The Pact

By K9



There seemed to be no light even in daytime, everything was blanketed in a suffocating darkness. At night, thin, insipid moonlight seeped through the window and cast an eerie silver shadow across the pestles and mortar with which Severus Snape was working to provide the Dark Lord, Voldemort, with his ‘final solution.’


Suddenly, an almighty crack caused the air to spark and hiss, and made Snape jump involuntarily. His mouth dropped open when he saw the figure standing in the shadows.

“Potter? What the…?”


James Potter moved across the room swiftly, his robes were unkempt and his face pale, “I don’t have time to apologise and explain, Severus, I just need you to listen,” he said breathlessly.


“You’re jeopardising everything by being here,” Snape hissed,  “The Dark Lord monitors every movement!”


Potter reached out and grabbed Snape’s robes, “Please, for once in your life will you just damned well listen?” he begged.


With a curt nod, and a furtive glance at the door, Snape pulled from Potter’s grip and smoothed his robes.


“We’ve been compromised, Lily and I,” Potter said quickly, “He’s coming for us, it’s only a matter of time. The Death Eaters are just a few steps behind us. I need your help, Severus?”


“What can I do? If I help you, he’ll know I’m working with Dumbledore, and the whole mission will be destroyed?”


“I know, I’m not asking you to help Lily and myself, we knew the risks, and we’re willing to face him. It’s our child I’m concerned about. Harry’s just a baby. If Voldemort and his Death Eaters catch us, we’ll be unable to protect him alone. Please Severus, we need your help, is there anything you can do, any potion that might protect him?”


Snape stumbled back into the desk, “You still have the child with you?” he gasped, “Have you no family to leave him with, out of reach?”


“No one I can trust. The only people I trust are involved with the Order, and they’re all fighting for their lives at this moment. We only have Muggle kin, and you really think he’ll stop at killing Muggles to get to us?” Potter ran his fingers through his dishevelled hair. “I know we’ve had our differences in the past, and I know we’ll never be friends, but you’re the only person I know who might be strong enough to help my son. I’m begging you to help me protect him?”


Snape swallowed hard, Potter was right, they could never be friends, there were few people in this world he disliked more than Potter, except maybe Sirius Black, but he did owe the man his life. If Potter hadn’t intervened, and thwarted the plans of Sirius Black, he, Severus Snape, would be at best, howling at the moon alongside Lupin every month, or at worst, he’d be in pieces, feeding the worms on the Hogwarts estate.

“There’s only one thing I can think of, but it’s dangerous and I’m not entirely sure that it will work?” he grumbled begrudgingly.


A half smile flickered across Potter’s face, “Anything, anything you can think of, I’m willing to try?”


“It would mean making a potion, combining the magical powers of you, Lily and myself. The power of a magical triumvirate might prove powerful enough? If you could get the child to drink it, it might work as a shielding spell, but it would also weaken all three of us against direct attack.”


“What do you need from us?” Potter asked.


Snape sighed, he wasn’t sure this was a good idea, “Blood,” he replied warily, “A phial of blood from each of us, plus hair with follicles still attached. I’ll begin to collect the other ingredients, but if HE discovers what I’m doing, I’m a dead man.”


Potter grasped Snape by the arms, “I can never tell you how much this means to Lily and I, Severus.”


“Just go before he detects you, and please don’t apparate in here next time, send the phials and hair by owl. He’ll detect you popping in and out like a visit to Hogsmeade,” Snape grumbled, already wishing he hadn’t agreed to such a foolish plan.


Just as Potter stepped back to disapparate, he turned, and smiled, “Thank you for this.  I’d also like to say ‘I’m sorry’ for misjudging you over the years, and sorry for all the pain we caused when we were younger. Sirius and I, well, we were…”


“Arrogant idiots?” Snape snarled, the old feeling washing over him as the memories of his torment at the hands of Potter and Black flooded back.


“Yes, I suppose we were. I’m sorry, Severus, truly I am.”


“Please save your lamentations for another time, Potter,” Snape snapped at last, “And…be careful, for all our sakes,” he added almost unwillingly.




It was dangerous, but there was no other way, Snape decided, as he apparated to the ‘Shrieking Shack’ that still lay abandoned just outside Hogsmeade, due to its infamous reputation for being the most haunted place in Britain.

Even though he knew that the Potters had been on the run for a week, he was shocked to see James looking so tired and afraid.


“Severus,” Potter smiled wearily, clasping Snape’s hand, “Thank you for coming, I know how much you’re risking by doing this.”


“Potter, you look terrible!” Snape replied without thinking.


“Being hunted by Death Eaters is hell on the complexion,” Potter quipped, and Snape recognised the old ‘Potter’ arrogance just beneath the surface.


“The potion is ready, but I have no idea how much protection it will provide, I’ve never tried this on a human being before, let alone a baby. It could be dangerous!” Snape stressed.


“We’re willing to take the chance. We trust you,” Potter smiled.


Uncomfortable at the newfound loyalty and trust, Snape snorted derisively.


“We’re fleeing for the country this evening,” Potter said at last, “I won’t tell you where, obviously.” That was one of Dumbledore’s rules, the fewer people who knew your whereabouts, the safer it was for everyone. At least then, if Voldemort caught someone, they could only betray a handful of people, albeit unwillingly. “I’ve just said my goodbyes to Sirius and Peter, and I haven’t seen Remus in three weeks.” He rubbed his face wearily. “I have one further request of you, Severus?”


Snape frowned, “And what would that be?”


