Chapter 1: What A Month
"It's tonight," said Harry, once he was sure Professor McGonagall was out of earshot. "Snape's going through the trapdoor tonight. He's found out everything he needs and now he's got Dumbledore out of the way. He sent that note, I bet the Ministry of Magic will get a real shock when Dumbledore turns up."
"But what can we—" Hermione gasped. Harry and Ron wheeled round. Snape was standing there.
"Good afternoon," he said smoothly. They stared at him."You shouldn't be inside on a day like this," he said, with an odd, twisted smile.
"We were—" Harry began, without any idea what he was going to say.
"You want to be more careful," said Snape. "Hanging around like this, people will think you're up to something. And Gryffindor really can't afford to lose any more points, can it?" Harry flushed. They turned to go outside but Snape called them back. "Be warned, Potter—any more nighttime wanderings and I will personally make sure you are expelled. Good day to you." He strode off in the direction of the staff room.
"He needs to be suspended at least." Snape snarled as he stood in front of Dumbledore's desk. His face was set in his best scowl.
"I believe that is a bit harsh, he did protect the Stone." Dumbledore laid his hands, clasped together on the desk. His eyes twinkling. "He proved that he can go against him."
Snape glared at the man. "Either he gets suspended or I am resigning. I have had enough of you coddling that boy. He is just as bad as his father was."
"I believe you misunderstand young Harry. If I suspend him, I will need to suspend Hermione and Ron. They joined him, at least part way." Dumbledore tried to reason with him. "You also need to think about your Vow. About what will happen in the future."
"I am. If you expect me to protect him I will not have him running off head first into danger." Snape walked to the window. He wanted to hex the man, Gryffindors could do whatever they please and get away with it. He had personal experience that in more than once in his lifetime. "If it was any other house, any other child, you would have no problem suspending him."
"Severus, he is a boy."
"Who needs discipline. You tell us all how much he has been trained, how loved he has been, how much knowledge he has been given of our world, I have yet to see it, but if he is this wild now, it will get worse. Suspend him or my resignation." Snape wasn't going to put up with spending the next six years chasing after that boy because of a Vow he was conned into making.
Dumbledore sighed. "Exams are this week and next week they leave, is that really necessary?"
"Yes, and I don't care. He should have thought of that." Snape snapped at him. This was getting outrageous, Dumbledore suspended three students last year for doing a prank that hurt one student, never mind killing a professor, even if the said professor was being possessed by an insane Dark Lord. "If you give me five minutes I will have my resignation on your desk and I will be out of my quarters as soon as the Leaving Feast is over." He knew the old man would pick the boy over him. Dumbledore was always taking care of his Gryffindors before any other house. He started toward the door.
"Severus, it won't be necessary. I will tell the three of them after their last class." Dumbledore sighed, his face weary, he had a very bad feeling about this but he wasn't going to admit the truth of the situation to Severus Snape of all people. He looked up when he heard his door close.
Granger and Weasley quickly made their way to the Headmaster's office after the Welcoming Feast. They rode the stairs up and when they are giving access to the office, they were a bit surprised to find Snape and McGonagall sitting in the chairs in front of the Headmaster's desk. They take the two chairs to the right of McGonagall. "Lemon drop?" Dumbledore held out a candy dish.
"No thank you, sir." Granger wondered why Snape and McGonagall were in the room. Usually, when they meet with the Headmaster it was by themselves.
"Have you heard from Harry?" Dumbledore took one of his lemon drops and put it in his mouth. He wasn't sure he was going to like what might happen. He was worried about Harry not being on the train.
"No sir. I wrote to him weekly for a few weeks when we got suspended but never heard back. I thought his relatives might have done something to prevent him from writing. I waited a month and tried it again and still got nothing." Granger told him.
"Same here. I didn't write as often but he did say he would respond back." Weasley said.
"Sulking and expecting us to come running to him and see what is the matter." Snape snapped out. His normal sneer planted firmly on his face. He wasn't going to go and get the brat.
"This is our fault." Granger muttered but Snape and McGonagall heard her.
"Potter getting suspended isn't your fault. He didn't have to go down there." McGonagall remarked. "He made his own choice."
"Not really." Weasley had felt bad for forcing Harry but the Dumbledore wanted them to bring Harry with them. He said it was the only way to defeat whoever wanted stone.
"Explain that." Snape demanded. His eyes boring a hole into Weasley.
"We forced him. He is petrified of dogs and we made him go. We had already gone to Professor McGonagall but she didn't believe us. Harry wanted to find the Headmaster even though we knew the Headmaster wasn't here. We dragged him to the room, telling him that you would already have the Stone by then. We were all convinced it was you." Granger felt a lot of guilt for getting one of only two friends suspended.
"Petrified is an understatement, I had to pull him with us." Weasley said. "He was more upset about going home, he was convinced his uncle would throw him out of the house."
"He wouldn't?" McGonagall gasped. "I knew they weren't the most agreeable of muggles but they wouldn't turn him out, would they?"
"No, I am sure he is fine. They know that having Harry there is for their protection also." Dumbledore gave her a slight smile. "You forced Harry to go with you?"
"Yes, sir. We tried to tell you but Harry kept stopping us. He didn't want us to get into more trouble." Granger thought after they were suspended that the Headmaster was correct, Harry would stick up for them. The Headmaster also promised the suspension wouldn't appear on their records.
"Unlikely story, more like he wanted to get his name in the paper again." Snape informed them.
"Harry hates his fame. He didn't even know how his parents died until shortly before he came here and not the complete truth either until I lent him one of my books on him. He didn't even know he was in books." Granger smugly informed Snape. She hated that he picked on her friend for no reason. The Headmaster had asked them to look out for Harry and she was her first friend.
Snape glared at the girl. "He is just like his father."
"How? He never knew the man. How did he influence how he acts?" McGonagall asked. "You are taking a boy and turning him into his father." McGonagall had been telling the man all year that Harry wasn't like James.
"Let's focus on finding Harry. That is an old argument and it won't be solved tonight." Dumbledore interrupted. He didn't want them to continue and certainly didn't want Granger and Weasley to spill any of his secrets concerning Harry. "Hermione, Ron, head to your dorm. I am sure you are tired. We will bring Harry up to the dorm after we retrieve him."
"Yes, sir." Granger and Weasley got up and head toward the door. At the door, Granger looked over her shoulder. "You know it was a real shame you destroyed his confidence in potions, it was a class he was extremely looking forward to. He had read the book a few times. He only had one book. Which I didn't understand until I looked at his list, he never got the muggle-born book list." They exited the room.
Snape turned and looked at Dumbledore. "Why didn't he get the list?" He glared at them. He knew they were hiding something, something to do with the boy.
"I didn't think he would need it." Dumbledore answered.
"What?" McGonagall asked. "He knew nothing, you made sure of that. When Hagrid returned from taking him shopping I asked you directly about the books and you dismissed me. I have no idea why you kept insisting he was trained. You know he wasn't. You told his relatives in a note that we would be back and that was it."
"Why did Hagrid take him shopping? School rules require that either a Head of House, the Deputy or Board member take a student shopping if they are unaware of our world." Snape was getting a very bad picture. Dumbledore set them up. Dumbledore had been pushing the boy being just like his father, never let him forget what the Marauders did to him. Now he learned that the boy never got the list of books that would allow him to keep up with the rest of the students.
"Yes, I am aware of the rules. However, Hagrid would be able to protect him while he went shopping."
"You are conveniently forgetting to mention that Hagrid left him alone, went to the pub for a few drinks, and then bought Hedwig for Harry." McGonagall was furious, her lips were pressed together, her back was straight and her hands were clenching the material of her robe. "I demand an explanation as to why you picked Hagrid. I told you I would go and you refused to let me."
"Minerva, now isn't the time. We must go and retrieve Harry." Dumbledore informed her.
"All three of us can't be gone." McGonagall glared at him. "I am going with Severus. You will stay here and I want answers when I return."
"So do I." Snape added. "This is the type of manipulation I warned you about using with that boy."
"So did I. You left him with those disgusting muggles because it was Lily's sister."
"He left him with Petunia?" Snape's eyes went wide at what Petunia would have done to her own nephew.
"Yes, she is the closest relatives. She loves her nephew." Dumbledore reassured them. He knew Harry wouldn't mention anything regarding abuse, his relatives drilled that into his head after the number of times he had to cover for them. "Even if she didn't love him as well as she should, she would never allow abuse."
"You don't know Petunia." Snape did an inward wince as he remembered some of the things she did to Lily. He didn't even want to think of what she would do to a child.
"She has a son Harry's age, they grew up like brothers." McGonagall and Snape huffed at that. McGonagall remembering how Lily would return each year and comparing it to how Harry arrived last year. It wasn't a flattering image.
"Severus, if we leave now it won't be too late to visit?" McGonagall said.
Snape cast Tempus and looked at the time. "I still need to speak to my first years and even if I didn't, it's after well after acceptable muggle times to visit. Muggles have this thing about time."
"Fine first thing in the morning. You, Albus, are not leaving here to try to find him. We will go in the morning." McGonagall instructed.
"It's about time they sent someone out here to check on that house." A female voice said from next to the hedge.
"Excuse me?" Snape looked around and walked over to the woman with McGonagall on his heels.
"We have been filing complaint after complaint for years regarding their treatment of their nephew and no one has ever shown up to check. Now he hasn't been seen in months and you show up. He isn't dead, is he? That poor child." The woman was short, thin with dark brown hair, she had on a dressing gown and put down the bin she was holding.
"Missing? Harry has been missing?" McGonagall asked.
"Yes, came home in June, heard a lot of yelling and saw Vernon Dursley beating the boy again. He didn't even wait until he got into the house that time. Saw him toss the boy out into the backyard after the beating. The boy was a mess. We called for assistance and it never came. It was the last we saw of the boy."
"Does he beat his own son?" McGonagall asked.
"No, that boy is on his way to jail if they don't straighten him out. He bullies the younger years, used to terrorize his own cousin too. The boy is the exact opposite of Harry. Harry spent all his time doing an impossible amount of chores around their house while their son doesn't even list a finger just yells all the time for ice cream. There is only a wall separating us, we can hear everything. From them yelling no food for a week to the beatings while their son stuffs his face. The kid is so overweight I am surprised he can even walk."
Snape didn't say a word. He looked at the house in question and he knew his face was pale. The idea of anyone having to endure abuse was bad but to endure what their neighbor was describing was outlandish. "You have reported it before?" McGonagall's lips were thinned and her face was set in stone, she was going to kill Dumbledore. She was working on controlling her temper.
"Yes, numerous times. So haven't a lot of the neighbors and teachers at their school when they attended the same school." She held out her hand. "I'm Robin Bellows and I have lived here since before the morning they found the boy on their steps. They never were the best of neighbors but they never raised their voices or hit a child until Harry came along. Every year she used to take the gardening cup for best yard and garden never bothers to thank her own nephew who did all the planting, weeding, and watering. This year she lost because Harry wasn't there to do all the work."
McGonagall inhaled deeply. "Are you sure you haven't seen Harry all summer? They haven't mentioned him?"
"Oh they mentioned him, said he skipped off, left them without a thank you for taking care of him. Called him an ungrateful, you get the idea." Mrs. Bellows said. "When Mrs. Figg asked about him, they told her he was fine and would be going back to St. Bartus or whatever the name is. It's a detention center for youths is all I know."
Snape closed his eyes for a second. He needed to know if Dumbledore was aware of the abuse. "Has anyone dressed weird been here over the years?"
"Yes, some old guy with a long, white beard with glasses who dresses in the worst dressing gowns. He came fairly often when Harry was younger but less as the over the years. When we commented on his outfit, next time he showed up in this awful bright neon red suit. He usually gets them to calm down for a while. He waves a stick in the backyard a lot during those times. Petunia can't stand him, calls him a meddlesome old man. Blames him for her nephew living with them. Calls him a freak, just like she did her nephew. I don't think that boy knew his real name until he went to school. I know we didn't."
"You know them well?" McGonagall asked.
"No, can't stand them. The walls, however, don't lie." Mrs. Bellows answered. "If I know her, they will be getting up in a few minutes. She will be taking the bin to the curb. If she sees you talking to me she will have a hissy fit."
"We will speak to her, thank you for the information." Snape told her. They watch the woman pick up her bin and head back into the house that was adjacent to the Dursley family. Snape looked at the row houses. He saw there was a garage between the two houses linking them and knew the yelling and the beatings had to be loud if the Bellows family could hear them.
"I am going to kill him. I warned him they were the worse sort of muggles but he didn't listen to me. Now to know he knew about this abuse. Severus, we have to find Harry and protect him from Albus."
"I agree." Snape knew Dumbledore had ignored his own abuse from his father but he didn't think he would have allowed his golden boy to be so abused. "Let's go and speak to Petunia."
"I want to do more than speaking to her." McGonagall voiced his own thoughts on the matter of her care of her nephew.
After an hour of fruitless answers they got nothing new. Petunia and Vernon Dursley just repeated they never wanted him and didn't know where he skipped off to, telling them the Freak was to never return and they wouldn't take him back. They went on about how ungrateful he was and now had to hire people to do the chores around the house. When they saw Dudley, Snape understood what Mrs. Bellows meant. As they were leaving, Snape looked at McGonagall. "I want the wards tested."
"I agree. Shall we?" At his nod of agreement, she cast some Notice-Me-Not-Charms on them.
Snape pulled out his wand and together they started to cast detection spells and while they were expecting to see Blood Wards, they were surprised by what they did find. Snape arched his brow as McGonagall started cursing in Gaelic. "Leam-leat." (Scottish Gaelic for Two-faced, double-crossing bastard) She glanced at the house. "Lan dhen cac mas, daonnan a 'smaoineachadh e eòlach as fheàrr. Ma gu bheil balach marbh mi a 'dol a dhèanamh dha pàigheadh daor." (translation arrogant ass, always thinks he knows best. If that boy is dead I am going to make him pay dearly). "How are we going to find him?" Snape let her vent for a several more minutes.
"I am not sure. If he was tossed out, he could be anywhere. Most likely living on the streets and England is a big place. He might have even tried to get to Scotland. If he was as beaten as the neighbor said, I do fear for the worst." Snape didn't want to think what they would mean for the light. He felt something he didn't think he would ever feel again, guilt. Guilt for assuming the boy was like his father despite seeing the difference with his own eyes. Guilt for believing the old man. He understood why the protection Vow he took was aching all the time. The boy was being abused. He acknowledged that he didn't know it was that Vow but it did explain a lot of things. "I know he isn't dead."
"How?" McGonagall asked.
"I took a Vow to protect him. I took it shortly after Lily's death."
"Protection Vows don't work like that. If you honestly did what you could to protect him, it won't affect you because you weren't even remotely close enough to help. If you were closer the Vow would have demanded you step in a long time ago." McGonagall sadly told him. "I can't understand why he did this. A submissive ward, an obedience ward, a magical damper ward, that would have stopped his magic from healing him and this one, a hate ward. A hate ward, Severus, why would someone add a hate ward?" She looked down at the complete list, some she understood as they were standard protection wards.
"I am not sure. We can't tell him we know. He will memory charm us if we do. We need to keep this part quiet at least until we find Mr. Potter. Get the goblins to discreetly verify the wards for us." Snape informed her.
McGonagall tilted her head in acceptance. "Let's get this over with." They headed back to Hogwarts.
Eight years later:
"Boss, there is some wizard here looking to speak to Harry Potter." A tall reddish-blond hair man said as he opened the office door. The man was one of the regular bartenders and sometimes he worked as a bouncer when need.
"Really? Harry Potter here? He does know what type of club this is?" A tall dark-haired man wondered why a wizard would be in his club. Granted he didn't say they couldn't come in but they usually stayed away since it was also a heavy muggle area. The man's hair was long and pulled back into a braid. He wore a black silk business suit with a crisp white shirt and Italian leather shoes.
"I don't think he realizes it as of yet. Do you want me to get rid of him?"
"Yes, I don't need to deal with their kind." The man watched his bartender leave and thought for a few seconds about a wizard being in his club. He sighed and went back to his books. He was taking care of the weekly payroll and bills. About five minutes later his office door was thrown opened and Severus Snape stormed into his office.
"I demand to see Harry Potter." Snape glared at the man sitting behind the desk. He looked at the forehead and didn't see the lightning bolt scar. He took in the rest of the man and dismissed him as being unimportant.
"You can demand whatever you like but as you can see there isn't a Harry Potter here. Get rid of him, Mike." He wanted to get this paperwork done sometime tonight.
Snape pulled out his wand. "I am here to collect Harry Potter and I won't be leaving without him."
The man sitting behind the desk laughed. "Yes, you will. Goodbye." The man tilted his head and before Snape could open his mouth a group of men were on him and dragged him out of the door. The man heard "we are open nightly from 1800 to 0600 if you wish to enjoy the pleasures of our club if you can come without making a scene." The man went back to his books. After thirty minutes, someone entered his office. "Go away, I am busy." He didn't even look up from the bookkeeping.
"I am aware, however, it's time, my Lord." The man was average in height with brown hair and eyes. His face looked weathered from years of being out in the sun.
"I am aware but doesn't mean I am going to let them dictate the terms. Get Marius and the others. There will be a meeting before we open tonight, Severus Snape will be back."
"It will be done, my Lord." The man left the office to do the task assigned to him.
The man rose from the desk. He wondered how Severus Snape arrived at his club. He knew it would happen as it was bound to happen but he was hoping for a few more peaceful years before dealing with any wizards. He saw the man's mind but didn't get a clear idea of what he was expecting or how he arrived at his club. He walked out of his office, heading toward his private rooms. He needed some time to think about some things and research something he didn't think could happen before he attending the meeting he just called.
Chapter 2: Clubbing Isn't What It Used To Be
"He's back." Mike had been working the door until he saw Severus Snape arrive. He quickly got his relief to cover for him while he went to tell his boss.
"Everyone is aware?" The dark-haired man was wearing a black silk suit but with a deep forest green shirt. His hair was in its usual braid down his back.
"Yes. He started immediately asking about Harry Potter."
"I am not surprised. Go back to work." The man dismissed Mike. He looked around his office, he sighed deeply.
"You knew this day would come." A voice said from the shadows.
He ignored the voice, getting up and heading to the door. He didn't turn around. "Watch the club. Make sure our people are safe. The Ministry shouldn't come here but if they do, you follow the plan." They had been preparing for this for a few years. Ever since the return of Voldemort and Dumbledore's insistence that Harry Potter had to be found.
"I will. Harry, you need to finish it. When I found you, I made you aware of the situation."
"I know, Father, I know."
"A word of caution. The old man will try to claim you for his side, be wary of what he has to offer."
"Father, you have taught me the truth of the wizard's views. Dumbledore ruined his chances with me years ago."
"Good." The voice remarked. Harry started to open the door. "We will always be here for you, my Lord."
"Thank you, Father." Harry stepped into the main room of the club. He had a potion master to find.
Harry watched from the shadows as Severus tried to avoid the groping hands of many of his patrons. He wondered if Severus figured out what type of club this was as of yet. The band was loud and the music was vibrating around everyone. Off on the north and south side of the building were alcoves where his kind sat and waited for the customers to come to them. They came in en masse each night, business was very good.
"If you wish to keep your hands, I would suggest you let go of me." He heard Severus say to a muggle who was trying to pull Severus onto the dance floor. While he knew only the creatures in the club heard him, Harry found it reassuring that the man hadn't changed in the years since he first encountered Severus Snape.
Harry slowly walked to where Severus was now seated. The man was glaring at those around him, almost daring them to come close. Harry wanted to laugh a bit as Severus hadn't realized that his glaring was alluring to his kind. They loved a challenge and Severus Snape was, indeed, a challenge. "Mr. Snape, I believe we need to speak."
"Unless you have information on Harry Potter, we have nothing to speak about. I don't believe in wasting my time, as it seems I am doing sitting here." Severus barked out.
"Come with me, Mr. Snape, if you wish to know about Mr. Potter. If not, you know where the door is." Harry turned on his heels and started toward the hidden door on the west wall, the one that led to his flat. He knew Severus was following him. He could hear the man, if he was human, he wouldn't have. Severus was very stealthy.
Harry left his door opened and when Severus entered. "Take a seat, I will make us some tea." They didn't speak until Harry put down the tea service and sat down opposite from Severus. "State your case."
"Excuse me?" Severus laid his teacup down on the dark oak table next to the black leather high back chair he was sitting on.
"I want you to tell me why I should speak to you and why you are here." Harry leaned back into the matching chair. He wondered briefly what Severus was going to say.
"Now why should I have to convince you to speak to me?"
"You came me, not I to you."
Severus didn't respond for a few minutes. "I am looking for Harry Potter to fix a grave injustice. I believe him to still be alive and we need him to aid us."
"You need an icon for your war?" Harry never understood why grown wizards expected a child to save them.
"I, personally, do not believe he should be used in that way. I know there are others who feel differently. However, that being said, we do need him."
"To fulfill some prophecy by some hack of a seer?" Harry watched the surprise filter across Severus' face. He had to admire the man's control over his emotions, rarely did one see in humans.
"If we are to continue this conversation, may I have your name?"
