Title: Meant to Be
Author: Draconn Malfoy
Summary: Harry has been in Azkaban for years. When he is finally set free,
he finds Dumbledore dead, Snape insane, Remus turned into a wolf, and Lucius
Malfoy a fugitive innocent of the murder he’s blamed for. When Sirius shows
up, though, many things are resolved.
Challenge: 45) Sirius Black cannot "move on" or so to speak before he fixes
the mess he made when he was alive. One of them is ruining Remus’ chance
with Severus. To make matter worse, no one can see or hear him but Harry.
How will the two of them cooperate to play matchmaker?
A/N: If this fic seems hurried, that is because it is indeed hurried. I’ve
never been one to write well long adventures, especially when the whole
story has to be finished before I can post it anywhere -- reviews have
always been my best inspiration. So, my apologies for that. I did my best,
but it couldn’t be helped.
...Now I’ve got my very own innocent-Harry-thrown-into-Azkaban fic, too.
Another one of the fanfic clichés covered. ^_^
Meant to Be
THUMB. Something, or rather someone, fell down... somewhere.
"Um... Where am I?" asked a voice after a moment of silence.
Silence was the only response to this inquiry.
"Where the hell am I?"
Again, nothing could be heard.
"I asked you, am I dead or alive? Is this the Heaven or the Hell? WHERE - AM
- I?" shouted the person.
This time, something replied, but it wasn’t a sound. Yet, although he didn’t
really hear anything, he knew exactly what was being said. ‘I don’t think
you’d like the answer.’
"Well, try at least," the person said irritably. "Go on. I want to know.
Where am I?"
‘You’re nowhere,’ came the mysterious response.
"Nowhere?" Now, the person was really confused. "What does that mean? Am I
"Alive, then?" Now, there was a hopeful tone in his voice.
‘Nope,’ came another curt reply.
"Where the HECK am I, then?" snapped the person... let’s say that it’s a
man. Easier that way. And true, even. So, we’ll get two birds with the same
stone. Pretty well done, eh?
"You said that already," the man pointed out.
‘Yes, I did.’
"I’m getting a bit angry," the man said with a deceivingly calm tone. "And
when I get angry, bad things usually begin to happen. So beware."
"Between what? Between life and death, eh?" asked the man dryly.
‘Kind of. Also, between the past and the future.’
"But that’s where we’re always," snorted the man. "Not the past, not the
future - the present."
"But five minutes ago my present certainly didn’t look like this," he
"Do you know what? I’m becoming a bit tired of you," the man announced.
‘I bet you are.’
"So please, stop."
Silence surrounded him again.
"I didn’t mean, stop talking. Stop irritating me. Tell me everything."
‘I’m only here to answer your questions. I can’t tell anything that you
"Oh, how great," the man said dryly. "Okay, then. How did I get here?"
‘You were supposed to die. To most of the world, you did.’
"So what do you mean saying, ‘supposed’?" The man’s tone was suspicious this
‘You can’t exactly move on yet.’
"So, am I allowed to reincarnate, then? I don’t think I’ve got enough karma
to become more than an ant - a very ugly and annoying ant."
‘This has as much in common with the whole karma thing as Auror job has with
hide-and-seek,’ the voice told him. ‘No, you aren’t allowed to reincarnate.
Just to... fix some things.’
"Great. So, what can I do to fix those things and move on?"
‘You can go back. You won’t be alive, though, but you won’t be a ghost,
either. You’ll be just... between. Some people can see you. You need those
people to help you.’
"Help me to do what?" the man asked. "What do I need to fix?"
‘What is your greatest shame?’ asked the voice. ‘What do you regret more
than anything else?’
"Letting Harry grow up alone," the man replied, sounding tired now. "It
wasn’t supposed to go that way. He was supposed to grow up with me."
‘No, he wasn’t. As sad as it is, everything went with Harry just like it was
supposed to go. You did nothing wrong there, just what you were meant to do.
What else do you regret?’
"I... I regret..." The man fell silent, shaking his head. "I don’t know.
Honestly, I don’t know."
‘Oh, yes, you do. You just don’t want to admit it.’
The man drew a deep breath. "Okay. I shouldn’t have spoiled Moony’s chances
with Snivellius. So, I don’t really regret it, but I guess I shouldn’t have
done that. So, is that what I need to fix?"
‘Exactly. Those two were always meant to be together. You spoiled that,’ the
voice told him. Then, after a small pause, it added, ‘Bad Padfoot. Very bad
"Har har. I’m dying of laughter, can’t you see?" snapped the man. "So, I
need to fix that. Great. Why? I bet they’re already rolling around in
Snape’s bed now that I’m not in the way anymore."
‘No, they aren’t. Neither ever dared approach the other in fear of being
rejected. And then, something... happened.’
"What happened? What do you mean?" The man was wary now. "It’s something
bad, isn’t it?"
‘I suppose you could say so.’ If mysterious voices in the middle of
nothingness could sigh, then this one certainly did. ‘Something happened
that was never meant to happen. To be exact... Harry won Voldemort. Okay, so
that was meant to be. But then, he was put into Azkaban.’
This certainly startled the man. "Harry? In Azkaban?" he shouted. "Who the
Hell did that?"
‘The Ministry framed him,’ the voice told him. ‘With the eager help of Albus
Dumbledore, of course.’
At this, the man was silent for a moment. Then, he sighed. "I guess I always
knew it," he said quietly. "Dumbledore’d do anything to get to his own ends,
‘Right. Anyway, when Remus and Snape found out that Dumbledore had framed
him, they threatened to tell everybody. Then the Headmaster did something
that drove them apart. Now, you are supposed to fix that.’
"How could I do that? And what did he do? Tell me something at least!"
yelled the man.
‘I can’t. You’ll find out when you arrive. It’ll be... Oh, yeah, about nine
years to your future. By that time, Harry will be free again. That should
help your work.’
"So I’m supposed to make sure that Remus gets together with Snivellius. You
know, even if that is meant to be, I still can’t really see it happening.
And I most certainly don’t want to see that happening."
‘Too bad for you. Are you going or not?’
"What’s the option?"
‘Nothing,’ brief the short answer.
"What do you mean with that?" the man inquired. "Dying or something like
that, or nothing-nothing?"
‘Nothing-nothing. You wouldn’t be dead, because you can’t move on. You’d be
"So I wouldn’t meet James or anything like that?"
‘No, you wouldn’t. James’s dead. You are not that, at least not yet,’ the
"But if I go, I’ll at least see Remus? Even if he can’t see me?"
‘You were going already when I told you could, weren’t you? All this chatter
"I wouldn’t be so sure about that," the man said, acting insulted.
‘I would. An adventure Sirius Black isn’t going to participate in? Never.’
"Oh, be that way, then. I wouldn’t call it an adventure, though. So, how am
I supposed to get out of here?"
‘Through the door behind you,’ the voice replied dryly.
The man turned around and truly saw a door. "Oh."
A long, deep silence fell again over them.
‘Well, what do you wait for?’ asked the voice, sounding irritated now. ‘Step
inside! This is the strangest adventure you’ll ever have! You have to do
this! You messed up the world, now go to fix it!’
"Sure," was all that the man said.
Another silence fell.
"Who are you?" asked the man then.
‘That I’m not allowed to tell you,’ was the only response he got from the
"If I start guessing names, will you tell me when I get it right?"
"Why not? And why can’t you tell me your name?" asked the man. He didn’t
sound irritated, though.
‘That wouldn’t be right. That would be against the Rules, you see.’
"James?" the man asked then, a bit hesitant.
‘Yes?’ came the instant reply.
"Will we ever meet again?" There was relief in the man’s voice this time for
having guessed right, as well as longing for something that was now far
beyond his reach.
‘You mean, after you die wholly?’ the voice asked. ‘After you’ve fixed your
"That’s exactly what I mean."
‘Of course we will. Nothing could keep us apart forever.’
Yet again, there was a silence. The man made no move to open the door.
‘Padfoot?’ the voice asked hesitantly.
"Prongs?" the man asked back.
‘...I miss you,’ came a quiet sigh.
"I miss you, too, Prongs."
