To the Headmaster

A companion piece to “Out of the Shadows and into the Night

DO NOT READ unless you have at least read Chapter 2 of “Shadows”. 

This will not make sense otherwise.Severus Snape knew that there would be an initiation that night. It happened almost every night now, and this time was no exception. He prepared himself so that he would be able to remember the name of the person joining. It was essential that Dumbledore know who was joining so that they had a better idea of the mindset of Voldemort’s army. In some cases they had even persuaded the recruits to back away from Voldemort and help the light side.

By the time arrived at the Dark Lord’s “manor”, he was prepared with several excuses for what to tell the new recruit in hopes that the person would be convinced to help them. If they refused, Severus was very proficient with memory charms.

The first surprise of the night was how young the person seemed to be. He was tall and lanky, and uncomfortable with his body. That could only mean a student, and because of the height of the person, it narrowed it down to a few. When the person spoke, Severus felt his heart sink. Of all the people close to Potter, I never expected Weasley to cross the line. But the more he thought about it, the more it seemed possible. He had expected it to be Thomas or Finnegan, or maybe even Creevey. But never Weasley. But as he continued to think about the situation, is surprised him less and less. Weasley had always been prone to jealous fits, and could be the least rational of all the Weasleys he had taught. Even the twins had more common sense and rationality, if a penchant for jokes.

It did make sense for him to be the one to betray the great Potter. It had been the same way with Pettigrew, and the rat had lived with Weasley for several years. His mindsets had probably influenced Weasley even if he was unaware of it.

Finally Weasley took his place in the circle of the Dark Lord’s servants, and the meeting was called to an end. Severus left as fast as he could, under the pretense that Dumbledore would suspect something if he was absent for too long. The excuse worked every time. Voldemort was so happy to have a servant under the headmaster’s nose that he excused a lot of Severus’ supposed lapses in loyalty.

* * *

“Severus, you’re back very quickly.” Said a worried Albus Dumbledore as soon as his door opened.

“Yes. I was right, there was another initiation tonight.” Severus said. He was trying to think of a way to break the news about Ron Weasley gently.

“Tell me who it was. We need to talk to that person as soon as possible,” pressed the headmaster.

Severus sighed before continuing. He knew that he would have to tell at some point, but he would have rather waited to do it. He knew that the headmaster greatly liked and admired the Weasley family. They had done a lot in the first war against Voldemort and were continuing to help the fight.

“It was Ron Weasley, Albus. I never would have expected it from him. It seems that he would be at Potter’s side rather than against him, but I guess I was wrong.”


“Is that all you can say? One of Potter’s best friends has betrayed him, and all you can say is ‘hmm’? What’s wrong with you Albus? Potter is now in considerably more danger than he has ever been, even with Quirrel around and Barty Crouch teaching. He trusts his friends, and Weasley has betrayed that!” Severus was angrier than he could remember being. He didn’t like Potter, but he respected him; and he didn’t like any of the Weasleys, a view that had only intensified with the twins, but this was too much tolerance on the part of the headmaster. Even when he received confirmation of Draco Malfoy’s betrayal.

“Calm down Severus. I had expected Ronald to do something drastic, but not quite this much,” Albus said thoughtfully.

“You expected this? What led you to even think something like that? From everything I’ve seen for the past six years, Weasley has never given any cause to suspect something like this.”

“But you are forgetting the tri-wizard tournament. Ron has been jealous of Harry for quite some time. If you remember, he even refused to speak to Harry for a few months during their fourth year.”’

“Jealousy has nothing to do with this! He told Voldemort that he wanted power.” Severus was pacing the room now, every so often casting a disbelieving look at the complacent headmaster.

“I suspected as much.” The headmaster fell silent for a few moments. He then reached behind him and pulled his pensive out of the closet behind his desk. He poked his wand into the surface and when he was satisfied that he was looking at the right memory, he motioned for the potions professor to come over to the desk. Slowly, Severus leaned over the stone bowl, and looked inside. It was an unused classroom, containing dusty desks that had been shoved to one side to make room for the most magnificent mirror he had ever seen. Across the top was the inscription: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafro oyt on wohsi.

“Why are you showing me this, Albus. I’ve seen the Mirror of Erised before.”

