Title: Seeking You
Author: Twisted Usia
Pairing: SS/RL
Feedback: twistedusia@yahoo.com
Category: Drama/ romance
Disclaimer: I don’t own them. If I did, the movies would have been a lot racier. They belong to J.K Rowling and anyone else she says.
Summary: When the situation is bad, the ones who love you are the ones who remain.
Challenges: 182) Snape always tries to protect Remus, but does he have to? What if Remus were extremely powerful (we know he is intelligent, but powerful?) and only a few people knew of it. And what if he discovered how powerful during a mission? What will he do when he thinks he is not needed?
217) Voldemort has a new weapon at his disposal. In order to gain strength, he is 'trapping' powerful wizards, witches, and dark creatures. Once they are trapped, he is able to use their power as his own. Snape and Remus find themselves trapped in this manner.
Archiving: let me know first!!!
Thanks: to my sister, who beta’d this even though she thinks I’m a weirdo for writing it.


“So you will go to this meeting to spy on Voldemort on behalf of the order once more?”

“Yes Albus. You may depend on me.”

“Thank you Severus. I know that this will be dangerous for you. When we defend these people, there will be no way that they will not realize that you have betrayed them. You will be bringing down a lot of danger on yourself. Is there anything you would like me to do if the worst happens?”

“No, my will shall take care of it.”

“Very well Severus. You should go and prepare.”

Severus nodded and stood up to leave. Albus turned to some papers spread on the desk, and therefore was surprised when Severus cleared his throat nervously.


“Yes Severus.”

“There is something that I would like for you to do. If something were to happen to me, you must promise me that you will look after Lupin. To not allow him to throw away his life on Voldemort.”

“Remus, Severus?”


“Of course, dear boy”

“Thank you, Albus,” and with a swirl of black robes, Severus was gone.

Albus returned to his papers, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth despite the sadness of the information. It was good to see that Severus cared for someone. Even if in person, Severus tormented and sneered at Remus, the fact that he could swallow his pride enough to show his emotion to another was very indicative of the depth of Severus’ feelings. Perhaps he would come up for a reason later for Remus’ to overhear the memories of this meeting.

Lupin looked tired, but triumphant. There were cobwebs in his hair and a smudge of dirt decorated his cheekbones, but Lupin didn’t appear to notice. Albus had to physically restrain himself from going over and tidying the werewolf up. Instead, he put his hands in his lap where they would be less tempted and spoke.

“I take it from your presence that you have finished.”


“You managed to renew the anti-apparation wards in one night?”

“Yep.” Remus was bouncing in his chair. Again, Albus had to restrain his paternal instincts.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.”

“You certainly seem full of energy.” Remus looked down, saw himself bouncing and blushed. He continued bouncing however.

“I see you can’t control it.”


“What’s different this time? Last time you renewed the wards, you were dead tired on your feet. You looked so bad that Poppy gave me a lecture on your not being a superman, despite your powers.”

“I remember.”

“So… what’s different?”

“I didn’t argue with Severus this time.”

“Oh? How did you manage to do his rooms? I know that when he leaves them he puts up wards that leave a signal when taken down. You didn’t renew them in front of him, did you?”

“No Albus. I didn’t. Though I wish you would let me tell him. I know we can trust him.”

“I trust him too. It’s the effects of cruciatus that I don’t trust. I don’t want to put any more strain on Severus than we have to. The less that he knows, the less he has to prevent Voldemort from learning. But you still haven’t answered my question Remus. How did you do Severus’ rooms?”

“I snuck in while he was bathing.”

“Remus you didn’t… what if he had caught you?”

“Was worth the risk.”

Albus sighed, shaking his head. “Remus, you really shouldn’t have.”

“I know, but I couldn’t resist.”

“Why don’t you approach him openly? I know that he wouldn’t rebuff you if you moved gently…”

“Albus, I’m not going to disrupt what little relationship we have right now by moving. At least for now he doesn’t flinch when I come near him. It’s not worth going back to how we were just because I can’t stop thinking of him.”

“Whatever you say Remus.”

“So what is my next assignment?”

“You don’t have one yet. I’m expecting more information tonight and I want you to be available if I need you.”

“More information tonight? Don’t tell me that you sent Severus back into that den of vipers.”

“We have no choice, Remus. And he agreed.”

Remus sent his fist into the wall. Albus watched, but didn’t say anything. Remus calmed slowly. Albus dared to speak.

“You should go to bed. You should be rested. We may need you to act immediately, depending on what Severus brings us.”

“I’ll sleep when I know that Severus is back safe.”


“No Albus.”

“Very well. I’ll inform you when Severus returns.”

“Thank you Albus.”

Albus was still working very late that night when a charm chimed. Albus looked up to see that the charm he had added to the defenses to tell him when Severus returned had gone off. Albus stood up and hurried down the stairs to the great hall. He arrived just in time to cast “wingardium leviosa” and prevent Severus from landing on his nose.

Severus was a mess. Albus was surprised that Severus had managed to walk from the apparition boundary. In addition to the obvious and expected aftereffects of cruciatus, there were livid bruises starting to come up as if a flagellus charm had been applied repeatedly and his left leg was broken. Careful to mind the broken limb, Albus levitated Severus through the hall and out the back door of the great hall and directly up to the infirmary wing.

Poppy took one look at the situation and immediately began spinning into work. Potions and charms began flying and by the time Albus lowered Severus onto the bed, he looked much improved, though still unconscious. Poppy continued her work, and shortly Severus was awake and aware.


“Are you able to give me the information now, or do you need to rest first?”

“Tell you now.”

Albus waved his wand and a cloth that was on the table next to the bed became a quill and parchment. Severus began speaking, though his voice was hardly more than a rasp.

“Voldemort was less than pleased to start with. The efforts of the order have been particularly effective lately and he is beginning to get frustrated. He beat the information into the circle as they arrived. He’s going to try a coordinated strike three days from today at moonrise, one or two death eaters at each site, in a lot of areas. All kinds of targets, mudbloods, artifacts, creatures, anything with minor value. Only the person who was in charge of that group could hear their assignments. Everyone else was too busy screaming. The charm only worked partially; sometimes the screaming was too loud.”

“How many attacks are we talking about?”

“At least a hundred.”

Albus blanched. “We don’t have enough people to mount a defense that large.”

“I know, but you’ll have to cover as many as possible. Many of the targets are too valuable to let them be taken to preserve my status as a spy, especially the ones my group is supposed to deal with.”

Albus closed his eyes. As he’d feared, this night would bring a warrant on Severus’ head and the man would be hunted to his death.

“How certain are you that everything is going to happen on the same night, Severus? If he does such a large action, there is going to be no way that Fudge is going to be able to force the ministry to ignore the aftereffects.”

“I know, but I’m not sure that he cares about those consequences. He seemed mad.”

Albus sighed and closed his eyes. “Alright, I’m going to summon the order. Continue speaking the targets, the quill will record them.”

Albus left and Severus’ voice continued rasping into the darkness. After a while, his voice wound down and Poppy came to give him a last potion to sleep.

Owls flew in droves from the Headmaster’s office. The floo system was constantly in use and other esoteric systems buzzed as vast amounts of planning and orders went out. The only time when the system was quiet was an hour or two in the night when the Headmaster eventually gave up and slept.

Severus Snape was no less busy. While repairing his broken leg with Skele-grow meant that he had to remain in bed, he had two of his trusted students move him to the basement and he directed the mass production of healing and offensive potions from his bed. All of the students that Severus had chosen were either members of the order or definitively not death eaters and knowing that their efforts were deathly important, they moved swiftly in their tasks.

Severus was still in pain as the potion for the after effects of cruciatus interacted badly with pain potions and charms, but he was distracted by his surprised pleasure in his students. While he knew that he was a good teacher, he was still impressed with how well and efficiently his students were moving at their tasks. There were no explosions and only one failed potion that really could not have been prevented (inquisitive spiders happened). While none of them were fully trained, many showed promise as potion masters. Severus knew that should the worst happen, these students would be able to continue without him.

It was almost dinner time and Severus was about to gingerly rise and test his leg when Remus walked into the room. Severus immediately flinched and with a twitch of his wand his appearance was immaculate and imposing as usual. Ignoring the warning twinges of his leg, Severus strode through the workroom and faced the intruder. He gave the man a quick once over, but nothing in the man’s demeanor screamed that he needed emergency assistance, though his body still looked worn and drawn.

“Is there anything I can help you with?”

“The house elves wanted to know if it was alright to bring dinner in. They didn’t want to interrupt if anything was still delicate or time sensitive.”

Severus turned to look at the projects. Many of the current batches were done and those that were still running weren’t that sensitive to contamination. There were still some that required monitoring, but as long as the students were in the vicinity, it would be obvious.

Severus gave Remus a stiff nod and suddenly house elves were flashing in. The food was spread on top of cloths, picnic-style, so that no food could contaminate the working surfaces. The students cheered and food immediately began disappearing at a fast rate. Severus turned to Remus.

“Are you joining us?”

Remus smiled at the indirect thank you. “No, I have a couple more stops to make before the meeting tonight. Thank you for the offer.”

Severus grunted, but when Remus turned to go, he found a sandwich from one of the platters thrust in front of him. Remus took the offering and nodded his thanks to the swiftly retreating limping body of Severus Snape before leaving on his errands.

The remaining two days sped by in a whirl for Severus. Between his preparations for the order and doing his duty as a member of the inner circle to the death eaters he was in charge of, many hours in the day were eaten. He was curt and short with everyone, not having time to deal with niceties, and food and sleep would have been optional except that Albus had pulled him aside and ordered him to maintain himself.

So when Severus was offered food in the final meeting, he took it though his stomach threatened to remove it. As he was passing Remus, a portion of food appeared on a napkin before the werewolf. Severus took his seat in the corner of the room and looked around the room at the forty-eight wizards and witches that Albus had drummed up.

Albus had gone over the targets and selected the targets that they couldn’t afford to let Voldemort have. The decision was obviously heartbreaking as there were many cases where they knew that not going would mean that someone would die or be captured. But the results were the best effectiveness that they could manage. They were going to prevent and capture as many of the Death Eaters as possible.

Many of them had spent time surveying their sites through Mad-eyed Moody’s devices. They consulted texts and trusted experts on ways to counter the spells they knew they were going to be facing, but all of them knew that they would be facing Avada Kedavra and they were all resigned to dying if necessary. Severus had spent many hours telling them about the personal foibles of the death eaters they would be facing, and they had rigged as many traps and counter-measures as they could. They were all as well prepared as they could manage, but Severus’ heart ached, knowing that many of them would be dead before the night was over. The worst were the kids. Barely out of school, the golden trio with their cronies couldn’t know the damage they were facing. And it tore at Severus that he was sending out innocents to die.

This was a final meeting to mention any last minute advice and to say good-bye. Severus was eternally grateful that Albus had decided to forgo the pep-talk and instead had merely provided pensieves if anyone wanted to leave memories for a loved one. Severus sneered at those who were taking that option now. Memories belonged to the person who had lived them and no one else. And anyone who would put off such a task till now was very much a fool. But even Severus had to tell himself that they were brave fools.

The people milled, speaking to people all over the room and occasionally crying. Severus was quickly tiring of the melodrama and stood to leave when Albus came over.

“I’m sorry to drag you here, Severus. I know that this isn’t your idea of fun. But I wanted to see everyone one last time. Forgive an old man’s indulgence, but I could not send you to die without telling and trying to show you all how much I care for you.”

Severus’ eyes closed. “I don’t need to hear it to know Albus. You proved it to me when you took me in. You will never have to say it to me.”

“I also wanted everyone else to remember. This is the army. These are the fighters. These are the heroes.”

“These are the martyrs, Albus. But if there are to be people to remember us, we must win.”

“Too true, Severus. Then go and may Merlin watch over you.”

“Tell them all to watch their backs, especially the kids. They don’t know any better.”

“You’re a good man, Severus. And I promise that you will be remembered as one.”

“I’d rather you remembered your other promise, Albus. The memory of fools does not matter to a dead man.”

Severus left the room, his robes swirling behind him. Albus watched him go, then turned. It would not assuage his guilt, but he had to speak to everyone before they left.

Remus stood by the door and watched Severus walk away.

Severus apparated again. Albus had known that to bring Lucius Malfoy down, they couldn’t just catch him in the vicinity of his target. Lucius had way too much pull with the Ministry due to his position to be even considered guilty much less found guilty of being a Death Eater. Lucius had to be caught red-handed and neck-deep. So instead of traps, the area around what Severus’ knew was Lucius Malfoy’s target was mined with spying devices and spells, some magical, some muggle. Even if Lucius Malfoy managed to destroy most of them, they hoped that some of them would survive and provide enough evidence to make the ministry administer veritaserum.

While waiting for the devices to get enough evidence, Severus apparated from one site to another, capturing lesser Death Eaters that were going after minor targets. It put Severus at more risk, as these death eater’s were inexperienced and therefore unpredictable. But Severus had survived Voldemort and ignorant students way too long to be taken down by the likes of young Crabbe and Goyle. He sent them on their way with directed port-keys and left before their targets could realize that they had been saved from the callous viciousness that the ignorant pair specialized in.

Before he could go after a third target, a subtle charm told him that Lucius Malfoy had arrived at his site. Shaking his head over Lucius’ arrogance in defying Voldemort over the time, Severus apparated behind a rock formation and waited. He had a perfect vantage from here and could see Lucius Malfoy stumble in. Knowing Lucius as he did, Severus had decided against mining the approach to try to harm Lucius. There was nothing that Lucius couldn’t free himself from and Lucius would rather run and attack Hogwarts politically than stay and fight.

Severus instead had pulled aside the Weasley twins. While they had been the bane of his existence during their school years, Severus had respected their creativity once he was no longer the target of their pranks. Especially when they did their best to be minimalists, creating pranks that took little or no magic and therefore would keep long amounts of time without deteriorating. It was the lack of magical residue that Severus was interested in and Lucius found himself wading through many of the more subtle efforts without any warning. Severus had been careful with the number and type, hoping to make Lucius annoyed and off-balance without giving him grounds to decide he was under attack and flee.

From the look of it, Lucius was terribly annoyed, to the point that suspicion was put aside. The whirling charm that the twins had created to dissolve into twigs and leaves had done quite a number on Lucius’ hair and clothes. This made Lucius look more like he fit in in the dark space of the cave. But Lucius was far too proud to let his annoyance prevent him from continuing and shortly he was viciously tearing at the wards that had sensed Severus’ intent and let him pass. The wards were not being so accommodating for Lucius and he had to pour a lot of energy into the dark spells that were breaking and twisting the wards. Severus’ took a deep breath and waited.

Lucius frowned at one last stubborn layer of ward and raised his hands. Three sounds that scraped at the very air came out of his mouth and the ward flashed white one last time before dying completely. Lucius took three steps forward and reached out to take the artifact from its resting place when a smaller series of wards flared and threw him back. The second Lucius hit the ground, Severus was there, casting spells at him.

Lucius was an excellent duelist and normally their fights came out to a draw, or in Lucius’ favor. But the moment of surprise was all that Severus needed and he was able to disarm and bind Lucius into unconsciousness before he took too many disabling spells. He took two seconds to fish an antidote to the nasty boils that were appearing on his left arm out of his belt and drink it before destroying Lucius wand and casting a levitation spell on him. He knew better than to touch Lucius physically. Objects weren’t the only things that could hold spells and Lucius clothes were top of the line in more than one sense.

Once he had exited the caves completely, Severus took a risk and grabbed a handful of Lucius’ hair so that he could apparate them both back to the holding cells. Flitwick was there and after some cautioning, Severus turned the task of continuing to disarm Lucius to the small expert. Severus himself turned and walked out, looking for anyone who would now how the fight was going and hoping to get a handful of cream to deal with the remains of the boils. He found both when he went to the medi-tent.

As Severus sat on a stool and smeared the cream over his arm, the youngest Weasley boy ran in with the Granger brat. She had blood dripping from her left arm and forehead. Severus immediately moved to help the child, but he was stubborn and insisted on laying the girl down himself. Severus yelled for the medi-witch and she immediately bustled in. Severus pulled the boy away to allow the woman to work.

Weasley resisted at first, then collapsed against Severus. Severus allowed it for a moment, then shook the boy.

“Report. Whose mission failed? Yours? Hers? Which target is unprotected.”

The Weasley stiffened up and practically growled at Severus. “No target is unprotected. We knew that our person was going to be late, so we both went after my target first. It was easy enough and we still arrived at Hermione’s target before the death eater. Only when we got there, we realized that he was waiting to ambush us. Draco got the drop on us and…”

“Draco? You knew it was Draco?”

“Yeah, he didn’t bother to wear the mask. The rat bastard didn’t even hesitate, just blasted at us. I managed to duck but he got Hermione. I was going to go after him, but Remus arrived and told me to take Hermione to safety.”

“You left Lupin to take care of Draco alone?” With a whirl of black Severus was gone. Ron didn’t bother to go after him, trying to get as close to Hermione as Poppy would allow him.

Severus apparated in and immediately crouched, trying to make himself as small of a target as possible. His senses strained to the max, he moved quietly, trying to find either of the wizards. Draco had been sent after the family of a rather high placed muggle born wizard who lived on the outskirts of a very small town in Wales. The night was still and Severus eventually moved toward the small house, trying to see if they at least were alright. He realized his mistake a moment later when a streak of electricity rose from the wards around the house and lanced into him. He twisted, trying to avoid the next strike, but his recently broken leg was not up to the strain and the strike flattened him. He was still conscious when Draco’s face loomed over him.

“What a surprise, professor. I knew that Imperious tale would drag one of the high level do-gooders out here, but I didn’t think you would be fool enough to fall for it. My fortune. The reward for bringing in the spy will be great.”

Severus spiraled into unconsciousness with the smiling face of his former student burning into his mind.

When Severus awoke, pain radiated from his head, back, and left leg. The headache delayed his being able to open his eyes, but eventually he was able to force them open. He was in a small stone room. It didn’t particularly look like a prison cell, but there were no windows and the door was thick. And heavy chains were wrapped around Severus’ arms and legs, clanking as he breathed.