Harry thought for few seconds before responding. "Most believe my birth name was Harry James Potter, I am known as Nicolae Grigore II Ghica, I am the Lord of the-"
"Soutzos clan." Severus went to his knees. "My Lord, I didn't mean to insult you." He was trying to process the fact the head of his clan was actually Harry James Potter. He wanted to demand answers but it was drilled into him by his father that head of the clan was to be respected and obeyed. While they didn't live with the clan, they were still subject to their laws. He knew the club was one that catered to his kind, he just didn't know they were of his clan. He had broken so many taboos when he forced his way into the office.
"I wasn't aware you are one of mine." Harry inhaled. "You mask your scent and abilities."
"Yes, my Lord. I have been doing it for years. It's a potion. You know our kind is not welcomed among wizards." Severus was afraid he would be in trouble for this. He never asked permission to do it.
"Why are you here?" Harry resisted the urge to touch Severus. Clanmates enjoyed the touch and feel of their members. He watched Severus lean toward him a bit.
"To find you. Headmaster Dumbledore believes you are the answer to ending the wizard's war. I wanted to fix the injustice I did during your first year. We were lead to believe you were trained in the wizarding ways, that you were loved, had everything you needed and wanted. I was lead to believe you were a miniature version of your father." He wanted to move closer to his Lord. It had been so long since he had the touch from a clan member. He avoided clubs like this because he never wanted to be associated with them for fear of being outted.
"Explain your potion." Harry didn't like the idea of having to hide their nature but they had been doing it for a long time. If there was a potion that would mask them from the Ministry, he wanted to find out more about it.
"It's a potion I created. It will mask our scent and inhabits our base urges like the desire to touch clanmates. It will only work to a minor degree. Right now I feel the desire but it's not as strong as it would be if I wasn't on it. It allows me to have the ability similar to yours my Lord, masking, and control over the desire and need." Severus explained.
"May it be used by anyone? You seem to have escaped the Ministries notice."
"Yes, my Lord, anyone can use it." Severus knew he couldn't lie as the Lord, Harry would be able to sense him lying and he would be his rights to punish Severus for it. He suddenly realized that he got his Lord expelled from Hogwarts and the beating that caused his relatives to kick him out of the house.
"No, Mr. Snape I will not be taking revenge or issuing punishment for something in my first year when you didn't know the truth."
"My Lord?" The truth about the abuse? What truth? Severus was thinking.
"Do you think that the abuse was or is the only thing that Albus Dumbledore is hiding?" Harry, for some reason, still wanted to touch Severus. He would have to speak to his father about this, as usual, he could control the desire.
"I know he has plans for Harry Potter. I am not sure how he will react to you, my Lord." Severus answered.
"What plans?" Harry got up and moved closer to Severus. He stood in front of the kneeling man. He resisted the urge to touch him, to show him how much he wanted to touch him. At that thought, Harry froze. This was his mate.
"He wants you to defeat the Dark Lord. He believes in that prophecy. It was why your parents were in hiding." Severus wasn't sure how Harry became part of their clan. Only born Raxtus could become lords. He thought back in his history of their clan and couldn't think of anyone becoming a lord that was turned.
"I am not Harry Potter, I was given that name when the Potters adopted me. I was stolen from my parents during an outing." Harry gave into his urging and touched the top of Severus' head. Severus' hair felt like silk.
Severus didn't answer but instead let out a slight moan as Harry caressed his hair. He was still thinking of their history. Of the first Raxtus. He had read a book series that mentioned their kind. A wizard by the name of Brandon Mull wrote about them in a series called Fablehaven. In the series, Raxtus introduced himself as a fairy dragon. He was much smaller than average with gleaming silvery white scales. His "human" form was that of a foot-high male fairy with butterfly wings. He was raised by fairies, namely Shiara who currently resided at Fablehaven. He could turn invisible at will and was an excellent flier. Unlike most dragons, he was shy and has low self-esteem but quickly befriended Kendra, but only after she was alone. Kendra's touch transferred magical energy to Raxtus. He helped her build the fairy shrine at Wyrmroost. Raxtus helped things to grow and heal. While the series was a bit correct, he found Mull got their clan mixed up with a few others.
Raxtus were dragons but they weren't smaller than average. They were actually larger than average. They did have silvery white scales but they could also turn a bluish black to allow them to hide at night. Their human form was exactly that, human, all different sizes and coloring. They could use wings if they went to their hybrid form. The wings usually matched their human hair coloring. They could turn invisible at will and Harry showed they were excellent fliers. However, they are not shy or have low self-esteem. They were very intelligent, like himself and certainly his lord, but only social within their clan. Touches from humans transferred magical energy to all of their species, all humanoids had some energy, magical from the wizards, and energizing energy from the muggles. Raxtus did help things grown and their healing abilities were astounding. It would explain how Harry survived the muggles.
"Do you know how you got to be Harry Potter?" Severus finally asked.
"No, but I believe it's time for me to return to the wizarding world and you will aid me." Harry kept running his hand through Severus' hair, the man swaying a bit as he touched Severus.
"Yes, my Lord. I still live at Hogwarts during the school year."
Harry moved away from Severus and summoned two trunks to him. "It's time we headed to Hogwarts. I am sure Professor Dumbledore will be delighted to see me. I want you to keep using the potion. I don't want anyone to discover what we are."
"Yes, my Lord." Severus felt relieved. He could continue using his potion. Since he had the Lord's approval his inner Raxtus settled a bit. As he did, he glanced up at Harry. He realized with a shock why he was willing to have Harry touch him. Harry was his mate.
"Yes, you're my mate. We will deal with us being mates as the need arises which I believe will draw us closer as we will be working with each other."
"Yes, my Lord." His Raxtus was dancing with joy. He wasn't being rejected, but instead, his mate was willing to get to know him and allow them to work together.
"Harry." Getting used to answering that name was going to be difficult. He had spent years as his true self, now, however, hiding was over.
"Harry." Severus shifted a bit. "Will the rules of our culture apply?"
"No, we need to blend in. So no kneeling or whatever. As you can tell the club takes care of a lot of our clanmates needs. We will still have to be aware of our needs."
"I can have you stay in my quarters. I expect Dumbledore will want you trained as he believes you to be a naive wizard still." Severus watched Harry moving around his flat.
"Yes, I am sure. We will use that if we need to along with anything else you can think of. I don't think separation for us will be good for either of our natures. Look at the books, see if there is anything we might need. I have already taken most of my collection as you most likely can tell." Harry waved his hand toward the four massive bookcases that were against the far wall.
Severus stood up. He began to read the titles of the books and he was impressed. If these were what he was willing to leave behind, Severus wanted to read what he would be bringing. He pulled a few titles out as he wanted to read them. The ones without a title, he opened and read a bit before deciding. He could hear Harry moving around his flat, closing it up. After almost thirty minutes, a medium sized stack of books laid on the table.
"There is a bottomless pouch in my office. I will retrieve it and we can put those books in it." Harry eyed the stack of books. He wondered if Severus wanted to take all of the remaining books. "I also have more in my vaults and at my house. You may browse through them when we have time to visit."
"I will need to put in a request for another room, between us, I believe we will have our own library at Hogwarts." Severus thought about his own book at Spinner's End and Prince Manor. He believed they might have a better library than the fabled Black Library before Molly Weasley got her hands on that house and Hogwarts Library. What no one knew was that Kreacher had saved all of the books and put them into the Black vaults. "Harry, are you aware of the Lordships you now can claim as yours?"
Harry stopped sealing his bedroom door. "Lordships?"
"Yes, it's another reason Dumbledore is eager to find you. He lost control of your seats when it was discovered you were missing. After a trial, in which he had to defend his choice of placing you at your relatives, he lost all your seats. It allowed Lucius Malfoy to become Chief Warlock. The Dark Lord is also eager to speak to you." Severus wasn't sure who he wanted Harry to align himself with. While they were dark creatures, the Dark Lord still had ideas he didn't agree with.
"I believe Severus we have a lot to speak about." Harry finishing warding his bedroom door. After he was finished, he summoned the pouch and put the books in it. "Shall we go and play with the wizards?" Severus grinned as they started to leave Harry's flat. He wondered what Dumbledore would make of his mate, his Lord, his perfect match in every way. Dumbledore was in for a surprise.
Chapter 3: Hogwarts
Harry walked next to Severus since it was September there were students outside, most wondering who was with their Potion Professor. "Most of the staff is the same with two exceptions, Ms. Granger is under an apprenticeship with Minerva and Mr. Weasley is under one with Madam Hooch. I should warn you Mr. Weasley holds you responsible for his sister's death." They had spent most of the night with Severus explaining how they discovered the truth about Harry's life with the Dursley family and his search for Harry.
Harry touched Severus' arm. "I think you need to explain that." They slowed down their walking so that Severus could explain.
"During what would have been your second year, Ms. Weasley started writing in a possessed diary that belonged to the Dark Lord. He came back but it cost Ms. Weasley her life. Mr. Weasley believes that if you didn't run away, it wouldn't have happened."
"Does he now?" Harry glanced to the school. "I believe this is going to be a very interesting meeting." He resumed his normal pace toward the mammoth doors that granted you entrance to Hogwarts.
Severus had a feeling Harry knew more than Severus thought he did. He knew the members of the Order were going to be surprised by Harry, not that they were going to inform them he was Harry, as of yet. At the gargoyle, they could hear the noise from the various Order member, especially Molly Weasley's. "Do you think he knows where Harry is? He needs to find him. Harry needs to do his duty. Running away like that, he should have known better."
"He didn't run away. I have been telling you for years. He was kicked out of their house and was barely alive according to the neighbor." Minerva tried to inject. "I have no idea why you are so persistent in that running away theory."
"He ran away, like a coward." Ron's voice filled with venom. "Why else hasn't he returned?"
"He is not responsible for your sister's death." Remus said. "She should have let someone know she had that diary. Why should he have returned? He was shipped back to his abusers after nearly being killed by a possessed professor. Really Ron, think about it."
"If he was here, he would have stopped it."
"How do you know that? You can't. You need to finally accept that Ginny's death was a tragic accident staged by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named." Tonks' voice was heard saying over the rest of the Order tossing out different theories and ideas of what might have happened to Harry and how he wasn't responsible.
Harry looked at Severus who pinched the bridge of his nose. Severus gave the password and they rose the stairs, listening to the various members spout out their ideas, including Ron's. "We don't need him. He ran once and will again."
Everyone stopped talking as Dumbledore stood up, finally seeing Harry and Severus standing behind everyone. "I do hope we aren't interrupting anything." Harry's voice caused everyone to turn and look at them. He was dressed in his another black pinstripe Italian suit with a charcoal grey silk shirt, opened at the neck with his Italian leather shoes. His hair was braided down the middle. He was taller than Severus and imposed a figure that said you don't want to mess with me.
"I do apologize, my boy, I didn't see you there." Dumbledore waved his hand indicating for them to come forward.
"Please refrain from referring to me as your boy." Harry moved into the room while he wasn't rude the slight intake of breaths around the room showed they were surprised someone would correct their dear Headmaster. Severus stayed beside Harry.
"Is this the young man you said could help us?" Molly Weasley brought forth her motherly persona. They really needed to find Harry Potter before any more of her children were killed.
"Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and the rest of the Order of Phoenix, meet Lord Nicolae Grigore II Ghica, Lord of the Soutzos Clan." Severus watched most of them stiffen up and get fearful. He knew most thought Harry was a vampire and he wasn't going to correct them. The world didn't know exactly how large or what clans were involved with the Raxtus race and they kept it that way. If people thought they were vampires then that was fine with them.
"Nice to meet you Nicolae." Dumbledore held out his hand. His eyes were twinkling. If anyone could find Harry Potter it was someone with creature blood, ignoring the fact he had his own pet werewolf.
"Lord Ghica." Harry corrected Dumbledore. He wasn't going to let the man dictate the terms in which they would deal with and familiarity was one of the ones he wasn't going to allow to happen, just yet.
"Yes, I do apologize, Lord Ghica." Dumbledore extended his hand again and this time it was taken. "Please take a seat, we were discussing finding one of my missing students."
"I heard." Harry's tone indicating he wasn't impressed with what he heard. If his people acted as these wizards did, they would find themselves in a lot of trouble. Harry summoned two black leather high back chairs for them to sit in. Severus took his seat next to him.
"Lord Ghica agreed to meet with you regarding your search for Harry Potter. I already informed him about what we learned about Harry's home life. How we discovered it and how you were sure that Harry was still alive even if I couldn't produce any evidence." Severus had felt so much guilt about Harry's years before Hogwarts. The Vow he felt he had broken.
"He is alive." Dumbledore stated.
"How do you know this?" Harry wondered if the man had something linking some device to his blood. He ignored the werewolf trying to understand what he was smelling.
"A few different ways." Dumbledore gave him a slight smile.
"Mr. Dumbledore, if you wish my aid, don't try the sneaky and secretive route. I will eventually find out and if it is something that interferes with my aid, I won't be happy." He knew Dumbledore was manipulative but he wasn't sure if the man understood truly that lying to an ally wasn't a good idea.
"Now see here, you can't speak to the Headmaster like that." Molly Weasley was loud and annoying.
"He deserves your respected young man." Minerva told him.
"Respect is earned not given and he hasn't earned it nor does he deserve it. This Order is a sad excuse for an organization. I heard you speaking down at his guard with a password of muggle candy which based on the candies on his desk anyone would figure out the password. You were loud enough that anyone standing down there could figure out what was going on. You are holding a secret vigilante meeting in a school full of children. You have no idea what is going on and he is keeping you that way. If you want my aid, you will sit down, shut up, and let the adults speak."
"How dare you! Do you know who you are speaking to? The Headmaster is the greatest wizard alive." Granger was sounding more and more like Molly Weasley as her voice reached the higher pitches in her little rant.
"Severus, you honestly expect me to aid this disorganized group?" Harry turned to Severus. He knew Severus was willing to walk away from the Wizarding World if he asked him to. Their kind didn't care if the humans' killed themselves, granted they weren't going to go out and slaughter them and the humans did have their uses.
"I believe we got off on the wrong foot." Dumbledore stated before Severus could respond. "I know Harry is alive because his seats are still empty and no new heir or Lord has been called."
Harry noticed the quick glance to the trio of silver gadgets but only one was puffing out smoke, the other two were still. Three gadgets, two now useless, which means Dumbledore knew about the abuse and the wards at the Dursley residence. "That truly means nothing. If no one has claimed them or if magic hasn't selected a new heir, they would stay dormant as evidenced by the vast number of unclaimed seats in your Wizengamot. Now the truth of the matter."
The rest of the Order didn't like how this was sounding. This wasn't what Dumbledore had been telling him. Some were still wary of fully believing in him after what happened a few years ago. "I have a gadget that lets me know that Harry is alive." Seeing Harry's glare Dumbledore knew he would be pushed for more information which would lower his esteem in the eyes of his followers. "I originally had three. Two have stopped working as the wards crashed at his relatives' house and the trackers I placed on him have yet to yield his whereabouts." He didn't like admitting his failure to anyone but it was already well-known. "I believe Harry must be behind some powerful wards since I haven't been able to track him."
Harry looked around the room, eyeing each one individual. Some squirm under his gaze until he turned his attention back to the Headmaster. "How many have been looking for Mr. Potter?" Harry already knew the answer as his people had been watching the Order for a few years.
"We have a few members, however, due to our current situation with Voldemort, we haven't been devoted to the search as much as we should." Dumbledore explained, "Severus has been sent out to a few places that we hoped would lead us to him." He wondered if he could get an alliance with the vampires. After they got rid of Voldemort, he would make sure to add them to the dark creature registry and have Severus create a potion to help control vampires as the Wolfsbane potion did.
"I have no desire to align with you or your organization at this time. I want every bit of evidence or piece of information you have on Harry Potter after that I will decide on what to do in regards to Mr. Potter."
"I'm afraid I can't do that. You can speak to his best friends from when he was here, Ms. Granger and Mr. Weasley were his friends." Dumbledore stated.
"Then I will be leaving, good day." Harry rose, bowed, and turned on his heel as he approached the door he heard, "so you are going to run too."
"Mr. Weasley, I would recommend you realize rather quickly that I am not involved in your war. Mr. Dumbledore created this war, have him fix it." Harry exited the office.
He didn't get very far before he heard, "what did he mean by that Albus?" He headed down the stairs and found a bench outside. He waited for Severus to join him. He thought it went better than he could have hoped for. He would have to drop off some interesting information at the Daily Prophet before they headed to Severus' quarters for the night. He wondered how Voldemort was going to react. Voldemort's people were a bit more organized but they were also crazy. Yes, it was time to let the dark creatures out to play for a change if Voldemort wasn't willing to negotiate.
Severus appeared next to him. "I was expecting you to be a bit longer." Harry could see annoyance in his mate's eyes.
"He wants to speak to you again. It will be just us, Minerva, Lupin, Kingsley and believe it or not, Black." Severus still hate Black and Lupin but agreed to be civil to them as long as they were civil to him.
"Really? Interesting. I was wondering where the man was."
"He arrived shortly after you left, he was searching Surrey." Severus couldn't keep the loathing of the man out of his voice. He had already explained how Sirius got released. Dumbledore had arranged a trial for the mutt finally. Dumbledore wanted to use Black to get the seats back and see if they could use Black to track Harry using a parenting bond tracker since Black had blood adopted Harry as a baby.
"What was their general attitude?"
"Most were wondering what you meant, some were thinking about what you said. They fought among themselves for a bit. Mostly about your attitude and how useful you could be. Lupin ended the discussion when someone said all vampires should be staked, he informed them that you were something far more powerful than a vampire, he didn't know what you were but that you were powerful. Mad-Eye added his two cents in by saying that you weren't showing up as a dark creature. How did you pull that one?"
"I will show you after we get to your quarters." They headed back into Hogwarts. Severus had to admire his Lord, the man played Dumbledore. He was wondering how long it would take Dumbledore to connect Harry Potter to his Lord?
Severus guided Harry to his quarters. After Harry tossed up some wards, he took a seat on the couch. Severus headed to the kitchenette and began to make some tea for them. "I am not sure how you want me to act in private." Severus was standing in the doorway.
"I would like for you to act as if we are in the same clan and mates. I don't expect you to jump into bed with me, Severus, but I would like to work on starting our relationship. We will go slow and we also have a lot of work to do."
Severus didn't realize he was so tense until Harry spoke those words and Severus relaxed hearing them. Nothing was said as Severus fixed tea and served it. Severus immediately went to his knees, next to Harry and almost purred in contentment when Harry caressed his hair. "How long do you think it will take for him to connect me to Harry Potter?"
Severus wondered if his mate had read his mind. "I am not sure. I do know we will have a few issues when it becomes known. A lot of the Order members are expecting Harry Potter to just jump at the chance to defeat the Dark Lord and do whatever they suggest. Moody and Shacklebolt have mentioned numerous times about training you."
"I agree. The biggest issue is that they have no idea how to fight a war. The Dark Lord's people are trained fighters while Dumbledore seems happy to use children. We have been watching, and to be honest, I am trying to figure out why the Order believes in just either disarming or stunning the Death Eaters. The Dark Lord frees anyone they put in Azkaban as well as any other prisoner giving him more people while the Death Eaters aim to kill Order members." Harry sighed. "Either side we select, we will have to get rid of them eventually, both want to restrict dark creatures and if they had their way they would destroy us."
Severus recognized the truth of that statement. Both sides wanted to be viewed as the correct side but neither side cared for dark creatures. While the Dark Lord was willing to bend a lot more than Dumbledore was, the man still believed pure-bloods were superior, the hypocrite. "What do you desire?"
"I believe that we are going to work them against each other. Let them each think we are working with them. I will need some of that potion you have created. We are going to start getting all of the dark creatures into places where it can benefit us. There are a lot of clan members and other dark creatures that can work in the Ministry and other places that can aid us as they are able to hide their status a bit better. There are a lot already at the Ministry but the potion will allow them to work with less stress."
"It is actually an easy potion to make, it only takes a few hours." Severus had been surprised at how easy and quick the potion was to make. "I also know of a few others who are only on Dumbledore's side because they don't want to be with the Dark Lord and a lot of neutrals would join. They don't mind creatures. They recognize that wizards and witches originally came from creatures." He also knew a lot who were opened minded and wanted a government free of corruption, wanted their holidays back and wanted to be able to use magic as magic, not worry about light versus dark.
"Let's see how soon Dumbledore makes his appearance tonight. I expect him to be soothing the ruffled feathers of his chickens before he comes down here to chat with me." Harry ran a finger down Severus' neck, seeing the man shiver with desire. For all the reports he had read over the years, he knew Severus would be the best one for anything regarding Albus Dumbledore.
Severus had already explained who was in the Order and their personalities. He knew he would now have to explain why the Order was divided. "The Order wasn't so divided during the last war, everyone just obeyed Albus, no questions asked, he kept his plans close. The Order lost a lot of good people, many felt that if Albus wasn't so secretive a lot more lives would have been saved. When Minerva and I learned the truth about your home life, and how he knew about it, it changed a lot of views. The Ministry, the wizarding world, in general, wanted answers. They wanted to know how he could have allowed it to happen. Granted Minerva and I have kept hidden the fact about the wards and other things waiting for the right time to release the information. We haven't because we know the Dark Lord would attack Hogwarts if Albus wasn't around. While many believe it's because he is afraid of the Dark Lord, it's really just because he doesn't want to turn the man into a martyr."
