Title: Faith, Hope and Love
Beta Reader(s): alley_skywalker
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): slash, sexual undertones.
Summary: A certain theory of magic holds that to be completely open to magic in its purest form, to grasp its full power, one must reach a certain spiritual level, master a magical trinity.
There are many theories of magic. Some address it as a whole, some only focus on certain parts. One of the theories, which was also presented at the Lord's Academy of Magic during the First Wizarding War, is that there is a certain trinity that a person must attain, a certain three-fold spiritual level, before they can grasp the full power and concept of magic in its purest form.
Faith, Hope and Love.
"I don't trust anyone."
Evan rolled his eyes and reached back, tugging on the sleeve of Severus' robes impatiently. "Well, you're going to have to trust me." He stopped and looked back to make sure they hadn't been seen. There was no sign of Filch or any adults so Evan kept going, assuming Severus was following him.
Snape followed, although he was uncertain if he should. It wasn't that he thought Evan would lead him into trouble on purpose, but he didn't like not knowing what was going on and where he was being led to. It was a mistrust bread from childhood by the weak will of his mother and the heavy hand of his father. Not to mention the children-beasts at the muggle school he attended before coming to Hogwarts. "Evan, where are we going? You know I hate surprises." Mostly because surprises never seemed to end well for Severus.
The two fourth-years crossed the night grounds of Hogwarts and beyond the gate. Evan looked around once more before slipping behind the first line of trees of the forbidden forest. Severus' eyes narrowed even as he followed. Under his cloak, he clutched his wand a little tighter. Here, Evan went slower, picking out a path among the dark, gnarly trees. The faint light from his lumos created long, deep shadows around them.
"There it is," Evan said suddenly, coming to a stop in front of a large, thick-trunked tree. In the trunk was a hole and from the hole Evan drew several metal rings linked together in a chain. He took out his pocket watch and looked at the time. "Hold on to me," Evan said, urgently enough for Severus to reach out and grab his arm.
"That's a portkey, isn't it?" Severus said, a note of accusation seeping into his voice. Despite that, he didn't let go of Evan's arm even as the other boy nodded mutely. "Who left it? Where does it take us?"
Evan looked over at him and met his eyes. "Severus, have some faith in me, alright?"
Snape was about to make a snide comment about the fact that he'd already stated his opinions on trust, but something made him stop. There was a sincerity in Evan's face that he couldn't ignore. "I just don't understand why this is such a big secret."
"It's not a secret, Sev. Hush, you'll see." In that moment, the portkey glowed blue and Severus felt himself falling.
They landed on the floor of a brightly lit, warm room. Severus jumped to his feet and looked around. The new, unfamiliar location had him on edge and he instinctively sought out his wand and held onto it. Looking around, Severus thought the place looked much like an office. There were a couple of sofas, a wooden table over which parchment, quills, and file folders were scattered in a sort of orderly chaos, coherent only to the owner of the place. A fire burned in a small fireplace with numerous candles providing the rest of the light. The walls were lined with shelves on which stood books, boxes, various magical artifacts. Severus moved several steps toward a display of various vials with potions, cocking his head to the side curiously.
"You were right, Mr. Rosier. Potions draw him like light draws a moth."
Severus jumped at the sound of the rich, low voice behind him, almost falling over into one of the shelves. He felt his insides burn with embarrassment. He hadn't noticed anyone but himself and Evan in the room before now. Slowly, Severus turned to face a wizard he did not know. A tall, good-looking man, most likely in his early twenties and dressed in deep black robes detached himself from the far wall where there was least light and took a step toward Severus. Snape drew himself up, noticing from the corner of his eye that Evan, although standing much straighter than usual, did not look either surprised of tense.
"I am Antonin Dolohov. You are Severus Snape, correct?" the wizard said, holding out a hand for a handshake.
Severus looked down at the man's offered hand, then back up at his face without making a move forward. Finally, he took a step and shook Dolohov's hand firmly. "Yes, I am."
Antonin looked over at Evan and smirked. "He isn't very trusting is he?"
"No, sir," Evan agreed, his tone taking on an exaggeratedly grave edge, mostly for Severus' benefit. "He did come here without me telling him where we were going."