Severus was curled loosely on his right side and his injured leg was strenuously protesting his position. When he rolled onto his back, the flare of pain made him regret ever waking up, but after a few moments the chill of the floor started to penetrate and soothe the burning ache on his back. Concentrating for a few moments, Severus remembered the trap that had taken him down and was actually grateful for the coolness of the floor that was soothing the remaining burn from his back.

He remained in that position for a few moments till the pain died down to a dull throb. He was about to attempt to rise and survey his surroundings better when he heard footsteps approaching the door. He knew that in his current state he had no chance of over-powering whoever had come, so he immediately went boneless and pretended to be unconscious still.

The door opened slowly and a curt lumos lit the room. Severus was careful to control his reaction to the light and thought that he might have succeeded in convincing the intruder that he was unconscious when another voice sounded in the room.


Severus shivered and opened his eyes. He knew better than to try to pretend to Voldemort that he was still unconscious. Voldemort was in the doorway, flanked by Goyle and Crabbe Senior, both of whom looked furious. But they weren’t moving, allowing Voldemort to approach Severus alone. Voldemort knelt next to Severus, caressing his face with his bony hand like a master petting his dog.

“Ssso my pet hasss deccccided to bite the hand that feedsss it. Do you have a clever exsssscussse for me, pet?”

Severus remained silent. The hand continued to caress for a few moments before suddenly grabbing an ear and hauling upward on it. Voldemort was deceptively strong and Severus had to rise or risk loosing his ear to the strength. Severus braced himself, trying to prepare himself for any number of painful spells that could come hurtling at him. He heard Voldemort speak, but the spell was one of cleansing. Severus himself used it frequently when he was preparing a potion where the ingredients should not be affected by magical residue. When nothing else happened, he risked opening his eyes to see Voldemort’s face uncomfortably close to him.

“Afraid of your punishment, pet? You should be. I’m told that it’s most uncomfortable. But that will come later, pet. This is merely for my loyal ones to get a bit of revenge against you for their loss.”

Voldemort turned and walked back to Crabbe and Goyle. “You may play with him as much as you like. But remember, he has to stay alive, no major disfigurements, and no magic. I don’t want to have to cleanse him again.”

Voldemort left the room. Crabbe and Goyle looked at each other, then advanced on Severus. Severus, in spite of his resolution to show no fear, cringed back against the wall. Voldemort’s instructions left an awful lot of leeway for Crabbe and Goyle. He was in for a lot of pain, and this was before whatever punishment Voldemort had decided for him.

The cool floor was good for numbing more than burns, Severus was to discover. There were many other injuries that were less annoying when numbed by cold. Only the injuries on that side that objected to the pressure still hurt. There were plenty of other injuries that weren’t so numbed, and Severus was pretty sure that the cold was aggravating his broken ribs rather than helping them.

The door opened again and Severus cringed upon seeing Goyle once again. He was unsure that his body could take much more damage and survive, inherent magic or not, but he wasn’t sure if Goyle was smart enough to realize that. Voldemort would punish Goyle for killing him, but Severus would still be dead. But Goyle made no move to deliberately hurt Severus further. Goyle lifted Severus up in his arms as if he weighed nothing. This definitely hurt and Severus couldn’t help a moan or two which Goyle sneered at, but there were no more deliberate injuries.

Goyle carried Severus through a long hallway and down another staircase before carrying him into a large room. Severus lifted his head weakly and saw that the room was filled with Death Eaters. Knowing that this was his punishment, Severus started to prepare himself for death. So when Goyle abruptly dropped him on the floor, Severus was ready for the pain. The crowd around him was malevolent, but to Severus’ surprise, still there were no wands spelling pain into him.

In fact the air seemed to hum with confusion in addition to the malevolence. Whatever Voldemort had planned, it was obvious that he had not told anyone and even the pleasure of tormenting a traitor was not enough to still the unease. Severus recovered from the impact and began to look around discreetly. Now he realized that his first impression was not complete. Not only were there death eaters present, but there seemed to be a large number of captives in the room in various states of health. Severus didn’t have much time after this before Voldemort swept into the room.

The quiet murmuring among the Death eaters stopped and even the whimpering from the captives stilled. Voldemort sat down on a hastily transfigured throne. Every second that he remained silent, the tension in the room grew. Finally, when Severus thought that he would choke on the fear and anticipation, Voldemort spoke.

“Before me stand my loyal followers. You have been victorious against those that would destroy our rights and betray us for weaklings. Tonight, we will start our war. Tonight we will create the weapon that will destroy our enemies.”

The speech was more jubilant and enthusiastic than anything Severus was expecting. The Death Eaters around him seemed to relax and minor cheering came from some of the more daring members. Voldemort seemed pleased by this reaction and soon all of the death eaters were cheering. And Voldemort let the cheering go on till it died a natural death. Into the silence that followed, Voldemort continued.

“This weapon will destroy our enemies. And all who are loyal shall enjoy the fruits. No one will be excluded who is worthy. Now let us begin. Anderson, bring forward your prize.”

Anderson dragged forward a young girl. She had scratches all over her and an obvious lump on her head, but what was most obvious were the dark green scales that flashed on her back. The girl was obviously at least half-naga and would have been fairly difficult to capture. Severus, through his fear and pain, raised a mental eyebrow and his estimation of Anderson’s abilities.

Anderson forced the girl to kneel before Voldemort, who raised his wand and began chanting. The first words were obviously those of a pain-numbing spell and Severus thought it amusing that Voldemort could still cast spells of that nature. The next spell, however, explained why the pain-numbing spell was necessary. The words sizzled through the air and the girl began twitching even through her numb state. A large mark like a burn appeared on her back and Severus could see that it was a modified version of the dark mark. But this one had many more markings as a part of it, and for a moment Severus longed to study it with an advanced arithmancy text to try to detangle the interactions of the marks.

The girl finally stopped twitching and went limp again. Anderson grabbed the girl and dragged her to one side, out of the way. Voldemort continued with his list of death eaters, and more captives were laid next to the unconscious half-naga. Severus had his suspicions as to what was happening, but it wasn’t until an artifact was produced that he knew what was going on.

Hadriel’s pillar was a masterpiece of creation. It had been studied extensively and many historians considered it one of the most elegant magical artifacts ever created. It was also utterly useless. No one could imagine why anyone would create a device whose only purpose was to repel boggarts. As one of the earliest creatures taught about in DADA, even the most incompetent wizard or witch could do this on their own.

Whatever the reason, Hadriel’s pillar was presented to Voldemort. The spell used felt just as bad, but was different from the spell that Voldemort had used on the captives. Severus could feel the magic draining from the pillar and into a large rock that was against the wall. Severus looked at the rock and realized that he was looking at the largest piece of void stone he had ever seen. The final piece of the puzzle snapped into place and Severus shook with the knowledge. Voldemort was creating a power sink, and he had found some means of draining the energy from unwilling donors.

Severus had seen void stone before. There was a small piece of it in each of the dormitories of Hogwarts to collect random energy from accidents and bad control. This energy in turn was fed back into the wards that defended Hogwarts. A very equitable solution, but the pieces in the dorms were no bigger than a plum. This void stone was the size of a troll and if Severus’ guess was correct the strength of the spells feeding it were dumping tremendous energies into it. Some of the captives might never wake again due to the drain on their energies. Proof of the strength was immediate when Hadriel’s pillar abruptly collapsed into pieces and dust.

The Death Eater in question hastily swept the debris aside, and the procession continued, till only Severus and Draco remained uncalled. Voldemort called out to the group.

“It is time for the prize. Draco Malfoy, come forward.”

Draco grabbed Severus by the hair, and though the pain as some of the hair pulled out was intense, Severus was unable to aid in his movement. He slumped back down the second his hair was released. Voldemort actually stood and circled around Severus.

“Goyle and Crabbe, are you satisfied with your punishment?”

The “yes” sounded grudging to Severus, but Voldemort sounded satisfied by it. “Draco, I know that you too have personal claims to injure the traitor, but I ask you to delay them. I believe that too much more damage and he will die too soon.”

Draco’s eyes flashed ice at Severus and Severus could see the promise of future pain in them, but his reply was perfectly even. “Whatever you ask is what I will, my lord.”

Voldemort gave his version of a smile. Then he looked down at Severus. “Poor pet. You will not enjoy this at all. May everyone see what will happen to those who betray their brothers.”

The wand flashed and Severus could feel the burning begin on his back. The first scream tore out of his throat and he could feel the bitter irony. He was the only person to be marked as a traitor to both sides of the war. The pain escalated and Severus passed out.

Albus Dumbledore strolled through the containment area, following Severus’ instructions to the letter. Severus had warned the group of possible booby-traps and other problems set on the bodies or clothes of the Death Eaters and the order had reacted accordingly. But Albus was detecting magic with a myriad of spells he had researched in order to set people to deal with hidden time release traps. Most of the death eaters had registered as clean to the charms and they had been prepared for the Aurors which would be arriving as soon as Fudge realized what was going on.

Albus took one look at Lucius Malfoy and a siren of alarms came from the detection charm. He moved on, out of range of the charm and looked for someone canny enough and powerful enough to deal with Lucius. Remus was already working on a Death Eater, but Albus pulled him off the weaker case and set him to working on the inner circle member. Remus expression was mildly feral, but he set to work with diligence.

Albus finished the set of death eaters, then headed up to see Poppy and find out how the injured were fairing. There had already been enough casualties and anything that could prevent more was worth trying.

Poppy looked tired, but she was more than willing to report on the status of the medical side. The list was long, which was both depressing and exhilarating at the same time. Injuries were nothing to rejoice about, but if someone was injured, at least they weren’t dead. The conversation continued for a while, but Poppy eventually pulled herself away to check on patients again. Albus was about to leave when a voice from one of the beds stopped him.


“Yes Miss Granger, do you need something?”

“Information sir. Was Malfoy captured?”

“Yes, Remus is working on disarming his traps now.”

“Good. I’d hate for my target to escape because of my stupidity.”

“Your target? Oh, forgive me, Miss Granger, I thought you were referring to the elder Malfoy. But you were assigned to capture Draco.”

“Yes. But if Remus is here, then he must have caught Draco.”

“Draco is not here, Miss Granger. I have just come from checking the prisoners myself.”

“Forgive me, professor, but that does not make sense. Maybe Draco ran away, but I would have thought that Remus would have followed him.”

“I know that you were injured in your attack, but why do you think that Remus should have had anything to do with capturing Draco Malfoy?”

Hermione frowned. “Ron told me that after I got knocked out, Remus showed up and told him to take me to safety. That he would go after Draco.”

It was now Dumbledore’s turn to frown. Then he smoothed his face over. “Perhaps Remus did not report it to me. I shall go find him and ask.”

Hermione looked as if she was going to protest, but Poppy bustled in and Hermione was distracted. When Hermione looked up again, Dumbledore was gone.

Dumbledore was moving down the hallway with intent, but he was not looking for Remus. Ron Weasley was talking to his mother and he never saw Dumbledore come up behind him. Molly Weasley was definitely surprised when her son suddenly went boneless with sleep into her arms, but when she heard Dumbledore’s next word, she didn’t even blink. Nerves that were still running on battle edge had her son bound and moving down the hall to a containment room before Dumbledore could request it of her.

Dumbledore followed her and when Ron was secured in the room, released the sleep spell. Ron immediately woke up and began struggling against his bonds. He continued struggling until Molly grabbed his ear.

“Ow! Mom, what’s going on?”

“You were under imperious!”

“What? What are you talking about?”

“Draco Malfoy put you under Imperious.”

“You’re kidding! The weasel couldn’t have put me under Imperious!”

“He did! And you’ve endangered the entire operation.”

“I… I…”

“Molly, please, let me talk to him.” Dumbledore came forward and Ron’s eyes widened.

“Headmaster? Is it true? Did the Weasel really get me under Imperious?”

“Yes Ron. I apologize for the restraints, but until we are sure that the curse is broken, we can’t risk your being loose and doing something else.”

“What have I already done?”

“Besides allow Draco Malfoy to go unchallenged? That is what we need to find out. Do I have your permission to find out?”

Ron’s eyes were frightened and angry, but he nodded tightly. Dumbledore immediately began to probe the frightened young man with legilmency.

“Ron, what happened tonight? After you left the party.”

Haltingly at first, then faster Dumbledore began peeling events out of Ron’s mind. He saw Hermione and Ron planning to help each other ambush their targets, their first capture, then an unfortunate mistake that experience would have prevented allowing both of them to become knocked out by a trap spell. He saw them revived by a gloating Draco who hurt Hermione, much to Ron’s anger. He then saw her obliviated and knocked unconscious before the imperious came hurtling at Ron, whose defenses were lowered by outrage.

Dumbledore felt some of Ron’s outrage, and felt his anger grow when he heard Draco’s orders for Ron to use Remus as bait to lure some high level of the order out to another trap. But nothing prepared him for the sinking feeling in his heart when he saw Ron follow the orders and lure Severus expertly.

Dumbledore immediately ran from the room, casting a finding spell for Severus. There was some slim hope that Severus had seen the spell and known it for the trap it was, but the finding spell failed. Dumbledore stumbled through the closest floo entrance and landed in his office. He checked the clock for Severus. Severus had many unusual times on his clockface, but Dumbledore had hoped to never see this place used. The place on the clock read “Discovered as spy, captured by Voldemort.”

Dumbledore sat for a moment. There were many things to be done and shortly he would have the ministry crawling all over the order. However, mourning a good friend and honorable soldier took precedence and he mourned Severus. After the chaos of the next few days, he would have to make sure that Severus’ affairs were finished.

“Wish he would wake up.”

“What do you mean wake up? He is awake.”

“Body is, but the mind’s asleep.”

“His body was in worse shape than ours. Maybe that broke something.”

“But what was broken was his body, not his mind.”

“Pain can do funny things to the head.”

“Do you think that if we keep helping his body feel less pain, then his mind might come back eventually?”

“Maybe. We can hope”

“Albus, it’s been three days. When are we going to go look for Severus.” Remus had exploded off of his chair the moment the others had left the meeting. It was the first that they had been able to have since the big night and there were many things to do. They had successfully proved to the ministry and the wizarding world that Voldemort had returned and was responsible for much of the misery that was plaguing them. Now accusations were flying back and forth. Fudge had been removed from his position and it was by the narrowest of margins that he had escaped being lynched. Resignations and denials were flying back and forth.

Dumbledore had not escaped these accusations either. There were many angry and devastated families who blamed Dumbledore for his choices on the big night. For protecting certain artifacts rather than people. For not insisting that the aurors cooperate (though how they thought that he was supposed to command them was anyone’s guess. The fighting had taken a great deal out of Dumbldore, and Remus was loath to add to that load, especially since there were many things that the order had to do now that they were public.

There were too many people, artifacts, and locations for the aurors to protect and have enough people to interrogate the captured death eaters. So the order was spelling aurors and organizing the populace to take care of themselves. Remus himself had a list of things he was supposed to do, but he hadn’t done more than glance at it. Since he had discovered what had happened, he had spent every spare moment searching for Draco or Severus. But he knew that he was only one person.

“There’s not much we can do, Remus.”

“What do you mean? We should be searching for them!”

“Remus, we’re not going to find Severus.”

“Draco can’t have him hidden that well. Look, just give me five people. Five! We can search after hours.”

“I would, but Draco doesn’t have him anymore.”

“How do you know?”

Albus raised tired sad eyes to Remus, then he stood slowly. “Follow me Remus.”

Remus followed Albus into the floo, then into the headmaster’s private bedroom. One entire wall was covered with clocks.

“Albus, what is this? Are these family clocks?”


“Albus, only family are supposed to have those.”

“It’s one of the few requests the headmaster makes of students who are orphans. I ask their permission first, then I give them the clock as a graduation present when they graduate.”

“Albus, I don’t know how many laws you have broken, but this is very illegal”

“There’s a codicil to the rules for the headmaster. It prevents some of the abuses against children.”

Remus sighed explosively, then gestured for Albus to continue. Albus merely pointed to the clock that was nearest to the bed. Remus looked saw Severus’ name on the clock hand. The hand that was pointing to “Discovered as spy, captured by Voldemort.”

Remus blanched, then sighed explosively. He remained still for so long that Albus was about to go to him when his back firmed. Remus whirled around and Albus felt his heart clench at the tears that were on his face.

“Assign me to the Voldemort crew. I want to find this monster.”

“I need you to do what is on your list.”

“My list is garbage, Albus. You know that any fool of an Auror can do what is on my list.”

“We need those things done, Remus.”

“Yes, but this is like assigning a hippogriff to guard a mouse. These can be assigned to anyone. I can do more on the Voldemort search.”

“I know you can do more, Remus. But I want you to do what’s on the list.”

“This doesn’t make any sense. Albus, why are you doing this.”

“I’m doing what I have to Remus.”

Remus shook his head furiously, then stormed toward the door. As he reached the door, Albus called out.

“Remus, here.”

Remus turned and easily caught the key Albus tossed him.

“What’s this?”

“That’s the key to Severus’ rooms. Maybe you can rest there tonight.”

Remus looked at the key, then at Albus. “Thank you.”

Remus could feel the wards on Severus’ private chambers from down the hall. As he approached, he absent-mindedly tried identifying some of them and was impressed by Severus’ finesse and knowledge of wards. He reached the door and used the key in the lock. Remus then drew his wand to deal with the wards so he could enter, but to his surprise he found the wards reacted to just his wand. Remus walked into Severus’ rooms with less effort than he needed to enter his own.

The sitting room was spartan. The furniture was of good quality, but was not antique and not new. Everything showed signs of use, but not of abuse. Remus wandered to and fro for a while, noting the pile of papers on the desk in the corner but not going to them yet. There would be plenty of time later to go through the papers. School had been closed and no student would be dismayed by receiving their potions work late.

He then moved to the door on the left. This room too showed signs of use, but the items in this room were immaculate as befitted Severus’ laboratory. The walls were lined with ingredients and finished potions and the work-surfaces were scrupulously clean, though scarred. It was somehow reminiscent of Severus himself and Remus found himself even more longing for the absent man. It was only after he realized that he was caressing the scarred surface that he managed to pull himself together.

He knew that the next door belonged to the bathroom and didn’t go in. He didn’t want to ruin his memories of sneaking a look at his beloved by going in there now. The final room was Severus’ bedroom and Remus took a long, unsteady breath before opening the door.

