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“I’m sorry.”

“I’m not interested.”

“I’m sorry!”

“Save your breath.”

It was nighttime. Lily, who was wearing a dressing gown, stood with her arms folded in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

“I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here.”

“I was. I would have done. I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just —”

“Slipped out?” There was no pity in Lily’s voice. “It’s too late. I’ve made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends — you see, you don’t even deny it! You don’t even deny that’s what you’re all aiming to be! You can’t wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?”

He opened his mouth, but closed it without speaking.

“I can’t pretend anymore. You’ve chosen your way, I’ve chosen mine.”

“No — listen, I didn’t mean —”

“— to call me Mudblood? But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus. Why should I be any different?”

He struggled on the verge of speech, but with a contemptuous look she turned and climbed back through the portrait hole. . . .

“对不起。”

“我没兴趣。”

“对不起!”

“别白费口舌了。”

时间是晚上,莉莉穿着晨衣,抱着双臂站在格兰芬多塔楼入口处的胖夫人肖像前面。

“玛丽说你扬言要睡在这里我才出来的。”

“我就要睡在这里。我绝不是故意叫你泥巴种的,我只是——”

“只是说漏了嘴吗?”莉莉的声音里没有半点同情,“太晚了。这么多年来我一直在找借口原谅你。我的朋友都不能理解我为什么还跟你说话。你和你那些亲爱的食死徒朋友——你看,你甚至都不否认!你甚至都不否认那就是你们的目标!你迫不及待地想成为神秘人的手下,对吗?”

他的嘴巴张了张,没有说话,又闭上了。

“我不能再装下去了,你选择了你的路,我选择了我的。”

“不——听我说,我不是故意——”

“——叫我泥巴种?但是你管我这类出身的人都叫泥巴种,西弗勒斯。我又有什么不同呢?”

他挣扎着还想说点什么,但莉莉轻蔑地看了他一眼,转身从肖像洞口爬了回去……

The corridor dissolved, and the scene took a little longer to reform: Harry seemed to fly through shifting shapes and colors until his surroundings solidified again and he stood on a hilltop, forlorn and cold in the darkness, the wind whistling through the branches of a few leafless trees. The adult Snape was panting, turning on the spot, his wand gripped tightly in his hand, waiting for something or for someone. . . . His fear infected Harry too, even though he knew that he could not be harmed, and he looked over his shoulder, wondering what it was that Snape was waiting for —

Then a blinding, jagged jet of white light flew through the air: Harry thought of lightning, but Snape had dropped to his knees and his wand had flown out of his hand.

“Don’t kill me!”

“That was not my intention.”

Any sound of Dumbledore Apparating had been drowned by the sound of the wind in the branches. He stood before Snape with his robes whipping around him, and his face was illuminated from below in the light cast by his wand.

“Well, Severus? What message does Lord Voldemort have for me?”

“No — no message — I’m here on my own account!”

Snape was wringing his hands: He looked a little mad, with his straggling black hair flying around him.

走廊消失了,这次场景变换的时间长了一些。哈利似乎飞过了许多变幻的形状和色彩,最后周围的景物才固定下来。他站在黑暗中一个荒凉、寒冷的山顶,风嗖嗖地刮过几棵没有叶子的枯树。成年的斯内普气喘吁吁地原地转过身子,手里紧紧地捏着魔杖,似乎在等什么人或者什么东西……他的恐惧也感染了哈利,虽然哈利知道自己不可能受到伤害。他纳闷斯内普在等什么呢,不禁也转过头去——

突然,空中闪过一道刺眼的、之字形的白光,哈利以为是闪电,但斯内普扑通跪倒在地,魔杖从手里飞了出去。

“别杀我!”

“那不是我的意图。”

风在树枝间呜呜作响,淹没了邓布利多刚才幻影显形的声音。他站在斯内普的面前,长袍在风里飘摆,魔杖的光从下面照着他的脸。

“怎么样,西弗勒斯?伏地魔大人有什么口信给我?”

“没有——没有口信——我是为自己来的!”

斯内普绞着双手,看上去有点心神错乱,乌黑纷乱的头发在脑袋周围飘舞。

“I — I come with a warning — no, a request — please —”

Dumbledore flicked his wand. Though leaves and branches still flew through the night air around them, silence fell on the spot where he and Snape faced each other.

“What request could a Death Eater make of me?”

“The — the prophecy . . . the prediction . . . Trelawney . . .”

“Ah, yes,” said Dumbledore. “How much did you relay to Lord Voldemort?”

“Everything — everything I heard!” said Snape. “That is why — it is for that reason — he thinks it means Lily Evans!”

“The prophecy did not refer to a woman,” said Dumbledore. “It spoke of a boy born at the end of July —”

“You know what I mean! He thinks it means her son, he is going to hunt her down — kill them all —”

“If she means so much to you,” said Dumbledore, “surely Lord Voldemort will spare her? Could you not ask for mercy for the mother, in exchange for the son?”

“I have — I have asked him —”

“You disgust me,” said Dumbledore, and Harry had never heard so much contempt in his voice. Snape seemed to shrink a little. “You do not care, then, about the deaths of her husband and child? They can die, as long as you have what you want?”