"Good." Antonin nodded at Evan and then looked back at Severus. "Mr. Snape, you are in my office. One of them, anyways. I am the Commanding Strategy Officer for the Lord and one of the instructors at the Lord's Academy."
Severus' eyes widened slightly as he looked from Antonin to Evan, realization dawning very slowly. "This is what you and Jack were talking about, isn't it?" he asked Evan.
Evan nodded. "I thought…you might want to join us."
Severus looked between his best friend – well, best Slytherin friend, anyways – and Dolohov. "I want to learn, sir. About magic. Real magic. The sort they are too afraid to teach at Hogwarts," he said, looking at Antonin. "I was thinking, the Lord might help me with that."
"Why do you want to learn about real magic, as you call it, Mr. Snape?"
Severus seemed to consider this for a moment. "Because it's interesting. It's powerful and it can give me power. It can give me knowledge and everyone will be better off if there is more knowledge. I want to be able to understand the world I was supposed to be born into." He met Antonin's eyes, challenging him, almost, to say that Severus' motivations were wrong.
"Is that the only reason, Mr. Snape? Do you know what the Lord fights for? What we all fight for?"
"The Lord fights for free magic."
"And what does that mean?"
Severus' eyes narrowed. He did not enjoy being interrogated in this manner but he had little choice if he wanted to learn all the things Evan, Jack Avery, Mulciber, Wilkes and the rest of his friends were learning. "Knowledge. The ability to perform magic whenever, wherever and however we want. The Statute needs to be either removed, or, less radically, our world needs to be freed of those who want to limit it."
"Mr. Snape, let me ask you this: if magic is as beautiful as you, probably, believe it is, who would want to limit it?"
Severus swallowed, thinking to the argument he and Lily had had several days ago concerning Dark Magic and Old Magic. "The muggleborns, sir. Because they are scared of it."
"And they are scared of it because they do not belong in our world. Your family – the Princes that is – are an old and respected wizarding line." Antonin waved his wand and a large tome came floating toward Severus from one of the shelves. Severus reached out and caught it. "That is your family history and genealogy, Mr. Snape. If you chose to attend this Academy, I would like you to study it. No one will test you on it, but it may help you understand some of the things the Lord stands for better."
Severus ran his hand over the smooth cover of the book. "Thank you, sir." His mother had never mentioned that there was such a wealth of knowledge hidden someone, just waiting for him to find it. She had succumbed to his filthy father. "Muggles are vile from my experience. Those who don't have magic…sometimes I feel like they can't appreciate the beauty of the world in the same way," Severus said thoughtfully after a moment.
"It's true," Antonin confirmed, the corners of his mouth twitching upwards. "Part of understanding magic and its tradition is to accept and understand the beauty of the world. It is to know that beauty is not uniform. You, as a wizard, Mr. Snape, can see magnificence that is inaccessible to others. Magic is also about faith, Mr. Snape. Some of the most religious people – from the muggle perspective – in past centuries were witches and wizards. Those around them thought they were so attuned to the world, so spiritually superior, because they had a connection with a god. In truth, they had a connection with magic. That is what makes us superior, Mr. Snape. Our ability to believe in what may seem to be impossible to those who do not have our heritage and our gifts. Wizards are on an entirely higher plane of emotional and spiritual evolution than muggles. And to win this war, Mr. Snape, we must have faith. In ourselves, in our world, in the righteousness of magic and therefore the blood that sustains it."
Snape nodded, looking at Dolohov with a sort of boyish awe that he sometimes saw on the faces of his housemates who were already training in the Academy. The awe that the Lord and their training inspired made Severus itch to join and to learn and something so inspiring certainly could not be wrong. "Am I accepted into the Academy then, sir?"
"We welcome all young wizards who wish to fight for magic," Antonin said softly.
"Who will I train under?" Severus asked. At Antonin's surprised look, Snape clarified. "You train the Young Guard, sir. Evan said so. But I—I am a half-blood."
Antonin reached out and put a hand on Severus' shoulder, looking into his eyes. "We make exceptions for those who are especially bright. I think you have a lot of potential, Mr. Snape. Besides, most of your friends are in the Young Guard, which I think is important. Trust is essential."
Severus nodded, then looked back at Evan and couldn't help but smile. Evan beamed back at him. "You need to have more faith in yourself, Sev," he said with a slight smirk.