The room was again spartan. The furnishings were a mixture of muted black fabrics and warm wood furniture. The overall effect was very warm, if minimal. As if drawn like a moth to a flame, Remus walked to the bed. Severus was as immaculate in the bedroom as he was elsewhere. The bed was made and the nightstand was tidy. There wasn’t even hair in the comb that was by the bed. Remus looked at the closet, but there wasn’t a thing out of place there either. Just several black robes and, at the far side, a dark green formal robe. He turned back to the bed, then couldn’t help himself. He moved the blankets aside and grabbed the pillows. One quick sniff told himself which one was Severus’ and he curled up around it on the bed.

When Remus’ woke once again, he knew that time had passed, but the room remained the same. There were no windows in the dungeons, but the room somehow felt like morning. Remus’ stretched briefly, then strained his senses, trying to find out what had awoken him. A faint but tantalizing scent in the air told him that the house elves had brought him breakfast. He moved from the bed to the sitting room and enjoyed the meal.

Feeling full, Remus looked down at his clothes with distaste. He was dirty and sticky and generally needed a bath. He looked at the bathroom, then finally resigned himself to using it. The bathtub was every bit as deep and comfortable as it looked and for a moment Remus was tempted to go back to sleep. But the very reminder that this was Severus’ rooms had him moving again. The sooner he got his duties done, the sooner he could go look for Severus, whether Albus wanted him to or not.

A quick spell had Remus’ clothes clean and ready to wear once again. But Remus felt himself totally reluctant to wear them. Instead, he went to Severus closet and pulled out one of Severus’ robes. The robe wasn’t new, and it had the occasional hole or spot from potions spills. But it was Severus’ and it fit well enough. Remus looked at himself in the mirror and imagined that instead of the robes, it was Severus hugging him.

Remus tore himself from the mirror and returned one last time to the sitting room. He then started hunting for the list of errands that Albus had given him. He spotted it on top of the desk, underneath a letter. He was about to pick it up when he noticed that the letter was addressed to him in Severus’ tight but elegant script. Trembling, Remus made his way over to a chair and sat down. The letter was of fine paper and didn’t tear when Remus shakily opened it.


{Oh Merlin! He called me Remus. Not Lupin, Remus.}

If you are reading this, then I am dead.

{Oh please, no. You’re not dead, I won’t believe it!}

You will not be expecting this letter, and I hope that you will not feel me too forward or melodramatic, but from our recent relationship I felt that some explanation was necessary. While our relationships have not always been pleasant, they have always been passionate.

{That’s one way of putting it, Severus. Fighting and sniping is a passionate action, but I was not the only one with whom you did that.}

I am not a pleasant person…

{Pleasant isn’t necessary. Pleasant doesn’t mean good or honorable}

…and I have hated many people, but you were the only one for whom I also felt more.

{Felt more? Felt what more? Oh, don’t tell me that all this time you have felt the same as I. Don’t tell me that Albus was right and I should have approached you before}

I have always and will always loathe your closest friend. You may or may not know this, but the mutt and I were playmates and friends before we came to Hogwarts.

{I didn’t know that, but it doesn’t surprise me now that I think about it. The Blacks and the Snapes were of the same class and background. They must have socialized together and being the same age, of course Severus and Sirius would become friends. But that makes no sense. If they were friends, why did Sirius turn against him? As I remember, it was Sirius who started our war on Severus and it was Sirius who pushed us every time we lost interest. I can’t believe that Sirius would be that deliberately cruel to someone who was his friend.}

But deep inside Remus, something was screaming at him that Sirius had behaved toward Severus that way for the same reason that Sirius had not trusted him just before Voldemort killed James and Lily, the same reason that Sirius had bound himself to Harry and ignored Remus till he couldn’t avoid him, the same reason that guided all of Sirius’ actions. Sirius acted for himself, now and always. Every friendship in school was courted for the sake of what it could bring him. James for his popularity, Remus for his brains, and Peter for his subservience. Being in a different house, Severus’ brains were not worth the popularity that Sirius would have lost by remaining friends with him. Severus’ was worth much more as an enemy for Sirius to triumph over and Sirius had used him accordingly.

I know you are smart, and if you listen to yourself, I know that you will admit why Sirius treated me the way that he did. And while I was hurt by it, I too knew Sirius and expected it. And it’s not like I didn’t use your pranks and insults to my advantage, solidifying my place and reputation in Slytherin in addition to retaliating against you in ways that even now you don’t know to blame me for.

Remus thought for a minute, then in spite of the other emotions thundering through him and his own feelings toward the rat, had to smile because Peter had always claimed that someone was persecuting them. Severus was truly a master if he had been able to affect them without their being able to trace him.

But I did truly hate him after sixth year.

{I cannot and will never blame you for that. Sirius tried to get you killed while trying to impress James. Then, when James freaked and went to save you, he went to the headmaster and planted the prank idea so that when you went to him for justice, he was already against you. You had the best claim for justice, not only against him, but against us all and you never received it. I could never blame you for hating us after that. I still haven’t truly forgiven Sirius and I don’t think that I will.}

You already know that I hate him, but you don’t understand why. Has it ever occurred to you how Sirius was able to lure me out to the shack? I already knew of his nature, so believe me, it wasn’t from any lingering friendship.

{Why did you go, Severus? I always assumed that it was some kind of dare, but looking back, you never took a dare unless you knew what was going to happen. Oh no, please don’t tell me…}

Even though we were no longer friends, our time together in our childhood allowed us to be able to understand each other better than anyone else. I knew Sirius’ tricks and schemes and he knew how to read me through my masks. Much to my disgust, that night I failed to read him and he didn’t fail to read me. He took one of my prized emotions and used it as bait and I had so much hope that I ignored the warning signs. I barely even remembered to snarl at him, I was so distracted by my hope. That is why hope is such a foolish emotion. But I felt hope for the first time about this feeling and it clouded my judgment to the point where I was almost killed. My feeling was love, love for you, and Sirius had told me that it was reciprocated.

Remus became an unseeing statue. The letter was still in his hand, but he didn’t read any further. He couldn’t think, overwhelmed with tides of hate for Sirius and twisted regret and self-hate for himself. His feelings had been reciprocated and Sirius had known and destroyed them. Severus had loved him and now couldn’t help but hate and fear him. A lurch of his stomach broke him out of his stillness and made him dash for the bathroom. Breakfast made a fast reappearance and Remus kept heaving until he felt that his stomach was going to join it. When he finally stilled, Remus sprawled on the floor and cried.

His throat and eyes ached and his nose was stuffed up, but Remus didn’t allow himself to remain on the floor any longer. Remus picked himself up, rinsed his mouth, and washed his face. That took care of most of the physical appearances from his bout and he swiftly left the chambers. Remus knew that if he remained and continued reading the letter, he would fall to pieces and he did have duties, however petty.

Remus was a whirlwind of activity. He had been given a lot of duties that involved doing the preparation work for other groups, and he found himself thanking Albus, knowing that he would never have been able to teach or be a diplomat in his current state of mind. Instead, Remus was only limited by his own abilities. Potion supplies were harvested and prepared as fast as quality would allow. Wards were created, research made, equipment gathered faster than anyone could believe. He didn’t stop for lunch and only reluctantly accepted a sandwich from an insistent house elf in passing. He drove his assistants into the ground and finally Albus had to approach him to get him to stop. But the list which was supposed to be his duties for a week was halfway done. Remus staggered back into Severus’ room and fell onto the bed. The next day, he began early again and while some of the activities left on his list just couldn’t be rushed, by the time night fell, he had again done a stunning amount of work. He left the list on Albus’ desk and raised an eyebrow at Albus, daring him to assign him something else. Albus looked up and sighed.

“Remus, I thank you for completing your list. We needed those supplies and now the teams will be well prepared.”

“To be ineffectual.”

“Remus, there is more at work here than your desire to find Severus. Voldemort’s network is very large and we must attack it at all points.”

“Albus, I am not Fudge. You do not need to speak to me as if I were two.”

“Then please treat me as if I were not two as well Remus. It must be obvious to you that there are reasons why you cannot go out on any of the searches.”

“Please Albus, tell me why.”

Albus remained silent and Remus tried his last means of persuading him. For a moment, the pain and terror that he’d been feeling since Severus had disappeared showed in his eyes. Albus flinched and turned aside.

“Tell me Albus.”

Albus’ shoulders slumped, but his voice was still firm. “I can’t tell you, but you are welcome to watch.”

Remus looked and saw a small pensieve sitting almost out of sight on the edge of the desk. Then within two steps he was into the pensieve.

Images bombarded him. Meeting after meeting, rescue after rescue, Severues drinking tea, Severus administering potions, Severus limping back to the school. So many images of Severus doing his work as a spy. Remus instantly recognized this as one of the pensieves that Albus made to prove the innocence of the order operatives should the ministry capture them. Remus felt like screaming at the number of times he saw Severus in so much pain from his spying. There were so many injuries that he had never known of, so much pain and so much loyalty. Remus was crying when the pensieve suddenly threw a memory at him that remained for more than a second.

“… something that I would like for you to do. If something were to happen to me, you must promise me that you will look after Lupin. To not allow him to throw away his life on Voldemort.”

The words echoed in Remus’ mind as he tore himself back to reality. He turned to find Albus, but the room was empty. Remus screamed anyway.

“That’s not a reason to do this to me. Albus! Albus!”

Remus ranted for a while longer, making an absolute mess of the room. When his rage finally calmed down, he was impressed at the extent of the damage, but not ashamed of it. He left and stormed down to Severus’ rooms, taking the pensieve with him. Any memory of Severus was his. And if Albus wanted to assign him any more menial mess, he could come and get him.

Remus stormed down to the rooms and threw himself into one of the chairs, which creaked alarmingly, but held his weight. Then he plaunged back into the pensieve, not caring that the memories were sad, needing to hear Severus’ voice again.

When Remus tumbled out again, he was starving and needed to go to the bathroom in the worst way. There was another tray of food beside him and once he had taken care of the other need returned. The food was good, but cold, obviously having sat for some time while he was busy. A quick warming spell took care of the coldness, but the food still went down like lead. Remus ate enough to keep himself going, then gave up.

He had intended to go back to the pensieve after he ate, but found himself to restless. So he roamed the rooms, looking for something to distract himself. The collections of potions in the lab distracted him with their colors and Remus found himself perusing them, trying to remember what each of them did. There were hundreds of different potions and Remus couldn’t identify more than half of them. But the amount of skill and power that was sitting in bottles on the wall, waiting to be used, was awe inspiring.

When Remus stumbled back into the room, he still wasn’t calm enough to use the pensieve. Instead, he found himself drawn to the desk. He immediately sorted through the papers, returning research and journals to their proper places, putting personal correspondence in a basket, and correcting student work. According to the candles, he had been at it for quite some time when he finally finished, but he felt like he had accomplished something for Severus by the time he finished. The only remaining paper on the desk was Severus’ letter and Remus at last turned his tired eyes on it.

So I went to the Shrieking Shack and had my first real experience with fear. Thank you for that, because knowing what fear truly was taught me how to overcome it when I needed to later. So I had my fear, my injuries and the humiliation of having to be saved by one of the people who had tormented me so much. For all of that I would have hated Sirius. But what I truly hated him for was showing me how much more important he was to you than me.

“What?!?!?!?!?!” Remus’ shriek was loud and it echoed, scaring the house elf who had just brought him another meal. The elf immediately began to apologize and berate himself. Remus had to stop what he was doing and comfort the elf. It took some time before he could return to the letter, but when he did, he was only slightly calmer.

You followed the decree that punished me and saved him. And how much I hated him for showing me that. Because it killed any hope that I had for you feeling what I felt for you. I truly was worthless at that point, and when I succumbed to the peer pressure for Voldemort I took that feeling with me.

Remus again dropped the letter and ran into the bathrrom, kneeling before the toilet. This time when he finished, he didn’t pass out. He had always known that what had happened sixth year had driven Severus into Voldemort’s arms. Knowing the true extent of it was not enough to make him dishonor Severus any more. He rinsed his mouth and returned to the letter, still ignoring the food, despite the fact that the scent made his stomach churn unhappily.

But it was that feeling for you that eventually dragged me back out of that darkness as well. Even if Sirius had proved that I wasn’t enough for you, I couldn’t keep following a man who wanted to treat your kind as pets. So I left and became what I could to help you. Because if I couldn’t be worthy of you, I could still protect you. Merlin knows you needed it. Between your condition and the foolish things that Albus kept throwing you into, it was amazing you managed to escape. Albus kept throwing you into situations that would have killed a man with twice Merlin’s powers, but you have Salazaar’s own luck. Luck can’t hold everywhere, so I decided to do what I could to protect you, so that you could survive with your normal abilities. I created the Wolfsbane to deal with the condition, and if you’re reading this, I will have convinced Albus about the rest. I have done all I can to allow.

{Oh Severus! I love you so much. I’m so glad you followed me away from Voldemort. But why protect me? I should have been the one protecting you!} Remus sat back, his mind racing with confusion. Severus was a brilliant man, widely read in many things other than the potions he worked with as his life-blood. His reading had to have included werewolf physiology and legends in order to create the Wolfsbane. So the fact that Severus felt he needed protecting was incomprehensible.

Werewolves had long been feared. But this fear had not only come from the fact that when they were in wolf form they ate human flesh. No, werewolves were also feared because the virus, in an effort to perpetuate the virus, strengthened the host in physical and, if they weren’t muggles, magical ways. A werewolf’s magical abilities after being infected made them among the top wizards and witches in power. They were able to do more than anyone for far less effort.

This ability made them prized and feared by those in power. Prized, because if they could be controlled they were powerhouses of potential. Their bodies were factories for potent ingredients that could make potions to do wonders. But they were feared more. They were feared more than they were prized, because they could force others into subjection. They had been captured right after the full moon, killed during the one time they were vulnerable. But among those who knew, they were killed due to their power. But Severus didn’t know.

{How could Severus not know? How could he not know? He’s had to have read it?}

Remus sat in disbelief. His mind could not process it. He sat back, tilting the chair, and looked around him, searching for an answer, as if an answer would pop out of nowhere. And in a way it did. Severus obviously never tilted his chair, because when Remus did, he jarred the shelf behind him and a fairly substantial tome fell on his head.

Remus swore and rubbed at his head, feeling a lump already rising. He glared at the book before turning to put it back on the shelf. Then he stopped and did a double take and looked at the tome again. {DeMorilian? Why does Severus have a copy of that old fool?} DeMorilian had been a very abundant writer, but he had been more along the lines of Gilderoy Lockhart in that he never actually did any of the research that he wrote about.

{But his writing was so much better than Lockhart’s. If Severus didn’t know any better, he might have taken DeMorilian for real. And he wasn’t so far off… there were only a couple of things that he fantasized… but if Severus took DeMorilian for real, then he might have disregarded anyone else’s… the man was a genius, who had managed to produce an effective and brilliant potion knowing less than half of the actual fact of the creature he was dosing. But he couldn’t have known any better. The ministry regulates all access to that information, all of them do, and Severus was complaining that he still couldn’t get the access he needed. They wouldn’t give it to him because he was a former Death Eater… but Albus said that he had found a new source in Romania… where DeMorilian is still gospel.}

Remus began shaking with semi-hysterical laughter at the amazing damage that could have happened. The laughter turned into shaking and Remus grabbed the tea off of the tray of food. It was cold, but the liquid was still soothing. So much so that Remus actually continued eating and drinking, relishing the distraction. Finally he calmed and returned to the letter.

So the final thing that I can do to protect you. I do not do this for you to be obligated to me, or care for me or some other sentimental nonsense like this. I do this because no matter how much Albus vouches for you, it will be hard for you to get work after this war.

{That is true. Prejudice still runs rampant as people fear what they know about me. I cannot expect them to be willing to hire me. But what is he talking about?}

You may or may not know this, but I am the last of the Snapes. As such, what remains of the family assets have fallen to me. I have little use for it except for funding parts of my research that Hogwarts doesn't. So it remains pretty much intact. I have named you heir and successor to the Snape family estates and fortune. Unless you desire to live more extravagantly than the Malfoys, it should be enough to provide for you and any offspring you may have.

Much has passed between us, Remus. I have not enjoyed it all, but I have enjoyed knowing you. If I have passed peacefully, then I am much surprised. If my actions have caught up with me, do not feel sorrow for them. I and only I am responsible for my actions.

May Merlin guide your steps.

Severus Snape.

{He made me his heir. To an estate that has priceless artifacts. And you know, trite as it sounds, I would give it all to have him back.} Remus sighed and wiped at his eyes. Then he carefully folded the letter and placed it near his heart. He wasn’t about to let this scrap of Severus go. Remus then turned to the pensieve. It was getting late, but every memory that he could get of Severus would be his before he rested. Though one thought kept popping in and out of Remus’ mind. {Offspring?!?!}

“He’s not getting better.”

“I know.

“Are you sure we’re doing the right thing?”

“What do you mean?”

“He was one of them once.”

“People make mistakes.”

“Yes, but his mistakes killed people.”

“He’s still one of us.”

“Maybe we should let him go. Just let the pain take him away.”

“No. We can’t. If we do that, we’re no better than they are.”

“Very well. I’ll help you.”

“Thank you.”

The familiar sound of an owl scratching was insistent and it finally penetrated Remus’ sleep fogged mind. He woke up grudgingly and looked for the owl. When he realized that he was in Severus’ rooms, he woke up more. He had stumbled from the sitting room to the bedroom extremely late the night before and it took him a moment to figure out what was wrong. There were no windows in the chambers. They were in the dungeon. So where was the owl?

Remus groped for his wand and cast a locating spell. He scratched his head when the arrow indicated a painting on the wall, but he obligingly lifted it. There was a hatch covered with wards that allowed him to open it and the owl tumbled through. The owl bore the distinctive tags that marked it as a Gringotts owl and Remus was unsurprised to have a letter and a key tumble out of the mail pouch. He looked around for a treat to give the owl, but the owl had already hopped to the bureau and was pecking at the drawer. Remus opened the drawer and gave the owl some of the pellets in the drawer.

Remus had been expecting the letter and therefore was unsurprised that the thick letter was the official notice of his inheritance. He barely glanced at it before heading out to the sitting room. He went to the bathroom, then dressed in another of Severus’ robes. He tucked the thick packet into his pocket, then left. If he couldn’t be a part of the official search because of Albus’ promise to Severus, then he could search on his own.

