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A Grim Tale

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"Potter! What the fuck are you doing?"

"I'm trying to think like they did," Harry offered.

"Wandering aimlessly in the Forbidden Forest?" Severus sneered.

"Exploring the Forbidden Forest," Harry countered cheerily.

Severus sighed but followed Harry patiently.

Harry stilled. "There!" He pointed.

The house was... fanciful. Severus took a deeper breath. "Gingerbread?"

"Makes sense," Harry answered. "By now, they would have been hungry."

Harry moved closer but stopped when Severus put a warning hand on his shoulder. "Something's not right," he said.

"It's a trap," Harry agreed.

"On three," Severus said. "One... two... three!"

They shot their spells at the house. The image shimmered for a moment and fell. What was left was...

"Ew... that's gross!" Harry grimaced.

The huge plant waved tendrils at them, reaching out. It was a sickly green-yellow color and a foul odor drifted toward them.

"Fiendfyre, I think," Harry suggested.

"Don't burn the Forest down," Severus commented.

"Would I do that?" Harry asked with a small grin.

They watched the plant burn... waiting to make sure it was dead and would lure no more children into the Forest.

When it was safe to move close, they did. Harry felt a small crunch under his foot. He stooped down to find a broken bone underfoot.

"Careful!" he warned. Harry cast a silent Reparo to fix what he had stepped on. He touched the small bones reverently.

"Sorry we couldn't save you," he said softly.

Severus' warm hand settled on his shoulder, reassuring him silently.