Some sounds of steps echoed around. Somebody opened a door, stepped through,
and closed it. Then, there was nothing to be heard.
Then, a quiet, almost nonexistent whisper echoed through the nothingness. ‘I
miss you so...’
"Get up, you bastard," a cool voice spat. "It’s the time you get out of
The man in the small cell glared up at the form in the doorway. Then he
slowly stood up. Having forever left behind the days of innocence, a dark
shadow having fallen over his eyes, even with his short form he seemed to
tower over the other man. His ragged robes, long, tangled hair, and harsh
stubble took nothing away from his intimidating look as he glared at the
intruder of his relative peace.
"You’ve served your sentence," the guard continued. "Six full years --
although I think that’s still too little for you. Well, I assume they were
gentle to you because you are a hero." The last word was hissed with such
disgust and malice that it was more than clear just what was his opinion of
the possible truth behind it. No, he most certainly did not think that this
worn-out man was a hero.
"Give me my wand." The voice was raspy because it hadn’t been used in such a
long time. Still, the guard recognized it, and shivered. He had heard it a
thousand times, no, a ten thousand times and more. Once, it had been one of
the most beloved voices in his life -- the voice of his best friend. His
former best friend.
"Not yet, bastard." The red-haired guard smirked. "Not until you’re out of
here. We don’t want you to do anything nasty, you know." He waved his hand.
"Get moving if you want to get out. If you’re still here when the boat
leaves, you’ll stay here forever. You only get one chance at getting out of
here. No dallying."
Now, the prisoner took a step forward. With grim satisfaction he watched the
startled look on the guard’s face as the other man drew a wand and pointed
it at him. "Don’t come any nearer!" hissed the guard. "If you try anything,
I will kill you. I swear I will. It’s not like you didn’t deserve it, after
"Do not worry," the prisoner said dryly. "I have no desire to take one step
nearer to you."
He followed the guard through the empty stone corridors. The screams and
whimpers of the other prisoners caught his ears, and he smiled grimly. At
least he could leave this place at last.
The guard led him out of the prison and into the light of day for the first
time in years. Taking a deep breath, he glanced around, seeing a small boat
obviously waiting for him. His guard noticed what he was looking at and
snorted. "That’s what’ll take you over the sea," he said. "Then I’ll take
you to the Ministry, where you can get back your wand. And after that I
hopefully will never have to see you again."
Ah, yes. The new laws of the Ministry. A prisoner’s wand wasn’t snapped, as
that might slow down or even stop altogether their mental development --
like had happened to Sirius, who had never really got past his teenyears.
Now, he would get his wand back. Such a great consolation, that.
"Feelings mutual... Weasley," he said quietly. From the corner of his eye he
saw his former friend flinching. Well, that was good. He did deserve to
suffer for ever believing those suspecting him of the crime.
The travel in the boat was eventless. It was freezing, but nobody offered
him even a cloak. It didn’t matter; he was used to the coldness. There
hardly was any warmth in the cells of Azkaban.
Six years in Azkaban, innocent. Six years that would have driven anybody
else crazy -- but he had survived. Not even the Dementors could win the one
who had slain Lord Voldemort.
Yes, he had done it in the end. He had fulfilled the prophecy, done
everything that had been expected of him. He, Harry James Potter, the
Saviour of the Wizarding World, had been worshipped as a hero -- almost as a
god, or a new Merlin -- after he defeated the Dark Lord.
And shortly after that, they had thrown him into Azkaban for a crime he did
The images were spinning in Harry’s mind. He could only remember one thing,
one horrible day...
"...And has been deemed guilty of the crime." The judge fixed him a stern
glance. "However, as the defendant has also done great favours to the
society, we do not demand the worst possible sentence. Therefore, we
sentence one Harry James Potter for six years in Azkaban for the murder of a
Harry just stared in front of him. Six years in Azkaban. Sure, Azkaban would
never be the same now that the Dementors weren’t there, but still, six years
was a long time. Especially for a crime you haven’t committed. But who would
ever believe him? Nobody. Nobody believed him.
They thought he had snapped. True, a lot of power had passed through him in
the Final Battle, when he had finally managed to take Voldemort down, but
none of it had affected his mind, at least not permanently. Still, they
thought that he had snapped and murdered that girl.
She’d been only three. A wonderful little creature, so happy and cheerful.
He could have never hurt her in any way. And still, when all evidence
pointed at him, when all the witnesses were claiming it had been him, when
nobody believed him when he said he was innocent, sometimes... Sometimes he
doubted himself, too. Maybe he truly had snapped, and then denied it?
But he knew that wasn’t true. It hadn’t been him; he had been framed. And he
knew by whom.
His eyes now searched for one face in the crowd around him. Then he saw it:
a white beard, and wise, blue eyes. Those eyes were now full of
disappointment, a frown on the wrinkled face. However, what nobody but Harry
could see was the triumph that the eyes were also showing. The old
manipulative bastard was too clever to let that show, but it was still
there, if you knew what to look for. Well, he had truly accomplished
something. The Man Who Lived tossed into Azkaban. Splendid.
His eyes also met other faces, now genuinely disappointed or horrified ones.
Brown eyes, blue eyes, grey eyes... A pair of eyes after another, all were
staring at him with disappointment and anger. None of them believed him
innocent. They all thought he was a child-murderer.
Then, however, he noticed something. A pair of amber eyes was watching him
with sympathy. Ah, yes, this man. One of the only two people who had dared
to defend Harry, and who would no doubt pay for it very dearly. As Harry
watched him, Remus mouthed, ‘I still believe you.’
And then, another face. It was set onto a careful scowl of hatred and
disgust, but just like with Dumbledore, you could see the true emotions if
you knew what to look for. It was surprising that Snape would be the other
one of the two who believed him, but in a way, it made sense. Snape knew
better than well not to judge people by their looks only. At least that was
what Harry figured.
However, these two sympathetic faces were robbed from his sight as he was
forcefully turned around and pushed towards a door in the corner of the
courtroom. And so, he walked out of his former life, still feeling the
accusing gazes of his friends on his back.
Remus and Snape. That was it. Those were the only ones who had believed him;
those would be the ones he had to turn to if he wanted somebody to help him.
But where were they?
That he could find out later. Now, he had to get his wand. As soon as they
Portkeyed into the Ministry he set to get back his precious wand, the thing
that made him a wizard. Ignoring Ron’s hateful glare on his back, he headed
to the direction that had been showed to him. Behind a thick oak door he
found a room, and in the room he found a young witch behind a spotless
The witch raised her head as she heard the door being opened. "Yes?" she
asked, then gasped as she recognized him. Harry recognized her, too. The
unruly curls were now tamed onto thick waves going down her back and the
almost sickly thin body now had more curves to it, undoubtedly due to
maternity. However, the deep eyes of a soul far too old for her body were
"Good evening, Hermione," he said harshly, enjoying the effect his
out-of-use voice was having on her as she shivered at hearing it. "I was
told that I could get my wand back from here."
"You," she spat, shivering again. "So they actually let you free in the
end." She pushed her chair further away to get some more distance between
them. "Your wand, very well. Let’s see." Her own wand was waved in the air a
couple of times, her eyes all the time watching him as if she was expecting
him to attack her at any moment. A moment later, a wand-shaped box flew from
one of the shelves behind her back. Placing it on the table and backing down
again, she watched as he opened the box.
Harry picked up his wand, running his fingertips down its smooth surface. It
felt comforting and familiar, like he had got back a missing limb, or got
his sight back. And, in a way, this was a similar experience.
"Say, Hermione," the wizard said harshly, "do you have kids?" There was a
haunted look in his eyes.
"No, I don’t," the witch replied quickly. Too quickly, Harry noticed.
"You’re lying," he observed coldly. "They’re Ron’s, aren’t they? A herd of
new little Weasleys swarming around your feet. It must be so wonderful, to
have children of your own. Abso-fucking-lutely wonderful." Now, the haunted
look was replaced by a dangerous one. "Would you like to keep it that way?"
Now, she paled, taking a step backwards. "You wouldn’t," she said quietly.