The day was extremely frustrating. He had very little leverage on his own, and there were very few places to go where the official team hadn’t already been. When he returned to the room he was tired, dirty, and hungry. He took the tray of food to the bathroom, drew a bath, and settled in to read the letter from Gringotts. The letter was extremely dry and it took him quite some time to work his way through it, but the general gist was the same as Severus had told him. He was the heir to the Snape estate and all of the artifacts that went with it.

Remus hauled himself from the bath, perusing the items that were listed specifically, desperately trying to find something that could help find Voldemort. He already knew from interrogating an acquaintance in the Aurors that all of the people taken during the critical night were somehow being shielded from every known locating spell or potion. But there had to be something that they hadn’t tried. The list was long and Remus couldn’t identify half of the items, but he marked those to look at later and continued.

When the list turned to potions, Remus knew that he was probably over his head and he massaged his temples, which ached. He needed someone who was more knowledgeable about potions than he was, who was trustworthy, and who wouldn’t betray him. This pretty much narrowed it down to someone from the order, but who wouldn’t be busy? Remus paced, thinking for a moment, then he whirled and left. It was time to find Harry’s friend, Hermione.

The tower was a bust, but Remus found Hermione in the second place he looked, the library. Hermione was elbows deep in books at the small table in the restricted section. Remus approached her, careful to make enough noise to warn her he was coming without making enough noise to truly disturb her if she was working on something important. Hermione glanced up for a moment, then waved him to a chair. Remus sat in the chair and waited patiently for a few moments till Hermione finished the page she was reading and closed the book with a sigh.

“Professor Lupin, is there anything that I can do for you?”

“Please Hermione, I keep telling you to call me Remus.

“Remus then. Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Are you working on something for the order? If so, I can come back another time or ask someone else.”

“No, this is just for my curiousity. I’ve already done what I was assigned. What can I do for you?”

“I must confess that potions and I have always had a less than favorable footing. I was wondering if you would mind researching a list of potions and writing down what they do for me.”

“Certainly. Do you need it right away?”

“As soon as you can, but please don’t overwork yourself over this. It’s just for my own benefit.”

“No problem. Do you have the list with you?”

Remus handed over the stack over papers that concerned the potions and Hermione raised an eyebrow.

“That’s quite a list. It may take me some time.”

“That’s fine. Just send me whatever parts you have done whenever you get a chance.”

Hermione nodded and Remus left. He was going to go talk to Albus. There had to be more that he could do officially in between his own research.

Time passed and it was nearly two weeks since the big night. The full moon had come and gone and in Severus’ absence, Remus had once again spent the night trapped and mutilating himself. Harry and his friends had wanted to help, but Remus had refused to put them at harm. While he was resting, Remus had fought and argued Albus into allowing him to view some of the interrogations, but none of the prisoners knew anything useful. Even Lucius Malfoy, whom Remus had taken great delight in taunting, had no answers under the strongest dose of Veritaserum.

Voldemort had kept this set of plans to himself and his abilities to make artifacts, magical creatures, and people with unusual family trees disappear through the strongest warding and defenses was extremely frustrating. Only the highest level wardings were holding now and more and more people were crowding into those places. People who had been shunned for years due to their connections with dark arts were profiting enormously as people were paying fortunes to have their properties warded with less than ethical spells and traps. It was quite an unusual state of affairs.

Remus himself had been putting up wards and strengthening those already in place. But he knew that if it came to it, Voldemort would be able to overcome his wards eventually. They seemed to be playing a waiting game that had no good ending. And his and Hermione’s research had not resulted in anything useful. Remus had known it was a long shot, but he had hoped that Severus had owned something that he had overlooked. There was only one page of potions left and Hermione had said she would deliver that tonight.

Remus came into the rooms and collapsed on the chair. Creating wards was very taxing and consumed a great deal of energy. Remus had energy in abundance from his nature and so had been asked to ward areas that would have taken three or more wizards days to ward thoroughly. But even his werewolf nature had limits and Remus had been pouring more energy into it than he could afford and hadn’t been able to Apparate home. He had had to ask for a ride home from a former classmate of Harry’s and he had almost laughed at the boy’s surprise. But nervousness aside, Neville Longbottom had safely deposited him at Hogwarts and had walked him as far as the dungeon.

Remus saw that there was a tray of food awaiting him, but he was too tired to eat it. Instead, he snagged the mug of tea and began drinking it. He was just then contemplating falling asleep in the chair when he heard an owl scratching at the entry. He levered himself out of the chair and let the owl in. A small bundle of energy tumbled out and he smiled, recognizing Ron Weasley’s owl. It took several tries, but he finally managed to get his tired fingers to untie the note from the owl’s leg. He gave the owl its treat, then staggered back to the chair in the living room.

The scroll had the last of the potions and their uses in Hermione’s neat handwriting. The potions were an eclectic bunch, but their unusual nature didn’t mean that they were useful for this. Right after a potion whose only use was for finding a bearded merman, Remus had a spark of hope.

Reperire ambitiosus, or Find the Active was a potion designed to find specific magic. When placed on a person, it would find all of the active charms that person had cast. And when placed on an active charm, it would lead the person to the caster. Remus read on furiously, trying to understand how to use the spell and trying to figure out why Hermione hadn’t come to him to use it. Then he turned the page and discovered a report of how the Aurors had used this potion to try to find the victims and how they had run into the same shield that had prevented their finding charms. Voldemort had truly covered all of his bases.

Remus didn’t even have the energy to throw a fit about the death of his last hopes. He merely snagged one of the bottles of Dreamless sleep to prevent his nightmares and went to the bedroom. However, before he could take the potion, he fell asleep on his own. So Remus turned fretfully in his sleep, nightmares plaguing him. Severus suffering featured largely in his dreams and only the person doing the tormenting changed. Faceless death eaters, Sirius, Voldemort, Peter, everyone took a turn. But it wasn’t until Remus managed to reach the most vicious tormentor and drag him away that he saw that it was himself.

Remus woke up with a shout, then he sagged back into the bed, trying to calm his racing heart. The room was a study in grey and black and Remus could see the nightmare replaying in the darkness. This was enough to drive him from the bed and Remus found himself in the sitting room, despite the fact that it was still night. The food was still in the room, and though he was tired and nauseous, his stomach would not let him ignore it now. So he sat and ate, doing his best to ignore the nightmare that had driven him there.

Remus finished and went about to go back to the bedroom to use the dreamless sleep potion for the rest of the night. He was sitting there, contemplating the bottle but his mind was still hung up on the nightmare. There was something about it that was bothering him, more than the horror that he felt. There was something that his mind was trying to tell him that he didn’t know consciously. The process of reviewing the nightmare made him sick, but he knew he was never going to be able to sleep, potion or no potion. He recalled each attacker, identifying them and staring at them, trying to understand what connected them.

{Death eaters, Sirius, Peter, Voldemort, me… what do we have to do with each other… besides all being people who have hurt Severus.}Thinking just in his head was getting him nowhere, so he accio’ed a piece of paper and a quill and began writing the name down. Once they were written down, he automatically started grouping the names. Peter was the obvious contact between the two groups and Remus knew that this was what was important, but he couldn’t imagine why. He chewed a fingernail to the quick, then suddenly erupted out of the bed and ran for the list that Hermione gave him. Again his attention was drawn to the Reperire ambitiosus potion. The potion that needed an active charm. That didn’t work on the victims and which they hadn’t been able to try on known death eaters because they couldn’t find any active charms.

But Peter was not a victim. He was a Death Eater who had firm contact with Voldemort. And he had been a Marauder. And together with Sirius, Remus, and James, Peter “Wormtail” Pettigrew had created several items with active charms. And while most of those were missing, Harry had complained to Remus that Severus had confiscated one of them. The Marauder’s Map.

It took every scrap of self control that Remus had, but he forced himself to go back to bed and take the dreamless sleep potion. There were many reasons why the potion wouldn’t work and Remus knew that Albus would never allow him to try it on his own. So he needed Albus to think him too tired to try something of this nature. Also, Voldemort had proved to be nocturnal in his activities, so trying the spell in the middle of the night was more likely to dump him into the middle of a Death Eater meeting. So much as his heart screamed to go rescue Severus now, his mind was telling him that the odds of success would be better after a few hours and that those hours were nothing compared to the two weeks that Severus had been missing.

When Remus woke, there was a tray of lunch by the bed and a note from Albus, confirming Remus’ suspicion that Albus was also keyed to the wards. Albus’ notes told him to take the day off, and Remus grinned ferally. {I will take a day off from being useless!} Remus was off the bed in a flash, gathering medi and fighting supplies. He snagged some of the food in passing, then he was into the workroom, searching for the potion.

Reperire ambitiosus was a lovely blue in color and Remus paused for a moment to admire it. Then he and the potion were headed out of the chambers and down to Severus’ office. Severus, like all teachers, confiscated many items that ended up in the classroom. Even Fred and George learned not to bring certain items to class. Eventually. These items ended up in a chest in the teachers’ office, and Remus was willing to bet that that was where the map had ended up. He opened the chest and began digging through it. Two ever flying boomerangs, a spying mirror, and a pair of false teeth with a biting charm on it later, Remus’ hand encountered the parchment of the map.

Remus’ hand was shaking, but his voice was firm as he activated the map. Then he carefully poured half of the flask onto the map and drank the other half. The potion tasted like dust and cold air, but Remus was used to far more foul things and the potion went down and stayed down. Then he strode out of the room and out of the castle. The potion would take ten minutes to activate, and Remus wanted to be ready to apparate the moment he knew where to go.

Five minutes later to the second, Remus felt a feeling like heartburn, then all of a sudden, he felt himself wanting to go to three places. His mind instinctively identified the Ministry and Godric’s Hollow. That meant that the remaining place was Peter, and Remus grasped his wand firmly before disappearing.

Remus had been slowly apparating closer and closer to the spot that was calling to him. Finally, he reached an area that he didn’t recognize somewhere in Wales and had to get on a broom with a notice-me-not charm. The broom was a slightly older model as it was Auror issue, but the charms on it were strong. The charms were on the shady-side of legal and were technically only legal for aurors, but the likelihood of someone complaining about that right now were small to none.

Remus moved swiftly but carefully, not wanting to be seen by either side of the fight, or worse, muggles. The area was wooded, and normally would have been quite pleasant, but they were strangely still and quiet. It was as if even the birds knew what was among them and didn’t want to risk drawing attention to themselves.

It was a good half an hour before Remus managed to work his way through the undergrowth to his destination. As he came over a final hill, he spotted a low roof which was designed to blend into the hill. Strangely enough, the entire set up reminded Remus of a darker version of Godric’s hollow and he sucked in a breath when he realized that this must have been Salazaar’s retreat. Like Salazaar’s wand, it was supposed to be unfindable to anyone who did not have the heart of a Slytherin. Even finding spells were supposed to fail, which would explain why the order and the aurors had been unable to find the victims no matter what spell they had tried.

Remus shivered, then he straightened his shoulders. He checked and double checked one of the fascinating dark arts items that Severus had left him that was attached to his belt. Remus had wanted to look at one of the items that Severus had listed specifically, a brazier. However, when he had listed the lid, he had fallen on his ass because stuffed into a corner to keep the brazier from rocking was a small non-descript bag. The bag, which Remus had quickly tested to check his assumption, had been created by one of the greatest smuggling geniuses of wizarding history. No one had ever been able to crack the spells containing it and it was said that no one would ever be able to duplicate it either.

Regardless, the bag held a lot more materials than it should have for something its size and it was impossible for anyone to know what was in it. Remus had stuffed as much medical and magical supplies as he could grab into it and it hardly looked like it had anything in it. Hopefully this would be enough to get Severus and whoever else was in there healthy and ready to break out. But first he had to get himself captured.

Remus was still contemplating how best to be captured when a door swung open and two death eaters in full regalia stepped out. One of the death eaters was complaining vocisferously and Remus was easily able to identify him as Draco Malfoy. Despite the rage that was in him to punish Draco for capturing Severus, Remus reflected that very few things changed. Draco had been a lazy bragger when he was a child and he was not improved now.

But even more important than the fact that this was Draco was what Draco was complaining of. Apparently the great spy catcher objected to being sent to pick up a mere artifact and especially one in so noxious a place as a muggle house. Remus recognized the artifact in question as one that he had warded himself and grinned ferally. Draco Malfoy was about to end up with a much more interesting target.

Remus apparated to the house and quickly took down all but the most minimal of wards to make it look as if he was in the process of warding the house. Then he stood, waiting. The second the two death eaters appeared, Remus let loose with a stream of spells that had the unidentified death eater on the ground, wandless and unconscious. As he was turning to deal with Draco, he felt a rather nasty paralyze spell hit him. Remus grinned internally. This spell didn’t affect him like it would an ordinary wizard because he was a werewolf and Remus could see Draco realize this and blanch. However, the spell did affect him a little and would give him the perfect reason to loose eventually while still giving him an opportunity to give Draco as many problems as he could. So Remus turned and let Draco have it.

Draco was well trained for his age. Having a father who was a dark arts expert and powerful enough in the ministry to evade the underage magic laws meant that Draco had had a lot more experience than people his age. But Remus had had a lot longer to practice and had many more teachers than Draco, so many more spells and physical blows landed on Draco than in reverse. In fact, the blow that had relieved Draco of the garish mask had earned Remus a look of disbelief that had made him laugh.

Eventually, Remus sensed that Draco was tiring, and he accordingly lowered his defenses and slowed his reactions. Draco visibly perked up and shortly Remus let a stun spell through that interacted with the earlier paralysis spell and dropped him to the ground. Remus wished that the spell was one that had knocked him unconscious or deaf because Draco was not very talented in his gloating or his insults.

Draco then turned, broke the minimal warding, and took the artifact. For a moment, Remus was afraid that Draco would take the artifact and leave him there on the ground. But then Draco turned and freed the captured death eater. Remus winced mentally at Pansy’s shrill voice complaining at how long Draco waited to free her. Then Remus winced again when she kicked him in the ribs. Pansy was not happy about being ambushed. However, Draco didn’t allow her to continuing ranting for long. He shoved the artifact into her hands and ordered her to return, which she did with a huff. Then Remus felt a hand twist in his hair and the familiar sensation of apparating.

They returned to Salazaar’s retreat and after a quick lightening spell, Remus was dragged through the door he had watched earlier. At first Draco was boastful and obnoxiously jubilant and Remus could see looks of hate and jealousy crossing the faces of the wizards they passed. But as they wound their way deeper into the building, Draco became quieter and Remus figured that they were approaching Voldemort. Sure enough, they halted before a pair of ornate doors and Remus could see Crabbe Sr. hulking there as a guard. Crabbe opened the door and Draco swept into the room. With a brief flourish that betrayed more nerves than bravery, Draco hurled Remus onto the floor before a throne. Pansy was more delicate in placing the artifact on the floor. Remus landed in the wrong position to see what was happening, but he could definitely hear the voices.

“Reporttt, sssspy catcher.”

“My Lord, Parkinson and I went to the location you ordered to collect the wishing ward. When we arrived, we were attacked by this mutt. He managed to capture Parkinson, but I was too strong for him and I managed to defeat him and bring him back that he may serve you.”


“Yes, my lord. This is Remus Lupin. A known werewolf.”

“Dissssgusssssting creaturesssssss. And whatttt wassss thissss mutttt doing?”

“He was apparently in the process of trying to ward the property. As if such a thing could prevent our work.”

“Ah, ssssso thissss issssss the one who hassss been annoying our collectorsssss. Excccccellent. He ssssshall be a good addittttttion to our little menagggggerie.”

“Add him to the menagerie? He is a mere beast, my lord. Why bother?”

“Even beassssts ssssshould ssssserve us, sssspy catcher. But you are right, he sssshould be marked asss the beassst he isssss. Here. Collar him.”

That sounded ominous and the few seconds that Remus had to wait for Draco to transfigure whatever it was that Voldemort had handed him were spent bracing himself. But that was nothing for the pain that hit him a few moments later. The metal was not pure silver, which was why it was not killing him, but it was enough that if Remus could have screamed and thrashed, he would have been. The pain was enough that Remus could barely understand the spell that came next, but he felt the tingle as his body was cleared of magical effects. The light glamour that Remus used to cover up the scars from being a werewolf disappeared as well as several other effects and residues. His body was in too much pain form the silver to run, but he was no longer forced to be still. But Remus took comfort in the fact that there was no explosion of items near him and therefore the enchantments on the pouch had survived the spell.

The pain numbing spell was a welcome surprise and Remus was about to take advantage of it and attack, but the spell that followed was one that Remus could have lived without. However, the increased strength of the werewolf, especially as it was approaching the full moon, allowed him to remain conscious, though he pretended otherwise. Then he felt his hair grasped again and he was dragged from the room, this time by Crabbe.

The lightening charm had helped quite a bit and Remus felt a substantial bit of hair come lose in Crabbe’s hand when he was flung down for the second time. Luckily he managed to turn his cry of pain into a moan that matched his “unconscious” state. Once the door slammed closed, Remus deliberately waited for a few minutes before opening his eyes and looking around. To his surprise, he had been thrown into a large, almost empty room with many doors leading off of it. Aside from the door being locked behind him, he had free range.

Remus was surprised, but he didn’t let that stop his actions. He was currently operating under the grace of the numbing spell, but that would wear off fairly quickly and before the pain from the silver or from Voldemort’s spell actually hit him. But at the same time, the sense of relief that he had guessed correctly and that Voldemort would not kill him made him almost giddy.

Remus moved quickly, looking for Severus. Each room that he went to had different creatures, all of them dark, and all of them bearing an ugly dark tattoo on their back. And most of them were hungry. Remus hadn’t opened the doors far, but he had already gotten two bites and a nasty scratch across his left hand. There were only two doors left and Remus was beginning to think that he had been placed among the beasts and that he would have to escape before finding Severus. But behind the next to last door he could hear voices. He jiggled the handle, but the door was barricaded, so he tried calling out.


The noise behind the door became quiet and the silence was tense.

“Hello? I’m not here to hurt you. I’m trying to figure out what is going on.”

“Who are you?” The voice that came through the door was nervous and several other voices shushed it.