“Just watch, Severus, I’m sure it’ll be clear once you watch.”

* * *

Presently he heard voices coming down the hall towards the door.

“I’m freezing,” said Ron. “Let’s forget it and go back.”

“No!” Harry hissed. “I know it’s here somewhere.”

They passed the ghost of a tall witch gliding in the opposite direction, but saw no one else. Just as Ron started moaning that his feet were dead with cold, Harry spotted the suit of armour.
“It’s here – just here – yes!”

They pushed the door open, but Severus couldn’t see anything. Harry dropped the cloak from round his shoulders and ran to the mirror.

There they were. His mother and father beamed at the sight of him.

“See?” Harry whispered.

“I can’t see anything.”

“Look! Look at them all … there are loads of them …”

“I can only see you.”

“Look in it properly, go on, stand where I am.”

Harry stepped aside, but with Ron in front of the Mirror, he couldn’t see his family anymore, just Ron in his paisley pyjamas.

Ron, though was staring transfixed at his image.

“Look at me!” he said.

“Can you see all your family standing around you?”

No – I’m alone – but I’m different – I look older – and I’m Head Boy!”


“I am – I’m wearing the badge like Bill used to – and I’m holding the House Cup and the Quidditch Cup – I’m Quidditch captain, too!”

* * *

Severus looked up at Dumbledore, confused. “Why are you showing me this from their first year?”

Dumbledore tapped the gleaming surface of the pensive again. “Look again, Severus. This time you’ll see why I’m not as surprised by your news as you thought I would be.” The customary gleam was gone from the headmaster’s eyes. Severus turned his own eyes back to the bowl.

The scene hadn’t changed. It was still the same room, housing the same mirror, but Potter and Weasley had gone.

* * *

He heard footsteps coming down the hall towards the door. Once again, the door opened seemingly of it’s own accord, and shut again. Potter materialized out of nowhere. Damn cloak, though severus.

Harry sank down to sit on the floor in front of the mirror. There was nothing to stop him staying her all night with his family. Nothing at all.

Except –

“So – back again, Harry?”

Harry felt as though his insides had turned to ice. He looked behind him. Sitting on one of the desks by the wall was non other than Albus Dumbledore. Harry must have walked straight past him, so desperate to get to the mirror he hadn’t noticed him.

“I – I didn’t see you, sir.”

“Strange how short-sighted being invisible can make you,” said Dumbledore, and Harry was relieved to see that he was smiling.

“So,” said Dumbledore, slipping off the desk to sit on the floor with Harry, “you, like hundreds before you, have discovered the delights of the Mirror of Erised.”

“I didn’t know it was called that, sir.”

“But I expect you’ve realized by now what it does?”

“It – well – it shows me my family – ”

“And it showed your friend Ron himself as Head Boy, standing alone, best of all of them.”

* * *

Severus once again looked at the headmaster, but he wasn’t confused anymore. “I see,” he said slowly. “Weasley felt that he had to do something to live up to, or surpass the accomplishments of his brothers. By joining Voldemort, he is able to gain power to be better than all of his brothers.”

“Yes. I believe that was his own justification for joining the Death Eaters.”

“What do you propose we do about it, Albus?”

“Nothing. I believe that he will eventually see what he is doing, and come to us for help. He’ll eventually see that he is in over his head and will want to get out. Severus, be very careful how you act around him. He is in a position to tell Voldemort what you are doing, if he knows, and you know what your ‘Master’ will do to you if he suspects you of treachery. Don’t encourage him, but don’t discourage him either. Let time and fate run their courses.”

“Albus, I hope you appreciate how hard this is going to be for me. I don’t like Weasley much, but I don’t want to see him in a position to betray Potter, or the entire school. What if he gets the notion that to bring down Potter, he has to get you? Or Black, or Lupin. I may not care for either of them, but they help Potter and support him. If they were gone, I don’t know what Potter would do out of desperation. Knowing him, he would most likely attack before he is ready. That could mean disaster for all of us.”

“I know, Severus. It will be hard on me too. My first instinct would be to tell Harry, or possibly Hermione, but I can’t. I don’t know how good either of them is at acting, and this is not a good time to test them.”

“Very well, Albus. I will let you know if anything else happens.”

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