"How would you know that?" asked Harry gloomily. "I said I was innocent back
then, but you didn’t believe me. Why don’t you now believe that I might be
capable of another child murder?"
Now, Hermione looked defeated, then angry and slightly fearful. "What do you
want?" she hissed.
"Just some information." Harry gave her a serious glance. "At first, I want
to know where Remus is. And, at second, I’d like to know where Snape is. I
know that you know where they are."
Now, the curly haired woman’s expression turned into a stony one. "I can’t
tell you where Remus is, for I do not know that," she said. "Nobody has seen
him for over five years. And as for Snape, well, I don’t think he’s of much
use to you." She laughed coolly. "He’s snapped, Harry -- just like you.
Crazy. Nuts. Mad as a hatter. An idiot, to put it that way. He hasn’t said a
sensible word for the last two years, not since Dumbledore died. He moved
into a small cottage in a forest around the time Remus disappeared, and has
been weird since them. The news of Dumbledore’s death must have pushed him
over the edge. The nearby village’s people stand him, as he’s never harmed
anybody and occasionally buys things from their shops. He’s got enough money
to last for ten lifetimes, and they would never drive him elsewhere to spend
Harry, however, was determined to see the only men who had defended him. He
had a good suspicion that Remus’s disappearance had something to do with
Snape moving into that cottage of his, and he also suspected Dumbledore had
something to do with Snape’s insanity. "I still want to know where he is,"
he thus said. "You obviously know where he lives. So, give me the address."
For a moment, Hermione just looked at him. Then she nodded slowly. Pulling
then a piece of parchment from her pocket, she quickly wrote something onto
it. Handing the parchment to him, she said, "These are the Apparation
coordinates. Now, get away and never come to my sight again."
And so, Harry turned away and left, never looking back.
A Nasty Surprise
Harry had just Apparated to the coordinates given to him. He thanked all the
deities who might be listening that he had managed to master that skill
before being sent into Azkaban. A quick glance around him told that he was
in the middle of a large forest, far from any human beings. A beautiful,
clear lake glimmered in the afternoon light near him. Some way further, in
the middle of the trees and with a path leading to the lake, he saw a small
cottage. That, of course, was what he now headed for.
He turned around the corner of the cottage to get to the front, and then
froze in shock. He stared at the man who was crouched there, apparently
weeding a flower bed. At seeing him the man quickly stood up and gave him a
wary, almost fearful look. The man’s hair was long and shiny, but his robes
were tattered, his skin deathly pale, and his eyes wide with fear and
wonder. This man did not know him -- but he feared him.
"Professor Snape?" Harry asked disbelievingly. Surely this wasn’t the cool,
composed man he’d known? Of course Hermione had said that Snape’d gone,
well, crazy, but he most certainly hadn’t been prepared for this. This
was... this was just wrong. There was no other word for it.
Whatever he had expected the man’s reaction to be, that certainly wasn’t
what he saw. Snape took one look at him, then crouched down defensively. "Go
away!" he shrieked franticly. "Go away, you nasty man! You do bad to Moony!
I hate you!"
"What the Hell?" Harry blurted out. Was the man out of his mind?
"Don’t mind him," he heard a calm voice from behind himself. Turning around,
he saw, to his great shock, Lucius Malfoy. The man looked rather bad, his
robes worn and a light stubble on his jaw, his hair hanging on uneven
tangles, but his expression was just as controlled as usually. Not giving
him another glance, the blond now turned towards Snape. "Don’t worry,
Severus," he said soothingly. "This is just Harry. He would never do
anything bad to Moony, believe me. He likes Moony."
"No," whined Snape, his eyes now wide with fear. "No Moony. Moony away.
Nasty man hurt Moony!"
Just then, the door of the cottage was pushed open, and a large, golden wolf
slipped outside. It went to Snape’s side, licking his hand soothingly. The
darkhaired Slytherin calmed down a bit, but still looked fearfully and
angrily at Harry. Obviously he wasn’t going to calm down so easily.
"You see, Severus?" asked Malfoy. "Moony’s just fine. In fact, Moony likes
Harry. Don’t you, Moony?"
The wolf turned his head to look at them, then let out a happy yelp. He
trotted over to Harry and jumped against him, knocking him down to the
ground and starting to lick his face. Snape looked at this for a moment,
then said childishly, "Oh. Moony like nasty man."
"Not a nasty man at all, Severus," Malfoy continued in his soothing voice.
"A good man. Harry."
Snape frowned a bit in confusion. "No nasty man?" he asked. Then, his eyes
lit up. "Harry good man!" he exclaimed. "Moony like Harry. Severus like
Harry!" After this affectionate announcement, he went happily into the
cottage, seemingly no more worried. The wolf stopped licking Harry’s face.
With a quick last glance at him, it turned around and followed Snape inside.
"Get up, Potter," Malfoy said, offering him a hand to help him up from the
ground. Harry complied. Before he could voice any of the numerous questions
in his mind, Malfoy raised his hand. "Don’t. I’ll tell you everything later.
In the meantime, I think that we have to get you properly dressed."
Not only clothes, he also provided Harry with a warm bath. Well, at least it
was warm after Harry had charmed it. Malfoy had with a couple of words told
him that the Ministry was trying to trace him down and thus he had to do
everything in the Muggle way, so if Harry could use some magic, it would be
a great help.
So, after some time, he finally sat in the kitchen of the cottage. Like
Wizarding homes often, it was much more spacious in the inside than in the
outside. As Harry expressed his wonder on this, Malfoy smirked briefly.
"This cottage has been here for a few hundred years," he explained. "It’s
not like we put it up."
Harry nodded, satisfied at this explanation. He then watched closely as
Malfoy poured some tea for them both, making sure that no other concoctions
were slipped in. Oh, he did trust Malfoy as much as he trusted anyone
nowadays; it just wasn’t that much. He knew that the blond had been a spy
for their side in the War, just like Snape, but he simply couldn’t trust
anyone. Not anymore.
So, they settled on the table, both with a cup of tea in their hands. For a
moment, there was a silence.
"Severus and Lupin never thought you guilty," Malfoy suddenly started his
tale. "In fact, they were very convinced that you were innocent. Dumbledore
let them be, as they couldn’t prove their suspicions right." With a sigh, he
continued, "Then, however, they found proofs that Dumbledore had framed you.
Before they could tell anybody, however, Dumbledore turned Lupin into a wolf
permanently, not just for the night of full moon. He then told Severus that
if he ever told anybody of your innocence, Lupin would stay like that
forever. If, however, he stayed quiet, Lupin would return to his human form
once Dumbledore died."
Harry just nodded. There was nothing he couldn’t believe of the old bastard.
"So, anyway. Two years ago I stumbled over the proofs also. I went to
confront Dumbledore about them. He told me everything, even about Severus
and Lupin. He also told me that he had no intention of freeing Lupin of his
wolf form, not ever. Of course, I knew that would break Severus, and I told
him I couldn’t accept it. After telling him that I would have his betrayal
all over the newspapers the next day, I left." After a small pause, he
finished, "The next morning I woke up to find Aurors on my doorstep,
accusing me of the murder of Albus Dumbledore. The bastard had known he’d
die soon, and wouldn’t allow his name to get stained even after that. So, he
had committed suicide, and framed me guilty of his own death."
Again, Harry nodded. Then he asked, "What about Lupin? And how did Snape go
"Well, how do you think Dumbledore killed himself? The old bastard simply
used up all his powers -- just to make sure that Lupin would never become a
human again. And, of course, he had to also deal with me knowing, and
somehow arranged for a magical trace of mine to be found on his corpse.
"After that, well, I fought off the Aurors and fled. I knew where Severus
was, as he’d moved into this cottage with his ‘pet wolf’ after Dumbledore
turned Lupin into a wolf, and so I came here. He asked what I was escaping,
and I told him." Malfoy was quiet for a moment. "I don’t think I’ll ever
forget what he looked like when he heard that Dumbledore was dead. For a
moment, he just stared at me, then turned to look at Lupin, then again at
me. Then he whispered, ‘But he promised...’ sounding every bit like a child
who’s just been told that Santa Claus doesn’t really exist."