"Who knew about it?" Harry asked. Last night they really didn't get too far into his past. He always believed that Dumbledore knew, especially after he asked not to go back to the Dursley's house and was denied.
"The youngest Weasleys with Molly, Granger, and Albus. I will say Granger and the two youngest Weasley members didn't understand exactly what was going on, they were following his orders about making sure you want to be in Gryffindor and guide you on the event. Now they aren't so innocent and follow everything that man says. Minerva was very vocal in her displeasure. I don't think I ever heard the woman yell until then."
"I figured there was something going on when I was lead to believe Slytherins were all dark and evil while Gryffindor was light and good especially after I left the Dursleys. There was too much that just seemed to be a setup. I would like to find out the truth about how the Potters adopted me."
"You might never find that out. I believe Albus knows but I don't think he will admit to it. He might have even removed the memory to protect himself." Severus knew the man had vials of memories stored. He knew some were about Tom Riddle, the Dark Lord, but he also knew Albus hide a lot of his sins in some vials, the key was to find those vials.
"He knows. There was no way that the Potters could have done it without his help. I do wonder what happened to the real Harry Potter." Harry stated.
Severus thought for a few minutes. "You know, I don't think Lily was really pregnant. Granted I didn't see her a lot as they were hiding but when I think about how Alice Longbottom at nine months versus Lily there was a huge difference. I don't mean in just weight, I mean in how comfortable they were, how they moved, little things."
"Interesting theory and I can see how he would have wanted a dark creature to face off against the Dark Lord versus one of his light sided minions. I, however, don't think he realized that Lily Potter was a squib descendant of Salazar Slytherin and so was James, through the Peverell line."
Neither spoke as they were lost in their thoughts about what happened that night until they heard a knock at Severus' door. "It's him."
"Let round two start." Harry grinned at Severus as Severus rose and straightened his robes.
Dumbledore, using his grandfather act, followed Severus into the sitting room. "Lord Ghica, I do apologize for earlier."
Harry tilted his head. "Unless you are willing to provide me with all of your information, there is truly nothing I can do."
"I am willing to share information with you. Tomorrow, I would like for you to meet with some select members of my Order, hopefully, we can answer your questions. Most of the information I can provide for you is really only in a verbal format, nothing is written down. I can show you the ward reports, the Inquiry transcripts, and the information we have since he has disappeared. There really isn't much information from before Harry started at Hogwarts as I am sure you are aware most of those books about him were fictional." Dumbledore explained.
Severus wondered what game Dumbledore was playing now. He knew Dumbledore had very little information on what happened to Harry. He also knew that Dumbledore had to have information from before Harry went to Hogwarts, Minerva mentioned a squib neighbor, Mrs. Figg, that she had spoken to a few days after their visit to Surrey.
"Mr. Dumbledore, I really do not care to be lied to. I am aware you have a variety of reports by a Mrs. Figg, it was mentioned in your Wizengamot testimony. I am also aware that Mr. Potter wasn't originally Mr. Potter. How about you skip over the song and dance routine and give me the truth?" Harry wanted to see what the man was going to do now. He couldn't prove anything but that really didn't matter right now.
Severus held back his shock. He wasn't expecting Harry to go for the jugular and from his face, neither was Dumbledore. "It's not that simple, many things were done for the greater good."
"Mr. Dumbledore, please stop. I know exactly who introduced you to that saying and what that person means to you. Do you really wish to continue?" Harry arched his brow.
Severus watched Dumbledore closely. Dumbledore was being painted into a corner which wasn't something that he had seen happen to Dumbledore before and he wanted to see what Dumbledore would try next. Severus had never seen anyone get the best of Dumbledore in any format, not even the Dark Lord.
"I see." Dumbledore finally stated. "If you know, why ask me?"
"Think of it as a test of your honesty. After all, you haven't done much in the way of convincing me you're trustworthy."
While Severus was on edge, he noticed that Harry looked calm and collected as if his bluff wasn't a true bluff. Severus knew he hadn't changed his position and could see Dumbledore wondering if he knew the truth of the situation.
"I will need a Vow." Dumbledore finally said, it sounded like he was grinding his teeth, his jaw was so tight.
"Fine, a Vow."
Chapter 5: Vow, Truth
Harry looked closely at Dumbledore as he gave him a feral grin. "It will be a simple Vow. You will provide me with the complete truth, nothing hidden, and I will find you the real Harry Potter."
Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, he could see Severus was watching him closely and knew if he lied he would lose them but if he gave the complete and honest truth he would lose them. The Vow, if he broke it, would mean he would lose his magic. "If I provide the full truth will you still aid in the recovery of Harry Potter?" He wasn't worried about Severus telling anyone, he controlled Severus.
"If you do, yes." Harry saw Severus raise an eyebrow at the man's lack of understanding when Harry said the real Harry. There wasn't a real Harry, yes he was Harry Potter because of a blood adoption so magic recognized him as Harry Potter. However, he wasn't the original Harry Potter so magic wouldn't recognize him as the real one because he honestly wasn't. Harry was a creature and has a creature, he would never be considered the real Harry Potter by the Ministry and magic wouldn't view him as the real Harry as he wasn't born to the Potters. It made a nice loophole. Also, he wouldn't be using the name Harry Potter, another loophole, as he hadn't acknowledged his wizarding name, in setting the rules of the Vow nor would he be using it.
"I, Lord Nicolae Grigore II Ghica, Lord of the Soutzos Clan, promise to listen to the complete truth told by Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore to aid magic in this war, to aid in the location of the real Harry Potter, to provide support for magic in this upcoming war."
"I, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, promise to provide the complete truth to Lord Nicolae Grigore II Ghica, Lord of the Soutzos Clan, to accept his aid in this war, to provide any information in locating the real Harry Potter, and to accept his-"
"For magic." Harry warned.
"the support for magic in this upcoming war. So mote it be."
"So mote it be." Severus and Harry sealed the deal. Harry waved his hand and tea appeared on the table in front of them.
"Severus, please." Harry tilted his head at the tea tray. "No milk, one sugar."
Severus poured tea but they were watching Dumbledore discretely. The man was uncomfortable and not looking forward to the upcoming discussion. "Do start at the beginning." Harry took a sip of his tea.
"It started with a prophecy."
"Wrong." Harry warned.
Dumbledore looked at Harry. "What do you know?"
"More than you think I do. Including this started longer than you are willing to admit to." Harry responded. Severus didn't move but Harry could see he was interested in learning the truth. He signaled Severus.
Severus, felt something, he felt it again and recognized it, it was Harry telling him that he didn't know the truth, he just knew Dumbledore. Severus relaxed a bit, feeling secure that Harry hadn't hidden anything from him regarding Dumbledore.
"It started when I meet a boy at an orphanage."
"I don't think that is important." Dumbledore looked like he didn't want to go further back.
"All information, it's part of the Vow." Severus wanted to grin, Harry backed the man into a nice tight little box and there wasn't any way of Dumbledore escaping.
"It started with my affair with Gellert Grindelwald. We meet when I was eighteen, he was sixteen. We made a lot of plans, it's where we came up with the slogan for the greater good. We only wanted the best for the Wizarding World. It's because of our relationship I didn't kill him in our duel."
"You missed a few things in that little summary." Harry told him.
"It's not vital information. We broke off after close to a year, I didn't like his ideas. When war broke out on the muggle side we were already distant, no one in our world cared so we did nothing. I didn't know that he was experimenting on muggles. When he started to take magical children, the Ministry got involved. I arranged to meet him and we dueled, I disarmed him and sealed him in his own fortress."
Severus waited to see if Harry would interrupt again but Harry must have sensed it was the truth. He watched Dumbledore, the man was relieved not to have to continue with that explanation. Severus had a feeling they would be looking into everything they learned tonight.
Dumbledore inhaled deeply. "I became the Deputy Headmaster, one of my duties was to visit students. I went one day to visit a new student at Wool's Orphanage. He was Tom Marvolo Riddle. I spoke to the Caretaker at the time. She informed me of a lot of evil things the child did. When I spoke to him, I agreed with her."
"No, you had already made your choice. You took the word of a religious woman and instead of processing the fact that children in that time period were fighting for their lives daily, fighting among themselves to get a better home, and the fact that his accidental magic would have made that child a target for bullying. You ignored all of that and settled on him as your way to defeat your former lover. Mr. Dumbledore, if I have to warn you again, about half-truths and misdirection, I will call for the Vow to be judged."
"How?" Dumbledore looked at Severus but saw Severus was as stumped as he was just as surprised as he was.
"As I stated, this was a test of your honesty and you are failing miserably." Harry replied. "Now, let's try this again."
Dumbledore inhaled deeply. He wasn't expecting this. He had lied to himself for so many years but he couldn't any longer. "Yes, I did. I didn't want to face Gellert. I knew the situation at the orphanage and when Tom asked to be not returned, I informed Headmaster Dippet that it wasn't the case. Tom went back to the orphanage. I should say I did force the Sorting Hat to place him in Slytherin, he was to be a Ravenclaw. Severus too."
"What?" Severus asked. "You put me in Slytherin, what for?"
"He will get to that in a bit, Severus." Harry gave a warning sound that only Severus would be able to hear. He wasn't going to allow Dumbledore to leave without everything being revealed.
Severus sat back and using his Occlumency, regained control over his emotions. He knew Harry would get to the bottom of everything. He also knew Harry was going to make the man pay but they were learning a lot of information. Information was very important. "Back to Tom."
"Yes, I had him put in Slytherin as I believed him to be a Muggle-born. I knew it would give him a rougher time but I needed someone who would be willing to kill Gellert. This was, of course, my way of enabling Tom to do so. I, however, miscalculated. I gave Horace Slughorn a book, it was a book on soul magic. The book contained a ritual on making a Horcrux. I added a compulsion element to the book."
"You gave an abused, powerful, smart, and resource child a book on magic that splits the soul causing a descent into madness as the first time it splits the soul in half and does so each time a new one is made."
"It doesn't do that." Dumbledore defended.
"Yes, it does. What do you know of Horcruxes? Exactly." Harry knew Severus caught the descent into madness and put it together with what was wrong with the Dark Lord.
"The book stated that it allowed a person's soul to stay bound to the earth. Tom's greatest fear is death because of the Blitz attacks during the war." Dumbledore stated.
"You do realize the reason why Harpo the Foul was called the Foul? It wasn't because of his smell. It was because when he created the first one, his madness deepened, allowing him to feel free of killing anyone." Harry stated. "However, you knew that you used more than one book on your research but you felt it was for the greater good. You created this new Dark Lord."
"Gellert was considered the greatest Dark Lord ever at the time, he needed to be taken out." He tried to defend himself but it was only half-hearted. He was hearing the truth, no matter how uncomfortable it was.
"You created a more powerful one by doing that." Again, more truth, causing Dumbledore to shift in his chair, his tea long forgotten.
Dumbledore knew in his quest to keep control he had caused more damage at times but he truly believed he did more good than evil. All the people he had helped versus the few he didn't or couldn't. "Yes, I did, and I am eternally sorry for that." He had tried to fix thing things in regards to Tom but he had made things worse instead. He considered Tom his biggest failure.
"But you didn't learn your lesson regarding returning abused children to their abusers."
"Yes, now, after how many children? How many children have paid the price for you failing to protect them? How many have you caused untold harm?"
"Too many." Dumbledore looked down. He was being called on the carpet and it was a righteous rebuking he was receiving. He had covered up so many of his own sins in trying to do follow through with his greater good ideas.
"Tom applied for the DADA position, I knew what I had done and felt it wouldn't be good to have him in the school so I turned him down knowing that Headmaster Dippet had already promised him the job. He stood for what I was against and I didn't want him to share his beliefs here. I believed he had already gathered a few followers. Later, I learned they were more political than violent but it was too late."
"You turned him away from a position that would have allowed you to monitor him, somewhat. It would have allowed you to control what was being taught as you have since you became Headmaster." Harry stated. "Now tell me the rest of the truth."
"He made a Horcrux when he was here, a student died. That blame is on me. I knew it was an accident. The death I mean. He didn't mean to do it. He was leaving the Chamber."
"You knew where the Chamber was all this time and you allowed Ginny Weasley to die?" Severus couldn't believe this man. He knew and for a whole school year ignored it. He should have realized that fact when they had to go and rescue the girl but he honestly thought it had been Granger who figured it out.
"Yes, I did. I was hoping we would have had Harry back and Ginny's death is also my fault. I have never forgiven myself for it."
"Yet you keep allowing Mr. Weasley to persist in his vendetta against Harry Potter." Harry stated.
"I have tried to change his mind but he refuses to see reason."
"He doesn't know the truth." Severus spat out.
"Continue." Harry commanded.
"Myrtle died because of the basilisk. It had followed Tom up to the bathroom. Tom was so sorry about it. I ended up memory charming him. When he returned to apply for the DADA position, I declined him it for fear of him learning the truth, also."
"You are forgetting the real reason why you declined him the position."
Dumbledore now looked scared. He never wanted to admit this to anyone and never had. After several minutes of silence, he finally admitted what he had been trying to deny. "I believed that if Tom defeated Gellert while he was a student I could claim the victory as his mentor. After he left, I couldn't, so he was useless to my plans and I hoped he would go off on another tour. I could have used being the one to get him from the orphanage and being his professor to help launch my political career. When I went after Gellert after Tom left, I found I liked the prestige it gave me. People were now asking my advice, seeking my counsel, I became the Headmaster and it grew. When Tom rose to power, I needed to be prepared. I knew he would rise to power. I just pushed him into it, again, without meaning too."
"You set me up to take the dark mark." Severus gasped.
"Yes, I needed someone to spy on him. I selected you. You had the same background in a lot of ways. Half-blood, abused, smart, and since I put you in Slytherin, like him, I felt it connected you more. When I allowed you to hear the prophecy, I knew my plan had worked, I would be able to take out another Dark Lord and keep my power."
"You missed a few things." Harry stated.
"I will get to them. Part of my plan involved Sybill. I knew she was a hack, I feed her the prophecy, then used a memory charm on her. After all, Seers shouldn't remember their prophecies. I kept her here because anyone who is skilled with Occlumency would be able to find the memory charm and see it was faked."
"You set up Lily."
"No, they knew. They were aware of it and knew it was a trap. They helped set it up and very aware that Pettigrew was the spy. They arranged for him to be their secret keeper. They arranged for Remus and Sirius to be unaware of what was truly happening. James and Lily are still alive and in Brazil. It was all part of my plan to kill Voldemort."
"WHAT!" Severus was furious but a look from Harry, he reined his hexing Dumbledore and letting the man feel his full fury.
"After everything fell apart, they knew they were in real danger. We created golems to tell everyone they were dead. They can't return, it was part of our deal to cover up everything. They have some children now but they gave up the name of Potter and all rights to it. It's one of the reasons I need to find Harry, he has complete control over the Black and Potter vaults."
Severus noticed Dumbledore had broken out in a sweat. The man wasn't happy in telling all of his secrets. "Harry Potter isn't really a Potter. Lily pretended to be pregnant. We found a group of dark creatures, Mad-Eye found their house, James reported it to the Ministry. He lied about how he found out, what the dark creatures were doing. Mad-Eye wasn't happy afterward when he learned the truth, I had to memory charm him. We went in, killed all the adults, I, covered by James, removed a child, we killed the rest of the children after that. James and Lily than blood adopted the child, we wanted a dark creature to be used as the prophecy child. We didn't expect the curse to rebound. I tried to figure out afterward why but never have been able to. I do know the child is a Horcrux. We need to find him to be able to get him to walk to his death so that Voldemort will kill him, no one else can kill him."
"Why? Anyone can kill Harry and the Horcrux will be gone."
"Part of it is based on the fake prophecy I know but Voldemort made the prophecy real when he marked Harry. Thus Harry needs to fulfill it."
"The other reason."
Dumbledore inhaled. "If you know all this, why are you making me tell you?"
"Accountability and honesty." Harry replied, very calmly.
"We need to get control back over the seats. Only Harry can do that."
"So who gets these seats when he dies?" Harry was watching the old man closely.
"When Harry was thrown out of his relatives' house we tried to hide it for a while but it got out. Part of the reason was of the basilisk being let loose. Ron Weasley believes it is all Harry's fault. We have tried to change his mindset but he is very bitter."
"He is also marked." Harry commented.
"No he isn't. The dark mark ward would tell me that."
"He is marked. So are a few in all of your houses, the mark has been changed, he has found a way to cover it."
"Yes, but I wouldn't let on that you know. Mr. Weasley is very bitter and we can use that. I also believe it's why Severus is still alive as I believe in the meetings Severus provides the information he is to pass on to you but not all he truly learned."
"That is correct. I felt it would be better to maintain his cover that way. That if he ever caught anyone, he would see those memories."
"Interesting strategy." Severus looked at Harry, he had a feeling Harry was holding back something. He knew Harry would tell him. Harry was waiting for Dumbledore to continue.
"We have been losing in the Wizengamot. The Ministry is under the dark's control. I am barely hanging onto Hogwarts and need to get back in control. We can't allow the dark to win."
"Your aim is for me to find Harry Potter so that he will walk to his death, provide you with a way to get control and keep it. While you keep the creatures oppressed, including making tougher laws." Harry stated.
"Yes, it needs to be done. Dark creatures are dangerous." Dumbledore told him. "I am sure, however, we can make a deal. Keep your kind off the list."
Harry didn't respond to the blatant lie, it wasn't worth it. "Mr. Dumbledore, I won't be meeting with your people tomorrow night. I will take over a teaching position here. I will work with you but if you lie to me again, ever, the deal is off."
"We need a DADA professor. The one we have now isn't really qualified to teach. Can you start on Monday?"
"I can, I will remain here with Severus. We need another room."
"Of course, I can have it finished tonight. The elves will add anything you need. Severus?"
"It's fine." Severus rose from his favorite chair. He was going to escort the now standing Dumbledore out of his quarters. If he didn't kill or curse him first. He couldn't believe what he had learned. Severus quickly returned to his place kneeling on the floor, he leaned close to Harry. "How did you know all that?" They hadn't covered any of that information and he was sure if Harry knew it, he would have.
"I didn't. I didn't know most of it. His heart and blood pressure told me he was lying, even to himself. The rest I just deducted from what he had already said and what we already discussed." Harry ran his hand through Severus' hair. Comforting each of them. "I wonder if he will ever understand how wrong he was in making that Vow.
"Is there really a new dark mark?" Severus hadn't heard anything about a new mark. He wasn't even sure if there was a way to cover it up.
"No, but it will be interesting to watch his reaction. Also, it will create some doubt in his Order, more than there already is. I want him to doubt anything he hears from Mr. Weasley and some of the other students. We know he won't make any student reveal their arms as he hasn't done it before. We need to find out information on Horcruxes. They are very dark soul magic but I am wondering if there might be a way to fix Tom."
"It would be an easier way to fix the man versus a war. His original ideas were great, I am not sure why he left them behind."
"I do believe it will be an interesting meeting with him." Harry felt Severus pleasure at being touched. "Can you adapt the potion to allow you to be able to hear a heartbeat and blood pressure?"
"I can work around a bit, might need a few tries to get it correct. It shouldn't be too difficult."
"I packed my potion books in my stuff, look through them and see if you can adapt any of them to our needs. While I can brew, I am not a potion master." Harry was never going to be a potion master, he knew his limits. While he could brew from a recipe, he would never create one or modify one.
"I will. My Lord, is there anything else I need to work on?"
"Call me Nicolae, if you wish, in private. Let's keep the formalities to where they belong. No, not at present. It is going to be an interesting meeting with the Dark Lord, I was thinking Saturday, today is Wednesday, that gives us two days to observe here, set things up and research."
"True. He is going to try and get you to meet with everyone in the Order before you start on Monday." Severus leaned into Harry's leg more, wrapped a hand around his leg.
"I am aware, I am expecting to be called to his office, before Monday. I want to visit Gringotts tomorrow, after your last class." Harry ran a finger down Severus' neck, and around the collar of his robes. He grinned at the response.
"He is going to be surprised when he finds those seats assigned."
Severus smirked, he couldn't wait to watch the light and dark fight each other while the creatures moved in.
Chapter 6: Idiots
Thursday and Friday were spent with Harry trying to avoid Dumbledore tossing Order members at him. Dumbledore pushed Black and Lupin who Dumbledore seemed to believe that since Lupin was a werewolf they could relate to each other. Black, Harry wasn't sure why the man was being tossed in his direction but wondered if Lupin and Black were a couple.
On Thursday night when they were, again, sitting in the Headmaster's office listening to the Order's reports. Dumbledore sighed when the Aurors had no news. "Sirius?"
Black sat up straighter and started his report. "I went back to Surrey, I was able to get the cousin alone. He doesn't know anything. Hasn't heard or seen Harry since that summer."
"Thank you, Sirius. Severus?" Dumbledore wasn't even sure why Black kept returning to Surrey. Surrey was a dead end.
"I haven't been summoned. I believe I might be this coming weekend. He usual wants potions every few weeks."
"Why do we keep Snivellius around?" Black nudged Ron. Ron smirked.
Harry waited to see if Dumbledore was going to handle the situation. Severus ignored Black. "I have been speaking to a variety of his followers, no one has turned up any information. He is planning a new recruitment session for the Yule holidays, I was told. I am not certain how true that information is as it is just a rumor."
