Disclaimers:  I do not own Harry Potter or any of its characters.

Notes:  Professor Snape gets a plea for help.

Shadows of Truth

Part Seven

Professor Serverus Snape frowned as he dressed himself in his robes, as he did every morning upon awakening.  However,
something felt wrong today . . . as if there were ill tidings to be heard at some time in the day.  He glanced out the window at
the rising sun as if the morning star would have the answer.  After a moment, he turned away.  There was nothing distinct
pointing toward bad news, but still . . . he had learned never to go against his gut instincts.  Those same instincts had caused
him to suspect the late Professor Quirrell of evil doings several years ago.

Snape was about to leave the room when he noticed that there was an owl perched on his bedside chair.  “Well . . . what have
we here?”  He was about to approach the owl, when the small bird hooted and dropped a tiny scroll on the chair before it
darted out of the room.

Snape shook his head as he opened the scroll and frowned darkly as he read the short message.

“Urgent!  Please come to the Leaky Cauldron immediately.  Draco Malfoy’s life is at stake.”  There was nothing further, not
even a signature.  The words were scrawled haphazardly, as if written in haste, the tone of the letter portraying a deep urgency.

Snape didn’t know what to make of this.  Should he go?  This very well could turn out to be a trick, a trap by one of his
enemies, and he did have many enemies.  He didn’t relish the idea of allowing himself to be captured or killed.  Still, if it was
true and Draco Malfoy was in some sort of danger, he couldn’t just abandon the boy.  Draco Malfoy was a favored student of

Allowing a sigh to pass his lips, he crumbled the sheet of parchment and discarded it.  He left his private rooms and strode
quickly to Dumbledore’s office.  He uttered the password when it was needed, then strode up the stairs to stand before the
closed door of Dumbledore’s office.  He knocked, waiting only a moment before he entered.

“Serverus . . . is there something I can do for you?”  The old Headmaster questioned, looking up from a parchment he had
been reading.

“I wanted to inform you that I am going to be leaving school grounds for a few hours.  My presence has been requested by an
unknown source.”  Professor Snape answered.  “It seems as if Draco Malfoy may be in some form of danger.”

“Ah . . . by all means, go and help him.”  Dumbledore replied, nodding his head.  “Where are you heading?”

“The Leaky Cauldron.”  Snape said.  “I should be back within a few hours, hopefully.”

“If you should need assistance, be sure to contact me.”  The aged headmaster smiled.  “I do hope things turn out well.”

Snape said nothing in return.  He merely nodded, and then he turned and hastily exited the Headmaster’s office.  He had no time
to waste if the letter had been that demanding of his assistance.

In only a short amount of time, Serverus Snape strolled through the entranceway of the Leaky Cauldron.  He looked about
suspiciously, eyeing each of the customers with caution.  His wand was held ready in his hand.  He did not wish to be unarmed
should he be attacked.

“Ah, Professor Snape . . . I was told you’d be coming.”  Said the man behind the bar . . . his name was Tom if Serverus wasn’
t mistaken.

Snape strode over to the bar and spoke quietly, not wishing to be overheard by the other patrons of this establishment.  “Yes, I
was summoned here.  Do you know why my presence was requested?”

Tom’s face went pale, his eyes taking on a haunted look.  “That I do, sir.”  He said with a barely heard whisper.  “If you'll be
so kind as to follow me . . . they’re waiting for you.”

Snape silently complied, following the tavern owner to one of the rooms he rented out to customers now and again.  The man
opened the door and gestured for Snape to enter.  However, he did not follow as the Potions instructor passed through the
doorway.  Behind him, Serverus Snape heard as the door clicked shut.  He had been told that Draco’s life was at stake.  Yet
nothing his imagination could conjure had been able to prepare him for this.

There, sitting on the edge of a bed was none other than Lucius Malfoy.  Lucius looked over at Snape and an expression of
relief washed over his features.  “Serverus . . . I had hoped, but I didn’t expect you to arrive before I left.”

Snape only barely registered the words.  His eyes were firmly glued to the pale form of Draco’s beaten body lying on the small
bed.  If not for the note and Lucius’s presence, he would never have recognized the boy.  

“What happened?”  He asked, sweeping forward a number of steps.

Lucius shook his head sadly.  “I failed . . . that’s what happened.  I failed in my duties as a father.”  He took a breath, running
a soft cloth over Draco’s bruised face in a gentle manner.  “Nothing should have come before Draco’s safety . . . I should
never have taken him to Voldemort.”

“Voldemort did this to him?”  Snape questioned, appalled at the condition that the young Slytherin was currently in.  “Tell me
what happened.”

Lucius nodded.  “Yes . . . before school started this year, Voldemort requested Draco’s presence.  I was forced to leave the
meeting . . . and when Draco was returned to me, he was badly injured.  I did not question the Dark Lord then . . . I should
have . . . but I didn’t.”  He took a breath.  “But I feared that something more was going on.  I didn’t know who I could turn to
for help.  In the end, I figured that if anyone could help my son . . . that the Potter boy would be able to.”

“Potter?  What does he have to do with any of this?”