Harry swallowed. He couldn’t even imagine what Snape must have felt like at
"I saw when his mind broke down, I swear I did," Malfoy continued quietly.
"At one moment, he was staring at me, his eyes wide but still with a light
in them. Then, that light died off, and he turned to look at Lupin again.
‘Nasty man do bad to Moony,’ Severus said. And ever since, he’s been like
"So, Dumbledore made sure that nobody could tell of his betrayal even after
his death," Harry said. "You are accused of his murder, Snape’s mad, and
Lupin is a wolf. Splendid." Then he narrowed his eyes. "What are you doing
here, anyway? You could just as easily leave; surely a Malfoy can survive
with their own magic. Even if the Ministry is indeed trying to track you
down, I’d suppose you could find a way around it. Somebody might come here
anytime. Why do you risk getting caught?"
"And here I was thinking that you are clever, Mister Potter," Malfoy snorted
dryly. "I see I was wrong."
"Hey, there’s no reason to --" Harry started, irritated. Then his eyes
widened in realization. "You love him, don’t you?" he asked quietly. "Snape,
I mean. You love him, and that’s why you stay."
The blond sighed and nodded. "Right," he said quietly. "I do love him. He
never loved me as more than a friend, though. But still, I can’t leave him
alone. He wouldn’t survive without my help."
"What about full moons?" asked Harry then. "Isn’t Moony dangerous to you
"Oh, no," the blond replied. "As his body is a wolf all the time, his mind
is human all the time. It is really sad -- I know that he suffers from
seeing Severus the way he is, but he can’t leave anymore than I can. We will
both stay here until either we die or Severus dies. And if Severus is the
one to die first, I, at least, will kill myself." With a bitter smirk, he
added, "Moony would have done it already, if he only could."
"What?!" asked Harry, startled. "And how would you know that, anyway?" he
then added suspiciously.
"Oh, that’s pretty easy." In a second, a white snake was on his place,
hissing. Then, the snake turned back into Malfoy. "I’m an Animagus, like you
probably noticed. And Animagi can talk with werewolves."
Harry nodded slowly. Then he asked, "But what about your family? Don’t they
wonder where you are?"
At first, Malfoy seemed startled. Then he shook his head. "I almost forgot
that you haven’t heard any news for the last six years," he said casually.
"Well, I guess I’m the one who has to fill you in." At Harry’s questioning
gaze, he continued, "Narcissa... she was murdered by an Auror. They claim
that it was an accident, that the Auror was trying to defend himself against
one of our hounds, she got in front of the spell and fell down the stairs,
breaking her neck. I know, however, that it was not an accident. She
wouldn’t let them into the Manor, they needed her out of way. So, they
killed her. Simple and easy."
"Oh." Harry’s eyes widened momentarily. "I’m sorry," he then said, actually
feeling sorry for the man.
Malfoy, however, just laughed bitterly, shaking his head. "Don’t be," he
replied briefly. "I don’t want your pity and I’m not worth your apologies. I
do miss her, however," he then added with a bit sad voice. "I never loved
her as a lover; our marriage was arranged by our parents. However, she was a
good and dear friend, one I loved as a friend, even, and one of the most
intelligent witches I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Most of the other
women in the Pureblood families are just emptyheaded, greedy bitches, but
with Narcissa I could actually talk without getting a headache after two
At that, Harry nodded. "And what about your son?" he asked then quietly,
almost fearing the answer.
"Suicide." At the younger wizard’s startled expression, Lucius merely raised
an eyebrow. "It was kind of expected, anyway. He, too, was put into Azkaban
-- framed by Dumbledore, I’m sure -- but only for two years. After he got
out, he was very depressed, and nothing I and Narcissa could say helped.
Then, one day, he didn’t come to dinner." After a momentarily pause, the
blond man continued, "I went into his room to see if he was there... And he
was. Lying on the ground, an empty phial in one hand. He’d drunk one of the
most fatal poisons known to wizardingkind, right from my own stocks."
Shaking his head, he finished, "I’ll never forgive myself for leaving my
laboratory unattended. True, he was a little prick, snobbish and spoiled
rotten, but he was still my son, and I definitely didn’t want him to die."
Now, they were both silent for a moment. Malfoy was looking somewhere in the
distance, and Harry was looking at Malfoy. Suddenly he understood the lines
of age on Malfoy’s otherwise unreadable face, the traces of tiredness on the
flawless complexion. This man had truly gone through a lot.
And, if Albus Dumbledore got his way, he would still go through more -- or
The Tale of Dead
The night fell soon. Malfoy offered to let him stay in the cottage for as
long as he liked. After all, Harry had now been released and could do magic,
so he could greatly help with keeping up the household. Unable to think of
any other place where to go or other people he’d like to meet, Harry’d
agreed. That had been several weeks ago, and he had become accustomed to his
life with the other occupants of the cottage.
Now, he lay on a bed, wide awake. There were three bedrooms in the cottage
as it truly was well-sized from the inside if not the outside. Malfoy was
currently occupying one room, Harry was in the second, and the third was --
well, empty at the moment. Technically, it was Snape’s -- and Moony’s -- but
at the moment the mentally damaged man was sleeping on the couch in the
living room, the wolf beside him.
Sighing, he stood up, shaking his head. He could not get any amount of
decent sleep right now.
Peeking through the bedroom door he’d left a bit ajar due to his dislike of
closed places, thanks to Azkaban, Harry frowned. He was sure that he hadn’t
heard the outdoor being opened, yet he could see that somebody else was in
the living room with Moony and Snape. Sneaking a peek into the room, he saw
a man sitting on the floor next to Moony, petting the wolf with one pale
hand. The man had long, dark hair, a bit worn-out robes, and a somehow
familiar look to him -- not that Harry saw much of his face.
Then, however, he realized who the man was. At this surprise, he gasped
aloud, unable to stop himself.
As he gasped, the familiar form turned around, obviously having heard him.
As the man saw him, the grey eyes flew wide with surprise. "Harry!" he
exclaimed, sounding very surprised. "You can see me?"
"S-Sirius?" Harry stammered, staring at him with wide eyes. "I -- I thought
you were dead!"
Now, the other man’s expression turned sad. "As a matter of fact, Harry... I
am dead, sorry. However, I haven’t moved further. I was told that some
people can see me, and seemingly you’re one of those." Smiling weakly at his
godson, he said, "I need your help. I really, really need your help."
"My help?" asked Harry, confused. "What on Earth would you need my help
"Well, you see, I’m kind of stuck," his godfather’s ghost, or whatever it
was, said. "I have to fix some messes I made when I was alive, and I need
somebody living to help me at that. If I don’t manage, I’ll be forever stuck
between life and death. I’ve been stuck here for over a year now --
seemingly they messed up the date, as I wasn’t supposed to come back until
after you had already been set free. Every day Snape just draws further into
his shell, Malfoy gets more frustrated, and Remus is more sad and lonely.
It’s getting rather boring, you know, and I’d really like to see James
again. He’s waiting for me, and I just keep him waiting because I can’t move
"What exactly do you need to fix?" asked Harry. This was getting far too
complex for his liking, what with Sirius talking about his father and all.
It’d be best if he just concentrated on the simple facts.
"I ruined Remus’s chances with Snape." At Harry’s disbelieving expression,
Sirius sighed. "I know, it sounds absurd. What on Earth do you think shocked
Snape so much about Remus being turned permanently into a wolf? They were
meant to be together. They would have got together, if I hadn’t messed with
it. When I noticed Snivellius getting too close to Moony for my liking, I
decided to drive them apart. That was hard to do, as Remus really isn’t one
anybody could hate. Then, however, I realized what I could do -- I could
show Snape just what Remus really was." He shook his head. "You know the
rest of it."
"You led Snape to the Shrieking Shack," Harry said quietly. "You led him
there, letting him see Remus in his wolf form -- and almost got him killed."
He nodded. "I do know the story."