“My name is Remus Lupin. I was captured by death eaters when I was trying to set up wards. I was working with Albus Dumbledore and the aurors to protect the wizarding world from Voldemort.”

That statement produced a flurry of comments and Remus waited patiently as various voices debated hotly. The argument raged on, then suddenly became quiet and the first voice called out again.

“We can’t afford to believe you. No offense, but it was enough work to get ourselves this much safety in the first place. Find your own place.”

Remus growled, then thought for a moment. “Very well. I won’t try to enter your haven. But I am looking for someone, a friend. Can you tell me if he is in there?”

The flurry of voices came again, but this time the deliberation was shorter. “Yes, we will tell you.”

“His name is Severus Snape. He is very pale, wears dark black robe, has black hair and a rather distinctive nose.”

This time several voices came again, but there was definite anger. A different voice got superiority. “We were right in not letting you in if you are friends with that filth. But if you are looking for him, try next door. That’s where the ones who won’t follow the rules went.”

Remus turned and left, not bothering to say thank you to the hidden people. The last door had no voices and Remus opened the door slightly, hoping not to be hurt or see Severus’ dead body. When nothing happened, Remus opened the door further and saw three lumps on the floor that could be bodies. Remus gave a cry of denial, thinking that he had walked into the morgue and two of the bodies jerked upright at the sound. Remus glanced wildly at the, but didn’t recognize them so he flung himself on the third.

Severus was pale and all of his limbs had splints supporting them. There were other signs of serious injuries that made Remus want to howl with anguish. But the fact that Severus was warm and breathing reassured him and he immediately began searching for why Severus was not responding to him. Even an insult or a glare would be welcome at this point.

Remus was about to disrobe Severus and check the injuries directly when a hand gently tapped him on the shoulder. Remus whirled around, immediately placing himself between Severus and this interloper. He growled low in his throat, most of his rational capacity taken over by concern for Severus. It took several moments of the low voice speaking before it registered with him.

“We are not trying to hurt him. We are not trying to hurt you. We just want to help you. We are not trying to hurt him. We are not trying to hurt you. We just want to help you.”

Remus shook his head briefly, then acknowledged the little girl speaking. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go nuts there. I’ve been so worried…”

“We understand. When we were first captured, George and I weren’t ready for much of anything. If you put him down, we can talk.”

“Let me check Severus first, then we can talk.” Remus did a fast, but thorough check. Severus had a lot of old and healing wounds, but nothing that needed immediate attention. The only thing that concerned Remus was the fact that Severus never woke up during the entire procedure. Satisfied, Remus put Severus’ clothing back on tenderly and kissed his forehead tenderly. Then he turned to the other people in the room. However, the pain numbing spell chose then to wear off and before the pain of the large amount of silver combined with the leftovers from the battle and the pain from the spell Voldemort cast, Remus only had enough time to notice that they were children before passing out.

“Great. Now we have two of them.”

“Yeah, but this one was awake for a while.”

“Let me guess. We should help him too.”

“Yeah. He especially needs your help.”

“My help? You’re the healer.”

“Yeah, but you can pick locks and I think the collar is hurting him.”

“How can a collar hurt him? It’s not choking him.”

“Don’t you smell burning? I think the collar is doing that.”

“Wow. He must really have annoyed the nasty men if they put a burning collar. Move your hands. I need to be able to see it to open it. There! I got it.”

“Make sure it doesn’t touch his skin. Throw it in the corner.”

“Jeez, bossy. There. It’s in the corner. Is he feeling better now?”

“I think so. Look, the burns on his neck aren’t getting worse.”

“Oh wow. That’s nasty.”

“It’s a good thing that you got it off. Help me finish.”

“We should go back to bed. It’s almost time for the bad time.”

“I know. Hurry.”

When Remus woke up, he felt like a house had sat on him. Hi head was throbbing, various portions of his anatomy registered bruises or annoying lesions, and he was cold. When he finally managed to think past these aches, he immediately tried to move and find Severus and he immediately regretted it. He was unable to contain his scream as the burns and wounds around his neck from the silver collar awoke with a vengeance. It took several moments for the flare of pain from the movement to die down and for him to realize that someone was patting his arms and talking to him in a quiet voice. Remus risked opening one eye and saw a small, thin boy standing in front of him. The boy gasped and darted away. Remus closed his eyes, then he heard another voice speaking.

“Are you awake now?” The young female voice from before spoke.

It took two tries as Remus’ throat was sore from screaming, but he was able to rasp out.


“George says that you shouldn’t move. That it will hurt so much that you will go back to sleep. Ok?”


“Do you want some water?”

“Yes please.”

Remus heard a pair of small feet moving across the stone floor, then a piece of metal was pressed against his mouth. He greedily drank all the water that was in it, wincing as it made his throat hurt. Then the feet retreated.

“Thank you for the water.”

“George says that you should go back to sleep now. He says that you will feel better when you wake up again.”

“Thank you.” And Remus gladly passed out again.

When Remus next awoke, Severus was lying back in his best of blankets and Remus was sitting with his back to the wall next to him. Remus asked for more water in a hoarse voice and the little girl obliged him. Much to Remus’ surprise, his neck did feel better and he stowed that fact away to think about later. Then the girl sat next to him, and after a few moments and some coaxing an extremely wary little boy came forward. They couldn’t have been more than five years old. Remus smiled wearily at them and they relaxed a bit.{They’re like wild animals. Though I’m not far off at this point. Between the moon cycle and my own fears…} All of that convinced Remus to take the lead.

“My name is Remus Lupin. You can call me Remus.”

“My name is Selena. This is George.”

“It’s nice to meet you. Thank you for helping me. Did you guys help Severus?”

“Yeah, we tried to fix him. George did most of the work. I don’t know if it worked, but we tried.”

“From what I saw it looks like you did a good job. His bones were all set right and nothing is infected.”

“That was mostly George. He’s good with that kind of thing. He’s part dark faerie.”

Remus looked a little closer then nodded his head. George was indeed a dark faerie and upon closer look he could tell that Selena was at least part naga. In return for the confidence just uttered, he offered one of his own.

“I’m a werewolf.”

The two nodded, satisfied and relaxed completely.

“So do you know what happened?”

“The nasty men came and took me and George out of the orphanage. We fought as hard as we could, but we couldn’t get away and it just made them meaner. Then all of a sudden we were here and there were a lot of the nasty men. Then this really scary guy made us come forward one at a time and he said a lot of weird words. Then it hurt a lot and we all fell down. When we woke up, the grown ups next door were all fighting off some of the beasties that the nasty men didn’t put in other rooms. George and I saved your Severus, but the adults next door said that we couldn’t put him in their room because he was one of the nasty men. But he’s not because he’s hurt and he’s in here with us. So we took him and found this room. Then George fixed him. And I am trying to find a way out of here.” This all happened in one breath and Remus was quite impressed.

“Well it looks like you did a great job. But do you know why he isn’t awake?”

“George said he might wake up when he fixed his body or maybe he got hurt so bad it broke something in his head.”

Remus glanced and saw George nod his confirmation. “You’re a healer aren’t you?”

“Yes, he is.” The two had obviously been together for a while and were very used to Selena doing all of the talking.

“Has anything else happened? Anything you can warn me about? Do the nasty men come in here? Do people leave and not come back?”

“The nasty men don’t come in, they just bring food. And everyone who was here when we started is here now.”

“Some of the animals have died.” George’s voice was low and quiet. Remus could barely hear him, even with his enhanced hearing.

“Why did they put a collar on you?” Selene pushed on, her curiousity evident.

“It’s because I’m a werewolf. They thought it was funny to treat me like a dog.”

“Why did the collar hurt you? It didn’t hurt me when I took it off.”

“Thank you for taking it off. It would eventually have killed me, but that’s because I’m allergic to silver?”

“And the collar was made from silver. It looks yucky.”

“I’m sure it does. But don’t worry about it. It’s going to leave a nasty scar, but it will heal quickly.” Selene and George nodded. Remus continued thinking. Several of the animals that he had seen would not take well to living in captivity without major precautions that were definitely not present. But something in both of the children’s voices told him that they weren’t telling him everything.

“I’m sorry that the animals died, George. But how do you try to escape, Selene? Aren’t we locked in here?”

“We are, but my friends aren’t.”

“Friends? There are more children here?”

“No, no. Hold on, let me see if one of them will come out.” Selene moved near the wall and Remus noticed that there was a small hole in the wall. Selene made a sound and Remus felt his jaw drop as he recognized Parsletongue from his time with Harry. A moment later a snake came through the hole and Selene came back.

“See. They look around for me.”

Remus knew what was proper etiquette for snakes and he didn’t try to pretend to be brave or unafraid.

“That is a beautiful snake. I’m glad that he is helping you.”

The snake hissed, then Selene smiled.

“Sssineesss says that you are being honest. He also says you have been marked by a snake. Do you have a friend too?”

Remus blinked his surprise. Then he remembered Harry,, and smiled. “My nephew has snake friends too. He must have marked me.”

“Really? That’s cool. Tell me about him!”

“I will, but later. I need to find out what’s going on first. Is there anything else the two of you can tell me?”

Selene and George exchanged looks. Then, surprisingly, George spoke. “The marks on our backs… the one that the scary man put on us. Every couple of hours they burn and hurt us. Then you can’t do anything. Your limbs feel like lead, it’s hard to breathe, and all you want to do is sleep.”

Remus took a breath, then let it out slowly. From the symptoms that George had described, it sounded like Voldemort had found some fort of energy draining spell. That would easily explain why they were all still alive after meeting both the death eaters and Voldemort. This would also explain why Voldemort was willing to risk so many death eaters in an unsupported attack.

He then turned to the two kids. “How long till the next attack?”

The two kids looked at him sadly. “Not long. We need to go to our beds.”

“Then you should go to bed. We can talk more when I wake up again.”

The two nodded. Then Selena turned back to him. “You are going to help him?”

“Child, I’m not just going to help him. I’m going to help you two as well.”

Selene flung herself into Remus arms. Remus was surprised, but he hugged her hard. He had no problem comforting this child and if a hug would do that, then he would hug her as long as he could. Then Selene pulled back and the two children ran back to their beds. Moving carefully, Remus curled around Severus. Not a moment later, pain flattened him and he fled into unconsciousness.

Remus could feel someone tugging at him and he opened his eyes to see George’s concerned eyes peering down at him. He gave the boy a weak smile, then sat up slowly. He again felt drained, but his neck didn’t hurt as bad as it had before. He could see that Selene was not awake yet, but George appeared to be wide awake and healthy.

“So your heritage lets you heal fast too?”

George nodded.

“Thank you for waking me up. We need to tend to Severus. Do you want to help me?”

George nodded enthusiastically. Remus then dug the pouch out. The cleansing spell earlier and the info that the kids had told him had confirmed that Voldemort didn’t want any active magic in the room. From how tired and drained Remus felt, he was amazed that the others managed to wake up at all. But keeping that in mind, Remus didn’t bring any of the potions or enchanted items out. One of the eventualities that he had expected was being thrown into a shield that didn’t allow magic to work, so he had supplies that he could use now without warning the death eaters that he had contraband.

George eagerly helped Remus. Very quickly, Severus was covered in new bandages with healing salves that still worked, despite the lack of magic in them. Remus had actually gotten them from Severus shelves. It had been one of the few pleasant moments during his preparation. Severus had used his abilities with potions to come up with several traps for Sirius and James that they had walked straight into because they were relying on the magic detection charm that Remus had found for them. While they were working Remus contemplated George.

Dark faeries, like all faeries, had a natural instinct to heal all wounded things they came across. In fact, the reason why dark faeries were considered dark was that they had a tendency to use spells that were less than consensual. They had been hunted and shunned to the brink of extinction for instinctively using spells. Spells that involved taking energy without consent.

Remus bit off an exclamation as he realized why George was awake so soon. George’s natural abilities were making the tattoo on his back useless. George was probably awake and able during the entire draining process. Remus marveled at the ingenuity and ability of the boy to be able to fake succumbing to the spell well enough that Voldemort had let him go into the cage.

But this brought up another idea in Remus’ mind. {The spell that Voldemort is using… it must be a variant on a dark faerie spell. There are counters to that… we can break free of Voldemort’s control, maybe even make it backfire on him. Sitting right in front of me is the first break we’ve really had since Harry…}

Something of Remus’ thoughts must have shown on his face because George’s smile faltered a little. Remus immediately chastised himself. He had no right to be demanding that a child be the salvation of the wizarding world. He had spent a significant portion of his life trying to make it so that Harry didn’t have to be. What he did need to figure out was how to get them out of here.

“Sorry for being quiet, George. I was just thinking.” Remus smiled again and George relaxed. Then George spoke quietly.

“You are scarring.”

“Yes. My body can’t heal silver wounds correctly.”

“Because you’re a werewolf?”


George bit his lip for a moment, then pushed up his sleeve. Remus bit back a gasp at the ugly sight of the scar on the boy’s arm. He instead stroked it gently. The boy flinched, then relaxed as Remus’ strong fingers eased the tension. Remus guessed.



“I understand.”

“You’re not scared?”

“You can see. I’m the same way.”

“Many people are scared of me.”

“That’s because they don’t understand. I do.”

George’s move was unexpected, but Remus once again found himself with an arm full of child. Remus hugged George, then Remus fished in the pouch and brought out some of the food that he had brought with him. George’s face lit up and he took some. From what Remus could tell, they had all been surviving on gruel, and the presence of a loaf of bread and cheese was very welcomed. George broke his share in half, then left part of it by Selene before eating his share. Remus was touched once again by their friendship and it firmed his intent to get both of them out safely.

And it needed to be soon. Draining spells were dangerous by themselves, but even more so for children because they needed their own energy to grow and be healthy. So the marks needed to be destroyed and to do that they needed Severus’ help. In the course of his investigation, he had concurred with George’s opinion. Severus’ unconscious state was not due to any of the physical injuries he had. Whether due to the beating he had received, the interaction between the two marks that Severus bore, or something else that Voldemort had done to him, the pain had killed Severus’ connection to the world.

There wasn’t much that could be done from the outside to help. This was evinced by Neville Longbottom’s parents, still lying in a ward in St. Mungo’s. But Severus had one ability that neither of the Longbottoms possessed. Severus Snape was a master of Occlumency. It was more than possible that Severus had managed to protect himself from the pain by hiding in his mind. And if that was the case, Remus needed to get in their and convince him to come back out.

Remus was not and would never be a Master of Legilmency. He did not have the concentration or the true desire to know other people’s thoughts. But as a part of his education, Albus had insisted that he get the basics of legilmency and occlumency so that he would know if the people around him were trying to trick him into being around them after the full moon. Remus had only managed the very bare basics, not even enough to be able to teach Harry. But it was enough for him to try, and since legilmency was mostly a mental discipline, it shouldn’t trigger any magic warnings for the death eaters.

Before Remus could settle down into a trance, Selene woke up. Not finding George beside her, she cried out in fright. Both Remus and George moved to comfort her. It took a few moments, but Selene once again became the perky active child from earlier. She was devouring her share of food in between high pitched statements.

“So you woke up before me too, huh Remus. No fair. I wanna wake up with you guys.”

“You didn’t miss much, Selene. We were just fixing Severus’ bandages.”

“Oh. Ok. That is the yucky part. You can do that, then we can escape while I’m awake.”

“I agree Selene, but escaping may take a while. But first, I need to wake Severus up.”

“Cool. Can we help?”

“Sort of. I think Severus went to hide in his head when they hurt him too much and he doesn’t know that it’s safe to come out. I need to go into his head to tell him it’s safe.”

“Oh. Can we watch?”

“It’s not going to be very exciting. It’s going to look like I’m asleep.”

Selene looked sad at that. But Remus had a solution for that. “You may not be able to help with that part, but there are things I need you to do.”

“Really! Yay! George and I will help!”

“Good. I have food that I brought with me, so we have plenty to eat. But I need you to keep lookout for me. The scary man might be able to tell what I am doing and send in some nasty men to stop it. I don’t want you to fight them, just wake me up so that I can. And if I spend so much time trying that it’s almost time for the draining to come, wake me up.”

“Ok.” Selene was bouncing in place. George was more sedate, but his eyes were bright and he was holding his ear. Selene grabbed George and proceeded to have a strategy meeting for how to keep a lookout. Remus smiled at the two, the meeting reminding him of so many marauder meetings. Then he turned and went back to Severus. Staring deeply into Severus’ unseeing eyes, Remus ignored the quiet sounds behind him and fell into a deep trance.

Severus’ mind was distinctly odd. Whatever Severus had done, he wasn’t trying to prevent anyone from looking at his memories or knowledge. Remus had touched many different places and come away with more information about potions than he would ever understand. He had also seen glimpses of Severus’ never mentioned childhood, Severus reading in his chambers, a rather funny shot of one of Severus’ counterattacks on Sirius. The list of things that Remus now knew grew and grew, but not one of the things that he had found bore the feeling of Severus himself. The fact that they were here was a good sign, because the mind of a truly insane person did not have the organization that these memories did. But Remus still didn’t know what to do next.

Remus sighed and slipped out of his trance. He was almost out of time and it wouldn’t do to go unconscious in Severus’ mind. He blinked sleepily, then came awake very fast as he noticed that there was someone or something pounding on the door. Selene and George were huddled against the wall, terrified.

“What’s going on?”

“We don’t know. It just started pounding on the door.”

Remus took the chance that the door might not hold and darted over to look. Even with his skill in identifying magical creatures, he couldn’t tell what the snarling creature that was trying to beat the door down was. It was single-minded and strong, and Remus darted back to his pack to get a weapon before it got through. Within seconds Remus had found his sling and distributed small piles of ammo all over the room. Once he found his knife, he would be as prepared as he could be.

“Selene, George. I’m going to fight the animal. The second the thing is through the door and focused on me, I want you to get out and run.”

“What about Severus?”

“He’ll slow you down. I’ll take care of him. I want you to run.”


“No buts. I don’t want you to get hurt if I miss or something else goes wrong. Please.”

Selene and George reluctantly nodded. And not a moment too soon. The door burst open and a snarling burst of fur slammed into the room. Remus lobbed a lump of metal into the beast, and the beast came snarling at him, enraged. As Remus rolled out of the way, he saw Selene and George rush out of the room and he felt a burst of relief that they were safe. The beast slammed into the wall, giving Remus enough time to reload the sling and let loose with another piece of metal. Then he was moving frantically as the beast charged him.