"Snivellius probably gave his Master their names." Ron didn't even try to hide his contempt of Severus. "All those snakes will be marked by Yule."
"Once a snake, always a snake." Black replied. "All of them are evil. "
"Only good snake is a dead snake." Ron retorted. Several members were shocked by Ron's words.
"Interesting point of view. What do you feel about the followers in the other houses? How about the ones who don't want to follow him but were forced by their parents?" Harry looked around the table and could see a lot shared the same viewpoint as Black and Ron Weasley. He wondered why Dumbledore allowed this to continue.
"Everyone knows all the Death Eaters are Slytherins." Black responded.
"Really? It's a fact?" Harry arched a brow at Dumbledore, wondering if the man was going to fix what was being said.
Dumbledore knew where this was going. "I don't believe it's a discussion for right now."
"It's a fact." Ron snarled. "You most likely are a slimy Death Eater."
Harry laughed. "Let's have some fun, shall we? Let's test that theory." Harry stood up and summoned a piece of parchment and started to write names down. On the parchment was the name of the four houses. "Mr. Dumbledore, you were a Gryffindor."
"Correct." Dumbledore's name went under Gryffindor with not a Death Eater, next to it.
"What house was your brother in?" Harry asked.
A few of the older members knew the answer. Dumbledore looked uncomfortable but reluctantly answered. "Slytherin. He never graduated as our sister died that year." His brother's name was written with his house and not a Death Eater.
"Evan Rosier is a well know Death Eater, what house was he in?"
"Ravenclaw." This time, Death Eater was written next to the name.
"Gryffindor." Death Eater appeared.
"Slytherin." Not a Death Eater appeared.
They could hear a few portraits whispering with Phineas Black saying in his normal tone of voice. "Don't forget some of the other former professors who hired who were Death Eaters and they weren't in Slytherin."
"We are aware of them." Minerva stated. "I believe Lord Grigore has made his point."
"A few bad apples in the other houses doesn't prove a thing." Black counted. "Slughorn is the only snake who isn't a Death Eater."
"Really?" Harry responded. "I can think of a number of former members of Slytherin House both past and present who aren't marked and who aren't Death Eaters. Your own brother was a Death Eater because of your parents and he died trying to destroy something of great importance. He died to save those who you classify as light wizards."
"Leave Reggie out of this." Black snarled, leaping out of his seat. Lupin pulled him back.
Harry shook his head. "This is why you are failing. You want to be called light, yet look at your own bigotry. You label anyone who is a Slytherin as evil, ignoring facts. You throw temper tantrums when you get called out on it. You need to examine your own views as I think you will find they line up almost exactly the same way as those on Voldemort side just to the opposite extreme. They preach about blood purity. You preach, love the muggles, both sides ignoring the muggle history and their abilities."
Harry glared around the room. He looked up to the portraits. "He wants to bring back customs which if you knew anything you would realize that destroying those customs is weakening magic." Harry pointed to the former Headmasters. "They will tell you how important our customs, rituals, and celebrations are. You label, demean, and insult anyone who doesn't follow you exactly. If someone is a Slytherin, they are automatically responsible for anything that happens in this school." Harry glared at the staff. "I have been here a day and seen the unfairness in how the staff treat anyone from Slytherin and yet when Severus does something to counter it, he is the one who you say play favorites."
"That isn't true." Minerva defended their actions.
"It isn't. So the fact that the first student to get her spell correctly in your first session Gryffindor and Ravenclaw class was a Gryffindor and earned ten points. During your second session, it was Slytherins and Hufflepuffs, and when the Slytherin got the spell first they received 3 points. The same year, the same lesson." Harry commented. "I could provide all of the data. You would be very surprised how well Hogwarts keeps her records."
Severus was enjoying this. This was the first time someone else pointed out the blatant unfairness and the best part provide evidence of it.
"I don't believe this is the time or the place for this discussion."
"Oh, but it is. You see as long as you keep alienating a whole house in Hogwarts, you are giving them no place to go but to him." Harry stated. "You are providing him with followers."
Dumbledore and a few others realized the truth of his words and didn't respond. Ron glared. "Who do you think you are? Coming in here like you own the place. I bet you're a Death Eater."
Harry started laughing. "This is exactly what I mean Dumbledore."
Dumbledore looked around at the members of his Order. "We have been given a lot of think about. We will discuss this issue later."
Severus realized the man wasn't going to change, no matter what they showed him. As long as he had his followers, his power, and Hogwarts, he wasn't going to change anything. Harry annoyed as he was.
Harry attended the classes Severus was teaching since it was Friday. Harry suffered through a double session of Gryffindors and Slytherins. He could feel the tension between the two houses as Weasley kept making snide comments to Granger about Slytherins. It cost Gryffindor to lose a lot of points before his housemates shut him up. Even though they were returning as apprentices, they needed potion lessons, so they attended the same classes Gryffindors attended.
It was during Severus' last class that Severus felt his mark burn. As soon as the last student left, Severus headed for his Death Eater robes and mask. "I need to go."
"I am aware. I believe it's time I meet Voldemort, again." Harry gave him a reassuring smile.
They made their way to the Forbidden Forest so that Severus could side apparate Harry to Malfoy Manor. They landed outside of the gates and didn't speak as they walked the drive to the main doors. "Severus, I won't let him hurt you."
"It's not me I am worried about." Severus looked at Harry. "I am not really exactly worried. I just don't want him to hex you."
They were giving their cloaks to a house-elf when Lucius entered the foyer. "Lord Malfoy, may I present Nicolae Grigore II Ghicam Lord of the Soutzos Clan. He wishes to speak to our Lord."
"Lord Malfoy, it is a great pleasure to meet you." Harry bowed.
"Lord Grigore, the honor is mine." Lucius bowed as he worked hard on processing the fact that Severus had brought to their Lord the one person that Lucius had been trying to arrange a meeting with. "I am sure our Lord will be honored to know you are here."
"Thank you." Harry held out his hand to indicate that Severus should walk with him as Lucius started to lead the way to the room where the Dark Lord was waiting for his minions.
Harry inwardly laughed as he heard Lucius walking ahead of them. The man was furious over the fact that Severus had brought him. He knew Tom had wanted to meet him, though neither knew that Lord Nicolae Grigore II Ghica and Harry Potter were the same people as he also had numerous request for Harry Potter to meet with them.
Severus knew Lucius was upset about something and decided to test his new potion. He reached with his senses and he could hear Lucius' heart beating faster, he could hear Lucius trying to control his breathing. He could sense the man's blood pressure was rising. He felt Harry touch his hand slightly, he turned his eyes toward Harry and saw the slight nod of agreement. He patted himself on the back, his new potion worked, and he recognized what Lucius was feeling, the man was jealous, angry, and afraid.
They entered the meeting room, most were already in position, and Voldemort was sitting on his throne with Nagini curled at his feet. The moment they entered the room, Voldemort sat up straighter. Severus recognized the increase in blood and heart rate. Nagini was also reacting. "Interesting." Harry quietly whispered so that only Severus could hear him.
"My Lord, may I present Lord Nicolae Grigore II Ghica, Lord of the Soutzos Clan." Severus bowed which earned a low growl from Harry.
"Very well done, Severus." Voldemort indicated for them to come forward.
Harry bit down on his fury as Severus knelt by Voldemort's feet. He wasn't about to kneel. Lucius took his place next to Severus. "Lord Voldemort, I do believe it's time we had a bit of a chat." Harry saw Nagini start smelling him.
~He smells like you.~ She hissed to her Master.
~He does?~ Voldemort was trying to remember if he had any associations with anyone from the Soutzos Clan. He couldn't think of one, not that he always got the women's names.
Harry arched a brow and tilted his head toward Nagini. "I believe it would be better to discuss certain things without your followers present."
Voldemort understood immediately what was being said. "Allow me to have you escorted to a sitting room while I attend this meeting and we can discuss certain things afterward."
"Agreed, if you allow Severus and Lord Malfoy to attend the meeting."
Nixi, a house-elf appeared. "Master?"
"Please escort Lord Grigore to my private sitting room, provide him with whatever he needs."
"Yes, Master. Lord Grigore follow Nixi?"
Harry resisted the urge to take Severus with him and followed the house elf.
He was sitting and reading one of his own books, thankfully he always carried one with him, when the door opened and admitted Voldemort with Severus and Lucius. Harry gave a quick inspection of Severus and found him healthy. Lucius, however, was a bit of a different story. The man was limping a bit and his appearance showed he suffered under a painful curse.
"Lord Grigore, I must say I am surprised, but it is a welcome surprise to have you visit my home." Voldemort moved to his favorite chair while Severus and Lucius remained standing.
"Pleasure is all mine. I feel we don't have much time since Dumbledore will wonder where Severus is if we are gone too long. I will make it as short as possible." Harry pulled out his endless pouch and pulled out a few books. "You need to read those, it concerns a certain aspect that I share with Nagini and a few of your other hidden items." Voldemort didn't reply as he looked at the books he was handed. He glanced to the titles and to Harry and Nagini. "I believe a Vow will be required by Lucius."
"Why not Severus?" Voldemort could see that Nagini was getting that dreamy look in her eyes as she was near what he believed to be Harry Potter, one of his Horcruxes.
"He already is aware of the situation." Harry stated. "I believe you will find some meetings with the Order interesting and one I had with Dumbledore very informative."
"Lucius, a Vow that you will not discuss, write down, or in any way communicate what we will be discussing here." Voldemort ordered.
Lucius quickly took the Vow. He wasn't sure what was going on but he knew it had to be very important as Voldemort never asked for a Vow before. "Very good, here are the memories, please watch them, they shouldn't take to long."
Severus knelt by Harry as Voldemort and Lucius entered the memories. He knew they were going to see what Dumbledore had admitted to Lord Nicolae Grigore II Ghica, what the Order meetings were like, the divide between the members. He felt Harry's hand in his hair. He looked up at him. "Harry?"
"Relax, Severus, it's almost over." Severus knew the war was over. Dumbledore just didn't know he had lost already. They just needed to fix Voldemort and get rid of Dumbledore.
Voldemort and Lucius were kicked out of the pensive, landing on their butts on the floor, shock over their faces. "Do not panic, your Horcruxes are safe. I gathered the ones that weren't secure. The one in Bellatrix's vault included." It had taken a few days to gather them all. His clan had been very busy trying to find them but they did. The years of research and watching Voldemort and his Death Eaters as well as Dumbledore had paid off. Dumbledore knew where they were and made an annual visit to them to check on them. They just followed the bread crumbs.
"Where are they?" Voldemort was up and had his wand pointed at Harry.
"Safe. I will have them delivered to you if you agree to absorb them all but the ones in Nagini and I. We need you sane and really knock off trying to kill Muggles, you do realize how many millions of them are versus how many thousand of you wizards? There are more dark creatures compared to wizards."
"We need to keep our blood pure. It can't be tainted with by Muggles." Lucius snapped out.
"Are you really that much of an idiot? You see the declining number of Purebloods entering Hogwarts. While the Half-Bloods and Muggle-born have increased. You have seen the decline in power in your children while thinking about this, the most powerful ten wizards in this world are Half-Bloods. Dumbledore, Voldemort, Severus. The Black family gift showed up in a Half-blood after how many generations? Think of how many Pure-blood families remain that only have one or two children. How many had squibs? Where did those squibs go? They went to the Muggle world if their parents' didn't kill them. They had magic, not accessible but it was there, we know that. Now, what do you think happens when two Muggles from squib lines marry?"
Voldemort and Lucius exchanged a look. "Muggle-borns."
Harry didn't grin but it was much easier than he thought possible to get Voldemort and Lucius to listen to him. He knew the memory of what Dumbledore had done was also a push in the right direction. "Exactly and when they marry a Pureblood, you get the return of family gifts. Potions, for example, was a Prince family gift, but let the history reflects a decrease in the skill until Eileen Prince married a muggle by the name of Tobias Snape, and we now have the youngest Potion Master in centuries. I already explained the Black gift. Need I say more?" Harry had them and now to work on making a deal with Voldemort. He knew the man wouldn't be easy to fool, the man was very good at seeing loopholes and exploiting them, himself.
Severus didn't glance at Harry but Harry was proving himself useful to both sides. Both sides would be able to assist in their goals and Harry would be able to take control. He also knew a sane Dark Lord would be easier to handle and guide along with their ideals as the man never lied, had a silver tongue, and was Slytherin to the core. Dumbledore, on the other hand, played his grandfatherly act well, yet was one of the vilest people he had ever had the displeasure to meet.
"Lord Grigore, what do you desire in order to form an alliance with me?" Voldemort knew this man was going to get rid of Dumbledore. He saw that Harry Potter wasn't about to forgive or forget what Dumbledore had done. Yes, he was also responsible, he did kill the fake Potters. He pushed down the desire to go and kill Dumbledore. They didn't need the man to be a martyr.
"First, a few things, you're going to have to find some way to create the new mark I mentioned onto some of your minor Death Eaters so that Dumbledore will believe my story about Weasley."
"I actually have an idea on that. One of my followers works in the Department of Mysteries, I will have him submit some reports, he can use some corpses, saying he felt something on their arms, and after using some higher-level runes was able to reveal the mark but will also reference how hard and painful it was to draw on the magic to do it."
"I will be able to watch the reports in Wizenagamot and will be alerted if they change the wards looking for the new mark." Lucius was trying to think of a way to get Cornelius to inform him if Dumbledore went to him.
"Is there a way to hide the current mark?" Harry gave him a slight smile. Yes, let's lead the man down the garden path.
"I can change it to be hidden. It doesn't require much effort." Voldemort smirked as he caught what Harry was saying. "If I hide the mark on those who have been exposed so that it can't be felt or even seen, including Mad-Eye's magical eye, it would give Dumbledore more concern and make him wonder what is going on."
"Exactly. Second, I will be taking control of the Potter seats which I will assign to the neutral party since I am going to be working at Hogwarts, I will be able to keep an eye on the man. I know he is going to keep tossing Order members at me but I am not going to allow him to become Chief Warlock again." Harry wasn't going to give that man any more power.
"I might suggest a better idea." Everyone looked at Lucius. "There is a very old law, one that hasn't been used for a long time but it is still there. Most people assign all their seats to their faction unless they hold a proxy over a seat and the owner of the seat wants a different party voting. He doesn't know you're Harry Potter, you have more than the Potter seats. You assign and sit in your seats in the dark faction as I believe he is expecting that. You assign the Potter seats to a neutral faction and create a fake proxy holder. Normally if you don't show up to vote, the seat will automatically count as the head of the party votes. This is the old law that no one uses, you can inform your party leader ahead of time how you wish to vote and he has to assign that seat to the vote. I would say assign all of them that way but Dumbledore might figure it out if you do. Also, arrange for the Potter seats not to be assigned until after you attend a few sessions. Dumbledore would jump to the conclusion you are Harry Potter if you assigned them after appearing."
"Interesting but I also hold the Black seats. I will have to add those to the neutral faction as well." Harry looked down at Severus. He would have to discuss the Prince seats.
"Well, that is settled. Alliance?"
"We can have an alliance. There are a few things I want."
"I believe Severus is one thing you want?"
"Yes, he is. I like the human. He is interesting." Harry patted Severus' head. "I also require you agree that Dark Creatures will not be hunted, tortured, discriminated against, or even considered as not being part of the magical world. Our rights will remain the same as yours. I will fight with you against Dumbledore and those like Dumbledore."
Severus hid his smirk, he liked how his mate worded that one. Voldemort and a lot of his followers were just as bigoted as Dumbledore was. Oh, he knew as soon as Voldemort got his way, the man would work a way around the agreement, Harry was just doing it ahead of time.
Voldemort leaned back in his chair. "I will agree to a truce until we get rid of Dumbledore and give us a period of three years to get our world back to what it should be then we can work out an agreement on how to handle Dark Creatures."
"Oh, Dumbledore will be going one way or another. However, I say truce until the war is ended then ten years on a peace agreement between our factions. You will have to work out our own agreement with the werewolves but I can speak for the rest. I do believe Fenrir is already aligned with you. You will also absorb those Horcruxes and no more killing of the Muggles."
"Truce until the war is ended, five years, I have already decided to absorb them. I will agree on no killing off of the muggles until we research more on them."
"No killing off of the Muggles until we are finished with Dumbledore. It will confuse him, make people wonder what is going on, and give you time to improve your image."
"Agreed. Lucius will write up the contract."
"Agreed. I look forward to reading it." Harry wasn't worried about it, Voldemort would be gone by the time Dumbledore was. Both needed to go unless he saw a vast improvement in the man's attitude after the Horcruxes got absorbed.
"We do need to go. Dumbledore will be wondering where we are." Harry rose. "It was interesting."
Severus and Harry were walking back from the apparition point. Neither was speaking. "Severus, what is bothering you?" Harry stopped, putting a hand on Severus' arm.
"The deal. Do you think we can pull it off?"
"Yes, because we can keep Dumbledore in place until we don't need him any longer. If we need to, we also have that five years to get everyone in place, using your potions. Five years of the Death Eater believing they have won. We will also keep our numbers hidden. The werewolves aren't as loyal as he thinks either."
"You have an agreement with Fenrir?"
"Who do you think found me after my relatives almost killed me?"
Chapter 8: Months
Dumbledore was furious. He wasn't sure who exactly was stopping his advancements in the Wizengamot but nothing he wanted was getting passed. Every bill had been rejected. He had been keeping track of the different votes to see if there was a pattern but there wasn't. He was still trying to figure out how he lost the Chief Warlock position. He knew it wasn't because of the Potter seat, those seats were still on hold. Since he wasn't Chief Warlock, he couldn't break the privacy charm on the files. Someone had taken their seats but who was the issue. There hadn't been any new Lords or Ladies in attendance but that didn't surprise him. The new Lord or Lady could sit in the heir area and inform the proxy of his vote before any vote. The problem with anyone sitting in the heir area was that they couldn't be seen by anyone as they didn't want any reporters to bother the children for stories.
His next problem was Nicolae Grigore. The man wasn't falling into line. The Order members were following his directions about making the man feel welcoming but Nicolae Grigore wasn't connecting to them. The man honoring his end of the deal. He was an incredible professor and followed the Severus Snape line of a strict classroom without removing a lot of points. Severus seemed to be connected to the man but since they shared similar personalities, he wasn't surprised. He would see if maybe Molly could work on mothering him.
That lead to his next problem. Ron. He had proof of the new mark. The DOM had already been aware of the issue and he had been trying to figure out how to adjust the wards to find out who wore them but he hadn't had any luck. Severus didn't have the new mark for him to study and didn't want to expose his knowledge that Ron had one.
Dumbledore looked at his chessboard. So many pieces were falling apart and he wasn't sure where the leak was or even it was just one person. He had refrained from giving any important information when Ron was around as well as his cousin and Hermione. He knew neither of them would remain silent. Maybe that was part of the problem. The Weasley family trusted each other and Ron knew his family would tell him if he asked. He couldn't remove anyone from the Weasley family from meetings. Maybe he needed to do a privacy spell? Maybe a modified Fidelius charm on Order meetings? He would have to research things.
Dumbledore sighed as he looked at the letter from the Board of Governors. So many classes he had banned were being returned, along with numerous books. He had tried to use figures about why the classes were banned but Lucius had come with numerous other magical schools stats. Lucius had shown the decrease in OWLs and NEWT level stats in Hogwarts and Hogwarts decreasing rating. The Board wasn't very happy with the news and Lucius was able to get everything returned, even the Dark Arts class. They still banned some forms of Soul Magic and extreme Blood Magic like other magical schools. He felt like all his hard work was being destroyed and he had no idea who was doing it. Voldemort was clearly taking advantage of the situation, but he knew Voldemort couldn't be behind everything, the man was too insane.
Voldemort was happy. His agenda was being met and Dumbledore was scrambling to regain control. Lucius was now Chief Warlock and so many bills he desired were being passed. Lucius was able to get classes returned and books removed off of the banned list. Lucius was able to get the abuse prevention bills passed. Voldemort was still trying to figure out how Nicolae did everything. He needed to figure it out if he wanted the man to be removed after the war or sooner. He wasn't about to allow any vampires power in his new regime. He knew he had plenty of time to get rid of the man but he needed more information.
He had Fenrir following the man but Fenrir hadn't reported anything interesting. Nicolae barely left Hogwarts. He wasn't worried about Nicolae being with Dumbledore, his numerous supporters and minor spies all reported that the man barely even spoke to Dumbledore and when he did, it was with anything but calm acceptance of the idea that he had to speak to Dumbledore at times. They all reported that there was no idle chit-chat between the two and that Nicolae never called the man Albus. They did report how close Severus and Nicolae were.
Voldemort had wondered if there was something happening between his Potion Master and Nicolae, but again, nothing in the reports even hinted at it. All of them reported that Nicolae presented himself as a pureblood and with disdain toward Dumbledore and his agenda. That didn't surprise Voldemort as he everyone knew Dumbledore was a strong supporter of dark creatures being registered.
Voldemort had sent representatives to other dark creatures but all declined an alliance with him and informed him that they wouldn't be accepting any agreement from Dumbledore. He was fine with that since it would give him reasons later to use against them once he won and five years were up.