Snape said nothing, but merely looked up at Dumbledore.

“我——我带来了一个警报——不,一个请求——求求您——”

邓布利多一挥魔杖。虽然周围的枝叶仍在晚风里飞舞,但在他和斯内普面对面站立的地方,却是一片寂静。

“一个食死徒能对我有何请求?”

“那个——那个预言……那个预言……特里劳妮……”

“啊,是了,”邓布利多说,“你向伏地魔传达了多少?”

“一切——我听到的一切!”斯内普说,“所以——正因为那个——他认为指的是莉莉·伊万斯!”

“预言没说是女人,”邓布利多说,“说的是一个七月底出生的男孩——”

“您明白我的意思!他认为指的是莉莉的儿子,他要追到莉莉——把他们全部杀掉——”

“既然莉莉对你这么重要,”邓布利多说,“伏地魔肯定会免她一死吧?你就不能求求他饶了那位母亲,拿儿子作为交换?”

“我——我求过他——”

“你令我厌恶。”邓布利多说,哈利从没听过邓布利多以这么轻蔑的口吻说话。斯内普似乎萎缩了一点儿。“那么,你就不关心她丈夫和孩子的死活?他们尽可以死,只要你能得到你想要的?”

斯内普什么也没说,只是抬头看着邓布利多。

“Hide them all, then,” he croaked. “Keep her — them — safe. Please.”

“And what will you give me in return, Severus?”

“In — in return?” Snape gaped at Dumbledore, and Harry expected him to protest, but after a long moment he said, “Anything.”

The hilltop faded, and Harry stood in Dumbledore’s office, and something was making a terrible sound, like a wounded animal. Snape was slumped forward in a chair and Dumbledore was standing over him, looking grim. After a moment or two, Snape raised his face, and he looked like a man who had lived a hundred years of misery since leaving the wild hilltop.

“I thought . . . you were going . . . to keep her . . . safe. . . .”

“She and James put their faith in the wrong person,” said Dumbledore. “Rather like you, Severus. Weren’t you hoping that Lord Voldemort would spare her?”

Snape’s breathing was shallow.

“Her boy survives,” said Dumbledore.

With a tiny jerk of the head, Snape seemed to flick off an irksome fly.

“Her son lives. He has her eyes, precisely her eyes. You remember the shape and color of Lily Evans’s eyes, I am sure?”

“那就把他们都藏起来,”他嘶哑着声音说道,“保证她——他们的——安全。求求您。”

“那你给我什么作为回报呢,西弗勒斯?”

“作为——回报?”斯内普张口结舌地看着邓布利多,哈利以为他会拒绝,但良久之后,他说,“什么都行。”

山顶消失了,哈利站在邓布利多的办公室里,什么东西在发出可怕的声音,像某种受伤的动物。斯内普颓然坐在椅子上,身体前倾。邓布利多站在他面前,神色严峻。过了片刻,斯内普抬起脸,自从荒野山顶的一幕之后,他仿佛度过了一百年的苦难岁月。

“我以为……你会……保证她的……安全……”

“她和詹姆错误地信任了别人,”邓布利多说,“就像你,西弗勒斯。你不是也曾指望伏地魔会饶她一命吗?”

斯内普的呼吸虚弱无力。

“她儿子活下来了。”邓布利多说。

斯内普猛地晃了一下脑袋,像在赶走一只讨厌的苍蝇。

“她儿子还活着,眼睛和他妈妈的一样,一模一样。我想,你肯定记得莉莉·伊万斯的眼睛,它的形状和颜色,对吗?”

“DON’T!” bellowed Snape. “Gone . . . dead . . .”

“Is this remorse, Severus?”

“I wish . . . I wish I were dead. . . .”

“And what use would that be to anyone?” said Dumbledore coldly. “If you loved Lily Evans, if you truly loved her, then your way forward is clear.”

Snape seemed to peer through a haze of pain, and Dumbledore’s words appeared to take a long time to reach him.

“What — what do you mean?”

“You know how and why she died. Make sure it was not in vain. Help me protect Lily’s son.”

“He does not need protection. The Dark Lord has gone —”

“The Dark Lord will return, and Harry Potter will be in terrible danger when he does.”

There was a long pause, and slowly Snape regained control of himself, mastered his own breathing. At last he said, “Very well. Very well. But never — never tell, Dumbledore! This must be between us! Swear it! I cannot bear . . . especially Potter’s son . . . I want your word!”

“My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you?” Dumbledore sighed, looking down into Snape’s ferocious, anguished face. “If you insist . . .”

“不要!”斯内普吼道,“没了……死了……”

“这是悔恨吗,西弗勒斯?”

“我希望……我希望死的是我……”

“那对别人有什么用呢?”邓布利多冷冷地说,“如果你爱莉莉·伊万斯,如果你真心地爱她,那你面前的道路很清楚。”

斯内普眼前似乎隔着一层痛苦的迷雾,邓布利多的话仿佛过了很长时间才传到他的耳朵里。

“您——您说什么?”