“I didn’t know what else to do, Serverus.  I didn’t want to risk Draco’s safety . . . or Narcissa’s.  I cast a spell . . . invaded
Potter’s dreams.  The visions I sent to him comprised my fears . . . turns out I was dead on.”  Lucius chuckled humorlessly.  
“I sent images of Draco committing suicide, and tonight I find out that he did in fact attempt it.”

Snape was aghast.  Had he heard correctly?  “What?”

“Draco told me . . . he was going to jump from a tower at school.  He discovered what Voldemort wanted to do with him,
what curse the Dark Lord had placed upon him.  If not for Potter, Draco would be dead . . . if not for Potter helping my son,
Draco would have suffered through yet another curse this night.”

“What did he intend to do with your son?”  Snape asked, his eyes fixed on the beaten body of his favorite student.  His face
was swelled . . . his nose and lips dripping blood.  A cut above his one eye bled, although the flow seemed to be slowing.  And
then there were the injuries to his body, what Snape could see of it . . . there were too many to list, so many that Snape could
barely believe the boy could survive.

Lucius didn’t answer right away.  No, he paused, his eyes screwed shut, his breath still.  Then after what seemed like an
eternity, Lucius let out a breath.  “Don’t you see . . . the Winter Solstice . . . the way the planets are aligned this night . . .
Voldemort was seeking to create the perfect new body for himself.”

“But you need a virgin for that . . . to impregnate . . .”  His voice trailed off, his eyes flying wide as he realized the full
implications of this.  Voldemort had actually intended to do this to the only son of one of his most loyal Death Eaters?  Slowly,
Snape was able to compose himself and he posed a question that he knew needed answering.  “You said that Potter helped
Draco?  How?”

“Draco is pregnant, Serverus.”  Lucius whispered bitterly, taking a shuddered breath.  “The night before school began, Draco
was made capable of bearing young.  Tonight Voldemort would have completed the act and impregnated him.  But Potter . . .
Draco allowed Potter to . . .”

Snape set his hand on Lucius’s shoulder, not knowing what else he could do.  There was no comfort that he could give in this
instance, nothing that he could think of that could placate him.  “I am sorry this has happened . . .”

His words were halted when Lucius turned a fuming glare his way.  “I don’t need your sympathy, Serverus!”  He spat.  Then
he turned back to look at his son.  “I need you to help me, Serverus . . . to get him back to Hogwarts.  He’ll be safe there.  
Voldemort wants him dead, I fear.”  He quickly lost his composure once more, falling into fury.  “Just look what he did to my
son when he found out his plans had been ruined!  The bastard raped him!”  He yanked the blankets back, exposing Draco’s
body to view.

Snape winced at the dark bruises he could see forming, the angry wounds that stood out against his pale flesh.  He leaned
forward, taking the blanket and covered Draco once more, turning when he heard the beaten youth whimper painfully in his
unconscious state.

“He needs medical help, Lucius.”  Snape noted.

Lucius nodded.  “Yes . . . I want you to take him.  I have to go . . . I have to find Narcissa, to get her away before it’s too
late.  When Voldemort finds out that I took Draco . . . he’ll set his followers after us.”

“I understand.”  Snape replied, stuffing his wand into his pocket.  “Help me with him . . . I don’t want to jar him more than

Without a word, Lucius helped Snape to settle Draco’s body in the teacher’s arms.  The battered youth let out a sharp cry at
the movement, yet did not awaken from his unconscious state.  Snape held the young man, waiting patiently as Mr. Malfoy
covered his son’s body carefully, bringing the blankets up and over Draco’s head so that he wouldn’t be seen.  Then the two
men hastily left the Leaky Cauldron, both knowing that time could not be wasted.

They had only just stepped outside, when a vicious voice called out to them.

“I see defiance runs in the family.”  Voldemort’s icy tone seethed.  “That boy belongs to me.”

Serverus Snape’s eyes widened, watching as the cruel wizard slowly approached them from down the street.  Lucius quickly
stepped between Snape and the Dark Lord, raising his wand.  “You will not have my son!”

“Fool!  How dare you talk back to me!”  Voldemort yelled.  “You think you can stop me from taking what is mine?”

Lucius didn’t move aside.  Snape took a step forward, wanting to help the man in some way.  Lucius must have seen the
movement though, as he turned just slightly to acknowledge Snape.  “Go now, Serverus.  Get my son to safety.”  He urged.  
“I’ll take care of Voldemort.”

“Are you certain?”  Snape questioned, not wanting to abandon the man.

“I have never been more sure of anything.  Take care of Draco for me . . . please?”

Snape couldn’t refuse the man’s heartfelt request.  He nodded once, casting a minuscule smirk toward his old friend.  “As you
wish.”  He whispered, holding Draco carefully as he apparated away.  He could only hope that Lucius knew what he was doing.

They arrived in Hogsmeade barely a second later.  Professor Snape immediately set off for Hogwarts, knowing that Draco
needed help and he needed it quickly.  Silently, he prayed that Lucius would survive his encounter with the Dark Lord, even if
only for Draco’s sake.  The boy would only suffer should he find out that his father had perished after rescuing him from
Voldemort’s clutches.

To Be Continued . . .