he would most definitely feel, forgetting that he knew how to kill the snake, forgetting that he wasn't dead yet.

A snake-like word filled the entire room. The snake bit, and fog rushed into his head, swallowing everything. He was only dimly aware of the noise both him and the animal were making. The last thing he grasped was Voldemort leaving the room.

Suddenly, the snake withdrew from his mangled body, leaving him to die. He was alone. In a moment, he would be in Lily's world. The thought made him giddy with excitement.

There she was! The green eyes--no.

It was the boy. Had he been here this whole time? Why did he not save him? Through the pain, he felt anger. James was...
"Harry!" The unmistakable voice of granger whispered his name, reminding Severus of his task. The boy! He must know. Harry's hesitant expression lingered above his draining body, the blood red life flooding out of it... He would soon know everything. No long would those hesitant, hateful eyes see the man who murdered Dumbledore, but as the wizard who tried to protect his mother, the wizard who protected him from the beginning, feeding the order of the Phoenix Voldemort's precious information, when he could have crawled into a hole and lived in a mad fantasy, where Lily was beside him day and night.

His hands wouldn't lift his wand. "Mem-memories, draw them out, all of them."

It came out as a strangled cough. The Potter boy's brow contracted, and he was about to withdraw. No!
Then tears came. Tears of shame, longing, everything he had ever felt while living the memories concentrated in his tears. The only problem, here, was if Harry didn't recognize the tears as pensieve contributions. If some weren't caught...
He gripped Harry's robes before he could leave, in a moment of strength.
"Take it.. " he managed to croak. "Take it..."

And then he understood, and the hard glass of a vial was pressed against his cheek. His cheek was colder, and barely had any feeling at all. So little blood in his head... Potter glanced at his eyes with clear revulsion. Snape didn't care. His almost dead, zombie-like stare hungered in seeing the green, beautiful green eyes of her... Him...

In an instant, he saw what could have been. Lily always wanted to name her child Harry. Harry Snape, the happiest boy alive. Tears, real, salt water tears leaked out of his face. He would have loved his child like no other, the child that was part of him and Lily, the child with long, black hair and green eyes. The boy of reality, Harry... Snape. Yes, now that he lay dying, he would call him that. The standing reminder that his worst enemy, James, lived on, as well as Lily, in the same person. He was also a possibility, however. He could have been his. If only he had been his, and not James's.

Just for now, he told himself, Harry Snape was before him. The peace that accompanies death washed over his mind. "Look... At... Me..." He whispered. Harry looked, and Snape saw Lily staring at him, with bright red hair, and... And... A scar on her forehead? Everything blurred into deep black abyss.

~

Severus sat up. Was he alive? No. Everything was too bright. And besides that, he had just been bitten by a snake. Nagini. Life was impossible.
He stood up, and looked around. He was at platform nine and three quarters, except... Cleaner. And empty. The place where so much began.

A train... The Hogwarts Express! pulled into the station. Two incomprehensible faces peered out of translucent windows.

The door slid open, and none-other than Lily Evans stepped out. Severus released a cry of uncontainable joy.

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