“你知道她是怎么死的,为什么死的。别让她白白牺牲。帮助我保护莉莉的儿子。”

“他不需要保护。黑魔王走了——”

“黑魔王还会回来,到那时候,哈利·波特将会面临可怕的危险。”

静默了很久,斯内普慢慢控制住自己,呼吸自如了。最后他说道:“很好。很好。可是千万——千万别说出去,邓布利多!只能你知我知!您起誓!我受不了……特别是波特的儿子……我要您起誓!”

“要我起誓,西弗勒斯,永远不把你最好的方面透露出去?”邓布利多低头看着斯内普那张激动而又痛苦的脸,叹息着说,“如果你坚持……”

The office dissolved but re-formed instantly. Snape was pacing up and down in front of Dumbledore.

“— mediocre, arrogant as his father, a determined rulebreaker, delighted to find himself famous, attention-seeking and impertinent —”

“You see what you expect to see, Severus,” said Dumbledore, without raising his eyes from a copy of Transfiguration Today. “Other teachers report that the boy is modest, likable, and reasonably talented. Personally, I find him an engaging child.”

Dumbledore turned a page, and said, without looking up, “Keep an eye on Quirrell, won’t you?”

A whirl of color, and now everything darkened, and Snape and Dumbledore stood a little apart in the entrance hall, while the last stragglers from the Yule Ball passed them on their way to bed.

“Well?” murmured Dumbledore.

“Karkaroff ’s Mark is becoming darker too. He is panicking, he fears retribution; you know how much help he gave the Ministry after the Dark Lord fell.” Snape looked sideways at Dumbledore’s crooked-nosed profile. “Karkaroff intends to flee if the Mark burns.”

“Does he?” said Dumbledore softly, as Fleur Delacour and Roger Davies came giggling in from the grounds. “And are you tempted to join him?”

“No,” said Snape, his black eyes on Fleur’s and Roger’s retreating figures. “I am not such a coward.”

“No,” agreed Dumbledore. “You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon. . . .”

He walked away, leaving Snape looking stricken. . . .

办公室消失了,紧接着又重新浮现。斯内普在邓布利多面前踱来踱去。

“——跟他父亲一样平庸、傲慢,专爱违反纪律,喜欢出风头,吸引别人注意,放肆无礼——”

“你看到的是你预想会看到的东西,西弗勒斯,”邓布利多在看一本《今日变形术》,头也不抬地说,“别的老师都说那男孩谦虚、随和,天资也不错。我个人也发现他是个讨人喜欢的孩子。”

邓布利多翻过一页,仍然头也不抬地说:“注意奇洛,好吗?”

色彩旋转,周围的一切都变得昏暗了,斯内普和邓布利多隔开一点站在门厅里。圣诞舞会上最后一批人从他们身边走过,回去睡觉了。

“怎么样?”邓布利多轻声问。

“卡卡洛夫的标记也变黑了。他很紧张,担心会受到惩罚。你知道黑魔王倒台后他给了魔法部很多帮助。”斯内普侧眼看着邓布利多那长着弯鼻子的面影,“卡卡洛夫打算,如果标记灼痛起来,他就逃跑。”

“是吗?”邓布利多轻声说,这时芙蓉·德拉库尔和罗杰·戴维斯咯咯地笑着从操场进来了,“你也很想跟他一起去?”

“不,”斯内普说,他的黑眼睛盯着芙蓉和罗杰远去的背影,“我不是那样的胆小鬼。”

“对,”邓布利多赞同道,“到目前为止,你比伊戈尔·卡卡洛夫要勇敢得多。知道吗,我有时觉得我们的分类太草率了……”

他走开了,斯内普兀自垂头丧气……

And now Harry stood in the headmaster’s office yet again. It was nighttime, and Dumbledore sagged sideways in the thronelike chair behind the desk, apparently semiconscious. His right hand dangled over the side, blackened and burned. Snape was muttering incantations, pointing his wand at the wrist of the hand, while with his left hand he tipped a goblet full of thick golden potion down Dumbledore’s throat. After a moment or two, Dumbledore’s eyelids fluttered and opened.

“Why,” said Snape, without preamble, “why did you put on that ring? It carries a curse, surely you realized that. Why even touch it?”

Marvolo Gaunt’s ring lay on the desk before Dumbledore. It was cracked; the sword of Gryffindor lay beside it.

Dumbledore grimaced.

“I . . . was a fool. Sorely tempted . . .”

“Tempted by what?”

Dumbledore did not answer.

“It is a miracle you managed to return here!” Snape sounded furious. “That ring carried a curse of extraordinary power, to contain it is all we can hope for; I have trapped the curse in one hand for the time being —”

Dumbledore raised his blackened, useless hand, and examined it with the expression of one being shown an interesting curio.

“You have done very well, Severus. How long do you think I have?”

这一次,哈利还是站在校长办公室里。时间是晚上,邓布利多无力地歪在桌后宝座般的椅子上,看上去神志不清。他的右手耷拉着,被烧焦了,黑乎乎的。斯内普低声念着咒语,将魔杖对准了那只手腕,左手把一杯浓浓的金色药液灌进了邓布利多的嘴里。过了片刻,邓布利多的眼皮抖动了几下,睁开了。

“你为什么,”斯内普劈头就问道,“为什么要戴上那枚戒指?它上面有魔咒,你肯定知道。为什么还要碰它?”