Nicolae saw Hermione Granger and Scarlet Weasley, a Weasley cousin, heading toward him. He knew what they wanted and groaned. He was getting sick of the Weasley girls throwing herself at him, and Granger asking useless questions and quoting him book facts. "Nicolae, just who we were looking for." Granger greeted him.
Nicolae was wondering if either of them understood the concept of greeting someone politely. "Miss Granger, Miss Weasley." He never granted them permission to use his name. "Please refrain from being overly familiar with me. My name is Lord Nicolae Grigore II Ghica, either call me Lord Ghica or Professor Ghica."
"Surely, we have moved beyond that." Scarlet Weasley smiled at him as she took his hand. She had the Weasley red hair, pale face, and could pass for a female version of Percy.
Nicolae extracted his hand. "No, we haven't. How can I assist you?"
"The Headmaster wished for us to inform you that there is a meeting of the old crowd tonight at 7."
"I will be in attendance, good day." Nicolae sidestepped around them and continued on his way. He was never going to understand how Dumbledore had made it as far as he did using idiots like that. He entered his quarters and found Severus already sitting in a chair. "It appears there is a meeting tonight."
"Yes, I was informed. Did Slutty try and hit on you again?" Severus really wanted to rip the girl's throat out.
"Yes, I need to wash my hand, she touched it." He entered his kitchenette. "Do you desire some tea?"
"No, but I also heard something interesting today between the Wolf, the Mutt, and Weasley."
Nicolae returned to the main room and found Severus already kneeling by his usual chair. "Why am I not surprised they haven't mastered the idea of using privacy charms." He ran his hand through Severus' hair, causing the man to lean into the caress. They didn't speak for a few minutes, just enjoying the comfort of touch.
"Dumbledore has decided to send the Wolf out to spy on Fenrir and his group. He is to try and recruit the werewolves to the Light. The Mutt is going to go with him, to show that Dumbledore supports interspecies relationships with Weasley being their protection at some safe house. It was one of your houses."
"He is still using the Potter estates as his own." Nicolae was going to have to change that. While he had stopped the man from removing money from Potter and other vaults, including the Black ones, he left the property alone. He had wanted Dumbledore to believe that the goblins only sealed the vaults because of Harry Potter status of being missing.
When Nicolae turned sixteen, he had gone to Gringotts and gotten an inheritance test done. He had been a bit surprised to learn he had so many titles, including the Black one. The goblins had explained that Sirius had been disowned by his father shortly before his death when he had discovered that Harry Potter was Sirius' heir. Nicolae revoked access to the family vaults by anyone but him. He removed any trust vaults that weren't used and placed a yearly cap on any future trust vaults. He removed any family heirlooms out of Sirius' personal vault and had sealed the estates. "I will warn Fenrir and the Dark Lord."
"I also caught a stray thought by Dumbledore. He is concerned about his lack of moving forward and his numerous setbacks, he plans to search for the spies."
Phineas Black snorted. "He won't think to look at the portraits."
"No, he won't. Just like he doesn't think about house-elves and ghosts." Nicolae commented.
Chapter 9: Using the Media
Dumbledore slammed the paper down. Rita Skeeter had been a bit busy and she had been writing about his life to help promote her upcoming book about his life. All of the articles had her twist but there was nothing he could about anything she had written as it was all the truth. He had originally believed it to be because of Lord Ghica but after seeing her numerous quotes from people he knew she had discovered something on her own and went digging. He was still trying to find out how she had attained certain information that he knew no one had been around at the time of some of the events she mentioned. She even had information he knew he had kept hidden in his office and only reviewed when he was alone. As he thought of that aspect, he reflected on finding out who was leaking information to Voldemort. Every time they gathered as a group to go and aid someone, the Death Eaters had beaten them to it. The Death Eaters were rescuing the muggle-born and defending them against the Order. Students had been telling their friends about how the Death Eaters had shown up to protect their family from some vigilante group of wizards and witches but the Ministry wasn't doing anything about the group.
Fudge had called him into numerous meetings. Fudge had started asking some intelligent questions which he didn't want to answer. Fudge would show him the newspapers and demand answers. So far, because of Mad-Eye, Kingsley, and Tonks, none of the Order members had been captured at these new type of raids. He knew that wasn't going to last for long as Madam Bones was now demanding her own answers. He needed answers and all he was getting was failures. He was having no luck in getting Lord Ghica interested in being friends with anyone in the Order. The Weasley clan wasn't making any progress in getting close the man. Lord Ghica was harder to read than Severus was and Dumbledore was finding it almost impossible to know what the man was thinking.
Dumbledore knew he needed to rein in Black and Ron's comments. He had started to notice a lot of Order members weren't accepting their antics and Lord Ghica's lecture about the houses was revisited each time they mentioned Slytherins are evil but Lord Ghica's one comment. "What house was Pettigrew in?" Minerva had also been expressing her own concerns regarding Black and Ron's attitude which wasn't a good sign. Minerva has usually had a solid stance of supporting him, unquestionably. He knew her questioning would lead to others. He couldn't have anyone wavering in their support and he knew he had to fix the division that was being created by his own inaction.
Dumbledore glanced down at the parchment on his desk. They had lost the complete use of all of the Potter-Black estates. Black had left his office thirty minutes ago informing him that they needed to find a new headquarters and that he was now living with Lupin. Dumbledore wasn't surprised by the news, he had been expecting it since he learned he lost access to the Potter-Black vaults. Dumbledore inhaled deeply. There had been no new updates on Harry Potter, only confirmation that the boy never made it to any hospital, even under a fake name. He was starting to believe that Harry was truly deceased. He wasn't sure why one of the instruments was still working, maybe Harry was a ghost.
Dumbledore had been slowly losing all the ground he had gained since his defeat of his beloved. He heard his door ward give him a warning of someone approaching his office. He glanced up and read the hidden parchment that was partially under his small lemon drop candy dish. "Hermione Granger, Scarlet Weasley." He groaned, he didn't need them whining at him. "Enter, Scarlet and Hermione."
"Good afternoon, sir." The young women couldn't be more different. One was dressed a lot like Minerva while the dressed the other, Weasley, dressed in a short skirt, almost see-through blouse, with the top of her breasts exposed.
"No." Scarlet dropped into one of the chairs.
"No, thank you, sir." Granger settled into the other chair. "Sir, I don't know if this is important but I heard Professor Snape speaking to Professor Ghica. I am not sure how this happened but-"
"What Hermione is trying to say is that we heard Snape telling Ghica that Voldemort knows he is looking for Harry Potter. He was warning Ghica that Voldemort was looking for him and that-" She paled a bit "-my cousin Ron was the one to warned Voldemort."
Dumbledore ran his hands down his beard in comfort. He was hoping the information about Ron's loyalty was wrong but it wasn't. Severus had confirmed to him weeks ago that Ron had been in attendance, Fletcher had seen Ron enter the area where the Death Eaters met. "I am aware of the situation. Professor Snape already informed me."
"What are we do to, sir?"
"Nothing for now. Pretend you don't know."
Nicolae and Severus were currently meeting with the Dark Lord and Lucius. "He believes one of his Order member, Ron Weasley is a spy. We made sure to have two of his followers listening to us speak about seeing Weasley at a meeting. I know some of his informants saw me enter as Ron Weasley." Severus also made sure to mention his concerns to Dumbledore when he had met with the man alone in his office.
Nicolae had been collecting the hairs of different Order members for a while. It was Severus who had the idea of posing as Ron Weasley and letting Death Eaters be seen with Ron. They selected a few of the more loyal ones who took a Vow and within a few weeks Ron Weasley was accepted in Death Eater hangouts. "I want to maintain a low level of seeing him. He has a few special training classes he takes with Neville Longbottom so we arrange the sightings to be shortly after that when we know he is in the shower or alone."
"Dumbledore?" The Dark Lord as was actually surprised at how well the plan that Lord Ghica provided was working out. The saving muggle-borns was making Dumbledore confused and he knew the general wizarding population was slowly turning against Dumbledore's Order and wondering about the whole killing muggle-born theory.
"He still believes finding Harry Potter is the answer and is determined that is the only way to go. He has a few side plans from getting Lupin to befriend the werewolves to some laws he believes he can sneak through." Nicolae was actually getting impatient with how much of a fool Dumbledore was. The man believed only his way was the correct way, and there is no other path.
"Do you have a plan for Harry Potter's demise or discovery?" The Dark Lord since he absorbed his Horcruxes was rational and wasn't so curse-happy. He was getting an increase in followers and supporters because of the new direction he was taking.
"None. Let him wonder." Nicolae glanced at Severus. "Have Lucius or someone at the Ministry keep an eye on the contract filing area. He has been trying to get me to marry that Weasley girl."
Nicolae and Severus knew the old fool wanted to try the recently discovered marriage contract idea but so far Dumbledore had been striking out on attaining information on Lord Ghica. Ironclaw and Nicolae had made sure to hide everything deeply into the families with layers and layers of decoy paper trails. "We might use that against her." Lucius hated the Weasley family and it wasn't a secret. "She is the only single Weasley female left. I can see if we can find any hidden contracts."
"How about a family background check on Miss Granger?" Severus knew if anyone could find any family connections it would be Lucius.
"I believe that is also possible." Lucius made himself a mental note if they could ruin the name of two more Order members he was willing to do it.
"Make it so, Lucius. The more we can discredit his Order members, in a variety of ways, the better. Absolute contracts would be best. Miss Granger is rather vocal."
"That is an understatement. The girl can't shut up about her opinions." Severus had hoped when she graduated last year that would have been the last he ever saw of the girl but Dumbledore had arranged the apprenticeships. He smirked. "It would also terminate her apprenticeship."
"Forcing the both of them out of Hogwarts. He loses his researcher too." Nicolae leaned back. "How is the book coming from Rita?"
"She sent it to the publisher. The articles are indicating the book should be a best seller." Lucius had enjoyed pulling out the files his father had saved from when he was in school with Dumbledore.
"Dumbledore is going to start having someone writing about your past." Nicolae glanced at the Dark Lord, wondering how the man would react.
"Do you know who?" The fury was clear in the Dark Lord's voice.
"If you do anything, it will prove him right. Instead, write counter articles. When the author mentions growing up in an orphanage, use what was going on in the muggle world to show that Dumbledore was judging you not based on a normal situation. Have excerpts from muggle history books quoted. You know he is going to mention your attitude. Have Lucius or someone pull the original memory, show it to any other reporter but Rita. Let them twist it into a nice bit of how Dumbledore didn't save you from abuse angle."
"It would be good if Lucius could pull your Hogwarts' records. The records will show that you earned no detentions but with him. It will make more people wonder why he targetted you and link it to his obsession with Harry Potter." Severus added,
"I believe Headmaster Dippet would have including me asking not to return in my file. Is it possible to get that file, Lucius?"
"I believe so, my Lord.
"No, but we better head back to Hogwarts. We don't want the old fool to wonder where we have been."
Nicolae and Severus were walking from the Forbidden Forest. "Hair?"
"Yes, I got Lucius and Tom's." Severus patted his robe pockets. "I am not sure whose hair was on the couch but I picked it up."
"Good. They will come in handy." Nicolae smirked. "We need to create more friction between the lower Death Eaters. I believe it's time for Ron to mention his concerns over discovering how the Dark Lord will allow the half-blood to take charge after Dumbledore's demise. Suggest since he is a half-blood it is after all the same idea he is using with the pure-bloods."
"Indeed. I believe a few wolves might be overheard discussing the same subject?"
"You read my mind."
Fenrir sat waiting in the Forbidden Forest. He had lost Black and Lupin in Wales and needed to talk to Nicolae. He was sitting at the edge of wards. He had already sent a message to Nicolae was just watching Hogwarts. "Getting old, old man."
"Whelp." Fenrir guided them to a cave. "We use this cave to hide when Hagrid is out in the woods." Fenrir knew that his new son-in-law didn't know the information. He inhaled, he looked at Nicolae who just arched his brow. He got the message, mind his own business. "We need to deal with Black and Lupin."
"What have they been doing?" Nicolae knew Dumbledore had ordered them to recruit for him.
"More like what haven't they done. Black is a menace. He keeps pranking my betas. Almost got him eaten last full moon as he pranked us so that during the change we changed sexes."
Severus and Nicolae groaned. "How did he stay alive?"
"Lupin apparated him out as soon as possible but they are back again. They followed me to Wales, I saw them arrive here."
"Can they disappear without anyone knowing what happened?" Severus really hated Black.
"I don't want it to look like any Death Eaters but perhaps a muggle accident?" Nicolae suggested.
Fenrir face reflected the pleasure in doing that. "A hunting accident."
"Works for me." Nicolae really hadn't liked Black after the man picked on Severus and his opinion didn't change when the man encouraged that bigotted reasoning. "How is everything else going?"
"Good. No one has shown up at the club. The packs are keeping their numbers hidden. The Vampires are stocking piling weapons, potions, and blood. The Centaurs have been gathering food and weapons too. The Goblins finished our order. The weapons are superb."
"The Dark Lord is saner but I know he hasn't changed his agenda regarding creatures so keep getting people in place. We can have one of the house-elves deliver more potions."
"The next batch is in the cool-down stages, I can send it later tonight."
"I will let everyone know. We also have all the properties under Fidelius and the same with the cave system. The goblins have their deeper caves warded and can do the rest in less than a minute if need be."
"Excellent. No rushing, I want everything done right. We have time, those two are more worried about each other and don't believe we are an issue."
"Idiots." Severus and Fenrir couldn't believe how naive the Dark Lord and Dumbledore were. They really didn't believe that creatures would band together.
"We better head back. We don't want to give them any reason to doubt us. Is the Dark Lord still having you watch us?"
"Yes, and the little Death Eaters have been reporting to him about your lack of regard for Dumbledore and his pawns."
Severus was a bit surprised at how well Nicolae's plans were working. They were simple yet neither Dumbledore or the Dark Lord doubted anything they were being told because there were others backing the information.
"I don't get it."
Severus and Nicolae stopped they recognized that voice. "Ron, I understand. You know how I feel about Slytherins but as Remus reminded me, we need that vampire to find Harry. Just chill out on the comments and be a team player and I bet people will start including you in things."
"It's so annoying, I walk into the room and everyone stops talking."
"I got the same thing but noticed when I just pick on Snivellius they have started talking to me again. I know no one expects me to stop picking on Snivellius." They didn't hear anything for a few minutes. "How is Scarlet doing on snagging Uppity?"
Nicolae raised an eyebrow. "Still nothing but detentions with Filch. She tried to get them assigned to him but he refused."
"I think he might play for the other team."
"You think he and the Bat are an item?"
"Don't make me lose my lunch."
"Yeah, true. Who would be interesting in that git."
"Listen, don't give up but I have to go."
Nicolae smirked as he pulled Severus into an alcove. Severus had his wand ready. They waited until they heard the duo walk by them. The peeked out and cast a few different prank spells on the unsuspecting duo.
"Pink hair, dog ears, and tail on the Mutt, green hair and spots on Weasley. I put a trigger on the Mutt. His will hit when he apparates. You?"
"Every time they go to say your name, they will praise you instead. Thinking badly about you will give them the hives."
"I like that. I haven't made any allergy potions. I believe I will have to order some aloe. Shame it will be out of stock."
The next few weeks passed fairly quickly and quietly. They were slowly moving people into the Ministry, stores around Diagon Alley, and Hogsmeade. Dumbledore had to hire a few to cover the new classes. Since Lucius was keeping Dumbledore busy with the Board and the Wizengamot, Minerva had taken up a lot of his duties which allowed the Lions to run free. Severus and Nicolae had taken to patrolling late at night and assigning detentions with Filch.
Nicolae turned at his name and one of the students gave him a note. "Thank you." Nicolae knew it was from Dumbledore. He swore the man liked to write notes with hints of his favorite candies.
"You too?" Severus was exiting his office.
"No, could be all the articles. Rita's book has been selling out of stock. I know people have been sending howlers."
Dumbledore was still trying to figure out who was the leak. Nothing was working. He has cast privacy charms, secrecy spells, even tried a Fidelius on the Order meetings. Sadly for him, he forgot those forms of magic don't work on house-elves, portraits, or ghosts since he wasn't casting it on a place but rather the information. Now, this. He had Kingsley and Mad-Eye check the facts, it was a hunting accident that killed Lupin and Black during the full moon. A werewolf hunter had been in the woods and killed them. He looked up as he felt his ward announcing the arrival of the Order. He knew this was going to be a blow to them. An accident took out two of his stronger members. He knew he couldn't trust Ron and his family was feeling the pressure from his lack of being able to trust Ron. "Come, I have tea on the way."
Nicolae and Severus sat back away from the masses. Nicolae glanced at Ron. "Hives still?"
"Yes, missing snowberries. Poppy has given him some muggle treatment."
Soon everyone was settled. "First, Severus any news?" Dumbledore was sitting behind his desk, his hands running up and down his beard.
"He has upped the incoming shipments from the docks. Lucius has been given a new list of classes for him to present. He also sent your autobiography to France, Spain, and Germany. He wants to have the facts in the books verified."
"There was a lead but it turned out to be a muggle named Harry Potter. Before you ask, yes, we check. No, he wasn't. He had blond hair, three sister, and two older brothers. He is a medical student." Nicolae had actually a long list of Harry Potters from around the world. "The one in America was a girl."
Dumbledore was actually impressed. He hadn't realized how far the vampire was willing to go to fulfill their deal. "Ministry?"
They spent the next twenty minutes listening to Mad-Eye complain about all the changes while Arthur Weasley went on about the wonders of muggles. Tonks, Kingsley, and Mad-Eye never mentioned Black or Lupin. "I do have some very saddening news to share with everyone." Dumbledore picked up the Auror report. "Last full moon Remus and Sirius were out in the Galloway Forest. There was a werewolf hunter in the area from the Ministry. He shot them. They died immediately."
"Oh, Merlin." The tears started.
"They will be buried in Godric's Hollow. Sirius purchased plots for them next to James and Lily. The services will be this weekend."
"Are they sure?" Molly timidly asked.
"Yes, and I had it confirmed. The hunter was out looking for a werewolf that was turning people. Remus matched the basic description from far away. Sirius was shot when he started to attack the hunter."
Severus and Nicolae just watched everyone as Dumbledore explained the details of the service and assigned a few jobs. Molly was going to be cooking while those who worked in the Ministry would try to keep a lid on the cause of death. "Severus, could you and Nicolae assist in getting the students in line? I'm sure some will want to attend on Saturday when we have the memorial here."
"I bet you are happy!" Weasley snarled
"Mr. Weasley, I have no idea what you mean, two people are dead."
"Like you care. You probably arranged it." Ron jumped up and pulled out his wand, aiming it at Severus. "I bet you would kill the rest of us if you could get away with it."
"Ronald Weasley, sit down and apologize." Molly ordered.
"Mr. Weasley, while I will not lie about the fact that I didn't like two people who were part of a group that bullied me, I, however, am in no way planning anyone's death."
"It's your fault. Just like you caused Harry to be suspended." Ron started scratching. The hives were flaring up all over his body.
Severus glared and was about to put his own wand. Nicolae's voice stopped him. "Mr. Weasley, it was a tragic accident. Do not turn this into more hatred."
"Very good advice. Molly, please take Ron home." Dumbledore ordered. The meeting ended shortly after that.
"I can't believe that brat." Severus was drinking a fire whiskey that Nicolae had handed him.
"I wasn't surprised. He has to blame someone." Nicolae pulled Severus into his arms. "You are not responsible for my suspension. I could have said something about Granger and Weasley dragging me down there. Actually, because of you, we are here. How about you let me make you dinner, let me show you my thanks?"
Severus tilted his head a bit. "How can you not hate me for getting you sent back there?"
"Severus, if I have returned, I would have been dragged through whatever trials he wanted to test me with. He would have kept holding back information and who knows who else would have died before my seventh year here? As it is, we have kept the war from actually breaking out. I have my mate, I have my family, my clan, and we are going to make Dumbledore regret sending me back there."
Severus thought about what Nicolae said. He knew Dumbledore had allowed Ginny Weasley to die. Nicolae was right, who else would have died because of some yearly tests or a war breaking out. "I concede your point. Now, how much chocolate are you going to feed me?"
"Go and take a bath, I will start making dinner and see what I get the house-elves to provide for dessert."
Voldemort was giddy as he read the report by Lucius. He knew but had no evidence that Nicolae Grigore was responsible for the two idiots being dead and it looked like an accident. Fenrir had mentioned that Black and Lupin had been snooping around. He had seen Grigore interest and suddenly not even a month later the two idiots from Dumbledore's Order were dead. "Very good, Lucius."
"My Lord, do you believe the vampire arranged it?" Lucius had come straight from the Ministry.
"I believe so but no evidence. Did you speak to the hunter?"
"Yes, he was given the information from a source. It was all that he would say." Lucius had tried to find out what source but nothing worked. If he had known that the hunter was one of Nicolae's people and actually realized truth serums didn't work, he might have realized that it wasn't vampires they were dealing with. No, they were dealing with a race far more cunning and deadly. Raxtus Dragons had kept their secrets, kept themselves hidden for centuries, they knew how to hide, they were cunning, and now was the time to take their place with the rest of the magical creatures.