"You boys should head back to Hogwarts before you are missed," Antonin said, producing another set of cufflinks and handing it to Evan. "I will owl both of you in the next couple of days." The boys said their goodbyes and portkeyed back into the Forbidden Forest.
Before they ventured from beyond the trees, Severus grabbed Evan's shoulder and turned his back around so they were face to face. "Thank you," he said quietly. "For coming through for me."
Evan smiled softly. "You should have more faith in me too," he said teasingly, before detaching himself from Severus and leading the way back to the castle.
Never give up, regardless of the odds. Only those who believe in victory will have it and to believe you must have hope. If hope dies, you die with it, for hope always dies last.
All of these sentiments Severus had heard over and over again. Dolohov made a point of repeating them, they rang through every speech the Lord gave, the boys whispered them among themselves in the middle of the night when everything seemed bleak. So Severus tried to hope. Hope that things would be better once the war was won, that he could be happy if only he could get wherever they were going, that he and Evan and Regulus and the rest of them would get out of all of this alive. That, in the end, he could right the wrongs with Lily and she would see him for the man he was, not the rag-tag kid of their childhood or the joke James Potter always tried to make him appear.
Too many times on raids, Severus had to hope for a miracle. He once found himself squeezed between Evan and Jack as they stowed away in a niche, just outside the office of the Head Auror of the twenty-sixth precinct. Fighting was still going on in the adjacent hallways and inside the office itself. The raid had been a radical idea from the beginning, although if they actually managed to get the papers back to headquarters, they could have some edge on the Aurors' activities for the next month or so. Getting in wasn't terribly difficult and they'd worked through the security fairly efficiently. Once the Aurors became aware of what was happening the fighting began. They hadn't taken out the anti-apparition field for fear of setting off alarms when they came in, but now it was necessary if they wanted to escape. The infiltration-and-retrieval group, headed by Rookwood, had a portkey but other units were forced to back out on their own.
As it was, while Jack and Severus worked to break the field, Evan continually re-enforced the disillusionment spells they had cast over their small hiding place. "Where the hell is Barty when you need him?" Avery muttered. Evan elbowed him and he returned to work.
"On the other side with Regulus and Anatole," Evan answered quietly. He glanced over at Severus who was concentrating hard enough for his face to scrunch up. Several minutes later he and Avery lowered their wands. "Nothing?" Evan asked, sending another re-enforcement spell into their disillusionment bubble.
"It's too complicated, they have layers and layers of spells on here," Severus said. We need a larger group. Damn it, we shouldn't have let them split us up."
"There's got to be another way out of here," Evan said, a little frantically. "Rookwood's group left at least fifteen minutes ago, we need to go, they won't be holding back much anymore."
A wall in front of them exploded, littering the hallway with broken stone and metal. Several figures, some in black, some in red, came tumbling out from the gap and curses began to fly once more, now forcing all three boys to put up shield charms to avoid being hit by stray spells.
"On three," Severus said, decisively. "Let's get to the conference room on the next floor. Better view from there and maybe we can find Regulus and the rest."
Jack and Evan nodded. On Severus' go, three dark cloaked figures streaked like shadows out from the wall and down the hall, throwing curses over their shoulders at the unsuspecting Aurors. They took the nearest flight of stairs, sometimes battling their way heaps of still-moving bodies or ongoing fighting. Units were re-grouping in an attempt for an orderly retreat; the Aurors were trying to systemize their defenses. Along the way, they joined with Wilkes and Mulciber. The rest of their group – Rabastan had taken charge there – was already in the conference room. Someone's curse rebounded off a mirror and shattered the large, wall-length windows. Severus, fighting back-to-back with Evan, recognized the area from the blueprints. Below them was an open courtyard, in the building across the narrow street – an old broom workshop in which they had posted lookouts earlier in the day. The moment the light went on in Severus' head, he felt a strange tingling in his spine. A new plan, a new hope. "Brooms!" he shouted over the ruckus of the fighting, hoping that at least Evan would hear him.
"What!" Evan shouted back, the rest of what he may have wanted to say swallowed up by the need to construct a double-layer protego shield within seconds.
"Brooms! Accio brooms!" Severus repeated impatiently.