马沃罗·冈特的戒指放在邓布利多面前的桌子上,已经破裂,旁边是格兰芬多的宝剑。

邓布利多苦笑了一下。

“我……我做了傻事。诱惑太大了……”

“什么诱惑?”

邓布利多没有回答。

“你能够回到这里已是个奇迹!”斯内普怒气冲冲地说,“那枚戒指上有特别强大的魔咒,我们最多能希望把它遏制祝我已经把魔咒暂时囚禁在一只手里——”

邓布利多举起那只焦黑、无用的手,仔细端详着,就像面对着一个非常有趣的古董。

“你干得很出色,西弗勒斯。你认为我还有多少时间?”

Dumbledore’s tone was conversational; he might have been asking for a weather forecast. Snape hesitated, and then said, “I cannot tell. Maybe a year. There is no halting such a spell forever. It will spread eventually, it is the sort of curse that strengthens over time.”

Dumbledore smiled. The news that he had less than a year to live seemed a matter of little or no concern to him.

“I am fortunate, extremely fortunate, that I have you, Severus.”

“If you had only summoned me a little earlier, I might have been able to do more, buy you more time!” said Snape furiously. He looked down at the broken ring and the sword. “Did you think that breaking the ring would break the curse?”

“Something like that . . . I was delirious, no doubt. . . .” said Dumbledore. With an effort he straightened himself in his chair. “Well, really, this makes matters much more straightforward.”

Snape looked utterly perplexed. Dumbledore smiled.

“I refer to the plan Lord Voldemort is revolving around me. His plan to have the poor Malfoy boy murder me.”

Snape sat down in the chair Harry had so often occupied, across the desk from Dumbledore. Harry could tell that he wanted to say more on the subject of Dumbledore’s cursed hand, but the other held it up in polite refusal to discuss the matter further. Scowling, Snape said, “The Dark Lord does not expect Draco to succeed. This is merely punishment for Lucius’s recent failures. Slow torture for Draco’s parents, while they watch him fail and pay the price.”

邓布利多的语气轻松随意,如同在询问天气预报。斯内普迟疑了一下,说:“我说不好,大概一年。没有办法永远遏制这样的魔咒。它最终总会扩散,这种魔咒会随着时间的推移不断加强。”

邓布利多露出了微笑。他只剩下不到一年的时间了,这消息对他来说似乎无足轻重。

“我很幸运,非常幸运,有你在我身边,西弗勒斯。”

“如果你早点把我叫来,我或许能多采取些措施,为你争取更多的时间!”斯内普恼怒地说,他低头看着破碎的戒指和那把宝剑,“你以为摧毁戒指就能破除魔咒?”

“差不多吧……我肯定是昏了头了……”邓布利多说,他吃力地在椅子上坐直身子,“也好,这样就使事情变得更简单了。”

斯内普似乎完全被弄糊涂了。邓布利多笑了笑。

“我指的是伏地魔围绕我制定的计划。他计划马尔福家那个可怜的男孩杀死我。”

斯内普在哈利经常坐的椅子上坐了下来,隔着桌子面对着邓布利多。哈利看出他还想再谈谈邓布利多那只被魔咒伤害的手,但对方举起焦手,委婉地表示不愿意继续谈论这个话题。斯内普皱着眉头说:“黑魔王没指望德拉科能够得手。这只是为了惩罚卢修斯最近的失败。让德拉科的父母眼看着儿子失手,然后付出代价,这对他们来说是钝刀子割肉。”

“In short, the boy has had a death sentence pronounced upon him as surely as I have,” said Dumbledore. “Now, I should have thought the natural successor to the job, once Draco fails, is yourself?”

There was a short pause.

“That, I think, is the Dark Lord’s plan.”

“Lord Voldemort foresees a moment in the near future when he will not need a spy at Hogwarts?”

“He believes the school will soon be in his grasp, yes.”

“And if it does fall into his grasp,” said Dumbledore, almost, it seemed, as an aside, “I have your word that you will do all in your power to protect the students of Hogwarts?”

Snape gave a stiff nod.

“Good. Now then. Your first priority will be to discover what Draco is up to. A frightened teenage boy is a danger to others as well as to himself. Offer him help and guidance, he ought to accept, he likes you —”

“— much less since his father has lost favor. Draco blames me, he thinks I have usurped Lucius’s position.”

“All the same, try. I am concerned less for myself than for accidental victims of whatever schemes might occur to the boy. Ultimately, of course, there is only one thing to be done if we are to save him from Lord Voldemort’s wrath.”

Snape raised his eyebrows and his tone was sardonic as he asked, “Are you intending to let him kill you?”

“总之,这男孩像我一样被明确地判了死刑。”邓布利多说,“我认为,一旦德拉科失手,接替这项工作的自然是你啰?”

短暂的沉默。

“我想,黑魔王是这么设计的。”

“伏地魔是否预见在不久的将来,他在霍格沃茨不再需要密探?”

“他相信学校很快就会被他控制,是的。”

“如果学校真的落到他的手里,”邓布利多说,好像是临时想到插了一句,“我要你起誓你会尽全部的力量保护霍格沃茨的学生,行吗?”