"Yes, my Lord, I gave him some in his tea but he could only provide me that the information came from a source. He has been a hunter for the Ministry for a long time. He usually is the one sent out for rogue werewolves." Again, if Lucius knew the truth he might have left Britain. The hunter wasn't a true hunter. The hunter would find those classified as a rogue werewolf and aid them in finding a new home or get them out of the country. Usually, the rogues were welcomed into Fenrir's group. Most werewolves got classified as a rogue because they were against the Ministry and not because of anything they had done. Umbridge was a very wanted woman in the magical creature community because of her views and hatred of magical creatures. Each group had its own plans for the woman.
"The reports from Hogwarts?" Voldemort was still amazed this plan was working. Dumbledore was totally in the dark and soon it the war would be over.
"All state the same thing, my Lord. Grigore is popular with the students but not Dumbledore or his Order. Actually, Ronald Weasley hates him and Severus. The same rant regarding Severus but it is interesting in his dislike for Grigore. He has been heard blaming the deaths of Black and Lupin on Grigore and Severus. Also, Stephens has reported that he has spotted numerous Order members following them when he is under the poly-juiced potion as Weasley."
Voldemort was quiet for a few minutes. "Have a team catch Ronald Weasley. Bring him here. I will mark him and you to increase your favor will turn him over to the Ministry. I'm sure Cornelius would love to believe you are his spy."
"My Lord, Grigore might have a use for him at Hogwarts. He has been causing a divide in the Order and in the Weasley family."
Voldemort refrained from cursing Lucius as he thought about what he said. It was true, Ronald Weasley was causing more problems in the Order and his family but it would be even worse for the Order member and a Weasley to be linked to a known member of the Death Eaters. He cursed Lucius. "Do not presume to tell me what to do."
Lucius thrashed on the floor until the curse was lifted when a voice asked: "you know there are better ways to keep people loyal to you." Lucius recognized the voice as belonging to Grigore. Lucius had long considered joining the man. He had a feeling Grigore wasn't above taking out Voldemort and he had the power to do it. It was one thing Lucius was good at, he was good at discovering who had power, both politically and magically. Yes, he would be speaking to the Grigore soon.
"I wasn't expecting you." Voldemort saw Severus following behind Grigore as he helped Lucius up. Severus bowed but remained behind Grigore next to Lucius.
"Figured we would stop in and exchange some information. As you might have heard Black and Lupin are dead. Weasley is proving to be very useful as his attitude is causing a divide in the Order."
"Lucius informed me of their demise and the disorder the Order is in."
"I would like to step it up a notch. Since they are divided do you have anyone who can leak information to the Aurors but not Shacklebolt or Tonk?"
"What type of information?" Voldemort wanted to know what Grigore had planned next so far all his plan had benefitted him and his agenda.
"Leak out about Dumbledore's past. His father was in Azkaban for attacking muggles. I'm sure Lucius could twist things the right way with some of the things Dumbledore has banned in effect keeping the muggle-born from knowing about their magical culture."
Voldemort smirked. "I like that and if we time it right we can have some Death Eaters posing as Order members be seen muggle baiting. It would have to be members that don't have a solid reputation. Severus, who do you suggest?"
"My Lord, there is the thief Dung, Ron Weasley, his cousin Scarlett, the older ones we need to leave alone. They have established careers that would reflect their willingness to work with us. Mad-Eye, we could go after his paranoid madness and get him committed. The Aurors, we could get them in trouble for knowing about Black and not turning him in. Dung and the two Weasleys' memories would do the trick."
"A slow leak without using Rita but have Rita write up all the gossip she hears." Nicolae thought for a few seconds. "Having Rita dig into Dumbledore's past, suggest another book, one on his early years. Since the other one is selling so well. I am sure she will find a lot of interesting information on him."
"I can get Rita started on it right away, my Lord." Lucius had discretely taken a potion Severus had given him while Voldemort was talking to Grigore. "She has been eager to discredit Dumbledore."
"Have Rita get started right away." Voldemort glanced at Grigore. "Anything specific?"
"Start at the very beginning, his father for example." Nicolae was going to make sure Rita found a lot of interesting information.
"Dismissed Lucius." Voldemort watched the blond bow before he summoned an elf. "Tea?" The elf appeared with a tea tray.
"Please, however, we can't stay long. If you wish to create a panic, you might want to think about attacking during the funeral. Dumbledore won't expect it and it will be small. The only ones invited are Order members including Ron Weasley."
Severus poured tea for them as they finalized the attack plans.
"That went well." Severus was picking some flowers in the Forbidden Forest.
"Yes, and since Voldemort will use the time they gave Ronald, Dumbledore will lose more faith in the Weasley family." Nicolae had set up a rather large spy network with the house-elves. House-elves see and hear everything but wizards never paid attention to them. If you treat the house-elves well, they were a valuable source of information and would provide you with information. Dumbledore usually ignored the house-elves and never bothered to keep them from appearing in his offices so the house-elves would spy for Harry.
"After Dumbledore is removed, Voldemort will be paranoid about you moving against him even though you have the agreement."
"I'm aware which is why my dear Severus, we're going to arrange a nice battle and as Dumbledore and Voldemort's troops fight, we take over the Ministry, the Wizengamot, and when their troops are exhausted, we will make our move against the winner. Voldemort will try to wipe us out if we delay and I rather have the magical community continue to think we are vampires." Nicolae waited until Severus stood up and pulled him into his arms. "How about the day that happens, we bond the next day? Think of it as an engagement present."
Severus tilted his head, kissed Nicolae on the lips. "I thought Black and Lupin were."
"No, they were a bit of a mating gift for you."
"You are going to have a tough time gift-giving after these gifts."
"I'm sure I will manage. Now, if you are done, I believe there is a bed calling our name."
"I'm done, just wanted something in case Dumbledore asks us what we were doing in the Forbidden Forest."
"I was going to tell him we were performing sex magic."
Severus blushed. "Please don't."
"Hush, you know I won't but I do like seeing you blush when I tell you things like that." Nicolae gave Severus a kiss. He kept his face near Severus' ear. "We have company. I believe Weasley wants evidence against us. He came in range as you said please don't."
Severus pulled a bit away. "Honestly, Nicolae, it will be just a few more plants than we can return to Hogwarts."
"I do love watching you work. I will need to go away tomorrow." Nicolae pulled some of the birch bark from the closest tree and tossed it into the collection basket Severus was holding.
"Why?" Severus used his senses to find where Weasley was hiding.
"I have another lead on Harry Potter. Someone who matches the description was seen in Lyon, France. I will go before breakfast."
"Do you wish for me to handle your classes? I don't have any conflicting classes." There was the brat. He wanted to cover his nose as he wondered if the boy knew what a shower was.
"If you could. I would like to check this lead before any Death Eaters might get wind of it."
"Have you sent a note to Albus?" Severus stepped away from Nicolae and moved a bit down the path, he heard a snap of a twig ahead of them. Weasley moved away from them. "I need some of these mushrooms."
"Yes, I informed him as soon as I received my port-key. What will you use those for?"
"A few different potions require their usage, mostly in the healing line." Severus saw Nicolae gathering some of the moss that was growing on one of the oak trees.
"Ah, that explains why I'm not familiar with them." Nicolae was actually very talented in potions. He was not as talented as Severus but he managed. "Perhaps a lesson later?"
"I can do that. We better head back. I don't want Albus to think we got lost out here." Severus took one last mushroom before standing up.
Nicolae joined Severus. They heard Weasley sad attempt at leaving before they discovered him. "Could he get any louder?" Nicolae rolled his eyes. "Suggest a shower next time." Severus wanted to laugh as he thought about doing just that.
Nicolae strode through Hogwarts. He had spent the night dealing with minor problems caused by Dumbledore and his Order with their quest to find Harry Potter. The Order was searching muggle homes and clubs. They were pretending to be market researchers but had no idea how to interact with muggles. Three were almost arrested when the homeowners believed they were part of a gang casing the area for home robberies. Nicolae had to spend a lot of time soothing upset club owners when he talked them out of filing charges for those not annoying private homes. He owed a few some big favors in exchange. How the Order managed not to get themselves killed by simply breathing amazed him at times. Arthur Weasley was useless in the muggle world as well as his youngest son.
Granger, with her attitude, rubbed many people the wrong way. She was one of the ones that people believed were casing their homes because of the questions she asked about their family as she looked around their homes. The police certainly didn't care for her attitude. Scarlet Weasley almost got arrested for solicitation when she tried to pick up an undercover officer in Nicolae's club. Nicolae hired undercover cops to keep his club clean and certainly wasn't happy when he heard the news. Nicolae and his people had to spend most of the time cleaning up their messes. He was originally going to let them all get arrested but didn't want Voldemort to make a move when he learned that the Order was in a muggle jail. Nicolae knew Lucius would go running to Voldemort. He groaned as he remembered that he agreed to meet Lucius later tonight.
Nicolae was tired and had a class he had to teach. He didn't get to spend any time with Severus the last few days due to the idiots in the Order. He was hoping he would run into Granger or the two Weasleys. He could at least use them to release this anger. He also knew he needed to avoid Dumbledore or he might just kill the man. How the man remained in charge was still surprising to him. Nicolae was almost to his class when he saw Severus with Granger. Granger was touching him. Severus didn't like it as he kept trying to extract himself. They were standing by his office door. Severus must have been wondering if he had returned. "Miss Granger is your moral fiber so low that you must throw yourself at someone who has no desire to even being touched by you?"
"She is under the mistaken impression we are to be married." Severus glared at the girl. "It appears that her apprenticeship is going to be dissolved and Albus has decided that she is to marry one of the staff to allow her to remain. For some unknown reason, she seems to be under the impression that I would even consider the idea."
"Ah, that explains the Order attempts at finding Harry Potter last night. They raided three muggle houses as well as three clubs. It took everything I had to keep them from being arrested by the muggle police. The Aurors were another matter which is why her apprenticeship is going to be dissolved along with Weasleys." The raid was really them spying in windows, stunning the muggles, and looking for Harry. When the police arrived were they were arrested for breaking and entering. Thankful, Nicolae had people following them who were able to call him so he could memory charm the police and muggles.
"I had wondered why Albus was in a rotten mood this morning."
"I think we would make an amazing match. We each have brains, we have skills, and share a passion for learning. We each want to work at Hogwarts and while you're older, I am young and can provide you with children." Granger tried to strike an alluring pose but looked like she was trying not to fall over in her high heels, low skirt, and a Scarlet Weasley blouse. Her hair was up, in an attempt to appear older, she was even wearing makeup that looked like it came from Weasley's collection as the coloring didn't match Granger.
"Miss Granger, I find you insipid. I prefer only to speak to you when I have no other option. I would rather marry the Dark Lord than spend an hour in your company. Have I made myself clear?"
"I'm sure we can work out an arrangement. We are adults. We have the same goals. My parents are rich so I won't be a drain on your finances. I play on going to university and they have already agreed to pay for the expenses. If we marry, we both benefit from my trust fund which would be released at the time of our marriage. We can reside here at Hogwarts and work toward our mutual goals." Granger tried to lean into Severus but Severus saw her leaning in and moved causing her to almost fall to the floor.
Nicolae exchanged a look with Severus. They had figured that Dumbledore's vaults had to be running low. The lack of funding would explain why the increase in his Order for their search for Harry Potter. It would also explain Dumbledore trying to marry off the younger ones to older established men who Dumbledore knew had large vaults. "Miss Granger, you are not paying enough attention to what Professor Snape has said so I will put in into terms you will understand. He isn't interested in you in any way, shape, or form."
"No matter how much money you offer me I wouldn't marry you, Miss Granger." Severus made sure to say it loud enough that the students in Nicolae's class would hear.
Nicolae had also been speaking slightly louder than normal knowing the walls were listening. The past few months had been making a lot of people doubt Dumbledore not enough to remove him from power as of yet. Nicolae wanted to get more people into good solid positions in the Ministry before he removed Dumbledore completely and arrange for a battle between Dumbledore and Voldemort. "I have a class waiting for me."
"As do I. I will see you for tea, Nicolae. Miss Granger, please cease your attempts at manhandling me. Your advances are unwelcome."
Nicolae inwardly laughed as he entered his classroom leaving a stunned Granger behind as Severus was heading to his. One of the students told another one. "She just wants Snape's name and money despite claiming her parents have some."
"She's been hanging around that gold digger Weasley for too long."
"What do you think Lucius will want?" Nicolae was finally able to sit down with Severus. Nicolae already filled Severus in on the events for the last few days.
"I think he wants to join us. Lucius, while he is a pureblood and hates muggles, he doesn't want to go around killing them or being cursed. He wants to protect his family." Severus knew Lucius never wanted to join the Dark Lord. It was his father who forced the issue. Lucius did what he could to survive.
"Creatures?" Nicolae had his arms wrapped around Severus as they were cuddling on the couch.
"He is part Veela, no one but me knows outside of his family. I think he will enjoy being able to allow his Veela side out." Severus tilted his head up to look at Nicolae. "Lucius will be able to convert a lot of fellow Death Eaters. He knows who isn't really loyal. It has saved Narcissa and Draco's lives a few times."
"A Vow will have to be made. I don't want him revealing our plans out of fear of the Dark Lord."
"Yes, but I don't think he will. He never wanted the man to return. He was fearful for the first year that the Dark Lord was going to wipe out all of his followers' wives and children especially since no one could provide answers to his questions about Harry Potter, Dumbledore's plans, and even about who might be next to fit the prophecy."
"Lucius won't be a hard sell?"
"No, if anything he will come in with a plan and ideas on how to change the Ministry so that no one notices the changes. Lucius is a politician and a barrister. He knows the Ministry."
Nicolae smiled. "He will be a great addition to our cause." He looked at the clock. "We have to head to the Great Hall for dinner."
Severus refrained from groaning. "We get to have those two throw themselves at us."
"I was thinking about that. How do you think Dumbledore would react if we informed him that we were going to be bond?"
"He would love it. He would believe I have secured your loyalty to his cause so would the Dark Lord. Each would believe that they now had a way of controlling you."
"Would it put you in danger?"
"No, just the opposite. Each knows how vampires feel about their mates. They know if they did anything to me, all the vampires would be out for blood, literally. They wouldn't do anything to hurt me or even remove me. They would do whatever was needed to make me happy." Severus gave Nicolae a smirk. "Anything."
"Indeed. Let's secure Lucius' loyalty before we inform anyone in either camp."
Lucius looked calm but Nicolae and Severus knew the man wasn't. Severus had already served tea and they did the pleasant exchange of platitudes. "I believe you will require a Vow about whatever we are going to be speaking about?" Nicolae knew the man wasn't going to speak freely.
"I believe it would be safer for us all."
"Agreed, a simple vow that nothing we speak about leaves this room. Severus has the binder?"
Once the vow was spoken, Lucius was able to relax. "I won't delay this as I am aware Dumbledore knows I'm here. I don't want to give him cause to wonder why. I want to get rid of the Dark Lord and Dumbledore. Both of them are from the same cut just opposite ends. They want to control our world but all I see is they are slowly destroying our world and magic."
Nicolae leaned back in his chair. "I do agree. I believe we could use your assistance."
"I informed Nicolae that you didn't join the Dark Lord of your own free will, Lucius, as many didn't."
"Many are afraid, they have been hiding their families. Some even getting them out of the country. I tried to get Narcissa to leave with Draco but with Bellatrix being her sister, it's been hard."
"We can aid in getting people to safety. We need your assistance in getting more people into key positions in the Ministry. Positions that will benefit us."
"I know there are a few openings that Fudge hasn't been advertising. He has been fearful of Dumbledore getting his Order members into the positions." Lucius began to list all the different areas he could get Fudge to employ one of Nicolae's people.
Severus watched Nicolae glare at Granger as she touched him again. Nicolae looked like he really wanted to rip the girl's throat out. Severus was impressed by the control that Nicolae was displaying. He wasn't so patient with Granger. Yes, he was looking forward to bursting her bubble. They had already spiked Scarlet's food with a weight gain potion which also caused her face to explode in pimples. The girl was hiding in the common room. Severus wasn't about to let that harlot keep throwing herself at his mate.
Currently, they were sitting in the Great Hall for dinner but there was an Order meeting scheduled for tonight. The Order had been meeting almost nightly due to the variety of issues Dumbledore was encountering. Dumbledore found ways around inviting Ron Weasley to meetings but Molly, Granger, and Scarlet were still providing Ron with information. Severus knew that Granger and Scarlet were passing information that Dumbledore wanted Ronald to know but Molly was giving the idiot any information he asked for. Severus had wanted to slip Granger a potion or two but when Nicolae suggested they announce their bonding tonight he decided he wanted to see the girl's face. He also wanted to see Dumbledore's face when they announced it. The potion would still be used at a later date. He knew Granger was counting on him caving due to pressure from Dumbledore and marrying her.
Dumbledore had been having a rough few months. Dumbledore had been trying to regain control over the Wizenagamot and the Ministry but Lucius with Nicolae's aid had moved more of their people into place. They had even managed to hire more of their clan as professors. What Dumbledore didn't know wouldn't hurt him. They were working on getting some more Veela into Hogwarts as assistants and Professors. They got a lot of half Veelas into Hogwarts and the Ministry as they didn't look like Veela. Dumbledore had been given no choice in who the Board hired as the Board members used the ICW's recommendations on the requirements for the new courses. Dumbledore had thrown a small fit in his office when the new professors were hired.
Now, they were removing another plan of Dumbledores. Severus watched Nicolae as he looked discreetly at Dumbledore. Dumbledore had been very distracted during meals. Severus had seen Dumbledore trying to figure out which side the new professors and assistants were on in the war. Dumbledore had tried over and over again to get different professors to discuss their views on what Dumbledore considered dark, dark creatures, and anything else he found dark. However, everyone remained neutral. Dumbledore had been trying to get more to join his Order. Instead, he had been slowly losing members, thanks to Ron Weasley's bigoted rants.
Severus was actually looking forward to this new plan starting. Yes, the bonding was real but the fun they were going to have as they tormented Dumbledore made hiding their nature a bit longer worth it. Severus knew that Nicolae wasn't faking his feelings and waited for Severus to be ready for the bonding. The best part was that Dumbledore was going to be totally clueless about the bonding.
Severus felt Nicolae hand on his knee. He looked at Nicolae who tilted his head slightly toward Minerva. Severus knew that Minerva hadn't been happy with Dumbledore and seeing her face as she was in a discussion with Dumbledore made him wonder if they could convert Minerva. Severus knew if they turned Minerva, Poppy, and the rest of the staff would follow with the exception of Hagrid and Sybill. He gave a slight nod of agreement. He felt that tonight's announcement would push more members away.
Nicolae looked around Dumbledore's office as people were quietly talking before Dumbledore official started the meeting. Dumbledore was looking like all of his ancient years. Dumbledore had Granger by his desk and they were quietly speaking. Scarlet was in another corner speaking to her aunt.
Severus was sitting next to him. Neither of them was speaking but were watching everyone. Nicolae arched a brow when Granger started nodding her agreement. Dumbledore really was going to try and force a marriage between Severus and Granger.
"Let's get started." Dumbledore gave everyone his grandfatherly smile. "To start off tonight, I have some great news. Severus and Hermione will be bonding as well as Scarlet and Nicolae. The bondings will aid us in the war."
Granger and Scarlet beamed with the news. "I'm not sure how you arrived at that conclusion without discussing it with us. However, it really doesn't matter as Severus has agreed to bond with me. We were going to announce it with a gathering this coming weekend but you have forced us to inform you sooner." Nicolae really was surprised that Dumbledore actually believed they would bond on his word or desire. They certainly hadn't given any indication that they would follow Dumbledore's lead.
"Albus, you didn't?" Minerva started shaking her head. She had been pushing Dumbledore to back off on his crazy plans. The man was too focused on finding Harry and coming up with ways to keep those he thought would be friends with Harry at Hogwarts. "Why? They certainly made it very clear they weren't interested in Hermione or Scarlet. Despite what you and the young ladies desire." Most of the staff had seen how much the two men didn't care for the two girls. They had a betting pool going on when Severus would give them a potion or two while Nicolae turned them into something else if he didn't just curse them. Minerva had the potion and cursing them opinion by the end of the week.
"It's for the greater good. They can break the bond after we win." Dumbledore put up his hand stopping people from speaking. "Yes, we need to find Harry but until then we need to present a united front. We need to boost the morale of the muggle-born and the girls need to remain at Hogwarts. They can only do so by bonding with a professor. The new mandates have eliminated the possibilities of them remaining here without being bonded."
Nicolae and Lucius had worked for hours to put the new requirements for apprenticeship programs in Hogwarts. The Board passed the new recommendations without any problem. They had used other magical communities requirements, leaving Dumbledore no option but to accept the new changes. The biggest change was that no professor could take an apprentice if they had other jobs beyond teaching. Since Dumbledore wanted people in the Order to take apprenticeships it didn't leave him many options.
"Albus, you need to find two others for them to bond with because I can't stand Granger enough to have a conversation with her never mind bond with her." Severus began to make a mental list of potions to slip to Dumbledore and Granger. There was no way he was marrying that harpy even if he wasn't involved with Nicolae. The girl drove him crazy and he knew he wasn't the only one.