Sirius nodded sadly. "Exactly. Well, anyway, Snape thought that Remus had
been aware of the prank, and cut off all contact to him. Needless to say,
Remus was heartbroken, but he got over it -- he always gets over everything,
he’s a survivor by nature. Anyway, they never got close enough to actually
get together. And that is against the very order of this world, as absurd as
it probably sounds like. I messed up that order, and thus, I am required to
fix it before I can leave this world for good."
"But how is that possible?" asked the young wizard, confused. "Remus is a
wolf now, or is he not?"
"Yes, he is," Sirius admitted. "But I’ve done a bit of research over these
years, and I think I’ve found a way to reverse that. Now, listen
Harry glanced carefully over the breakfast table at Lucius, who was sitting
on the other side, radiating self-confidence and slight arrogance. Might as
well try it right away, he thought. He had talked with Sirius every night
for about a week now, unsure about whether he should talk to the other
wizard. Now, his deceased Godfather had pretty much convinced that there was
no other way to even try to right the wrong. In the end Lucius wasn’t that
bad -- and yes, they were indeed in first name basis. "Lucius," he said
hesitantly, "what would you say if I told I see dead people? Not ghosts, but
The blond just shrugged. "I’m a wizard, Potter," he said, raising an
eyebrow,"not a Muggle who would claim you insane. I know things like that
can happen. Besides, I would believe anything of you."
"Fine." Harry sighed. "Then I suppose I can tell you this." At the blond’s
questioning glance, he went on, "I saw my godfather a week ago at night...
Sirius, that is. He told that he can’t move on, so to speak, before certain
things have been taken care of. To be exact, Moony must be turned back into
"Well, that’s rather hard to do now, isn’t it," Lucius said with a pained
tone. "Unless, of course, this Godfather of yours is willing to inform us
about how to break the spell of one of the most powerful wizards of the last
century, however deceased he might be by now."
"Well, actually..." Harry hesitated a bit. Then he said, "In fact, Sirius
did mention a way." In an instant, the Slytherin looked very curious. So,
Harry went on, "He said that mere power couldn’t upkeep such a charm after
its caster’s death. Therefore, it has to be tied to something -- some
object, being, whatever. Anyway, if we destroyed that thing, the charm would
"Well, that certainly makes it so much easier," Lucius said bitterly. "Now
we just have to find out what object or being Dumbledore has used, and
destroy it. Is there anything else to do before lunch?"
"I never said that it was easy," the younger wizard snapped defensively.
"Just that it could be done."
After breakfast he decided to take a look around at his new surroundings; he
most certainly was going to stay there. As he went outside Snape came with
him, along with Moony. The two started to play some kind of their own
variation of tag, or something equally confusing.
Harry sighed as he saw the child-like man. This was so wrong. Once Snape had
been a powerful, intelligent wizard, one that nobody had ever surpassed on
any field. Knowing this, he had often given the students almost impossible
riddles to solve. Very rarely had any of his tricks been even noticed, leave
One time had somebody solved Snape’s puzzle, though -- and of course it had
been Hermione. Even her victory hadn’t been truly a victory, as Snape had
given them quite a lot of hints -- Hermione was just the only one to put
them all together.
On their seventh year, they had got a special assignment in Potions:
Everybody was to write an essay on the best Potions Master of the last
century, Perseus Evans. Having found only tiny bits of information in the
school library, the desperate Gryffindors had been shocked when Draco Malfoy
had presented his perfect essay to the class. Then, however, it had been
Once again Harry was swept away by his memories.
"Now, we’ve heard the official version," said Hermione cheerily. "The one
Professor Snape keeps in his desk drawer for those Slytherins who know who
and how to ask. I, however, am going to tell you the true story." With a
quick glance at their professor, she continued, "The undoubtedly best
Potions Master of this century, the man who is also known as Perseus Evans,
was born as Severio Amorio Snape to Julio and Marinelle Snape on the 9th of
January 1960, in Naples, Italy. When little Severio was five years old, his
father died, and the rest of the family moved to England... Shall I
continue, Professor Snape?" She smiled mischievously at him.
Snape slowly clapped his hands. "Congratulations, Miss Granger," he said
dryly. "I’m truly impressed. You have figured out what ten full batches of
seventh year Potions students couldn’t."
"You -- you mean that’s true, Professor?" Malfoy blurted out. "You are
"Spot on, Mister Malfoy," drawled Snape. "I wonder how everybody has managed
to miss it this far. At the first time ten years ago, it was more a joke,
but when nobody figured it out, I decided to continue the tradition. I’ve
won the game one thousand and ninety-seven times this far. Students’ score
is, by now, one." Turning towards Hermione, he said, "That’s fifty points to
Gryffindor for figuring it out, Miss Granger -- something I’ve promised to
the Headmaster. And five points from Gryffindor for your cheek. Now, do
please tell me... What gave me out? I must destroy all evidence for the
"Well, at first, I couldn’t help but wonder how Evans could be considered
better than you -- after all, you’ve invented the three most complicated
potions known, including the Wolfsbane Potion. Also, it was kind of
suspicious that there was so little information of such a famous and
respected person, and not one picture of him. Then I found a description of
Evans, one that says that he’s left-handed. As I’ve seen for myself that you
are both-handed, I then compared Evans’s signature in one of the school
library’s books with your signature from the time you hurt your right hand.
I noticed you’d simply signed all Evans’s books with your left hand." With a
bit of a grin, she added, "Also, I began to wonder when you told us that
Evans has never published the recipe for the Literate Letter Potion, and
then told us to brew it, writing the recipe on the blackboard."
"That I’ve only done the last five years," the professor told calmly. "I was
beginning to wonder why nobody noticed it, and decided to make it easier --
and still nobody could guess."
Oh, yes. Professor Snape had truly been one to be noted for both his skills
and wit. Now, however, he was a mere shell of what he had once been. It
truly hurt to see him walking around that way, those once flaming onyx eyes
now empty of anything but childish wonder at everything he saw.
"What are you thinking so concentratedly about, Potter?" asked a quiet
voice, startling him. As he spun around, he was met by Lucius’s raised
eyebrow. "My, my. Isn’t the great Harry Potter easy to scare."
"I just wasn’t on guard at the moment," Harry tried to explain. "Anyway, I
just remembered one of our Potions lessons." With a glance at Snape’s
direction, he added, "To be exact, the one on which we learnt that our
disliker, horrid professor was in essence one of the most praised geniuses
of our time."
"Ah, yes. Perseus Evans." Lucius’s smile was half bitter, half sad. "He
chose that name because he thought that nobody could ever think he would use
the family name of one of his most hated enemies. Why he chose to go under a
pseudonym at the first place is still beyond me. I kept telling him that he
deserved to get praise for all his hard work and success, but he still
insisted on using a false name whenever he published his findings or new
recipes. If anybody knew who Perseus Evans really is, he’d be a celebrity."
"Maybe that’s just what he wants to avoid," Harry suggested. "Although he
didn’t seem too reluctant to get an Order of Merlin for catching Sirius back
on my third year. Perhaps..." Then, his eyes widened in realization. "I
know," he hissed. "What good would he have been to Dumbledore if he’d been a
respected and well-known person? The mysterious, dark and disliked git
worked so much better for his position as a spy. The old bastard must have
convinced him to use a pseudonym."
Lucius’s face darkened at that. "You’re probably right," he muttered.
"Another sin on Dumbledore’s conscience. For some reason, I am not too
"Well," Harry sighed, "we just might manage to find a way to finally win
him. If we are lucky. To do that, we have to find the storage of his power
and destroy it. Not an easy thing, now is it?"
"Well, you know, I’ve been doing some thinking," the blond said levelly.
"The destroying part we still have to figure out. And, well, finding -- but
at least we know what we should look for."
"Well?" Harry looked up at the elder wizard in amazement and surprise. "So
what is it?"
"What did Dumbledore have that was strongly magical, powerful, and likely to
last forever?" asked Lucius dryly, raising a blond eyebrow with a slightly
amused expression. "Besides Hogwarts, that is?"
For a moment, Harry just stared at him confusedly. Then it dawned on him.
"Fawkes! But of course. Nothing can kill a phoenix permanently, after all...
But as that is so, how can we ever break the spell?"