斯内普僵硬地点了点头。

“很好。那么,你首先需要弄清德拉科打算干什么。一个惊慌失措的少年不仅对他自己危险,对别人也很危险。向他提供帮助和指导,他应该会接受,他喜欢你——”

“——他父亲失宠之后,他就不那么喜欢我了。德拉科怨我,认为我夺走了卢修斯的位置。”

“没关系,试试吧。比起我自己来,我更关心的是那个男孩任何行动计划的意外牺牲品。当然啦,如果要把他从伏地魔的暴怒中解救出来,最终只有一个办法。”

斯内普扬起眉毛,用讽刺的口吻问道:“你打算让他把你杀死?”

“Certainly not. You must kill me.”

There was a long silence, broken only by an odd clicking noise. Fawkes the phoenix was gnawing a bit of cuttlebone.

“Would you like me to do it now?” asked Snape, his voice heavy with irony. “Or would you like a few moments to compose an epitaph?”

“Oh, not quite yet,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “I daresay the moment will present itself in due course. Given what has happened tonight,” he indicated his withered hand, “we can be sure that it will happen within a year.”

“If you don’t mind dying,” said Snape roughly, “why not let Draco do it?”

“That boy’s soul is not yet so damaged,” said Dumbledore. “I would not have it ripped apart on my account.”

“And my soul, Dumbledore? Mine?”

“You alone know whether it will harm your soul to help an old man avoid pain and humiliation,” said Dumbledore. “I ask this one great favor of you, Severus, because death is coming for me as surely as the Chudley Cannons will finish bottom of this year’s league. I confess I should prefer a quick, painless exit to the protracted and messy affair it will be if, for instance, Greyback is involved — I hear Voldemort has recruited him? Or dear Bellatrix, who likes to play with her food before she eats it.”

“当然不是。必须由你杀死我。”

长久的沉默,屋里只有一种奇怪的咔啦啦的声音。凤凰福克斯在啃一小块墨鱼骨头。

“你希望我现在就动手吗?”斯内普问,语气里透着浓浓的讽刺,“还是你需要一点时间构思一个墓碑?”

“哦,暂时还不用,”邓布利多微笑着说,“我想,那一刻该来的时候总会来的。从今晚的事情来看,”他指指自己焦枯的手,“我们可以肯定它将在一年之内发生。”

“既然你不在乎死,”斯内普粗暴地说,“为什么不让德拉科得手呢?”

“那个男孩的灵魂还没被完全糟蹋,”邓布利多说,“我不愿意因为我的缘故把它弄得四分五裂。”

“那么我的灵魂呢,邓布利多?我的呢?”

“只有你知道帮助一个老人免于痛苦和耻辱不会伤害你的灵魂,”邓布利多说,“西弗勒斯,我请求你为我完成这件大事,因为死亡对于我来说是铁板钉钉的事,就像查德理火炮队将在今年的联赛中垫底一样。说句实话,我倒愿意没有痛苦地迅速结束生命,而不愿意拖拖拉拉,死得很狼狈,比如,把格雷伯克牵扯进来——我听说伏地魔把他也招进去了?或者落到亲爱的贝拉特里克斯手里,她喜欢把食物玩够了再吃?”

His tone was light, but his blue eyes pierced Snape as they had frequently pierced Harry, as though the soul they discussed was visible to him. At last Snape gave another curt nod.

Dumbledore seemed satisfied.

“Thank you, Severus . . .”

The office disappeared, and now Snape and Dumbledore were strolling together in the deserted castle grounds by twilight.

“What are you doing with Potter, all these evenings you are closeted together?” Snape asked abruptly.

Dumbledore looked weary.

“Why? You aren’t trying to give him more detentions, Severus? The boy will soon have spent more time in detention than out.”

“He is his father over again —”

“In looks, perhaps, but his deepest nature is much more like his mother’s. I spend time with Harry because I have things to discuss with him, information I must give him before it is too late.”

“Information,” repeated Snape. “You trust him . . . you do not trust me.”

“It is not a question of trust. I have, as we both know, limited time. It is essential that I give the boy enough information for him to do what he needs to do.”

他的语气很轻松,但那双蓝眼睛却犀利地望着斯内普,就像从前望着哈利一样,似乎能真切地看见他们所谈论的灵魂。最后,斯内普轻轻地点了点头。

邓布利多好像满意了。

“谢谢你,西弗勒斯……”

办公室消失了,暮色中,斯内普和邓布利多一起在冷冷清清的城堡操场上漫步。

“这些晚上你和波特两人关禁闭吧,西弗勒斯?过不了多久,这男孩关禁闭的时间会比他自由的时间还多。”

“他简直是他父亲的翻版——”

“相貌上也许是这样,但他骨子里更像他的母亲。我和哈利待在一起,是因为我有事情要跟他商量,我必须给他一些信息,不然就来不及了。”

“信息,”斯内普说,“你信任他……却不信任我。”

“这不是信任不信任的问题。你我都知道,我的时间有限。我必须给那男孩足够的信息让他去完成需要完成的事情。”

“And why may I not have the same information?”

“I prefer not to put all of my secrets in one basket, particularly not a basket that spends so much time dangling on the arm of Lord Voldemort.”

“Which I do on your orders!”