They played this roll and chase game several times before the beast managed to corner Remus. Remus could see that his slings had had an effect because blood matted the beast’s fur in places and he was definitely slower than he was before. But that slowness didn’t matter as the beast was still stronger than Remus and he had no means of escape. All Remus had was a knife and a body that had been trained to fight due to the war and Dumbledore’s insistence that he be able to defend himself. This allowed Remus to avoid the beast’s swipes with its right paw and teeth, but its left paw connected and Remus found himself batted into the wall with five lines of fire cut into his shoulder from the beast’s claws. Blood was trickling down his arm and Remus felt dazed from the loss as well as the impact. But his instincts didn’t let him remain still to be captured. Remus took two more nasty blows from the beast before a dangerous plan took form in his mind.

The beast could sense that Remus was seriously injured and therefore wasn’t suspicious when Remus clumsily dodged the claw swipes. But when the beast came in with his teeth to finish Remus off, Remus allowed his feet to slide in the puddle of his own blood that was forming under him and pushed of the wall. With a strength that came from pure stubbornness, Remus forced the blade into the chest of the beast and up into it’s heart. The beast paused for a moment, shuddered, then fell. Remus was too weak to get out from under the falling beast and his last conscious thought was that Severus would have loved to see this.

The draining had come and gone before Selene and George ventured near enough to the door to listen. The room was quiet for some time before George and Selene poked their heads in. They both tensed at the sight of the beast lying in the corner, but when observation proved that it wasn’t moving, they became more daring and ventured in. They looked, but they didn’t see any sign of Remus.

“Did the beast eat him?” Selene was horrified and curious at the same time. George shrugged, then they both moved closer to see. It was George who spotted Remus’ hand under the beast.

“He’s trapped. We need to get him out.”

“He’s under the beast. How’re we going to get him out?”

“Maybe we can roll the beast over.”

It took several minutes of exertion, but they indeed manage to get the beast to roll off of where it was balanced on Remus. Then they dragged Remus over to where Severus was.

“Great. Now we’ve got two of them to take care of.”

“Remus should be fixable.”

“Good. I’m glad.”

Selene huffed over to her corner. George began cleaning Remus up and eventually Selene came back and began helping him.

“You know you don’t have to pretend to be strong. I was scared too.” Selene glared at George for saying she was scared, but she didn’t growl anymore.

“Professor Dumbledore, we have to act now. It’s been two weeks since Professor Snape was captured and it’s been two days since Professor Lupin followed him. There has to be something that we can do!”

“Harry, we’ve tried everything that we can think of. We know that Remus found some kind of loophole to the shield that Voldemort put up, but he didn’t tell anyone what it was. The brightest minds we can find, including your friend Hermione are trying to figure out what he did, but we simply don’t know.”

“There has to be something that we can do. They’re suffering and we have to do something.”

“Harry, we’re doing everything we can.”

“No we’re not. We know Voldemort still wants me. Why don’t we set up a trap for him, use me as bait. We could kill him.”

“Harry, we can’t risk you like that. We can’t risk Voldemort surviving the trap. If you were to die, we would be lost.”

“It is wrong. This is wrong.”

“Harry, sitting here making demands is not going to help. Please, do what you are required and let everyone else work.”

Harry huffed and let the office. He was hotheaded, yes, but they simply were not getting anywhere. He needed to find something to do, else he would go mad with guilt and fear.

Selene sat by the wall, one of her friends in her lap. The room had been cleaned up as best they could, and during one of their hurt times the beast had disappeared. According to George, the beast had been hurt by the mark on him and had been attacking anyone he could smell. Remus had been worried that they would find out that he had smuggled supplies in, so he had had them find as many rocks as possible, trying to make it look as if he had used rocks to kill it. It seemed that they had believed it, because they were still alive, but Remus was still nervous.

Remus was working hard on fixing Severus, despite his injuries, but it was taking a long time and Selene was bored. Whenever he had a headache and couldn’t work anymore, Remus had told her stories about his nephew, Harry, and listened to her stories about the orphanage, both the good and the bad. Selene was so excited that there was someone like her, and she was impatient to meet him. But as Remus said, the reason why they had to save themselves was that no one knew where they were. Selene sat, stroking Sssineesss. She had been speaking to her friend, and Sssineesss knew of the bravery of Remus, and how he had protected them against the beast. Sssineesss had also given his approval for Remus from the incident and the other stories that Selene had told him. Suddenly, Selene had an idea.

{Sssineesss, can you find someone if I tell you about them?}

{Humans seem the same to me.}

{This one is different. He can talk to you like I can.}

{I will not go anywhere near the master of this place.}

{No, not him. This one is young, and not here. Remus says he lives at a place called Hogwarts.}

{Interesting. Yes, I could find him. I know about that place.}

{How long would it take? We need to escape as soon as Severus is fixed.}

{Not long. A day. The master of this place left a door to Hogwarts open. We have protected this door from the new master because he is cruel. I can take this door.}

{Good. Please find him and tell him where we are. Maybe he can help us escape.}

{Very well.} and Sssineesss moved off to the hole in the wall. Selene moved and went to nudge Remus. It was time for them to hurt again.

Remus woke up again, drained, and took the time while he felt too drained to move to think. He now knew more than ever about Severus and found himself feeling even more for the man, but he was no closer to finding that part of Severus that was really Severus. When he realized what the memories he had touched had in common, Remus sighed. All of the memories that he had touched were Severus’ pleasant or neutral memories. Even though being surrounded by them must be uncomfortable, Severus had to be behind the painful memories.

Remus quickly went through the usual routine with the children, making sure that they were ok, then went into his trance. Remus searched through the memories that he had already touched, finding one where Severus had successfully counterattacked their prank in public. As he recalled, Severus’ victory had been short-lived and Severus had considered the incident to be one in the favor of the marauders.

The familiar walls of the transfiguration classroom appeared and Remus watched as Severus, without ever taking his eyes off of his own project, cast a charm on Sirius’ project while it was in a younger Minerva McGonagal’s hands. Professor McGonagal was less than amused when the puppy that Sirius had transfigured from a piece of wood suddenly leaped up, stole her hat, and piddled down her robes.

Sirius had been severely annoyed while Severus on the other hand had been roundly congratulated for managing to pull a charm over on the disliked transfiguration teacher. However, Severus’ victory hadn’t lated long. Sirius, with the aid of Peter, had pulled off a rather nasty burning charm. The charm had burned through Severus’ robes and to the skin. Remus had seen the scars from the burns when he had examined Severus and he knew that they would never truly fade away. Sirius and Peter had been punished, but no more so than any other child casting a spell between classes. Definitely not severely enough for a spell that had caused scars of that magnitude. Remus felt the anger that Severus felt at the inappropriate punishment and not for the first time Remus cursed Dumbledore’s willful blindness.

Remus followed the memory and suddenly Severus’ mind was not a pleasant place to be. Instead of coming to Remus, the memories were assaulting him. The memories hit him with a great deal of force as well as the pain in him. Remus rode it out for a while, then found himself thrown out.

Remus slammed back into his body, when he stirred, his head felt like a pile of stones had fallen on it. He groaned slightly, then felt the dipper with water in it at his lips again. Remus drank the cold water gratefully, then carefully sat up to thank George.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah. I just ran into something bad.”

“I’m sorry. But it looked like it was working.”

“What do you mean?”

“Just before you groaned, it looked like he was waking up. He was moving around and talking.”


“Yeah. Maybe if you do it again, he’ll really wake up.”

“Maybe, but from the way my head feels, it’s going to have to wait till tomorrow.”

“That’s good. Selene said that we would have a visitor by then.”

“A visitor, what are you talking about.”

“She wouldn’t say.”

“Where is she?”

“She’s talking to her friend outside.”

“When she comes back, see if you can pry it out of her, I’m going to sleep for a while.”

“k. You’re going to pull him out?”

“Yes” {or die trying.}

Harry sat in a stone chair, scowling. The torch he had brought with him flickered wildly in the uncertain air currents of the chamber, but Harry didn’t care. He had made every effort, tried every suggestion, and hounded every person he could find until Hermione had taken him aside and told him to go stuff himself. So Harry had gone off somewhere to burn off energy and sulk.

The entrance to the chamber was heavily warded, which was enough of a challenge that Harry had to calm down in order to take down the wards without totally destroying the evidence. Myrtle, however, didn’t notice Harry’s foul mood and tried to cuddle up to him. Myrtle found herself summarily ejected from her bathroom and tied to the bathroom the Divination Tower. A much less satisfying bathroom, but one that she couldn’t avoid now. The chamber of secrets was considerably cleaner and emptier now that Harry had come in again. Many of the uglier and broken pieces of statues had been destroyed and a scouring wind had blown any other debris away, including several skeletons of the Basilisk’s victims.

When he had run out of things to blow up, Harry had finally felt calm in enough to be in control of his magic. But that didn’t mean that he wasn’t still annoyed about the lack of progress. He sat on this chair, scowling as he tried to think of anything he hadn’t tried.

The chamber was quiet, only the slick sound of water. After Harry had finished his destructive spree, the normal denizens of the chamber had come out of hiding. Harry was unsurprised at the number of snakes in the chamber now that the large predator Basilisk had died. Most of them ignored him, but a few were sociable. Harry replied politely, but shortly, and eventually even the snakes left him alone.

The sound of water running in the chamber was soothing and that combined with the low thrum of conversation of the snakes eventually relaxed Harry and he was actually nodding off. A bright thrum of energy from behind him had Harry awake and on his feet with his wand out before another heartbeat passed. Harry began calling himself three and four kinds of fools because his fit of pique had gotten rid of a great deal of the cover in the chamber. He darted for a pillar and made due. No strikes were immediately forthcoming and Harry took a moment to analyze the sensation that had startled him. The energy felt similar to the sensation Harry got when someone apparated, so there should be someone in the chamber. But there were no footsteps, no breathing, no speaking. Harry was just about to start spraying the chamber with a wide-range blasting hex when a annoyed voice spoke at his foot.

{Humans are so weird. Even when they can talk to you, I still don’t understand why they do things.}

{Please be quiet. I’m trying to find the person that just came in before they can hurt me.}

{You just found him and speaking of hurting…} The snake reached up and bit Harry. Harry yelped, but restrained his hand as he could feel the snake had only bit him, not poisoned him. The asp released and Harry looked down.

{All right. You have my attention. But if there is someone else here, I will blame you for my death.}

{Like I said, stubborn human. I’m the one who came through Salazaar’s door.}

{Salazaar’s door? Is that what I felt?}

{Yes. I need to speak to you.}

{Show me this door and I will listen.}

{Very well.}

Harry extended a hand down to the snake and waited for the snake to reach his shoulder before starting off in the direction he had felt the disturbance.

{Feel free to explain more while we’re walking.}

{I came here through Salazaar’s door. My mistress asked me to find the snake speaker that her friend mentioned.}

{Your mistress could speak with you? She was like me?}

{Yes. You need to turn here}

Harry turned down the corridor and shivered as a sense of old, strong magic washed over him. There were strong wards here and Harry wondered that he had felt the magic in the first place at all. The end of the corridor had an archway that reminded Harry unpleasantly of the ************. The area in the ********** seemed to shiver and as Harry approached, he could see that what looked like the corridor continuing was in fact another place.

{Where is that?}

{Salazaar’s retreat.}

{Makes sense. This is Salazaar’s place. Also makes sense how you guys kept getting in here. I was wondering… wait… Salazaar’s Retreat! That must be where Voldemort is hiding…friend…are you here because Voldemort sent you? Are you here to harm us?}

{No! Foolish human. Neither I nor my mistress would go anywhere near that diseased thing. My mistress sent me.}

{Then she is a prisoner?}


{Then speak. Anything I can help your mistress with, I promise that I will. Anything to go against Voldemort}

{Good. My mistress said that you could help her and her friends escape. This needs to happen soon.}

{Friends? Then there are several people captured? Voldemort has not killed everyone?}

{No, but he is still hurting them}

{Would you mind going with me to tell my friends? I can do more with their assistance and it would be the fastest way to free your mistress.}

The snake agreed and curled around Harry’s arm under Harry’s sleeve. Harry wove his way out of the chamber quickly. This time, Dumbledore would not deny him.

Remus had woken up with a sense of finality and determination. He had spoken for some time with George and Selene, making sure that if he failed, they knew what to do to protect themselves. The shattered door was still a harsh reminder that things could still happen that he couldn’t protect them from, but if Severus was going to be saved, it had to be now. Remus gave each of the children a goodbye hug, then he cast himself into Severus’ mind a final time.

This time, Remus didn’t hesitate. He went directly for one of the worst memories he knew that both he and Severus shared. The memories of that night sixth year were sharp and jagged and from the moment Remus found them he could feel them tearing into his mind, but he continued grimly. He deliberately sought the memories after Sirius had betrayed Severus and Remus, not because he wanted to save the memory of his former friend, but because he didn’t want Severus to feel his anger if he woke up. Instead the memories began with Severus sneaking out of the castle and down to the Whomping Willow.

The hope that was present in the very air around Severus made Remus keen. Besides the physical pain of seeing these memories, there was a great deal of pain for Remus about these memories and he used it to fuel his determination. Remus watched as Severus went through the passage, felt Severus’ fear, the pain of his hope dying, and the betrayal of Sirius as though a knife was turning in his gut and Remus could feel his heart start to stutter. The shame that Severus felt when James rescued him upped the pain and Remus could feel his heart skip and falter. And when Severus stood before Dumbledore, Remus began to feel himself being torn from life. As he began to fade out, he heard a voice calling out his name and he smiled faintly as he began to die, knowing that he had succeeded and Severus was aware once more. A fair trade for his life.

Severus sat up with a roar. Various injuries twinged and protested the sudden motion, but he ignored them as he whirled upon the body slumped beside him. It didn’t take more than a moment to see that Remus was not breathing and a touch of his fingers showed that Remus’ pulse was weak and fading. Severus immediately began to breathe for the wolf, carefully checking to make sure that he still had a pulse and swearing at the man between breaths. The stream of words were caustic enough to melt stone and Severus was peripherally aware of two fair of small frightened faces that were suddenly near him but he ignored them, his entire being focused on Remus. He kept breathing for Remus, and eventually ran out of swears and was reduced to begging.



“Stupid beast.”


“Don’t do this.”


“Don’t die.”


“Don’t trade your life for mine.”


“Don’t make me live without you.”


“Don’t make me live knowing I killed you.”


“I know it hurts.”


“You can do it.”




“Please breathe.”


“Live for me.”


By this point tears had been streaming down Severus’ face and Remus’ face was wet. Severus could hardly see beyond his nose, so he might have been forgiven for missing the first rise of Remus’ chest on his own. But he did not miss the dragging, rasping second breath that followed. Severus continued to murmur encouragement, breathing in time with Remus’ ragged breaths as if his breathing would force Remus’.

It took considerable time, and Remus did not wake up, but his breathing smoothed out into a slow rhythm that Severus was satisfied with. Severus sat back on his heels, exhausted and hoarse. However, his mind would not let him ignore the faces he had seen earlier and ignored, so he turned wearily to them. That’s when his ears informed him that he had been selectively ignoring several things for some time.

The two children were both crying and the little boy was calling plaintively for Remus. Severus’ headache from his exhaustion made him snappish, but the extreme youth of the children and whom they were crying for checked his tongue and made him soften toward them. Severus cleared his throat hesitantly and was astonished to find that the children immediately and trustingly hurled themselves at him and began to weep. Severus’ hands came up hesitantly, but he patted them on them back comfortingly.

Eventually they stopped crying and Severus pulled back gently to look them in the face. He wasn’t sure what to say, and it must have been evident because the little girl wiped her eyes, then began to speak.

“Hello Severus. We’re glad that you’re awake.”

“I’m glad to be awake. Can you explain to me what’s going on?”

“Is Remus going to be ok?”

“I hope so.”

“George and I can explain.” And they settled in to talk.

Harry must have been in the Chamber longer than he thought because when he passed Hermione in the hall, she slapped his cheek for scaring her, then started crying. The snake observed this curiously, then spoke.

{I see why you want her help. She certainly is feisty}

{She always has been, but come on, we need to speak to the others first and to do that, I have to convince her.}

It took a little while for Harry to get through Hermione’s annoyance as she was truly letting him have it, but once he managed to pierce her ire, he found himself whisked into the office of the headmaster with members of the order and the ministry trailing in behind him. McGonagal, who was already in the room, began the same lecture that Hermione had given, but a throat clearing from Dumbledore stopped that. The room was silent as Dumbledore faced Harry.


“Yes headmaster.”

“You have severely disappointed me.”

“I know.”

“Do you have some reason, or must we assign someone to be your keeper?”

Harry winced at the harsh language but didn’t complain. Considering his temper tantrum before he went into the chamber and the amount of time he had apparently spent being destructive and brooding in the chamber, he was lucky that he hadn’t been declared enemy number two (after Voldemort).

“I did not have good reason at the time, but information has come to me of the location for Voldemort and a means to attack him.”

The room was deathly silent and every ounce of attention was focused on him. Harry remained silent until Dumbledore finally bowed his head.


“Being forced to remain in the castle, I went in search of a place to expel energy without disturbing someone else’s work. When I couldn’t find a place, I undid the wards on the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and went down there.”

There was a brief flurry of comments at that, mostly from the ministry side demanding to know why Harry knew how to break wards and why he had been taught. McGonagal stood.

“He knows how to break a ward because he needed to know to defend himself. Though I must admit that I am curious as to why Harry deliberately went into an area he promised not to.” She stated in a clipped tone.

The room was silent again. Harry continued.

“I worked off my energy. The chamber is a lot emptier now. Once I was finished, I remained down there, thinking. While I was thinking, I felt a trace of energy like an apparition. When I went to defend myself, I discovered that the intruder was in fact a messenger from the captives.”

That drew a flurry of comments and this time McGonagal did not rise to his defense. Dumbledore had to intervene.

“Hogwarts is shielded from apparition, Harry, in a sphere. There is no way that anyone could apparate into the chamber, even if you did break the internal wards.”

“I said it felt like apparition, not that it was. The messenger activated a portal in a frame like the *********.”