"I wouldn’t say that’s our primary problem," said the older wizard. "The
foremost problem is that we have to find that phoenix. It hardly still sits
around in his office, after all."
Harry nodded slowly, deep in thought. Then, however, he rushed back inside,
Lucius following him with notably less hurry. Grapping the Daily Prophet on
the table -- apparently Snape had never cancelled his order, and Lucius made
sure the owl was paid for its efforts -- he started to skim through it. At
last, he exclaimed triumphantly, "Here!" and reached the newspaper out for
the other man to read.
The text itself didn’t mean much anything. However, there was a picture on
the page that had drawn both of their attention. It was a Wizarding photo of
Hogwarts, students moving about on the grounds. What they were most
interested in was the statue they saw standing in front of the castle.
"The best hiding place ever," said Harry, "is right under everybody’s eyes."
Harry glanced warily around. It seemed too easy. In the old days there’d
been no way he could have got this deep in the Hogwarts grounds without
being detected and most probably stopped -- but then again, in the old days
Dumbledore had been the Headmaster. Nowadays, there was some hope that the
leader of the school was actually good and didn’t think that any incomer
might be a threat to their authority.
He glanced to his side where Snape stood, Moony nervously pawing around the
darkhaired man’s feet. Lucius was nowhere to be seen, of course, being a
fugitive, but Harry could all the time feel the scales of a snake wrapped
around his arm under his sleeve.
There were a few students walking around on the grounds, as it was Saturday.
Some looked surprised, but a few of them obviously recognized him,
considering the frightened looks on their faces. He must work fast if he
wanted to get rid of the phoenix before the whole school faculty got to the
The statue -- rather, a group of statues -- was simply huge. It consisted of
an enormous dragon, bigger than any real dragon Harry had ever seen, a
phoenix, a lion, and a snake. The lion and the snake were tangled in a fight
in the middle, the dragon was circling them, and the phoenix was attacking
the dragon, just as stony and motionless as the others but nevertheless
floating in the air. They were truly states of art, perfect to the last
hair, feather, or a scale, their natural colours making them seem almost
Now, Harry let the snake slip from his sleeve to the ground as more and more
students seemed to be coming nearby, as well as a couple of teachers. "Come
to help if need be," he said. The snake just nodded, not using even
Parseltongue to reply. Well, that was all great and well with Harry.
At first, he’d have to find out whether the phoenix truly was containing
Dumbledore’s powers. However, to cast the detecting spell he must be really
close to the object. And, with the phoenix being frozen in the middle of an
endless flight, he had no choice but to try to climb up there.
Determinedly Harry went to the dragon’s side, lifting one foot onto its
slightly raised paw and lifting himself upwards. Soon he was on the huge
animal’s back, balancing his way towards the neck and the phoenix. Suddenly,
Snape cried out, "Don’t tickle the dragon!" It sounded like his usual
nonsense, but something in his voice made Harry stop. When he then realized
what the Slytherin meant, he froze. Too late, though.
Just then, the dragon blinked slowly. "Tsk, tsk, Potter," it said with a
deep voice. "Don’t you ever learn?"
They had been wrong. Dumbledore’s powers weren’t within the phoenix.
Instead, Dumbledore himself was within the dragon.
Harry stared in shock at the large, stony eye that was staring at him. After
a moment, he managed to regain his senses. "Dumbledore," he said coolly. "I
should have known."
"Yes, you should," the dragon agreed, a smirk on his lips. "Unfortunately,
you didn’t. Unfortunately for you, that is," he then added, his smirk
getting even broader. "If it is any consolation to you, I’ll tell you that
forgetting it was the last mistake you ever did." Now, he bared his fangs.
"Oh?" Harry asked, raising his eyebrow. He most certainly wouldn’t be scared
that easily. "How come?"
"I’m going to make sure about that." The dragon shook himself, then stood up
on his four feet. He was larger than any natural dragon, and definitely more
threatening. "You are going to die, Harry, my boy. You should be happy, you
know. After all, now you will at last meet your parents and dear godfather."
"We’ll see about that." Harry swiftly jumped off the creature’s back.
Azkaban had left him in quite a bad fit, but ever since being finally freed
he’d worked on getting back in condition -- not that he’d had much of
anything else to do. Now those hours upon hours of hard work truly paid off.
He hadn’t really expected to have to fight with anybody anymore, but he was
glad he hadn’t still given up his exercise.
Despite its size, the dragon was unfortunately also very fast. Harry was
having a hard time trying to dodge all its attacks, but he did manage to get
in a few hits himself. The students and teachers had all been frozen at some
point by some spell of the dragon, only Harry and his companions being left
mobile. Of course, Snape didn’t understand much, concentrating on just being
frightened and cowering behind Moony, who did his best to protect the
Slytherin. Lucius, who had turned back into a human when he noticed that
their audience wasn’t capable of seeing what actually happened, probably
could have helped Harry if not ofr his magic being tracked by the Ministry.
So, the blond was all the time on guard, indeed ready to use his wand as a
last resort if they were discovered by the Aurors anyway.
Now, Harry wasn’t feeling as self-confident anymore, though. He’d come to
notice that the dragon was a tough opponent. There was no question about
just why Voldemort had feared this wizard. Even Harry, who had slain
Voldemort in the end, had a hard time just keeping himself from being torn
However, he was slowly getting exhausted, and yet the dragon wasn’t showing
any signs of fatigue. Trying to dodge one of his attacks, Harry stumbled a
bit, mostly because he was indeed exhausted. Now, Lucius stepped forward to
join him in the battle despite anything else, but the dragon growled
"This is our duel, you fool," the dragon said. And then, almost carelessly,
it struck Lucius with one of its enormous paws instead of using magic. The
long claws dug into flesh, tearing the man’s thigh.
"Lucius!" Harry cried out. However, he could not go to his friend’s aid --
yes, he nowadays considered Lucius a friend -- being too involved in his
duel with Dumbledore the dragon. Things definitely weren’t going his way at
the moment. He could duel, yes, but his years in Azkaban had dulled his
Suddenly he heard a short exclamation from Snape and a deep growl. Then a
ball of golden fur rushed past him, sinking its teeth into the dragon’s paw.
The huge beast growled, too, then swiped with its paw, throwing the wolf
into a large rock nearby. Blood seeped from one of the wolf’s legs as one of
the dragon’s claws had cut into it, leaving a large wound. Now Moony just
lay there, whimpering in pain.
"Moony!" shouted Snape with his child-like voice, and at the same time,
another voice echoed from his mouth, "Remus!" That other voice was a more
mature one, the voice of a man who had suffered more than anybody should
have. It was also a voice Harry knew all too well. Snape’s true voice.
"Ah, so you decided to finally wake up, too," the dragon laughed
maliciously. "So wonderful to see you coming back to us again, Snape. This
world certainly needs your wit and sharp tongue." Then, his eyes narrowed as
he smirked evilly. "Too bad that you can’t spread that blessing for long."
"That we will see," said the darkhaired man, moving to stand between the
unjured wolf and the threatening monster. "You betrayed me once, Dumbledore.
I will not let you do that again."
The dragon laughed again. "I’d like to see you stopping me," he said with a
nasty grin. "I’ll tell you something. I am going to kill you, and Potter,
and Lupin. And yes, then I will kill Malfoy, too." Nodding towards the
frozen people, he added, "They will remember none of that. Everything
they’ll know is that a dangerous murderer tried to threaten the kids and
that Dumbledore’s spirit slew him. My reputation and fame will grow even
more, and Hogwarts and its inhabitants will once again rely on my
"A nice plan, indeed," spat Snape, fixing him a cold glare. "Worth of a
Slytherin, really -- but then again, you were in Slytherin, weren’t you?"
Seeing the dragon flinch, he smirked. "Oh, yes, I do know about it. You were
in Slytherin, because you were the Heir of Slytherin! You thought that
nobody would find out, but I did. And I know, Dumbledore. I know just how
evil and rotten you are."
"Evil, maybe," the dragon admitted. "However, rotten I am not. Rotten is
what you will be once your lifeless corpse has lain under the ground for
some time!" And with that, he suddenly attacked.