“And you do it extremely well. Do not think that I underestimate the constant danger in which you place yourself, Severus. To give Voldemort what appears to be valuable information while withholding the essentials is a job I would entrust to nobody but you.”

“Yet you confide much more in a boy who is incapable of Occlumency, whose magic is mediocre, and who has a direct connection into the Dark Lord’s mind!”

“Voldemort fears that connection,” said Dumbledore. “Not so long ago he had one small taste of what truly sharing Harry’s mind means to him. It was pain such as he has never experienced. He will not try to possess Harry again, I am sure of it. Not in that way.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Lord Voldemort’s soul, maimed as it is, cannot bear close contact with a soul like Harry’s. Like a tongue on frozen steel, like flesh in flame —”

“Souls? We were talking of minds!”

“In the case of Harry and Lord Voldemort, to speak of one is to speak of the other.”

Dumbledore glanced around to make sure that they were alone. They were close by the Forbidden Forest now, but there was no sign of anyone near them.

“那为什么我不能得到同样的信息?”

“我不想把我所有的秘密都装在一个篮子里,特别是一个许多时间都挂在伏地魔胳膊上的篮子。”

“我是按你的吩咐做的!”

“你做得非常出色。不要以为我低估了你时时所处的危险,西弗勒斯。只把看似有价值的情报告诉伏地魔,而把最重要的信息留在心底,这项工作我只能交给你。”

“可是你却更信赖一个连大脑封闭术都不会的小男孩,他的魔法很平庸,而且可以直接连接黑魔王的思想!”

“伏地魔害怕那种连接,”邓布利多说,“不久以前,他稍稍领略了一番分享哈利的思想对他来说意味着什么。他从未体验过那样的痛苦。他再也不会试图控制哈利了,我可以肯定,至少不是用那种方式。”

“我不明白。”

“伏地魔的灵魂如此残缺不全,它受不了接近哈利那样的灵魂,就像舌头粘在冰冻的钢上,皮肉接触火焰——”

“灵魂?我们谈的是思想!”

“在哈利和伏地魔的问题上,这两者是一回事。”

邓布利多环顾四周,确保除了他俩之外没有别人。他们现在到了禁林附近,但周围没有一个人影。

“After you have killed me, Severus —”

“You refuse to tell me everything, yet you expect that small service of me!” snarled Snape, and real anger flared in the thin face now. “You take a great deal for granted, Dumbledore! Perhaps I have changed my mind!”

“You gave me your word, Severus. And while we are talking about services you owe me, I thought you agreed to keep a close eye on our young Slytherin friend?”

Snape looked angry, mutinous. Dumbledore sighed.

“Come to my office tonight, Severus, at eleven, and you shall not complain that I have no confidence in you. . . .”

They were back in Dumbledore’s office, the windows dark, and Fawkes sat silent as Snape sat quite still, as Dumbledore walked around him, talking.

“Harry must not know, not until the last moment, not until it is necessary, otherwise how could he have the strength to do what must be done?”

“But what must he do?”

“That is between Harry and me. Now listen closely, Severus. There will come a time — after my death — do not argue, do not interrupt! There will come a time when Lord Voldemort will seem to fear for the life of his snake.”

“For Nagini?” Snape looked astonished.

“Precisely. If there comes a time when Lord Voldemort stops sending that snake forth to do his bidding, but keeps it safe beside him under magical protection, then, I think, it will be safe to tell Harry.”

“Tell him what?”

Dumbledore took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

“西弗勒斯,在你杀死我之后——”

“你什么都不肯告诉我,却还指望我帮你那个小忙!”斯内普低吼道。瘦瘦的脸上闪着真正的怒气,“你觉得许多事情都理所当然,邓布利多!说不定我改变主意了呢!”

“你发过誓的,西弗勒斯。说到你为我效力的事,我记得你答应过要密切关注我们那位年轻的斯莱特林朋友,对吗?”

斯内普显得恼怒而不服气。邓布利多叹息了一声。

“今晚十一点到我办公室来,西弗勒斯,你就不会抱怨我不信任你了……”

他们回到邓布利多的办公室,窗外漆黑一片,福克斯安安静静地待着,斯内普坐在那里一动不动,邓布利多一边说话,一边在他周围走来走去。

“不到最后关头,不到绝对必要的时候,千万不能让哈利知道,不然他怎么有力量去做他必须要做的事情呢?”

“他必须要做什么?”

“那是哈利和我之间的事。现在,西弗勒斯,请你听仔细了。到了某个时候——在我死后——不要反驳,不要插嘴!到了某个时候,伏地魔似乎会为他那条大蛇的生命担心。”

“为纳吉尼担心?”斯内普显得很惊愕。

“不错。如果到了某个时候,伏地魔不再派那条大蛇去执行命令,而是让它守在身边,用魔法把它保护起来,到了那时,我想就可以告诉哈利了。”

“告诉他什么?”

邓布利多深深吸了口气,闭上了眼睛。

“Tell him that on the night Lord Voldemort tried to kill him, when Lily cast her own life between them as a shield, the Killing Curse rebounded upon Lord Voldemort, and a fragment of Voldemort’s soul was blasted apart from the whole, and latched itself onto the only living soul left in that collapsing building. Part of Lord Voldemort lives inside Harry, and it is that which gives him the power of speech with snakes, and a connection with Lord Voldemort’s mind that he has never understood. And while that fragment of soul, unmissed by Voldemort, remains attached to and protected by Harry, Lord Voldemort cannot die.”