"I'm not bonding with that red-haired harlot." Nicolae and Severus ignored the indignation from the Weasley clan, the twins and Bill, hid their laughter. "I just gave her detention for being half-naked in the alcove by Filius' office with Dennis Creevey." Nicolae had no desire to even think of what he saw in the alcove.
"I gave her detention last week when I caught her with Adam McKinley." Severus added. "I believe Minerva can back up it's a bi-weekly thing for Miss Weasley to be caught near my office." Severus had made sure to fill out all the detention reports for any detention he assigned.
Minerva gave a slight half-grin. "I can actually show she earns detentions at least three times a week for the offense."
"I will sue you for slander! Defaming my niece like this." Molly went to continue but Arthur stopped her. "Albus, do something."
"Molly, it's not slander if they have the detention reports." Arthur looked a lot older. "I won't sign off on a marriage contract to Severus."
"What? That's not fair." Scarlet stood up. "I'm entitled to have my fun. I'm not married to him yet."
"Exactly. Why shouldn't they bond with us? There should be a law against what they want to do. The Ministry shouldn't allow this disgraceful behavior. Headmaster, you can't that deviant behavior here at Hogwarts." Granger was waving her hand in Severus and Nicolae's direction. "They should be ashamed of themselves."
"Is she for real?" Charlie Weasley asked his brother, Bill. The Weasley family knew that Charlie was gay. The wizarding world didn't care.
"It's sick. They need help." Granger looked at Severus and Nicolae. "Though it does explain why they are dark. It's clearly a dark thing."
"I'm not dark and I know my boyfriend isn't." Charlie stood up. "It's bigoted people like you that are ruining the muggle world."
"Where in the world did you get that idea from?" Numerous voice asked Granger.
"It's wrong. It goes against nature. It says so in the Bible. The church tells us that." Granger started rummaging in her satchel. She pulled out a Bible. "It's all in here."
"For the brightest witch of her generation, she is incredibly stupid. Did you learn anything about our culture in all your years here at Hogwarts? Albus is gay, too." Charlie looked at his parents. "Aren't you going to say anything?"
"I think they are in shock over her words." Bill wasn't sure why his brother Ron wasn't here but knew the twins were at the store.
"You have an issue with people being gay?" Arthur finally managed to say. He looked at Dumbledore. "Did you know this?"
"Yes, I did but it's not an issue. I believe the matches would assist Severus and Nicolae. We do need to start to adapt to the muggle world. We have to blend in."
"It's fine for you to be gay but you're willing to force two men who are gay into a straight bonding?" Charlie looked surprised as did a few other members.
"What were you planning for me?" Kingsley asked. "You know I'm gay and in a relationship."
"You and Nymphadora would make a good match. Since Remus and Sirius aren't with us any longer, Nymphadora needs someone to marry."
"What? How did I get dragged into this?" Tonks looked around. "No offense, Kingsley, but I don't want to marry you."
"None taken. I don't want to marry you, either." Kingsley had planned on staying quiet on the issue but he wasn't happy with being dragged into this mess.
"You have everyone getting bonded? Am I on the list?" Minerva was trying to hide her surprise at what Dumbledore was doing. Forcing people to get married against their wills.
"I was going to ask you." Dumbledore admitted. He pulled out a stack of parchment. "I have a contract matching all the single people in the Order together."
"I'm done." Charlie stood up. "You have my notice. I'm not aiding the Order any longer."
Nicolae picked up the stack of contracts. He skimmed through them as numerous people were yelling among themselves. He nudged Severus. In the contract, all the contracts listed who was to be in charge of the money, and it was Dumbledore. "Why are you in charge of the finances on each contract?"
"What?" Suddenly the contracts were snatched out of his hands as everyone started to read them. Nicolae and Severus hid their smirks as Dumbledore tried to regroup.
Severus was watching Nicolae. The man was rereading the copies of all the marriage contracts. Nicolae had made the copies while the group had been arguing. The arguing ended when Minerva cast a silencing spell. Minerva dismissed everyone, telling them she would deal with Dumbledore and that no one was getting bonded. Severus had reviewed the contracts but was now trying to read his potion journal. The contracts were pretty straightforward on the main parts. Nothing that, unless you were a barrister, would object too until you read the fine print.
"Well, he really tried to take control. Not only the financial aspect but he has a lot buried in the smaller print that would grant him control over any seats, even use of any title, and included in here he would be in charge of any children anyone had. He even included that we would be required to produce at least three." Nicolae made a face, shuddered. "Scarlet Weasley. The idea of even being in the same room as her or Granger makes me sick."
"Is anything we can use against him?" Severus gave up trying to read his journal. He laid it down on the table. He felt the same way regarding the girls. He already had a base potion he was going to work on tomorrow. The two of them were going to experience weight gain, acne, cramps and anything else Severus could dream up without Poppy thinking it was because of a potion.
"No, it will make him look bad to a few but with his grandfather kindly act, he will just use I was doing it for the greater good. Nothing illegal in drawing up marriage contracts. However, I'm wondering what or who is going to try and get to marry those two." Nicolae's voice held pity for anyone they would be marrying.
Severus began to review people that Dumbledore might use. "Unless he gets some people incoming to Hogwarts, he doesn't have anyone left. Is there anyone in the Ministry we get assigned here? He might be willing to hire them if we suggest them."
"No, Lucius is making sure no one can be assigned here. We might need to move some plans forward." Nicolae laid down the contracts. "Tomorrow, I will arrange for our engagement to be announced by the end of the week."
"The Dark Lord?" Severus wasn't worried about their plans but he also didn't want to get cursed by the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord believed that Nicholae wanted Severus but he wasn't sure how the Dark Lord would feel about Severus and Nicolae being bonded.
"Is aware of the plot by Dumbledore. I was able to message Lucius to inform the Dark Lord of what has occurred and what we did to counter it. However, even if Dumbledore didn't do this move, I still want us to bond."
"I know." Severus didn't doubt that. Nicolae didn't do anything he didn't want to do. Severus knew if Nicolae had wanted to rush him, he would have, but instead, Nicolae allowed Severus to move at his own pace. They were already mated, bonding wasn't necessary. Severus felt honored that Nicolae wanted to bond with him. Severus gave him a slight smile. They hadn't spent the night in bed but Severus spent a lot of time in the shower. They shared quarters and he didn't care what others thought but he felt honored that Nicolae didn't pressure him to move forward in their relationship and let Severus move their relationship at a pace he felt comfortable at.
Severus entered quarters to find Lucius waiting for him. He looked around for Nicolae. "He had to go and prevent Dumbledore's idiots from ruining another plan. Dumbledore gave Tonks, Kingsley, and Mad-Eye orders about looking into some clubs tonight after they reported their failed mission from last night. He found out about an hour ago." Lucius had come in through the floo so Dumbledore wouldn't know he was here.
"Great, so they pissed off more people." Severus wondered if anyone in the Order had brains that didn't work in a hive mentality. "I swear he picks the biggest nutcases and they recruit the fanatics." Mad-Eye had recruited Kingsley, Tonks, and a few of the other Aurors. He was still wondering why Kingsley and Tonks were even members of the Order.
"Granger or the female Weasley? I can smell that awful perfume from over here." Lucius wondered if the girls had a sense of smell. The stuff smelled worse than old lady perfume. "Cheap stuff going by how flowery it is."
"Granger. She tried to use a lust potion in my cup of tea when I was on break and went to the staff room. The idiot thought it worked and showed up in my office less than fully dressed. I believe the plan was to find me in a tryst with her while the red-haired harlot took the photos." Severus wondered why they thought it would work. He knew Dumbledore wasn't aware of their plot as the man would have informed them that he could be able to tell a potion was added to his tea. Severus also checked everything he didn't make himself.
"Nicolae is going to kill them." Lucius watched a slow grin appear on Severus' face. "Is that why you haven't changed?"
"Actually I was thinking, if it's possible, to use it against them? I have the teacup, the potion residue is there." Severus sat down. "It's an added bonus that he will kill them. They are useless."
"It won't hold up in court but it would ruin their name later. Dumbledore would also take a hit on that aspect since he is strongly linked to them. However, unless you can prove they put it in the cup. Dumbledore would use the other occasions that Granger or Weasley have been less than subtle." Lucius smirked. "The Dark Lord would love that, it would confirm to him that both of you are willing to do anything to destroy Dumbledore."
"He has doubts?" Severus knew they needed the Dark Lord to believe in them. The Dark Lord couldn't have any doubts about their actions.
"No, but we know those like Bella like to whisper in his ear. The more action he sees, the less he will listen to Bella. He knows she is jealous. I have been hinting at her being more interested in the power of his wife will give her." Lucius cast a quick privacy charm. "Rookwood, Rowle, and Parkinson are behind us. Rookwood slipped me some information that Dumbledore was looking at." Lucius pointed to a stack of books on the table.
Severus looked at the titles. "Mastering Soul Magic? Harpo the Foul? The Darkest Hours?"
"I think it might have something to do with that Vow but I'm not sure."
Severus picked up the books. "You think this is why Dumbledore is so insistent on finding Harry Potter? Something to do with that night? He might be aware."
"I believe so. Rookwood told me that Dumbledore was trying to find more books. He only went to the DoM because he can't get into the older libraries like the Potters since he lost control over the accounts." Lucius had read through the books but he knew more research was needed.
"The only people who truly know what happened that night are the Dark Lord and Nicolae." Severus knew exactly what Nicolae remembered and it wasn't pleasant.
"I am wondering if it had to do with the things he gave me and Bella." Lucius quickly explained about the book and how Bella liked to brag about the Dark Lord giving her something special.
"I will explain to Nicolae that we have some interest. We don't need anyone nosing around in our business" Severus made a face as he inhaled. "I need to get out of these clothes. Burning them might be a good idea." Severus headed to his bedroom. At the door. "Does Narcissa have any idea of what the item might be? I don't want to break the Vow we took in the Dark Lord's office."
"I haven't spoken to her about it but from what I got from that book it will be easy to figure out unless we act." Lucius waved his hand. "Go change, that odor is going to linger."
Severus knew Nicolae was going to add his own version of torments to the two girls. He closed the bedroom door, missing Nicolae arriving.
"What is that stink?" Nicolae put his hand over his nose.
"I think I will leave that to Severus to explain." Lucius pointed to the books. "I explained to Severus what they were about."
"You need to start at the beginning." Severus stepped into the room with a pair of tight-fitting black jeans and a black silk shirt. He noticed the look that Nicolae gave him. Severus was going to be buying a lot more jeans.
"First explain this nasty smell." Nicolae knew it had something to do with the two harlots who he was going to kill if they did anything to Severus.
"Perhaps after I leave. I don't want to be the witness." Lucius watched Nicolae as the man processed what must have happened. He admired the man's control over his emotions. He thought Severus' control was good, Severus was an opened book compared to Nicolae.
"Explain the books and why you're here." Nicolae pulled Severus toward him. Severus went willingly and sat next to Nicolae. Nicolae eyed Severus. Lucius wasn't offended as he understood the need to protect a mate. He knew who his mate was but Narcissa was covering for him until Dumbledore was out of power. She was his best friend.
"The smell is more annoying than what happened." Severus quietly explained as Lucius picked up the books.
Lucius explained everything. Nicolae didn't speak for several minutes. "Leave it to Dumbledore to ruin a good thing. We will have to figure out what he knows or thinks he knows. We might have to work on alternative plans just in case Dumbledore goes into different areas where we don't want him to head."
"I believe we have time. Dumbledore is still researching and the Dark Lord has no idea Dumbledore is looking for anything. Anything you want me to confirm or deny with the Dark Lord?"
"Yes, actually lead him to keep believing that Dumbledore is losing it. Use those fake marriage contracts, along with our announcement. Let's keep the books and Dumbledore's hunting for a wee bit. The Dark Lord might come in handy for distracting Dumbledore later if we need it."
"Rita?" Lucius knew Rita would have fun with the article.
"Have her do her usual twists. I will post the announcement on Friday to be announced on Saturday." Nicolae glanced at Severus.
"Rita should also include some articles about the girls' behavior." Severus knew that would help eliminate the girls' chances of getting apprenticeships in Hogwarts. "Dumbledore really wants them to remain at Hogwarts."
"I will work on the Board too. The only way around that is if he gets them bonded to someone here. Is there anyone he might use?"
"No, Minerva refused, leaving Sybill. Filius and the rest are bonded." Severus even thought of students but if they bonded to a student, they wouldn't be able to remain, he began to review the rules. "There aren't any students who are heirs so unless the parents paid for the two of them to remain here with their husbands-"
"He might wave the fees, I will have to make sure that doesn't happen." Lucius looked at Severus. "Who might he use."
"Let me write their names down. They would be in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor, not too many in Hufflepuff that would be old enough or rich enough." Severus got some parchment and began to make the list. "The ones with the stars aren't known Dumbledore supporters."
"I will work on on the list. I believe rumors will also help. Narcissa can handle that aspect, she has been eager to assist. I best be going. I don't want Bella to question why I was gone for so long."
"Now explain about the foul smell." Nicolae had Severus wrapped in his arms.
"Granger tried to slip me a lust potion in my teacup. She showed up in my office after that barely dressed with the red-haired harlot ready to take pictures." Severus felt Nicolae tense. "Nothing happened but her cheap perfume getting on my clothes."
"She got close enough for her perfume to be on her clothes?"
"Yes, I thought it was one of my snakes coming to ask permission to use a lab. I had my back to the door as I was getting some potion ingredients out for my snakes. I turned as she entered my potion closet and she wrapped herself around my body as I pushed her to the floor. I saw the flash as Granger landed on the floor. However, the film was destroyed when I banished the film."
"I think it's time we up the potions."
"Good, I found one I want to try on them." Severus summoned the book. The book had numerous pieces of parchment sticking out of it. They were the potions that Severus had wanted to use on the duo.
Nicolae was cuddling with Severus. There was a fire going and they were sitting on the couch that faced the fireplace. Severus had pulled his mother's homemade afghan off of the couch for them to cuddle under. "You know why Lucius has those soul magic books?"
"No. I have read about Harpo the Foul. There wasn't anything mentioned about soul magic." Severus tilted his head up at Nicolae. "Wait, you mentioned the name when we met with the Dark Lord. You never discussed what it was about. I remember thinking you and he were having a private conversation."
"I did. Do you remember me mentioning I had some items kept safe? Something I took out of Bellatrix's vault?" Nicolae shifted a bit to get himself into a better position to give Severus a kiss.
"Yes." Severus always reviewed his day when he went to bed. He sorted out his memories, storing them in the appropriate areas in his mind. "If you knew of reasons for the books why didn't you inform Lucius?"
"We made a Vow. I couldn't. He made Lucius take the Vow but not you. I don't want to endanger Lucius with the information. While you and I have incredible shields due to our race, Veelas aren't known for having great shields. However, the Dark Lord made Horcruxes. He has absorbed them except for the ones in me and Nagini. It is why he isn't so insane. The man was crazy before he split his soul, the Horcruxes made him worse. Dumbledore's own actions didn't help either."
"It's a dark ritual where he murdered someone to fracture his soul. The first time, 50% and it splits in half each time. He was barely surviving with a soul. One more ritual, he might have turned into a dementor. I'm not sure if that is how they are created. Dementors are the darkest creatures and despite what Dumbledore and the Ministry promote, they do not feed off of bad memories. They feed off the soul of the individuals around them. A little each time they get near a victim. It's why the inmates of Azkaban are slightly crazier the longer they remain in Azkaban."
Severus remembered his time in Azkaban. It had taken him months to regain control over his emotions, to feel saner, and to feel safer. He had only been in there for a month. He couldn't imagine being in there for a decade. It certainly explained Sirius and Bellatrix. "How are we going to get rid of the Dark Lord if there are two Horcruxes?"
Nicolae smiled. "We will be killing Nagini. The snake is as insane as him. She has been modified by him to the point where I'm not sure how much of her is her original form. It will have to be the right time. Now, once Nagini is dead, he will basically be an earthbound spirit. We need to find a way to either bind his magic forever or get the Horcrux out of me. Tomorrow we will need to start reading those books that Lucius provided us."
"Is that why Dumbledore wants to find you? He has to know about the Horcruxes." Severus knew Dumbledore wanted Harry Potter to walk to his death as a way to defeat Voldemort. Dumbledore had never mentioned Horcruxes. He wondered what else Dumbledore had planned for his Order members. Severus' mind suddenly flashed to a discussion they had before Harry was to start Hogwarts. Dumbledore had made him promise when the time was correct he was to deliver some news to Harry. At the time, Severus had thought it was because Dumbledore didn't want to lose the grandfather and mentor image he believed he would create with Harry.
Severus had already promised to keep Harry grounded in reality. Dumbledore believed that Severus would keep the boy from getting a swollen head from all the attention he would receive when he returned to the wizarding world. Harry wasn't even aware of why he was getting the attention and Severus remembered how uncomfortable the boy was when the limelight was directed at him.
"What are you thinking so strongly about?"
Severus tilted his head a bit. "I was remembering what Dumbledore expected me to do when you first came to our world. How he expected me to keep you from getting a fat head. I never saw anyone so against being in the limelight. You never used your fame for anything. It confused me as it was in conflict with what Dumbledore told us about you. It wasn't until Minerva and I learned the truth that the pieces fell into place."
"I remember when Fenrir discovered who I was. He knew I wasn't human as a werewolf, he was aware from the very beginning. When he learned my name he was a bit afraid of Dumbledore discovering us. I had been unconscious for a month and we were in a cave. He quickly moved us to a safer spot and had wards put up. I don't think Dumbledore even realized I was gone by that time. When I was finally able to walk, Fenrir and I had a long talk. He was the one who found our kind. Everyone taught me what I didn't know. It was a lot of information. I felt so overwhelmed for at least two years."
"Dumbledore's offer to train Harry Potter is floccinaucinihilipilification."
"Exactly. Now enough talk of them. Have you decided what you want for a bonding ceremony?"
"Just us. Dumbledore is going to try and turn it into immoderate production. Granger is also going to do immoderate because she loathes the idea of being rejected. I pulled some quotes to counter anything she might present as a reason to deny our bonding. Scarlet will be brazen and turn it into a dramatic show of the scorned lover."
Nicolae sighed. "I do agree. We can't do our bonding without witnesses. I would love to do it in front of the clan and we will at a later date. Dumbledore rushed to the Ministry earlier today. I believe he is going to try to prevent our bonding. I have several people in that department to alert us if he does."
"I ordered new robes for us. I wanted to save the traditional bonding robes for when we bond in front of our clan."
"Excellent." Nicolae kissed Severus again. "I can't wait until I can claim you."
Dumbledore threw the stack of parchment across the room. It rained parchment for a bit before he sat down in his chair. He had no way of forcing the girls into a marriage with Severus or Nicolae. He couldn't keep them at Hogwarts. He wanted them here for when he found Harry Potter. He couldn't trust Ron to guide Harry to the light. He needed to have Scarlet or Hermione marry the boy. He would prefer Hermione as she was more obedient to him. Scarlet would get herself disgraced. She was too quick to show a male how much she loved him.
He also needed to find a way to secure his hold on his Order members. Some were not attending meetings any longer. Others had left. He knew one more outburst by Ron might force Kingsley, Tonks, and a few others to leave. They weren't thrilled with the racist' rants. His biggest concern was Minerva. She had never spoken against him until she discovered the abuse of Harry. Now, she was ready to leave the Order if a better option appeared on the horizon. It was only a matter of time before another group formed.
Dumbledore wasn't about to lose any more power. It had taken him decaded to achieve what power he had and it has been slowly stripped away. He wasn't happy with the ICW and Board changing Hogwarts. He needed Harry Potter to kill Voldemort so he could get back his power base and rule the British magical world again.
Nicolae knew if he saw Dumbledore at this current moment he would kill the man. For the last three nights, Dumbledore had kept Severus busy with emergency potions requirements for people outside of Hogwarts leaving Severus without a way to confirm Dumbledore's patients. Nicolae was kept busy with cleaning up the messes the few Order members were creating while fending off Scarlet Weasley during the day. The girl tried to trap him in his office or classroom and pretended to need assistance while trying to seduce him by wearing revealing blouses and skirts that just make the school's requirement of mid-thigh. Technically, the requirement was above the knee but it was for only the uniforms and the mid-thigh was a suggested length for casual wear at the school.
Nicolae was tired. He was almost time for his morning alarm to go off. He had been up for over twenty-four hours. He knew it wasn't over as he expected Dumbledore would be calling an Order meeting as soon as he heard the latest news. It didn't mean he still didn't want to kill Dumbledore if he saw him. He bypassed their quarters and headed to Severus' lab hoping the man hadn't been up all night brewing.
Nicolae was relieved to find the potion lab empty. Since it was Friday, Severus would be able to sleep after his first and only class of the day. He had classes until noon. He had hoped to spend a bit of time with Severus at some point before Dumbledore called another meeting but Dumbledore messed up that plan. However, the next meeting was certainly going to be interesting. He took care of his Scarlet problem. He turned around and headed back to their quarters only to see Severus heading out. "Severus?"
Severus turned with the look of relief on his face. He held up his hand indicating for Nicolae to stop walking. When Nicolae did, Severus went up the stairs to the main level Hogwarts. Shortly, he returned and walked to where Nicolae was standing. "Dumbledore just called a meeting. I was delaying my arrival as long as I could since I wasn't sure when you would arrive." Severus held up Nicolae's robes.