Or, at least, tried to attack. To his great shock the dragon found himself
stopped by something invisible in the air. Snape, who now had his hand
raised as if that had stopped him, shook his head slowly.
"You shouldn’t have taught me anything," he hissed. "Most of all, you
shouldn’t have taught me that wands are in fact unnecessary. I never let you
know that I’d mastered that skill, but I did learn it, and I learnt it from
you. Your pupil number one, that I was, in good and bad alike -- and now,
you will pay for it."
Something flickered in the dragon’s eyes, something not completely unlike
nervousness or even fear. Then, however, he just roared, raised his head
once again and attacked. And, once again, it was stopped.
Frustrated, the dragon tried another attack, only to be yet again stopped by
the invisible force. Those opposing it all smirked triumphantly, except for
Snape, whose expression was pure ice. "Lucius!" the darkhaired man bellowed.
"Lend me some of your power!" Even though Harry couldn’t see anything, of
course, he guessed that Snape opened some kind of a contact between Lucius
and himself. The man was, after all, a master of Legilimency as well as
Occlumency; he most certainly could do that.
Lucius gave his power, and gave it gladly, knowing that this was the closest
connection he would ever have to the man he loved. Snape took it all, mixed
it with his own magic, collecting all the pent-up hatred, anger, longing and
pain of all his lonely years and formed it into raw power to add to Lucius’s
energy. Then, just as the dragon was about to strike, he raised his hand.
The hand was bathing in the glow of pure magic.
"Avada Kedarva," said a voice, quiet but still very audible in the suddenly
fallen silence. Nobody seemed to be able to move as all that power was
gathered together and molded into a jet of emerald green light that flew
right at the dragon’s chest. The mighty creature roared once, twice, and
then fell to the ground with a huge crash, its last desperate, frustrated
howl echoing around the grounds of the ancient school. And, under their
staring eyes, the dragon twitched, then transformed, leaving the corpse of
an old wizard behind.
For a moment, it was completely silent. Then Snape merely shrugged as if the
whole thing hadn’t touched him at all. "So that’s all he was ever worth," he
said disdainfully. And then, he collapsed.
Lucius was by the fallen man’s side before Harry could even stand up from
where the power of Snape’s curse had thrown him. As the bespectacled man
hurried nearer, however, the blond looked up at him, looking relieved. "He’s
fine," he said, "just exhausted after that blast. There’s nothing wrong with
him, at least nothing that a good night’s sleep and a couple of potions
"Well, that’s good," Harry said with a relieved sigh. Then he glanced
around. "Where’s Moony, anyway?" he asked, frowning, as he didn’t see the
injured wolf anywhere. "He couldn’t have walked with that leg!"
"He’s right over there," Lucius said calmly, pointing. Harry flushed with
embarrassment as he saw the wolf right where he had first glanced to. "I
think we need to get both him and Snape away from here now, though. Our
audience might be too stunned to act right now, but soon enough they’ll be
Harry simply nodded, knowing that Lucius was right. "Let’s go."
"Is it true?" asked Harry curiously, his eyes fixed on Snape, who was
sitting on a couch. "That Dumbledore was the Heir of Slytherin? Because, you
know, I thought that was Riddle."
"It is indeed true," Snape told him quietly. "Riddle was also the Heir of
Slytherin, but the last one. Dumbledore was his cousin, born before him.
Just like Voldemort, Dumbledore wanted power -- he just realized that those
loyal for love are more trustable than those loyal for fear. Grindewald he
destroyed because he didn’t want anybody to challenge him, as well as
because he had to found his own position as the beloved leader. When
Voldemort came up, he realized that he couldn’t win the other Heir alone.
So, he got you, the perfect soldier -- his pawn in the War. And, after you
had destroyed Voldemort, you were useless. To avoid you getting the fame and
power that belonged to him, he then decided to get rid of you."
"I understand." Harry nodded slowly. Then his eyes drifted to another form
sitting in the opposite armchair. "You know," he commented lightly, "I’ve
truly missed seeing him -- the real him."
"You’re not the only one." A brief smile crossed Snape’s lips as he, too,
watched Remus’s sleeping form. Soon after they had returned home the last
drifts of Dumbledore’s curse had vanished and he had turned back into a
human. He was now wearing one of Lucius’s robes, which was too large for
him, but at least it concealed his injuries, which had already begun to heal
with Snape’s expertice treatment.
"What is the date, anyway?" asked Snape now, frowning slightly. "I seem to
Lucius, who was sitting in another armchair, immediately told him the date
-- even the year, which was quite reasonable, considering that the other
Slytherin had been quite out of it for several years now. The Potions Master
nodded briefly, but then frowned. "It seems I have forgotten something else,
too," he muttered. "I’m sure it is something important -- something I
absolutely should remember."
"I’m sure it will come to you in time," Lucius said confidently. "It is,
after all, quite understandable that you are rather out of sorts. You
haven’t been exactly in your best condition these past years."
"Too true," muttered Snape, shaking his head. "Well, at least Remus is safe
now," he then said, glancing again at the werewolf. "Of that, I am glad." A
brief smile crossed his lips.
Harry saw some strange expression cross over Lucius’s features. Then the
blond rose from his chair. "I believe I’m going to go to get a book from the
library," he said politely. "If you’ll excuse me."
"I’d like to come with you," Harry said quickly. He wanted to cheer Lucius
up a bit. Even though Remus’s human presence was a blessing to Severus, to
the other Slytherin it must have been pure torture. After all, seeing the
man you love pining after somebody else was definitely not something you
wanted to experience.
They both headed towards the staircase. Yes, a staircase -- previously the
cottage had been larger from the inside than from the outside, yes, but
after the mental revival of its true owner, it had gotten enormous. So, it
now had another floor, and in the second floor there was a library.
Harry started to say something, but then closed his mouth. Actually he did
not know what to say. So, he just watched as the blond headed for the
shelves. On his way to the particular book he wanted Lucius glanced out of
the only window of the library -- a tiny thing, not enough for even a child
to get through. And at that moment, he froze. "Damn," he cursed, staring at
the quickly darkening night sky. "Now I know what Severus forgot!" Harry
might have asked what he meant, of course, if not for the following events.
They heard Severus shouting something, but they couldn’t make out the words.
Now, Lucius looked very pale. As Harry asked him what was wrong, the blond
shook his head, looking shocked.
"It’s Remus. Severus forgot the full moon," said Lucius hurriedly. "Either
the transformation so soon after turning back into a human tears Lupin
apart... or he will tear us apart. Whatever, this will not end well."
Harry’s eyes widened as he heard sounds from the staircase, knowing that
they would not have time to escape, especially as the room only had one
door, leading right to the approaching wolf. He saw the door being pushed
open mere seconds later. Now the werewolf must be coming. He was surprised
and startled, though, when Lucius suddenly transformed into a snake, and,
not escaping like could have been expected, took a protective pose in front
of her. As an animal the Slytherin would have been safe, but if he started
to fight with the werewolf, he would inevitably be hurt, too -- even bitten.
Was he really ready to take that kind of a risk -- and just for Harry? It
was almost absurd.
Now, the door was opened wholly. To their great surprise they didn’t see a
raging werewolf, but instead Snape, looking actually quite healthy and
actually pleased. Now, if this wasn’t weird...
"What happened?" Lucius asked, frowning. "I just noticed that it’s the full
moon, and then heard you shouting... What on Earth happened with you and
Remus? I demand some explanations!"
"He didn’t transform," replied Snape. "He didn’t transform into a wolf --
and it is full moon, yes. I just remembered it -- I knew it because I have
memorized all full moon dates for several years to come."
"Typical," muttered Harry. Then, seeing Remus indeed appearing in the
doorway behind Snape, he added, "And I, with my poor muffled Gryffindor
mind, would very much like an explanation, as well."
"Believe me, if I could explain it, I would," Remus said with an almost
nervous chuckle. "However, I can’t. I woke up, feeling a bit strange, and
just then Severus looked out of the window and saw the full moon rising. You
can only imagine my surprise when nothing actually happened."