Harry seemed to be watching the two men from one end of a long tunnel, they were so far away from him, their voices echoing strangely in his ears.

“So the boy . . . the boy must die?” asked Snape quite calmly.

“And Voldemort himself must do it, Severus. That is essential.”

Another long silence. Then Snape said, “I thought . . . all these years . . . that we were protecting him for her. For Lily.”

“We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try his strength,” said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut. “Meanwhile, the connection between them grows ever stronger, a parasitic growth: Sometimes I have thought he suspects it himself. If I know him, he will have arranged matters so that when he does set out to meet his death, it will truly mean the end of Voldemort.”

Dumbledore opened his eyes. Snape looked horrified.

“告诉他,在伏地魔试图杀死他的那天夜里,当莉莉用自己的生命挡在他们之间时,那个杀戮咒反弹到伏地魔身上,伏地魔灵魂的一个碎片被炸飞了,附着在坍塌的房子里惟一活着的灵魂上。伏地魔的一部分活在哈利体内,使哈利有了与蛇对话的能力,并可以连接伏地魔的思想,这一直令他百思不得其解。只要那个没被伏地魔发现的灵魂碎片还依附在哈利身上,受到哈利的保护,伏地魔就不可能死。”

哈利似乎是在一条长长隧道的尽头注视着邓布利多和斯内普,他们离他那么遥远,他们的说话声在他耳朵里发出奇怪的回音。

“那么那男孩……那男孩必须死去?”斯内普很平静地问。

“而且必须由伏地魔亲自动手,西弗勒斯。那是非常重要的。”

又是长时间的沉默。然后斯内普说:“我还以为……这么多年来……我还以为我们是在保护他,为了她,为了莉莉。”

“我们保护他,是因为必须调教他,培养他,让他磨炼自己的能力,”邓布利多说,仍然紧闭着眼睛,“与此同时,他们之间的连接也变得越来越强,像一种寄生的生命。有时我觉得他好像自己也有所察觉。如果我真的了解他,我认为他会把一切安排妥当,这样当他毅然赴死时,就意味着伏地魔的真正完结。”

邓布利多睁开了眼睛,斯内普神色惊恐。

“You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?”

“Don’t be shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?”

“Lately, only those whom I could not save,” said Snape. He stood up. “You have used me.”

“Meaning?”

“I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter —”

“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”

“For him?” shouted Snape. “Expecto Patronum!”

From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe: She landed on the office floor, bounded once across the office, and soared out of the window. Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears.

“After all this time?”

“Always,” said Snape.

And the scene shifted. Now, Harry saw Snape talking to the portrait of Dumbledore behind his desk.

“你让他活着,只是为了他能在适当的时候赴死?”

“别大惊失色,西弗勒斯。你目睹了多少男男女女的死?”

“最近,只有那些我无力相救的人。”斯内普说,然后他站了起来,“你利用了我。”

“什么意思?”

“我为你做密探,为你编造谎言,为你冒着致命的危险。这一切据说都是为了保证莉莉·波特儿子的安全。现在你却告诉我,你养着他就像养着一头待杀的猪——”

“多么感人哪,西弗勒斯,”邓布利多严肃地说,“难道你真的开始喜欢那个男孩了?”

“喜欢他?”斯内普叫了起来,“呼神护卫!”

他的杖尖蹦出了那头银色的牝鹿。它落在地板上,轻轻一跃就到了办公室那头,飞出了窗外。邓布利多注视着它远去,注视着它的银光消失,然后转脸望着斯内普,他的眼里已盈满泪水。

“这么长时间了还是这样?”

“一直是这样。”斯内普说。

场景转换。现在,哈利看见斯内普在跟办公室后的邓布利多肖像说话。

“You will have to give Voldemort the correct date of Harry’s departure from his aunt and uncle’s,” said Dumbledore. “Not to do so will raise suspicion, when Voldemort believes you so well informed. However, you must plant the idea of decoys; that, I think, ought to ensure Harry’s safety. Try Confunding Mundungus Fletcher. And Severus, if you are forced to take part in the chase, be sure to act your part convincingly. . . . I am counting upon you to remain in Lord Voldemort’s good books as long as possible, or Hogwarts will be left to the mercy of the Carrows. . . .”

Now Snape was head to head with Mundungus in an unfamiliar tavern, Mundungus’s face looking curiously blank, Snape frowning in concentration.

“You will suggest to the Order of the Phoenix,” Snape murmured, “that they use decoys. Polyjuice Potion. Identical Potters. It is the only thing that might work. You will forget that I have suggested this. You will present it as your own idea. You understand?”

“I understand,” murmured Mundungus, his eyes unfocused. . . .

Now Harry was flying alongside Snape on a broomstick through a clear dark night: He was accompanied by other hooded Death Eaters, and ahead were Lupin and a Harry who was really George. . . . A Death Eater moved ahead of Snape and raised his wand, pointing it directly at Lupin’s back —

“Sectumsempra!” shouted Snape.