That exploded into a flurry of questions and speculation and this took a while to die down. Harry sat and ignored the questions directed at him, which was just as well because no one would have heard him over the uproar. When it died down again, Hermione spoke.

“Regardless of how this messenger got here, how do you know that he is not a spy for Voldemort.”

“Because as everyone keeps mentioning, I am Voldemort’s top target. This messenger has already had more than an opportunity to kill me and have none of you would know that he’d done it.”

Everyone remained silent, and Harry brought out Sssineesss. Questions flew and Harry settled down to a long explanation. The discussion had taken forever, and Harry knew that it would take some time before the groups would be ready to agree on a plan, much less ready to fight. This was terribly frustrating, but all it did was firm Harry’s intent to be free. The second he destroyed Voldemort, he was going to leave this all behind him. He would decide his own destiny, and he would not be responsible for anyone but him.

In the meantime he told them that, according to Sssineesss, as long as Harry was the one operating it, non-slytherins could go through Salazaar’s door, bypassing the shielding spells that Salazaar had put on his retreat. The few Slytherins that had been persuaded to fight for the cause were also going to try to find the retreat from the outside so that there would be a two pronged attack. He also told them that Voldemort was being powered by a sink-stone that the prisoners were feeding and therefore would have access to more power than expected.

But Harry didn’t particularly care what the others decided. He was hungry and tired and when the rest had gotten so caught up in their arguments that they were ignoring Harry and Sssineesss, they had slipped out. Sssineesss had gone through the portal to explain to his mistress, and Harry had gone in search of a bed.

Severus woke up slowly, not opening his eyes until his brain was awake enough to remind him of where he was. Then he turned over and checked on Remus. He had not wanted to fall asleep, but between the pain from waking up and the pain from the next draining session, he had been unable to remain awake. Remus had been breathing clearly when he gave up and he was still breathing clearly now. Severus breathed a sigh of pure relief.

He looked around and saw the two children watching him. This time, the boy spoke up first.

“Is Remus ok?”

“I think he will be. He was severely injured, then he foolishly spent all of his energy in trying to wake me up, but he should be alright with rest and a healer.”

“I’ll help”.

Severus was about to sneer, but his sharp eyes were watching the boy and had informed him that the boy likely had non-human blood. The boy could very well help, even with his youth and Severus was not about to insult someone who could help Remus. So instead, Severus nodded stiffly. The little girl began to speak next.

“So now that you’re awake, can we escape? Remus said that you would be able to help us escape.”

“Me? Remus is better with locks and things like that.”

“I can take care of locks by myself. Remus said you could help with this.” The little girl turned abruptly and showed Severus the ugly mark spreading across her back. A flash of pain and memory sparked in Severus.

“My apologies, I had forgotten.”

“Selene, you can’t expect him to know what you’re talking about if you don’t explain things to him.” George spoke, earning himself a glare, but not caring in his determination. Selene sighed in annoyance and Severus’ mouth twitched at the Slytherin characteristic. Then Selene took a deep breath and began explaining.

Severus stood up from his arithmancy sketches in the dust and stretched. His first priority was escape, especially once the children had told him what the mark did. There was no way that he wanted to strengthen Voldemort, especially at his own expense. So the mark had been intensively studied and the vague memory of the moment’s just before his own branding where Severus had been studying the arithmancy symbols that were tied to Voldemort’s motions were desperately recalled and recreated. The floor was covered with various markings, but Severus had not been able to solve the puzzle yet. Water and food were necessary first.

The children had been remarkably well behaved and cooperative about this, watching Remus and tending to their own needs. Severus moved over to where they were curled up next to Remus and discovered that they had fallen asleep. In spite of himself, he found himself smiling a bit at the sight. Then Severus continued on to tend to his needs. His mind was idly wondering where Remus had managed to find a Hermesian pouch as he drank water, but he spat some of the water in surprise at the sound from behind him.

“The pouch was yours.” Remus’ eyes were barely open

“Excuse me? I should think I would know what I owned.” The sarcastic comment slipped out automatically.

“Even if someone stuffed it in a case to keep a brazier from rattling?” Remus’ eyes were open further open.

The curse slipped out in Severus’ surprise. Remus chuckled weakly at the look on Severus’ face, then winced as the motion disturbed his injuries. The focus of Severus’ cursing immediately changed and he moved to support Remus until the pain subsided. He was about to start his complaint when Remus spoke.

“Can I have some water before you yell at me?”

Severus sighed and moved to get the water he had abandoned. Then he let Remus have it.

“What were you thinking? The extent of your idiocy never ceases to amaze me. You deliberately allowed yourself to be captured, by Draco Malfoy of all people, deliberately placed yourself in danger of being killed or tortured or killed by Voldemort, deliberately placed yourself in danger from these others beasts in your condition! Why didn’t you send a group, or at least someone who wasn’t suffering under a weakening curse!”

Remus sighed, then gingerly turned his head so that he was looking directly into Severus’ eyes. Then he spoke.

“Severus, you know that I studied magical creatures as avidly as you studied potions. So believe me when I say that my curse, though unpleasant, only weakens me directly after the full moon.”

“What are you saying?”

“Werewolves are only weakened directly after the full moon. At all other times, werewolves are strengthened by the curse, both magically and physically. DeMorilian was a very fanciful writer with little actual experience of what he wrote about.”

Severus’ eyes were twitching and he went even paler than he normally was. “DeMorilian’s physiology was incorrect?”

“It was fanciful.”

Having already had that reaction, Remus was unsurprised when Severus immediately pulled away and was sick. But Severus was made of sterner things than Remus and he quickly returned to where Remus was.

“Later you will get more reliable sources for me. I will not brew something based on a work of fiction.”

“I will, Severus. But first we need to get out of here.”

“Agreed. But I am still annoyed that you are here at all. I thought you intelligent enough to be beyond the Gryffindor’s stupidity of martyrdom.”

“I’m not a martyr Severus.”

“Then guilt. My will was not intended to force you into doing things out of a sense of obligation.”

“The only obligations that brought me here Severus were my feelings. I love you, always have, always will. Your will told me that you might feel the same and gave me the means to find you without killing myself.”

Severus didn’t respond for a while and Remus stroked his hand gently to bring him our of his stupor.

“You love me?”

“Yes, Severus. I love you.”



Severus closed his eyes and when he opened them, they shimmered, but no tears fell. Then Severus took a deep breath and continued.

“Considering that we are here now, I will put off your punishment for endangering yourself until a later date. We have a lot to talk about.”

Remus smiled. “Agreed.”

“Do you feel up to moving a bit now? I need your assistance if we are to escape, but I don’t want to make your injuries worse.”

“Of course. If it doesn’t kill me outright and it is not directly after the moon, it won’t kill me.”

“I said hurt, not kill, but that is good to know.”

Severus carefully gathered Remus up into his arms, trying to minimize the pain and disturbing the children. Then he carried Remus over to the area where the dust was traced with patterns and symbols. Remus read the patterns and asked a question or two about one symbol or another, but he had no further suggestions about the patterns that would solve Severus’ questions. Severus sighed.

“I apologize for this, but I’m going to need to see your memory of the time when you were marked. My memory of the time was too clouded by pain for me to see the motion clearly.”

“I’m sorry that you felt such pain Severus, and you are more than welcome to look at my memories. Just be warned, recent ones include those I saw from you. Are you sure that you are strong enough? I don’t want to loose you again.”

“No problem. I can get behind the recent memories to the one that I need. It may feel odd, but it should only take me a few moments.”

Remus nodded and Severus worked with him. After a few moments, Severus was furiously marking again and when Remus looked again, several of the markings were changed subtly but importantly and Remus could see that one of the two problems that were not correct was now gone. Severus’ hand was still resting over the pattern, but then it became a fist which Severus slammed harshly into his own thigh.

“This isn’t going to work. I just don’t know what the base energy that he modified was.”

“Dark Faerie”

“Yes that’s one of the possibilities, but I can’t prove it.”

“No, Severus. It is dark faerie.”

“How do you know? You haven’t seen this before.”

“No, but only a dark faerie spell will not affect a dark faerie.”

“There’s a dark faerie here that you have been observing?”

“Neither of the children is fully human. I’m sure you’ve noticed that Selene is part Naga. George is part dark faerie.”

Severus glanced over at the sleeping bundles, then turned back to Remus.

“You’re sure?”

“Like you would know a potion on sight.”

“Very well.” Severus again started drawing and the pattern became a whole. Remus looked, but he could only understand pieces of it, the whole was beyond his experience.

“So that is what happened to us?”

“Yes. I should be able to create a counter to it.”

“Then we can escape.”

“Probably not. Voldemort is going to know the moment a break this and then we will be slaughtered before we can leave the warded area.”

“Then we’re going to have to figure some way of leaving that doesn’t involve apparating.”

They were discussing in a quiet voice when the two children woke up. Remus was immediately attacked and hugged to death. The enthusiasm hurt, but Remus didn’t protest. After a moment, Severus was attacked as well, and his expression was quite entertaining. Severus glared at Remus’ giggles but he too did not protest. They protected the design, but nothing else was off limits to the children. Remus eventually ended up with Selene talking his ear off and George was sitting on Severus’ lap, asking quiet questions.

Remus was nodding in the right places and asking questions when appropriate, but he wasn’t prepared when Selene suddenly squealed and dashed off. Fortunately it was in the other direction form the design, but Remus still couldn’t understand what was going on until Selene started hissing into the quiet air.

“Is this the visitor you were talking about, Selene.”

“No, silly. This is my friend. He says that Harry would need more time before he can come.”

The room was suddenly deathly quiet. “Selene, did you say that Harry was coming?”

“Yeah. Sssineesss said that Harry needed some time to get everyone, but that Harry and Albus were going to come and help us leave.”

“Remus, what is she talking about?”

“I told her about Harry because she’s a parslemouth like him. But I have no idea how she knows about Albus. I’ve never spoken about him. Selene, please explain how Harry is coming?”

“Sssineesss told him where the door is. Harry is going to come through the door and surprise the nasty men. Then we can escape.”

“What door?”

“Sssineesss says that the original master built a door to Hogwarts ‘cause he didn’t like living there with all the idiots but he still needed to help.”

“Sounds like Salazaar was like you, Severus.” Remus smirked. Severus glared at Remus, but he too felt like joking.

“Maybe we will be able to escape…”

George spoke up. “Their showing up is going to be dangerous because of the nasty men, right?”

“I’m sure that it will, but the surprise should help them.”

“And our escaping is going to be dangerous.”

“Yes, but again, they’re not expecting it, so it should be safer.”

“Would it be even better if they were surprised together?”

It took Severus a moment to connect the poor grammar, then he smiled and spoke to Selene. Sssineesss had one more message to pass on.

Harry was not expecting a visitor, so when something bit him, he nearly blew up the room he was sitting in. He glared down at the small snake that was attached to his ankle. Sssineesss released Harry and started climbing up his leg.

{I really which that you would find some other way of getting my attention.}

{I tried talking to you, but you weren’t paying any attention. Your fault.}

Harry sighed. {What do you need? We’re almost ready.}

{I’m supposed to tell you that Remus and Severus are ready for you and that you will have a distraction to send people through at 5 o’clock. What does o’clock mean?}

Harry was already running down the hall, shoving his way through the crowded area to the battle room, but he went ahead and answered.

{It’s a human thing. It helps us explain when we mean.}


Harry walked in and prepared to tell the heads of the wizarding community that they were going to risk their lives an hour earlier than they wanted to on the word of a rather annoying snake.

Remus and Severus were armed to the eyeteeth. Remus had truly loaded the pouch with everything he could imagine their needing or being able to use so they had a great deal to chose from. They didn’t have their personal wands, but Remus had been able to get his hands on some neutral wands which would work well enough if they were careful. They each had enchanted weapons and were festooned with permanent charms and potions. The children too were armed, though neither Severus nor Remus had any intention of having them get anywhere near the fighting. They both had strict instructions to find a hiding place and stay there until Remus, Severus, or Harry came to get them.

Now they were waiting for Severus to start the spell. Severus waited, letting his internal clock developed over many years of tending time-sensitive potions. At precisely five of five o’clock, Severus beckoned to George, placed his hand on his back, and cast the counter spell through him.

The spell seemed to echo on the air and suddenly Remus felt like a great weight had been lifted off his back. He still had to move carefully due to his injuries, but he went and released the animals so that Severus could drive them out the main door to cause havoc. Remus briefly felt a bit of guilt about using the animals that way, but if they remained where they were, they would definitely be killed. The animals stormed out, followed by the humans that had refused to help Remus before were next, scattering before the depth of Severus’ glare. Then, with a deep breath, Severus led their little band out into the keep.

Voldemort’s head jerked in the middle of a rambling harangue of his mother to Wormtail. Peter cringed, as when Voldemort was interrupted, his temper tended to be explosive and directed at whomever was closest. Peter was right and he soon had the pleasure of experiencing Crucio while Voldemort shrieked with anger. When the Crucio ended, Peter’s pain did not stop because his mark was burning as Voldemort summoned his followers.

The death eaters’ ran, obedient to the call that burned in their arms. They ran as fast as possible, heedless to their surroundings, which was a deadly mistake for some of them. Pansy Parkinson met a grisly end as she ran past an enraged mountain troll. The fact that Draco killed the troll a moment later did not save her and Draco did not mourn her passing.

So with mildly reduced numbers, the death eaters assembled in Voldemort’s throne room. Voldemort was shrieking that someone had either broken the spell or let an intruder in. The idea that one of the prisoners had managed to break the spell never occurred to him, so confident in his superiority over his menagerie. However, Voldemort had been acting weirder and weirder as the amount of power he was tapping seduced him and tore what remained of his mind apart.

So after a brief crucio, what remained of the death eaters escaped out of the room and down various routes toward the basement, hoping that their master would be over his fit by the time they recaptured the feeling menagerie. This put them again in the path of the fleeing animals and people and many battles were already engaged when the disused portal in the basement responded to the command of a parslemouth and allowed troops of witches and wizards to pour through.

The old keep shuddered under the currents of magic pouring through it. One of the reasons that the original founders of Hogwarts had sought Salazaar’s assistance in building the school had been his knowledge of magic foundations, wards, and supports. Hogwarts had survived generations of uncontrolled underage magic due to Salazaar’s work and Salazaar’s retreat was no less protected. But the sheer amount of magic floating through the air and destroying support walls were taxing the structure.

Remus and Severus moved down the hall’s stalking death eaters and disarming traps. They had found Neville while wandering through the castle and they had sent the children with Neville to go through the portal again. Severus was still grumbling about that, but Remus knew that the fact that he had allowed it meant that he did trust Neville to get the children to safety.

Neither of them were at full power, but Severus had deep personal knowledge of the death eaters they were facing. The fact that the death eaters had access to the sink stone and were therefore more powerful than they normally were didn’t change the holes in their guard and the two of them were ruthlessly manipulating that. Others were not so successful and Remus’ heart ached as he came across the bodies of others who had fought the death eaters and lost. Severus too was troubled, but he didn’t allow it to show, focused entirely on destroying as many of the death eaters as they could. When they reached the end of the hallway, they discovered a staircase. Without words they both turned and headed up, toward Voldemort.

Harry hugged the wall, counting silently. When he reached seven, he dashed across the gap of the doorway, feeling the spell singe the back of his robe. An explosion a moment later told him that while the death eater had missed, he had not. He continued down the hall, ignoring the draft that told him that the death eater had not missed by very much. Harry had been criticized by many of the adults surrounding him ever since his performance during the Tri-wizarding competition as being too reckless, too unconventional. Harry smirked whenever someone said that. He had not been raised in the wizarding world by the choice of the wizarding world. So he had no reason to know what was conventional. So they truly had no right to complain about that. The reckless part might have been true, but having been under a sentence of death since he was a baby, dying now or later truly didn’t matter to Harry. The only thing that kept him trying to be alive was the possibility of his own life if he won. Not even the sadness or scolding of his friends could hold a candle to this desire and Harry could almost taste his freedom with every drop of death eater blood he spilled.

The troops from the wizarding world had scattered upon entering the keep by force and design. The fewer that were in one particular spot, the less likely that the death eaters would cast a wide-ranging dark spell. Also, they had no idea where their goal, Voldemort, was and therefore every possibility needed to be covered. So everyone but the few who remained by the gate to give a means of escape and to hold the anti-apparition shields. The only point that Albus had argued during the preparations for this final battle had been his assignment to this group, but he had been argued down as one of the few wizards capable of putting up any resistance to Voldemort’s escape. The wizarding world could not tolerate the losses that this battle would entail and not deal with Voldemort permanently.

So Albus had been sitting out of direct line of fire, focusing on the shields and resting after repealing an attempt to leave that felt familiar. Albus was staring into the distance, trying to understand what had gone wrong and why Percy had felt drawn to Voldemort and therefore was the first to see Neville run into the room with more grace and speed than he had ever seen from Neville before. Close behind Neville, two smaller people ran. A moment later, Albus could see why they were running as a gigantic spider came through behind them. Albus was about to take care of it, but suddenly Neville whirled around and threw something. A harsh word and an odd twist of Neville’s wand and suddenly the spider was entangled in a huge vine that was slowly contracting. Within a few moments, the spider collapsed to the floor and a moment later, there was a harsh crunching sound and the spider was dead.

Albus watched, bemused as Neville walked unconcerned up to the still twitching vine and touched it gently. The vine seemed to shudder, then shrink back down to a seed. Neville was truly a gifted herb master and when it truly mattered, had the courage of his house. As soon as the situation was under control, Neville and the children walked through the portal and Albus smiled to know that they were safe. He may have failed Percy who had so much promise, but he hadn’t failed Neville, who was a diamond in the rough.

Salazaar’s retreat was not built to be invaded easily and like Hogwarts, various parts of it moved to confuse and thwart the intent of the invaders. In this case, the death eaters were able to get to the lower levels of the keep a great deal easier than the troops were able to rise to the higher levels. The third time that Harry reached the same intersection, his scream of anger could be heard quite a distance away. Harry slammed his fist into the wall several times and the spot had blood on it before very long. He was about to slump against the wall when a voice cut through.