"And what are you doing up here, if I may ask?" snapped Snape. "Transformed
or not transformed, you are still injured. You’ll never recover if you
insist on running to and fro at every opportunity! I really can’t turn my
back on you for a second, can I?" He then ushered the now very amused man
"It is quite logical in the end," Lucius said thoughtfully. "He has been in
the wolf form for so long that his body has used all its wolf energy. If we
assume that the time he spent as a wolf is strictly equivalent to the full
moons, I don’t really think he’ll live long enough to ever transform again."
"A werewolf who never transforms," Harry concluded. "Is he still a werewolf
in the end?"
"Well..." the blond man shrugged. "Let’s just hope he doesn’t bite Severus
too often, right?"
At that, Harry laughed a bit nervously. With Lucius you never knew when he
was being serious.
"THE MAN WHO LIVED INNOCENT!" claimed the headlines in the Daily Prophet.
The article in itself told in full detail just how Dumbledore had managed to
trick the Wizarding World in whole, and what Harry’d had to suffer before he
could clear his name. There was also a mention of Lucius being innocent, and
the story of Snape and Remus was told as well. Nothing was left unclear.
Harry smirked as he read the article, the emerald eyes quickly skimming
through the newspaper. Then he snorted. "Order of Merlin for each of us.
Well, nice enough," he said. "There’s no way they can give us back all the
years we lost because of that malicious bastard, and they know it. The only
thing that makes me happy right now is the knowledge that the Wizarding
World will weep with guilt for quite some time."
"Well, well. Aren’t you vengeful," commented Remus mildly. The werewolf
glanced at him over the table. "I, at least, am happy to just be here at the
moment." At this, he glanced at Snape on his side, smiling. The Slytherin
briefly returned his smile, then squeezed his hand gently. Remus squeezed
Harry smiled as well as he watched the two men interact. Out of the corner
of his eye he saw Lucius, who didn’t look too displeased with this display,
and he felt relieved. If he’d now had to deal with rivalvies between the
three other men, he would have run away. He had fought enough for several
Sighing, he then stood up. "I’m going for a walk," he said to no one in
particular. The others just nodded in acknowledgement to his words, Remus
then reminding him to come back for the dinner.
He walked around for quite some time until he finally headed towards the
lake. As he got nearer, however, he noticed that somebody was already
standing on the edge.
"Sirius? Why are you here?" asked Harry, confused. He had only ever seen his
not-really-dead godfather at night. So, what was Sirius doing here, when the
sun still hadn’t set?
"Ah, Harry. Just the one I needed to see." Sirius turned towards him, his
long hair untouched by the wind that fuzzled Harry’s just as overgrown mess
of raven locks. "We need to talk."
"Those are the most frightening words of any language, you know," Harry said
jokingly. Then he noticed the "lost spirit’s" serious expression and
frowned. "Is something wrong?"
"Well, not necessarily wrong," Sirius replied with a small smile. "It’s just
that..." He sighed, then said, "Remus is back in his human form now, and not
only that, he has been cured of his Lycanthropy. He and Snape are together,
and happily so. My job here is done, Harry. I am going to move on now."
Now, the young wizard was certainly shocked. For a moment he just stared at
his companion. Then he whispered, "You’re kidding, right?" There were tears
rolling down Harry’s cheeks, but he didn’t care. He just sighed as his
godfather extended a hand and gently wiped the tears off his face.
"It’s not that bad to die, Harry," Sirius said gently. "Not when there is no
"You can’t go," whined the young wizard. "I don’t want to be alone again!"
"You won’t be alone, Harry," he was told. "And besides, you’ll see me again
after you have died, too. James promised me that I’ll see him, and I am sure
you’ll see us both as well."
"Sirius?" Harry asked now. "What exactly was your relationship with my
For a moment, the almost-ghost was silent. Then, he sighed. "I loved him,
Harry... I loved him as deeply as a human being can ever love another. He
told me that he loved me, too."
"Then what about my mother?" demanded Harry. "How was I ever generated?"
"Because that was meant to be, Harry." Sirius smirked a bit. "Of course, the
fact that your father married your mother certainly didn’t stop him from
being with me."
"Oh." For a moment, the younger wizard was silent. "So... you’ll see him
"Exactly, Harry. He promised me that, and James would never promise anything
if he wasn’t able to keep his promise. I know I’ll see him, and be with him.
There’s no doubt about that."
Harry sighed. "I wonder if I’ll ever find somebody who truly loves me," he
Lucius Malfoy’s face flickered into Sirius’s mind, but he pushed it away.
Everything on its due time. "I’m sure you will, Harry," he just said. "Your
very own Mister Right might be closer than you even know."
"I trust you on that." His godson gave him a weak smile. "When will you be
Sirius glanced over the lake. "It seems that about now," he said cheerfully.
"Can you see them coming?"
"Yes," whispered Harry, his eyes locked on the same thing as Sirius’s. "Yes,
I do see them."
They both watched as two Thestrals flew over the lake. When the creatures
came nearer, they saw that each carried a ghost-like, transparent form.
Nearer still, and they could see the flaming cloud of almost-hair around one
form’s head and the messy raven mop on another’s.
"Long time no see, Padfoot," James said cheerfully as he landed in front of
them with his Thestral. "And Harry. You have grown, my son." He smiled
fondly. "We are really proud of you, you know."
"You shouldn’t be," Harry said quietly. "There’s nothing to be proud of."
"And on that you are wrong," Lily said firmly. "We have every reason to be
proud, and thus, we are just that." She smirked slyly and chuckled. "Now,
get mounted so we can leave, Sirius. I’ve had my husband all to myself for
twenty-four years. It’s about the time you get your share, too."
"Gladly, Lils." Sirius smiled at her. Then, although he hadn’t moved, he was
suddenly sitting behind James on the Thestral’s back. "Goodbye, Harry," he
said softly. "I’ll meet you later -- hopefully much later."
"Later, then." Harry forced himself to smile, although his eyes were full of
tears now. His parents and godfather all smiled at him, and waved a goodbye.
Then the Thestrals rose into air again and started to fly towards the
sunset. Harry tried to follow them with his gaze, but the creatures and
their riders soon vanished, sliding into the slight breeze of the night and
mixing with the clouds.
For a long time, Harry just stood there, watching the sun set and darkness
fall over the world. Stars started to slowly appeared onto the sky. His eyes
automatically searched for a very particular star. As he then found it, he
could swear that it winked at him. It most probably did, on that note.
"Harry?" called somebody from behind him. The voice was accompanied by the
sound of somebody walking nearer. "It’s time to get inside, Harry. Why are
you standing here, anyway?"
"Oh, no reason at all," the young wizard said quietly, turning his head to
glance at Lucius. "I was just saying goodbye." At the other man’s
questioning glance, he said, "It’s a long story. I’ll perhaps tell you some
day." After all, he had never told Lucius that he had seen Sirius even once
after that first night.
"I hope you will." The blond smiled slightly at him. "Now, do get inside.
Remus has made some delicious-smelling stew, and he would be really
disappointed if you didn’t even try it."
"Well, we can’t have that, now can we." As they started to slowly walk
towards the cottage, Harry finally said, "You don’t regret it, do you?
Bringing him back to his true form, I mean."
"Of course not," replied Lucius softly. "At first I did, I’ll admit that.
But now that I’ve seen Severus with him... I can’t regret it. I can’t even
remember when I’ve last seen Severus so happy. Besides, you know the saying:
If you truly love something, set it free. If it returns, it never really
went away. And if it doesn’t..."
"...It never was yours to begin with," finished Harry, nodding. "Yes, I do
"Well, it now seems that Severus never was mine to pine after," Lucius said.
"Whenever I see them together, I know that they are just meant to be
together. There’s no messing with that."
"They are meant to be, true," Harry said with a slight chuckle. "Trust me, I
do know that."
Lucius gave him a curious glance, but didn’t make any comment at his
statement. Instead, he just pulled Harry closer and put an arm over his
shoulders. There was nothing romantic in the gesture the way he did it,
rather it was just a symbol of some odd brotherhood, but still it made Harry
feel surprisingly warm.
And if Harry walked a bit nearer to Lucius than he absolutely had to,
neither said anything about it.