But the spell, intended for the Death Eater’s wand hand, missed and hit George instead —

And next, Snape was kneeling in Sirius’s old bedroom. Tears were dripping from the end of his hooked nose as he read the old letter from Lily. The second page carried only a few words: could ever have been friends with Gellert Grindelwald. I think her mind’s going, personally! Lots of love.

Snape took the page bearing Lily’s signature, and her love, and tucked it inside his robes. Then he ripped in two the photograph he was also holding, so that he kept the part from which Lily laughed, throwing the portion showing James and Harry back onto the floor, under the chest of drawers. . . .

“你必须把哈利离开他姨妈姨父家的确切日期告诉伏地魔,”邓布利多说,“伏地魔认为你消息非常灵通,你不这么做会引起怀疑的。不过,你必须把利用替身的主意灌输给别人——我想那样应该能够保证哈利的安全。试着对蒙顿格斯·弗莱奇用混淆咒。还有,西弗勒斯,如果你不得不参加追逐,一定要表现得令人信服……我指望你继续取得伏地魔的信任,时间越长越好,不然,霍格沃茨就会任由卡罗兄妹摆布……”

现在,斯内普正在一家陌生的酒馆里与蒙顿格斯交头接耳,蒙顿格斯满脸的茫然、迷惑,斯内普皱着眉头,全神贯注。

“你要向凤凰社提出建议,”斯内普低声说道,“让他们使用替身。复方汤剂。几个一模一样的波特。只有这个办法才管用。你要忘记这个建议是我提的。要当成你自己的主意提出来。明白吗?”

“明白。”蒙顿格斯喃喃地说,两眼呆滞无神……

现在,哈利伴着骑扫帚的斯内普,在空旷的黑夜中飞行。身边还有其他戴兜帽的食死徒,前面是卢平,还有一个由乔治扮成的哈利……一个食死徒冲到斯内普前面,举起魔杖对准了卢平的后背——

“神锋无影!”斯内普大喊一声。

魔咒本来瞄准的是食死徒拿魔杖的手,不料却击中了乔治——

接着,斯内普跪在小天狼星的旧卧室里。他读着莉莉写的那封旧信,泪水从鹰钩鼻的鼻尖流淌下来。信的第二页只有几句话:

会和盖勒特·格林德沃交朋友。我个人认为,她脑子有点糊涂了!

无限爱意

莉莉

斯内普拿起这页留有莉莉签名和爱意的信纸,塞进了长袍里。然后他把手里的照片一撕两半,留下莉莉欢笑的一半,把詹姆和哈利的一半扔在地上的五斗橱下……

And now Snape stood again in the headmaster’s study as Phineas Nigellus came hurrying into his portrait.

“Headmaster! They are camping in the Forest of Dean! The Mudblood —”

“Do not use that word!”

“— the Granger girl, then, mentioned the place as she opened her bag and I heard her!”

“Good. Very good!” cried the portrait of Dumbledore behind the headmaster’s chair. “Now, Severus, the sword! Do not forget that it must be taken under conditions of need and valor — and he must not know that you give it! If Voldemort should read Harry’s mind and see you acting for him —”

“I know,” said Snape curtly. He approached the portrait of Dumbledore and pulled at its side. It swung forward, revealing a hidden cavity behind it from which he took the sword of Gryffindor.

“And you still aren’t going to tell me why it’s so important to give Potter the sword?” said Snape as he swung a traveling cloak over his robes.

“No, I don’t think so,” said Dumbledore’s portrait. “He will know what to do with it. And Severus, be very careful, they may not take kindly to your appearance after George Weasley’s mishap —”

Snape turned at the door.

“Don’t worry, Dumbledore,” he said coolly. “I have a plan. . . .”

现在,斯内普又站在校长的书房里,菲尼亚斯·奈杰勒斯匆匆闯进了自己的肖像。

“校长!他们在迪安森林里扎营!那个泥巴种——”

“不许说那个词!”

“——那个姓格兰杰的女孩打开包时说了地名,我听见了!”

“好,很好!”校长座椅后面的邓布利多肖像大声说,“现在,西弗勒斯,拿上那把宝剑吧!别忘了必须在有需要和有勇气的条件下才能拿到它——千万别让他知道是你拿去的!万一伏地魔读取哈利的思想,看到你在帮他——”

“我知道。”斯内普简单地说。他凑近了邓布利多的肖像,把它往外一拉。肖像打开了,露出藏在后面的一个洞,斯内普从里面拿出了格兰芬多的宝剑。

“你还是不肯告诉我为什么把宝剑交给波特这么重要,是吗?”斯内普说着把一件旅行斗篷披在长袍外面。

“是的,确实如此,”邓布利多肖像说道,“他会知道拿它派什么用常西弗勒斯,千万小心,乔治·韦斯莱发生意外之后,他们对你的出现不会表示友好——”

斯内普在门边转过身。

“不用担心,邓布利多,”他冷冷地说,“我自有安排……”

斯内普离开了房间。哈利慢慢地从冥想盆里升了上来。片刻之后,他躺在校长办公室的地毯上,就好像斯内普刚刚把房门关上。

图像来源:高品图像

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