{Why are you hurting yourself?}

{I’m frustrated Sssineesss. No matter how hard I try, I can’t get to Voldemort}

{You want to get there?}

{Yes. He needs to be killed}

{I agree, but you need to do it?}

{I’m the one that’s supposed to. I can’t be me until I have done it.}

{You might die}

{No worse so than if I let him live}

{Ok. Walk down the hall and I’ll tell you how to get there}

They walked a short time and within moments Harry was before a door. He could tell from the sheer amount of power in the room that this was where Voldemort was and he wiped at his forehead absently as a trickle of blood came from his scar. He put Sssineesss down and with a deep sigh, opened the door and slipped in the room, ready to face his destiny.

Remus and Severus had not had the same problems as the others, but they were not invaders. They had been brought to the keep by the will of the master of the keep and therefore were not invaders, so they could get where they wanted to when they wanted to. They had gone on a rampage near the gate, giving Neville a chance to escape with the children, then they had gone hunting for the power sink. Much to their annoyance, their finding spell indicated that it was on the entire opposite side of the keep than they were on, so they were forced to retrace their steps and fight their way through to get there. Occasionally some of the troops would join them, but they were sent off to deal with other problems so by the time they reached the power sink, Remus and Severus were once more on their own.

The power sink was in the center of the room, and even though they had seen it before when they were bound to it, both Remus and Severus paused a moment, stunned by the sheer size of it. Remus finally spoke up.

“Where did he find this thing? I’ve never seen one this large before.”

“I don’t know. He never told us about it. Believe me, if I’d known that it existed, I’d have broken it a long time ago.”

“Maybe it was a part of the keep… according to legend, Salazaar was the one to set up the dampers in Hogwarts. Maybe he knew how to make them?”

“Maybe. A truly lost art. But we can’t stay here and contemplate it any longer. Let’s get to work.”

The fight with Voldemort was a strange one. It was as if he was a fly buzzing around the head of a tiger. Harry did as much damage as he could, even going so far as to cast spells he wasn’t supposed to know, but nothing had any effect on the man. The spells either fizzled or bounced, stronger than the best shield spell that Harry had ever practiced on. But strangely enough, these failed spells were some of the most damage that Harry got. Voldemort was reacting sluggishly, as if he was drunk. He was slow enough that Harry could duck the spell or shield against it.

Harry was getting extremely frustrated and was pumping his entire strength into the spells, but it wasn’t working. He even tried to get closer to him, trying a physical attack. But the air surrounding Voldemort was like soup, getting even thicker as Harry got closer and eventually Harry could make no further progress. Voldemort didn’t even blink at the action, his eyes wandering and his head bobbing. When Voldemort started giggling, Harry growled and started battering even more furiously. All of the theories everyone else had suggested had failed, all the specialized spells had failed, there was nothing left but brute force with the harshest spells available. So Harry reached deep within him and cast the most forbidden spell he knew. The room echoed with Avada Kedavra.

They cast spell after spell, trying to either sever Voldemort’s tie to the stone or drain the stone. Nothing worked, and occasionally the failed spells made them jump to avoid the backlash. Finally, they had exhausted their entire repertoire. Remus was the first one to speak.

“I’m going to have to destroy it, Severus.”


“I know it’s a crime but…”

“That’s not it, you idiot. Don’t you how dangerous that is? Shattering a sink stone let’s all of the energy out at once. Even a small one will overload a wizard’s abilities and burn them into a husk. And if you manage to survive, you might never be able to do magic ever again!”

“And if Voldemort survives this, I’ll be just as dead.”

“Why you? Why not me?”

“I might survive. You will not. Please give us that much of a chance.”

Severus was shaking his head furiously, but Remus merely hugged him. They stayed that way for a long moment, then Remus turned with resolution. Severus watched Remus wlk toward the stone then Severus moved to the door, guarding it, but watching his love. Remus sat and focused his entire being on the stone.

Subiungo. To return to whence it came. In this case, Remus’ magic was coming back to Remus, along with all the other energy trapped in the stone. It was a ridiculously simple spell, but it required that the caster and the thing being returned to to be close. Its results were spectacular. The stone flashed dully, absorbing the spell. Then light exploded outward till the stone exploded as well. The energy was splashing around the room, the Remus saw a spot of the energy starting to pull toward him. Remus maintained shield spells, but all they did was slow the speed of the fragments and energy that slammed into him.

The initial burst of energy burned into Remus and he felt like screaming, but he rode it out. The pain was no worse than that of his transformation. Remus took a deep breath, then reconsidered. The pain was as bad as his worst transformation, but he could still stand it.

Carefully thinking, he set the new energy to work to leave more space for the rest of the energy that would be following his energy. His wounds rapidly receded until they were merely scars, then the scare disappeared. His old scars were next, then Remus could feel his bones, which contained many approximately healed breaks, straightening. Then he started doing all kinds of spells, trying desperately to burn the energy off, but after the initial slow trickle the energy started flooding into him at a rate that he could no longer handle. He started screaming his pain out and tears of energy starting falling down his face.

Severus couldn’t stand it any longer. He had flinched when the sink stone broke and every one of the fragments that hit Remus felt like it hit him. Energy started arcing into Remus, and the scream was heart-rending. Then Remus seemed to get a hold on the energy. Severus was glad to see Remus’ wounds disappear, but he was worried that there was still so much energy floating in the air. Sure enough, Remus started bleeding energy back into the air in the form of various spells. That was fine as a temporary measure, but soon Remus would loose the mental focus necessary to make the energy obey him. Holding back was for the birds. Even if splitting the focus of the spell meant that some of the energy escaped back to Voldemort, that was just going to have to deal with it. This was no way to loose Remus.

Severus ran forward. The closer he got, the more the energy burned into him until he was crawling forward. He slumped next to where Remus was writhing on the floor and wrapped his arms around the flailing body.

Harry had been pressing forward so hard that when the barrier suddenly vanished, he actually fell flat on the floor. But the battle reflexes that his prior experiences with Voldemort had give him had him up off the floor in a heart beat, wand in hand and ready to use. Voldemort was recovering quickly too, but a fall was easier than the intoxication and within seconds, Voldemort was nothing more than a bloody smear on the floor. Harry stood, slumped over the smear, legs weak and harms dangling. Then he straightened. It was time to put this life behind him and start being himself. Tonight was not just the death of Voldemort. Tonight was the death of Harry Potter, boy who lived.

Power was still arcing into Remus and Severus. When a pair of aurors entered the room to clear it, they were forced back by the sheer amount of energy still present in the room. While the younger member of the pair went running for Albus Dumbledore, the elder stood and guarded the room. But he found himself drawn almost impossibly to the scene. There was energy definitely still flowing into the pair. But the auror could have sworn there was energy flowing between them too.

Albus sat in the chair next to the bed. It had been almost a day since he was able to visit his friends, but he was staying now. He had told those who wanted to know where Harry Potter was to search for him for themselves. Not that he blamed Harry for leaving. There was very little he regretted more than the way he forced James and Lily’s son to be the hero of the Wizarding world. Their ghosts would never forgive him and he wasn’t sure that he would ever forgive himself. He didn’t even blame Harry for leaving in such a dramatic way. If the boy was smart, he’d stage something that would be taken for his death and take on life for himself.

He definitely didn’t let anyone who wanted to talk about the politics of the situation talk to him anymore. It was more than obvious that Fudge was incompetent and Albus had a sneaking feeling that once they finished going through the evidence, also a death eater, but he had no desire to get all tied up in that until and unless he absolutely had to. Nothing good came of the messy side of politics.

He also didn’t let himself think of the many funerals that were coming. The battle had been necessary, and they had done their best to minimize the losses. And who knew how much greater their losses would have been without the valiant sacrifice the pair before him had made. But there were still a depressing number of people who would never see their families ever again. Voldemort had been an expensive evil to destroy.

No, Albus had eventually had enough and left everyone who wanted to talk to him. He sat at the bedside of the two who had turned the tide and laid in a coma for their efforts. There had been enough ambient magical energy still in the room where they had been found to burn the skin of an unwary person and Albus still wasn’t sure why their bodies were still intact, much less alive. But the two slumbered on in a deep coma. All efforts to awaken them had failed, even those of the two children whom Poppy had not had the heart to separate from them and who even now slept in a pile on the third bed in the room.

Even though they had refused to be separated from the two adults, the children had been the most confident out of everyone who had seen the pair. Poppy had been sympathetic about it, but her most delicate and extensive tests hadn’t shown any sign of mental activity in either man. The expert from St. Mungo’s had not been as polite and now had bruised shins and at least one bite from the children. Poppy had promptly sent the pompous idiot on his way, but the children were still distraught. They had spent several hours begging and pleading with the pair, but they were still unconscious. Poppy had had to give them a calming potion mixed in with their supper.

Albus stayed at the side of the bed, silently wishing that wither of them would turn over and open their eyes. It had been a long day, so it was unsurprising that he fell asleep. He woke up, but didn’t open his eyes when he heard childlike voices behind him.

“Shh, Selene. He’s doing the legi-helping thing. We can’t interrupt him.”

“No he’s not, George. He’s sleeping. I heard him snore. Remus didn’t snore when he was doing the legilmency thing.”

“He’s older than Remus. Maybe he needs to snore when he’s doing the legilmency thing.”

Albus decided that now was the time to open his eyes. “No children, I don’t need to snore when I’m helping people. Selene was right, I was asleep. But please tell me more about this helping thing. Did Remus use legilmency?”

The two children looked at each other. Albus held his breath, hoping they would talk to him. Neither of them had talked a lot since they had been rescue other than to protest being separated from Remus and Severus. Albus hadn’t even known for sure what the little boy’s name was and now he was hoping that they help him. They were looking even more uncertain now and Albus risked speaking once more.

“I only want to help them. If you want, I can do everything right here in front of you so you can be sure that I don’t hurt them.”

“That won’t help for this. Legilmency only happens in your head. That’s what Remus did to fix Severus. That’s what George says you need to do to fix them now.”

Now Albus was sure he understood what Remus had done before. “Yes, legilmecy happens in the head. How’s this, I’ll give you my wizarding bond. I promise that I will not harm either Remus or Severus in any way.”

The two children looked at each other. George shrugged, then Selene spoke up.

“Remus said that Severus was using occlus something to protect himself from the pain, only he didn’t know when to stop protecting himself so he wouldn’t wake up all the way. So Remus did the legilmency thing and went in to help Severus wake up, only it took him a really long time and he got really hurt.”

“I see. That makes sense. And don’t worry about me getting hurt or it taking a long time. I’ve done it a lot longer than Remus has so I’m better at it. I’m going to try.”

“We’ll be lookout.” George said softly and Albus’ heart ached at the sight of two young children taking up defensive positions between him and the door. But Albus didn’t weant to disappoint so he took a deep breath and focused. {Severus first. He may have more defenses but he’ll also be more coherent. Then the two of us can work on Remus.}

Touching the Severus’ mind was like touching a live wire and Albus automatically pulled back. But he didn’t give up. With a determined grunt he plunged back in and ignored the energy that was singing down his nerves. Severus’ mind was just like when Albus had touched it before and he took it as a good sign. The energy flow hadn’t driven Severus insane, it had only overlaid a fine layer of energy over the whole. As soon as Severus’ body managed to equalize the levels, Severus would wake up.

Albus was about to pull out and go check on Remus when he noticed that the energy that was overlaying Severus’ mind seemed to be flowing from a particular direction. Albus followed the flow, ignoring the increase in energy and suddenly found himself in Remus’ mind. Remus’ mind was not as well organized as Severus’ and Albus could see many places that were burnt or disordered. But he also saw that these places were healing. When he touched one, he didn’t just feel Remus, he felt Severus as well and he now understood why Severus was not awake.

Albus opened his eyes and smiled. Selene saw the smile and piped up.

“You weren’t in there very long. You really that much better at it than Remus?”


Selene crept closer. “They’re not awake yet.”

“They will be soon. Severus is fixing Remus.”

“See Selene! I told you that Severus loved Remus back! I told you!” George was doing a little happy dance all over the room.

Selene scowled briefly, but Albus could see that she was happy as well.

“You love them?” Albus asked.

“Of course we do.” Selene replied, glaring at Albus. “They helped us.”

“Then, we have much to talk about.”

Five nights after the final raid on the death eaters and Voldemort, two of the heroes of war woke up for the first time. The room was dark, but Remus could see Severus with his werewolf enhanced vision so he looked his fill. Severus didn’t let him have the advantage for long, carefully concentrating and managing a “Lumos” without having to hold his wand. The spell worked, but much to both their surprises, it was very bright.

“Um, Severus, you weren’t going for small sun level, were you?”

“No… and that was way too easy…” Severus was staring at his hand and his expression was so odd that Remus had to ask.

“Are you ok, Severus?”

Severus blinked, then in a low, growling voice spoke. “Why don’t you come over here and see.”

Remus almost laughed, but seeing that Severus was serious, he carefully got up and walked over to Severus bed. Severus scooted over and Remus lay down next to Severus. Remus could see Severus’ nerves, so he began gently, exploring Severus’ face with his fingers and stroking his hands over Severus' loose hair. Severus was tense at first, then he relaxed as Remus stroked his hair more. They had obviously been cleaned when they arrived and Remus was delighted to discover that Severus’ hair was smooth and slick without being truly oily. Once Severus had truly relaxed, he became more daring, stroking down to the robe that was covering Severus’ shoulders and exposing more of Severus’ body. When Severus allowed this, Remus took heart and leaned forward for his first taste of Severus.

Remus knew from his wanderings in Severus’ mind that Severus had never done this before before, so the stiffness of the lips was expected. But Severus was a fast learner and Remus found that whatever action he gave, Severus returned with a precision and passion that stole Remus’ breath away. Remus had to pull back and rest a moment and he saw Severus’ smirk at this need. Remus smirked back and began to teach Severus other things about lips that were pleasurable.

Severus’ glare at being kissed on the end of his nose was changed into a moan as Remus continued down and nibbled down the line of his chin. The sound that Severus made when Remus nibbled at the hinge of his jaw made Remus shudder. But tempting as it was to stay there and hear the sound again, Remus was determined to make this first encounter as pleasurable as possible so that when Severus’ inhibitions and reasoning caught up with him, he would have a memory of paradise to tempt him.

Remus’ hands explored first, then his mouth bent to the task. He couldn’t resist leaving a hickey on Severus’ neck and another on the tender skin near Severus’ bellybutton. Severus tried to tense up again when Remus dared lower, but then Remus bent to take Severus cock between his lips. The sensations that Remus was creating were too intense and Severus surrendered to them. Severus was so caught up in the sensation that when Remus released him, Severus actually sobbed. Remus comforted him.

“Hush Severus. It’s ok. I’m not stopping, I just wanted to ask you what you want. Do you want me to finish you off like this, or do you want something more.”


“Yes… do you want me?”

Severus woke up at this and his cock got even harder at the thought of this. Remus laughed slightly at the look of avid hunger that crossed Severus’ face.

“I take it you want option number two.”

“Definitely… but how?”

“I’ll show you. First, you need to get me loose.” One of the things that Remus had noticed in Severus’ overachieving spell attempt was that there was a jar of liniment was sitting abandoned on the table by the beds. He reached for this and coated Severus fingers. Then he drew Severus’ hand around to his backside.

“Slowly, one at a time to loosen and stretch me three fingers worth.”

Severus moved catiously, but steadily and soon Remus had two fingers in him. Severus did something with his fingers and all of sudden Remus was unbelievably hard and whimpering in the back of his throat. Severus grinned and did it again. It was only by sheer act of will that Remus prevented himself from coming and he informed Severus of this fact. Severus grinned, but took mercy on Remus, avoiding that spot as he slid in the third finger. When Remus sighed, they rolled till Severus was fully on top of Remus. Severus paused.

“Are you sure you’re ok with this? I don’t want to hurt you.”

“As long as you move slowly at first you won’t hurt me and I trust you not to hurt me.”

Severus slowly pushed forward slightly and they both groaned at the sensation. Inch-by-inch Severus sank into Remus, pausing when Remus tensed, until he was flush. Severus’ hands stroked Remus hair with one hand and with the other stroked his cock until Remus relaxed and was pushing back eagerly. Then he began to cautiously move.

Remus permitted this at first, but then Severus successfully changed angles and once again stroked that spot within him. Remus shrieked his pleasure and locked his ankles and arms around Severus, forcing him to move faster and harder. Severus complied with the request and it wasn’t long before both of them were stiffening and crying their pleasure.

Severus pulled out carefully, then with the last of his control flopped to one side. Remus immediately moved to pull Severus closer and Severus did not protest. Remus spoke softly.

“This has always been my dream. I suppose you know that by now, but I need to say this out loud. I have always loved you Severus. Dying for you would be an honor. I love you.”

Severus did not respond out loud, but if he pulled Remus any closer, they’d be in one skin and Remus was content with that.

Then Remus was the one to stiffen. This dragged Severus out of his stupor enough to speak.

“What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?”

“No, no. I’m fine… better than fine actually.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

“I was just thinking about what would have happened if Poppy or Albus had come in while we were doing this.”

“Don’t tell me you didn’t notice the privacy shield around the room? Some defense teacher you are.”

Remus blinked and looked. Sure enough, there was a privacy shield around their room, preventing most sounds and people from entering. Remus blushed, but replied anyway.

“I must have had someone distracting me.”

Severus’ blush joined Remus’.

“But why did they put a privacy shield up? We were unconscious… were our nightmares that bad?”

“They may have been, but I think I sense the meddling hand of Albus here.”

“But how would he have known?”

“We have to have been unconscious for some time. Albus probably chatted up the kids.”

“The kids!!” Remus erupted from the bed and started frantically cleaning up and putting clothes on. Severus sighed at the loss of his cuddle and followed suit, albeit at a more relaxed pace. Remus waited impatiently for Severus, then stormed out of the room trailing Severus. The change in their normal positions was so funny that Severus could not prevent a bark of laughter from erupting from him. He managed to snag Remus’ sleeve before Remus could escape the room.

“So we’re keeping them?” Severus asked.


“We’re keeping the children. I know you want to.”

Remus stood still, then slumped. “Yes, I want to. I’ve always wanted kids.”

“I know. I just want to be sure that you know what you are doing.”

“I won’t loose you if I try to get them, will I Severus?”

“An heir would not be amiss… but I warn you now that you are responsible for noise control and temper tantrums.”

Remus smile was blinding. “Agreed.”

Then they both walked down the hall to collect their children. The world would invade eventually, but for now, this was most important.