Nicolae cast a quick refresh charm on his clothes as Severus handed him his professor robes. "Did he notice I was gone?"
"No. He was a bit strange last night. He seemed distracted and stressed about something." Severus had endured Dumbledore arriving in his lab during the last three nights at odd times. Dumbledore would do idle chit chat usually regarding the potion for about two or three questions then the real reason was the next topic. They started walking toward Dumbledore's office
"Yes, I can tell you the full story later. How many times did he visit with you?" Nicolae yawned a bit.
"He only showed up only one time instead of almost every hour until I delivered the potions he claimed he needed." Since it was so early none of the students were up but that didn't mean Dumbledore or some Order members weren't. It seemed as if some of them had moved into the castle. They had found Vance by their quarters yesterday. She made up some excuse of needing a healing potion from Severus.
"What potion did you make for him last night?" Nicolae was hoping Severus got some sleep. He knew he was going to crash once the meeting was over.
Severus grinned. "He wanted an Angel's Trumpet Draught." Nicolae frowned as he tried to figure out what the potion was. "It's for curing a disease that doesn't even exist any longer. Dumbledore must have picked it out of an old healer's book. It's for Rinderpest which is an infectious disease of ruminants, especially cattle, caused by a paramyxovirus."
"That is certainly an interesting choice."
"Yes, it is. The night before was The Scintillation Solution which is a potion of unknown effect. Z. Nettles, a witch who took the Kwikspell course, wrote a testimonial for the company which stated that taking their course had improved her poor potion-making skills to such an extent that all her friends desperately wanted to know how she made her Scintillation Solution. It's just a bunch of useless ingredients tossed together that actually does nothing but clean out your system a lot faster than anyone would expect. The first night was the one I wonder about. It was a The Rejuicing Potion. It was produced by famous Herbologist Tilden Toots to treat a dead plant. Six drops of it combined with three drops of Toots's Regerminator are sufficient to revive a dead Flitterbloom."
"You charged him for making them?"
"Yes, tripled the price of the ingredients and charged by him by the hour and threatened him last night to charge him three times as much if he came up with another potion tonight." Severus wanted to spend some time with Nicolae and knew Dumbledore was attempting to keep them apart in order to get either of them caught in a difficult position. One that would force them into a marriage. Severus stopped Nicolae from walking by putting his hand on Nicolae's right arm. They were close to an open area on the fifth floor that they could see if anyone was close enough to hear them speaking. "You know why we are meeting this early?"
"Yes, and you will enjoy it." Nicolae smiled. Severus arched a brow. "If I gave you a hint it would ruin the surprise."
Severus was now looking forward to attending the meeting. He walked a bit faster toward Dumbledore's office and ignored Nicolae's knowing laughter.
When they entered Dumbledore's office they were a bit surprised to find just Dumbledore, Granger, Minerva, and Molly Weasley. They sat down as they had entered during one of Molly's rants. Molly was going on about muggles, unjustified, and some dark plot.
"Oh, Molly, do cease speaking." Minerva looked annoyed. "If you would allow Albus to speak we might be able to find a solution once we all know what the problem is." Minerva was dressed in her normal teaching robes but she was wearing her slippers.
Molly huffed as she looked at Dumbledore. "This is beyond compare, Albus. I shouldn't be subjected to this type of abuse."
"Merlin, it's too early for this." Minerva looked at Dumbledore. "Albus, either explain the problem or I am going to go back to bed and get another two hours of sleep."
Dumbledore sighed. "Molly, please sit down. It's been a long night. I'm not as young as I used to be and need some sleep too."
"Fine." Molly snapped and crossed her arms. "It's not like don't have a reason to be upset."
At Dumbledore's stern look she meekly sat down. He ran his hands down his beard before placing on his desk. Under his hands was a thick pile of muggle paper. He looked unsure of how to start before finally speaking. "Scarlet is in HMP Barlinnie in Riddrie which is northeast of Glasgow. She has already been charged and later today she will be assessed regarding her mental capacities. They are suggesting that she needs to be admitted to the State Hospital in South Lanarkshire but it hasn't been officially decided. I visited the place in hopes of being able to retrieve her from there. However, it's a high-security facility as well as Barlinnie. I tried to visit her last night to discover what I could do, I couldn't gain admittance which creates an issue."
Minerva's eye popped opened as Dumbledore was speaking. "How, what happened?"
"I'm afraid I am not exactly sure." Dumbledore held up the stack of papers he had. "It says she was violent, attacked three police officers, talked about magic and wizards saying that if she had her wand they would be sorry. She also was screaming about how some gentleman called her a few choice names that I won't be mentioning. The police officers were attempting to calm her down when she kicked one in the shins as she slapped another one. As they tried to arrest her, she broke an officer's foot when she kept slamming her high heel into the top of his foot. She left huge scratches on the other two. Hermione, can you provide us with some answers?"
Granger was staring at the floor. "We were going to different clubs to look for Harry. Scarlet had men buying her drinks. She was also buying her own drinks." Granger looked up. "I wasn't there when she was arrested. I had escorted her home because she was drunk. I didn't know she went back out. When I didn't hear from her the next day, I thought she was recovering from her hangover and was mad at me for taking her home. She wanted to remain and speak to one of the men in the last club we were at."
"How did she buy her own drinks she isn't eighteen." Severus wondered what Dumbledore did. Granger was eighteen but Scarlet wasn't even eighteen as of yet. She still had nine months before she turned eighteen. Granger looked guilty for about a minute and no one could hear her answer. "What?"
"I created a valid driver's license for her to use. I warned her about drinking but we needed her to be able to get into some of the eighteen and over clubs." Granger's face turned a bit red.
"How soon can you retrieve her?" Minerva looked at Dumbledore.
"She has her bail hearing on Monday. They want to suggest a mental health exam and a compulsory stay at the State Hospital. If the judge agrees it will be twenty-eight days according to the Mental Health Act. They gave me some copies of the guidelines. They are keeping Scarlet because she is considered violent and very aggressive as well as the mentioning of magic and wizards."
"She was drunk. Perhaps it could be her defense." Granger suggested.
"I'm not sure it is. There is going to be some type of Tribunal hearing that is meeting to decide later today and they will submit their findings to the judge for the bail hearing." Dumbledore inhaled deeply and let out a slow breath. "We need to find a barrister for her. They will provide one but we need a wizard or squib to aid her."
"If she is transferred to this State Hospital, what does it mean for her?" Molly timidly asked.
"According to what I was told, she will be required to stay for at least twenty-eight days while they determine if truly a danger and what medicines they might need to control her aggression and something about a psychiatrist." Dumbledore frowned at the word. "I think I said it correctly. The officer I spoke too said it a lot."
"You did. It's like a mind healer." Granger quietly added.
"Thank you, Hermione. There will be a lawyer, and another person like a nurse or social worker, not exactly sure what they are at this Tribunal. They said someone with personal experience of mental illness will be there to speak for Scarlet."
"A nurse is someone trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital." Severus wondered how Dumbledore could function in the muggle world if he didn't know what a nurse was. "A social worker is someone trained in helping to alleviate the conditions of those in need of help or welfare."
"I see. We might need to find these people and get Order members to portray them using Poly-Juice." Dumbledore looked happy that he found a solution.
"Albus, these people are highly trained and no one in the Order would know how to get Scarlet released because they wouldn't know the laws, the correct terms, or even the basics of what would constitute compulsory care and treatment of anyone with a mental disorder."
"Severus is correct, Albus." Minerva sat a bit straighter. "This is your fault. I warned you, Severus warned you, Kingsley warned you, and Nicolae warned you about allowing Hermione and Scarlet to go and search for Harry in those clubs. The dangers that lurk in some of those clubs could have gotten them killed because Scarlet was too drunk to be able to react."
Dumbledore looked abashed but the look faded quickly. "We must think of something. The papers said-"
"Albus, just read the papers out loud it might be easier than explaining them." Minerva was not in the mood for Dumbledore's games. She felt that Dumbledore was going to pick and choose what to inform them of in hopes of them aiding him something hare-brained scheme like his Poly-Juice scheme.
"It might help us to figure out what to do." Molly added.
Dumbledore picked up the paper. "Fine. The Tribunal is an independent organization set up to make decisions on the compulsory care and treatment of people with mental disorders in Scotland. The Tribunal has a President and 300 members around Scotland. If you have a Tribunal meeting there will be a group of three people - a doctor (psychiatrist), a lawyer, and another person with relevant skills and experience, e.g. a nurse, social worker, or someone with personal experience of mental illness, learning disability, dementia or related conditions. A Tribunal meeting is often called a hearing. The Tribunal must hear and read all the information about you and your case. They then decide what to do about your care and treatment."
"Albus, we don't need to cover that as you did already." Minerva arched her brows at Dumbledore almost daring him to disagree with her.
"A doctor with experience in diagnosing and treating a mental disorder (a psychiatrist), who has examined you, may grant a short-term detention certificate where he/she believes it is likely that you have a mental disorder your ability to make decisions about medical treatment is significantly impaired, as a result of your mental disorder. It is necessary to detain you in the hospital to help decide what medical treatment you need and to give you that treatment and if you were not detained in hospital, there would be a significant risk to you, or to other people then they will granting a short-term detention certificate if necessary. Before granting the certificate, the doctor must consult a mental health officer (MHO) and get his/her agreement. Before deciding whether to agree to the certificate, the MHO should see you and discuss matters with you, unless there is a good reason why they cannot do this. This is before going to the Tribunal who will review everything." Dumbledore looked up before returning his gaze to the papers. "If you are already in a hospital when the certificate is granted, you can be kept there under the certificate for up to 28 days. If you are not in the hospital they have 72 hours to transfer you to one."
"Can she be held longer?" Molly asked.
"It doesn't say. We will need to ask the lawyer or barrister depending on what they decide on Monday." Dumbledore placed the papers on his desk. "I got a list of bail bonds if they will allow her bail."
"What do you expect us to do?" Severus looked at Dumbledore.
"I'm not sure now that I realize how many people are involved in this case that are muggles, the high security, and without knowing where she is we can't apparite to her." Dumbledore frowned a bit. "Even if we got her out, we have no way of knowing who knows about her, where they stored any information on her. I saw a lot of file cabinets as well as some weird typewriters and humming boxes."
"Did they say when we could see her?" Molly had some tears in her eyes. "She must think we have abandoned her."
"After the bail hearing, I was informed." Dumbledore looked at Nicolae. "Nicolae, can you do anything?"
"Like what? You said you don't know where she is, exactly." Nicolae had been restraining himself from killing Dumbledore. Every time the man opened his mouth he wanted to snap his neck. He was tired and didn't want to deal with Dumbledore and his dramas. He had spent the past few nights fixing the messes the Order members had created in their search for Harry Potter.
"Vampires also don't show up on cameras and they will be looking at him and seeing he is not on camera." Granger sighed deeply. "I should have made sure she made it into the house."
"It's not your fault." Dumbledore reassured Granger but everyone saw the look of disagreement on Molly's face. "We probably should suspend the bonding ceremony until another time. We have a lot on our plates."
"You do not need to attend but it's not being canceled." Severus wasn't about to allow Dumbledore to control his marriage even before he was married.
"Severus, surely you realize how important this situation is."
"A situation neither Nicolae or I can do a thing about. You or Molly do have the abilities to handle the details of hiring a lawyer and barrister. I have already made all the arrangements for our bonding and we are not changing the date or time." Severus could feel the anger emanating from Nicolae. He wondered how many times Nicolae must have resisted the urge to kill Dumbledore. Severus had many years of practice dealing with Dumbledore.
"Honestly, Albus, we have enough drama here that if we canceled events because of it there wouldn't be events." Minerva stood up. "I'm going back to my quarters. You were the one who wanted them to check the clubs, you can fix it."
Severus and Nicolae also stood up. "I agree." Severus wanted to get Nicolae out of Dumbledore's office before he killed Dumbledore. Severus headed for the door, Nicolae followed behind with Minerva.
One the three of them were away from the Gargoyle, Minerva spoke. "Don't let him talk you into delaying. He will try again."
"We won't. I'm aware of his little games." Severus also knew Dumbledore would try to blackmail him if he got Severus alone.
"Good. Since it's too late to go back to sleep, I believe I will order some tea." Minerva walked a few paces, turned back toward them. "He has other things planned, I feel before you are bonded, be careful."
"Always." Severus felt Nicolae hand on his arm. He gave a slight nod of understanding and they started to walk back to their quarters.
Severus and Nicolae returned to their quarters in the hopes of being able to get some sleep. They had avoided seeing Dumbledore and Granger each time either of them attempted to intercept them. Severus had to restrain his mate a few times he smelled Granger. Granger reeked of heavy perfume and Severus didn't even want to see what she was wearing. Once they were finally in their quarters, Nicolae finally calmed down his inner dragon and relaxed. "No killing of Dumbledore's idiotic minions."
"Yet." Nicolae replied before giving Severus a kiss. Nicolae wished he hadn't returned to Hogwarts. He wished he had just kept ignoring the wizarding world. Yes, it wouldn't have solved anything but he was so tired and just want his mate. He also didn't want to rush through any aspect of their plans because of his own desires or lack of sleep.
"Technicalities." Severus sighed deeply. "I'm wondering why he was even here today. I would have thought he would have been dealing with the legal situation of the other harlot."
Nicolae groaned. "I hope he didn't do what I am thinking he might have done."
Severus' eyes went a bit big. "You think he left it in the hands of Molly or Arthur?" Molly and Arthur would be sitting next to Scarlet in any institute. Molly might be actually placed in jail while Arthur sat next to Scarlet. Molly couldn't keep her mouth shut. Arthur would be asking a thousand questions including his question about rubber ducks.
"Yes or worse, Mad-Eye." Nicolae shook his head. "I have a feeling Molly Weasley has been very vocal about Scarlet and the situation. I am willing to bet the evening edition of the paper will be very revealing. Rita will certainly have a few interesting things to write about."
"We have to warn Lucius. Any Death Eater would run to the Dark Lord and inform him about Molly and Scarlet as soon as possible. The Dark Lord will hear the rumors and Lucius will need to be aware of the truth." Severus headed to his desk to write a coded letter to Lucius. It would give the facts that they were aware of as well as explain that Molly needed to hire a lawyer. Lucius studied muggle law and would be able to fill in the legal aspect that the Dark Lord would want. A trusted house-elf would be able to deliver the letter to Lucius. Lucius would need to report to the Dark Lord directly from the Ministry or he would be in danger and they didn't want Lucius to be doubted by the Dark Lord. "Any spies he has in Hogsmeade will be able to verify Dumbledore hasn't left Hogwarts."
"I will inform Fenrir later but let's get some sleep before Dumbledore decides to hold another meeting." Nicolae yawned. "Dumbledore is also going to keep you here to stop our bonding."
"He can try but it won't work. Now stop your worrying, go and get some sleep. I am going to go to my own bed and sleep for a few hours." Severus believed they would both be worrying until they were bonded.
Severus didn't want to get out of bed but also didn't want to have put up with Dumbledore coming down to his quarters. Blood was hard to get out of fabric and he liked his furniture. He wasn't sure who would kill Dumbledore first, him or Nicolae if Dumbledore mentioned bonding to Granger one more time. Severus sat up in bed feeling even like the nap only made his lack of sleep appear worse. He couldn't take another potion since he had reached the recommended dosage earlier in the week thanks to Dumbledore.
He could hear Nicolae already walking around. He hadn't realized how he had been denying himself by not using his inner dragon. The awakening of those senses was confusing and created some conflict inside of his body. The careful self-presentation side was in conflict with a sense of peace that his dragon provided. He wasn't used to having others of his kind around him since his parents died so the wall he had built up keeping wizards away was very resistant to Nicolae's presence but at the same time his body and mind took pleasure in Nicolae being around him. The wall fell completely when he was acknowledged that Nicolae would keep his promise and not push their mating relationship.
Severus found his inner peace. A peace his parent spoke about but he never thought he would obtain. At Hogwarts as a student, he hid so much because of the Marauders. He never really told his best friend, Lily, about the fact that he was a Raxtus. He told her stories about them, most of the stories were stories about their history, and Lily enjoyed listening to the stories. When he joined the Death Eaters, he never revealed he was anything but a wizard and he certainly never revealed it to Dumbledore. He was used to hiding who he was, Nicolae was the first person to brush his hair away from his face to actually look at him. Nicolae woke his dragon side up and taught him how to be Raxtus.
He heard Nicolae in the kitchenette making come coffee. He was aware of who the coffee was for and smiled to himself. He wasn't sure how much sleep Nicolae actually got but they had a lot to do thanks to the Order and Dumbledore's lack of organizational skills. Why the man believed children should be involved in a war was beyond comprehension in his mind. Children that didn't even have half the training that pure-blood children received if you excluded the youngest Weasleys. He was still a bit puzzled by the difference of abilities between the younger Weasley and the younger ones. The twins hid their potential but as much as he hated to admit it, they were masterful brewers, shrewd businessmen, and keen observers. The youngest male Weasley was an all-around idiot. Well, each family needed an example of what not to be and Ronald Weasley was it as well as their cousin, Scarlet.
Severus dragged himself out of bed. He glanced longingly back at his bed as he headed to his washroom to get ready for dinner in the Great Hall. He almost headed back to bed as he remembered that Molly Weasley was most likely at the Ministry today and what that would mean for everyone who was involved on either side of the war. Dumbledore was going to drag them into an Order meeting in some weird attempt to salvage whatever mess Molly created. He was actually looking forward to the evening edition of the Prophet even if it meant having to clean up whatever mess she might have created.
Nicolae handed Severus a cup of coffee as he exited his bedroom. "Dumbledore was here earlier. He wanted to see you, I refused to wake you up."
"Did he say what he wanted?" Dumbledore must have woken Nicolae up.
Nicolae pointed to parchment on the center of Severus' desk. "He dropped a list of potions off. I glanced at the list but didn't recognize them."
Severus walked to his desk, skimming down the list as he sipped some of his coffee. "I am not making any of these. None of them have been used in over sixty years. Poppy has the updated versions." Nicolae walked into the kitchenette. "I don't have any chocolate in there." Nicolae peeked around the corner. "The house-elves will be restocking tomorrow." Severus walked closer and caressed Nicolae's face, Nicolae kissed the palm of his hand. "They did promise to leave us Treacle Tart for later. How much sleep did you get?"
"None. I was just about lay down when he knocked on the door and he wouldn't leave." Nicolae smiled at Severus. "I took one of your potions. I hadn't used one this week so I'm fine, I made sure to keep track."
"Let's head to the Great Hall." Severus felt pride that his mate listened to him. Many in the magical and muggle world believed that the word submissive meant that the dominate ruled in all aspects of the relationship and didn't realize that it was just like all relationships. Relationships were give and take, work, and they were always equal. Sometimes in relationships, one might have to give more or just be there in support.
"I am hoping the newspaper will provide some enjoyment. He didn't mention Molly when he visited but I'm sure there will be a meeting tonight."
"I am sure the Prophet will be up to its usual standard of reporting."
Nicolae didn't look at Severus as they entered the Great Hall. The seating was rearranged and Granger was sitting in the spot next to where Severus usually sat at the end of the table while the only other empty spot was on the other side of Dumbledore. Nicolae walked to where Severus sat and sat down. He glared at Granger daring the girl to say a word. Severus took the seat on the other side of Dumbledore. Granger looked down the table to where Dumbledore was as if expecting him to take care of the situation by demanding Nicolae move.
Dumbledore's eyes started twinkling as Severus sat down next to him. "Did you have a pleasant nap?"
"Excellent. I stopped by to see you earlier but Nicolae was a bit stubborn about not granting me access. I did leave him with some potions that are needed."
"I am aware. He informed me and I reviewed the list." Severus was going to be passing the list of potions to Poppy. Poppy would be able to handle Dumbledore and his new desire for potions, having them brewed, and the sudden influx of people needing potions.
"Wonderful. I'm sure Hermione will be able to assist and you will be able to retire earlier tonight." Dumbledore looked extremely pleased with himself as he turned and faced Granger sending her a reassuring smile. Minerva humphed. Nicolae growled and Granger moved a bit away from him.
Severus watched his snakes and the rest of the students until the evening edition of the Prophet arrived. He looked down at the front page and there was Molly Weasley on the front page with her mouth open in the atrium of the Ministry. You could see Arthur Weasley coming around the corner. The headline read:
MOLLY WEASLEY DEMANDS THE MINISTRY DO SOMETHING ABOUT MUGGLES TORTURING HER NIECE
Severus was thankful they warned Lucius. Voldemort was going to take advantage of this and he looked down the table. Nicolae was looking at him and nodded his head. They would need to met with Lucius later tonight. Fenrir and the other races would also have to be put on alert. They needed to know what Voldemort planned on doing or if they could keep the man from attacking any muggles for the time being. They didn't believe they would stop wizards from going after muggles thanks to this article.
"Minerva, Severus, a meeting of the old crowd is needed tonight." Dumbledore rose from his seat and left the Great Hall.
Minerva shook her head. "She really set the cat among the pigeons."
"Indeed." Severus was expecting Molly to create problems, he just wasn't expecting a full quagmire of epic proportions of problems from the woman.