"Where—?" There was literally no time to ask, and Evan simply went along with it. "Cover me!" he shouted, and as Severus did, Evan, using a sonorous shouted, "Everyone, retrieval and swoop escape!" He and Severus ducked under two oncoming spells just as the first accios sounded from all sides. Moments later, brooms of all varieties, some barely finished, some without tales, began to swoop through the window. Some missed, and flew under the building into the courtyard below. There was a scramble for brooms, a sudden rush to grab onto anything flyable. Severus saw Rabastan pull Regulus onto his broom and they lumbered out into the open sky like that – two young men on a child's broom. With any luck it would hold until they got past the apparition barrier.
Evan and Severus found themselves trapped, with a line of Aurors before them, blasting incoming brooms as quickly as they could, and reinforcements coming in from the back. The two boys exchanged alarmed looks. "We're gonna have to jump!" Evan shouted.
"Onto what?" Severus scoffed, ducking a spell.
"I don't know! Let's hope there's something below us to land on!" He reached out and grabbed Severus' hand. "Reducto!" The floor under them gave way. Severus jumped up instinctively. In the next second they were falling. Evan landed feet first on one of the brooms that had floated into the courtyard below them. He hooked one ankle under it and kept his balance best he could with the other. He yanked Severus to him and wrapped his arms around the other boys' waist. They clung to each other and Evan lowered them onto the broom. They ended up sitting in an awkward position, facing each other. Evan reached back and put both hands onto the handle. He pulled up just slightly and the broom sped forward. Severus gulped and grabbed onto the handle. He was sliding, sitting almost on the tale, but he could still keep his balance. "If there are obstacles in front of us, you're going to have to tell me or destroy them," Evan said evenly, concentrating on keeping the broom from swerving violently.
Severus did just that. Finally, they were out of range and away from the anti-apparition field. The apparition was bumpy, haphazard, done right off the broom because Evan didn't dare land it facing backwards. They landed in a heap on the floor of Headquarters. People were all around them but Severus was still in enough of a daze to not see anything but Evan in front of him. The slow retreat of adrenaline from his system was making his head spin. "Good thing you're good at flying," Severus said, taking deep breaths to steady himself.
Evan ran a hand through his hair, throwing off his hood. "I always hoped quidditch would come in handy for something." He reached out and pushed back Severus' hood as well. Their eyes met. "Lucky you're good at special orientation."
Severus nodded mutely, suddenly feeling a strange warmth waterfall from his chest into his stomach, and he looked away, unable to meet Evan's eyes any longer.
When the rain fell down, beating hard against the roof of the London flat Severus shared with Evan, the prior would slip out of bed and walk to the window, throwing it open and breathing in the cold, wet air, sucking it deep into his lungs, allowing it to penetrate his entire system. He would stand like that until Evan complained that it was cold and asked him to come back to bed.
Evan's hands were always soft against Severus' skin. They traced his angular shoulders and bony hips, sliding up his back and into his hair. He would never forget, as long as he lived, how it felt in those moments to close his eyes and allow his lover to explore his body. They would kiss in rhythm with the rain and Severus could feel his head floating up and onward like an air filled balloon. Evan always smelled of some faint cologne, just barely noticeable but so familiar and so ingrained into Severus' perception that its absence hurt and disoriented.
They were so different. Evan was a bright light with a bright smile, a flower from the glowing Rosier estate where Severus had hid for the majority of the summer holidays to escape the decrepit existence of Spinner's End. Severus, on the other hand, was dark and often brooding. He had half Evan's idealism and a fourth, if that, of his tenderness. Yet they complimented each other the way rich ink compliments an decorated quill with an exotic, pure-white feather. And Severus never ever wanted to let go.
They had been taught the three elements of magic at the Academy. Severus knew all of their properties, all of the theories. Mastering them in practice was harder. Yet there were several people capable of showing him faith and hope. His friends, his mentors, the Lord he served willingly. Only Evan could introduce him to love and this the young Rosier did with perfect enthusiasm. Lily had been love but not like this. The love for her was smooth, sleek with blood and tears and pain. She sliced into his heart and his soul, laying bear his insecurities. Unrequited love, as Severus learned, was destructive in its own right. With Evan, it was different. It was right.
The war was far from over, but on those lazy, off-missions, rainy days, Severus was already half way to victory. For him, the trinity was complete.