Potter swallowed hard, “If Lily and I should die, promise me that you’ll do whatever is within your power to protect my son until he reaches manhood?” his voice cracked with emotion, “I’ve asked Sirius, Peter and Remus the same thing, they’ve agreed, but I know you have no obligation to agree, you don’t owe me anything, and we have no shared past to look back on. I…I just trust your word, that if he needs help, and you say you’ll give it, that you’ll keep your promise.”


It took Snape completely by surprise. He and Potter had always shared such a complex, and uncomfortable past. He could see why Potter would wish his son into the care of Black, or indeed either of the other friends he’d chosen, but he himself seemed like a strange choice.

“Why me?” he asked.


“Because you have a sense of duty that is second to none. You won’t act on sentimentality, but on common sense. Harry would get all the love he could need from Sirius, Peter and Remus, but they let their heart rule their head. If he needs someone to help him understand duty and sacrifice, I think you could do that for him.” Potter replied truthfully, “But I’ll understand if you decline my request.”


Taking a moment to let the words sink in, Snape eventually nodded slowly, “I promise I will never allow your son to be harmed, if I have to power to protect him,” he said quietly.

James Potter’s smile was shocking and unnerving to him, but Snape managed to remain stony faced, “Now please go before you get us both caught.”


“Thank you, Severus, I’ll forever be in your debt!”


Nodding, Snape turned to leave, “Good luck, P…James,” he said finally as Potter disapparated to meet his fate.




He felt it; the moment that the Potter child was attacked. The potion had forged a link between the Potters and Snape that nothing could break, not even Voldemort.

He’d just sent word of the Death Eaters movements to Dumbledore, and he was flying back towards London to help those who were fighting for their lives, apparating was simply too dangerous, so he’d chosen to use a broom and an invisibility spell.

The pain of the attack caused him to crash to the ground; luckily, there were no Muggles in the vicinity, and he found himself lying in the middle of a field on newly tilled earth, fighting for breath. He felt the first blast of power, and a searing pain in his head. Immediately, he began to utter incantations, protection spells, warding charms, anything he could think of to give the child extra protection. Without having the child in his sight, it was difficult, but he discovered that if he concentrated, he could see the boy in his mind.


He felt the deaths of James and Lily, the images in his head, and the pain wracking his body a testament to the power of the potion made from their combined lifeblood.

As the last spark of life left Lily Potter’s body, a tear escaped from Severus Snape’s eye, and rolled down his cheek. The love and sacrifice in that last act was more than he’d ever felt in his own bleak and lonely life.

Now he had to protect the child, nothing as pure and untainted, as the love he’d felt from Lily Potter should be wasted.


He summoned up a curse, hoping that he could channel it through the child without harming him. He felt it hit Voldemort, and a shockwave of magic ricocheted back through the child and into him, as he lay there on the sodden ground.


He knew it was over, the stench of death was still in his nostrils, but the pain of the dark mark on his arm was fading. The Dark Lord had been defeated. Somehow, the intrinsic magical powers of the child had magnified the curse and it had ripped through Voldemort as though he were a novice at Hogwarts.


Snape fell back onto the ground, desperately trying to catch his breath. He had felt the shock and surprise from the Dark Lord as the curse tore into him, the sheer horror at the power of this baby to overcome the ultimate evil.

Quietly, and alone, he mourned the Potter’s deaths, but the child’s heart still beat in his own chest.


Harry Potter lived, and so did his promise.




He’d never thought he’d feel so…responsible. With Black in Azkaban, Pettigrew dead, and Lupin an emotional and physical mess, who else was there to watch over the Potter boy?

The child had been placed with Muggle kin until he came of age to attend Hogwarts School. Dumbledore thought it best that he grow up without the infamy of his survival shaping his character.


Snape disagreed.


The child should have been raised by wizard kind, so that he understood what was expected of him. But, with Black, his godfather, in prison, his Muggle kin were the only ones who had legal custody of the boy.


Dumbledore had smiled and said, “Surely, Severus, you’re not suggesting that you raise the boy, are you?”


Snape was outwardly horrified, “Certainly not!” he gasped, but inside, there was a part of him that yearned for the bond that had been forged that night.


“It will be safer for both you, and young Harry, if you maintain a distance from him, and show no obvious interest in his welfare.” Dumbledore explained, “We have not won the war, Severus, we have merely gained the upper hand in the battle. I fear that both you, and Harry will be forced to give more to this crusade of good against evil, before we can announce our victory.”




As the time grew near for Harry Potter to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Snape made the decision not to tell the young Potter boy about that fateful night. Only Dumbledore knew what had happened, and why Harry Potter had survived, and it was best it remained that way. Dumbledore was correct; the best way to protect Harry was not to be his closest friend, but to be an unconcerned, and even hostile observer.


A new and seemingly endless supply of young wizards and witches filed into the Great Hall to be sorted into their respective houses. Even before he saw the boy, Snape felt his presence, like a disturbing prickling sensation on his skin.


“Harry Potter,” Professor McGonagall called out, and there he was.


Snape drew in a breath and held it for a moment. The boy was the living image of his father, but had the soft, kind eyes that belonged only to Lily. A multitude of unwelcome emotions washed over him. All the feelings of concern and duty were mingled with the old, familiar dislike of Potter and his cronies. Would the young Potter really be any different to his father at this age? Snape remembered only too well the pain and humiliation he’d suffered at the hands of the young James Potter and Sirius Black. But that was a long time, and a lot of bloodshed ago.


Snape had already decided that he’d treat the boy no differently to any other student. Yet, the bond remained, the pain and anguish of its forming a constant reminder of the years he’d wished to forget a thousand times.

He’d made a promise, and nothing on this earth would make him break that promise.

The Boy Who Lived was his responsibility, for better or for worse.


The End