Disclaimer: I do not nor will I ever own the Harry Potter story, characters, villains, heroes and creatures. I also sadly do not make any money off this story. Trust me; my bank account cannot lie about that.
Thanks to Nancy for her help as always!
FLAMES OF BETRAYAL
A couple of days after Harry's visit to his vault and Ron's rite, Harry could still feel himself grinning foolishly at the thought of finally having a brother. He'd always thought of Ron as family, but now it was official. He was skimming through Quidditch Monthly while waiting for Dobby to show up with Professor Snape. He didn't know what was going to happen today, but he had a feeling that it was going to be big. Harry couldn't get past the feeling that this meeting with Severus was important to his future.
Dobby had been acting rather strangely in the last couple of days, but he wouldn't tell Harry what was going on. He seemed to have many errands to run. Ron had commented that maybe Dobby had a girlfriend, but somehow Harry didn't think that was it. There had been a couple of times when he thought Dobby was going to tell him what was going on, but Dobby always seemed to change his mind. Harry respected the house-elf's privacy, but it was hard to ignore the odd behavior.
It had been a peaceful couple of days. The only crisis had been when Hedwig met Harry's new owl, Amber. She had not been happy, so to appease Hedwig, Harry gave Amber to Ron. Hedwig settled down, and now she got along famously with Amber. Apparently, she didn't want to share Harry after such a long separation.
Thinking of Hedwig made him think of Hagrid. He wanted to write him a letter, but he knew that Hagrid was not a person capable of keeping secrets. As much as he cared for Hagrid, he wasn't quite ready for people to know his true condition. He would have Ron write a letter letting Hagrid know that whenever Harry got better they would come to visit. Harry was startled out of his wandering thoughts by Ron.
"Oi! Harry, did you know that they are talking about releasing a broom that vibrates? It's supposed to massage your thighs so that they don't hurt after a long hard game. It's supposed to be very relaxing. Funny enough, it's very popular with female players. I wonder why? They've named it the Eppy2000. Maybe I should get one now that I can afford it. There is nothing better than something relaxing between my thighs as I ride my broom."
Harry stared at the oblivious Ron. Did he really not understand what he just said, or was Harry's mind actually that naughty? A vibrating broom and Ron had to wonder why it was popular with the ladies?
"Hey, they even have some attachments for it! I wonder what the stick looking thing is. Why would they want something like that attached to a vibrating broom? It just doesn't make sense," Ron said looking at the Quidditch magazine intently.
Harry's eyes widened in disbelief -- attachments? What the hell was Ron reading? "Wow the broom comes with two setting too, vibrating and pulsating. Um...interesting."
Harry shook his head, why couldn't Ron see just how...naughty that broom was. "Ron, what the hell are you reading?"
Ron looked up at him blankly. It was apparent that his mind was still on the article. Harry waved towards the magazine. "That? What's that you're reading?"
Ron looked down at the magazine. "It's called /Boys and Their Toys/. It's quite interesting. Of course, I've only read this article."
Harry looked at his best friend, his brother, his only family member, well besides Sirius, and just stared. Ron seemed to feel Harry's gaze and looked up. "What?"
"/Boys and Their Toys/?" Harry asked slowly.
"Yeah, why?" Ron asked, with confused.
"Ron, you twit, that's an adult magazine for sex toys. Remember, Seamus had one just before they threw me into Azkaban. We made fun of the damn thing. We all sat around on my bed and read the articles, snickering the whole time."
"It is not! I don't remember doing that," Ron said.
Harry sighed and closed his eyes. The memory of that day came back to him and he realized that Ron hadn't been there. It had only been Neville, Dean, Seamus and him. Ron had been off with Hermione doing Merlin knows what.
Opening his eyes, he looked at Ron. "I apologize. You weren't there, but still. That is an adult sex toy magazine."
"Then why are they selling brooms?" Ron asked, confused.
Harry groaned and covered his face with his hands. "You have got to be kidding me. Damnit, Ron," he said with exasperation and put his hands down to look at his friend.
Ron had tears rolling down his face, which was red from holding in his laughter. When he saw Harry's gaze, he cracked up. He started to laugh and Harry watched him, confused as to what was going on. A few minutes later, Ron finally calmed down enough to talk.
"Oi, Harry, your face. You should've seen your face. Merlin, that was funny," Ron told him with a wicked grin.
Harry threw a cushion at Ron. "You prat! I thought you were being serious. I've been in Azkaban for the last eighteen months, and even I know that a vibrating broom is odd. Jerk!"
Ron began to laugh again and Harry growled. He jumped up and pounced on his best friend and they began to wrestle. The room filled with laughter and yelps as they played. Ron finally had Harry pinned to the floor and was sitting on him, crowing with victory.
"Let me up, you lardass. You're not exactly light you know. Ow, Ron that hurt," Harry hollered.
"I'll let you up if you say that I am a god among men. Come on say it! I...am...a..."
"Snape," Harry said.
Ron looked down at Harry, his face outraged. "The hell you say! That's not what you were supposed to say. I am a god, not a Snape. Why did you say Snape?"
"Maybe it was the fact that I'm standing behind you, Mr. Black?" a smooth voice stated behind Ron.
Ron yelped in surprise and Harry took the opportunity to knock Ron off him. He stood up and looked at his gob-smacked friend. Harry smirked at Ron. "Serves you right, you prat," he said smugly.
Professor Snape bent down and picked up the magazine that had fallen when they had started to wrestle. He gave Harry an arched look and Harry grinned at him. "That belongs to Ron. Why just earlier he was all agog about the vibrating broom. I think he even plans to get one now that he can afford it. Isn't that right, Ron?"
Ron blushed bright red and began to stammer. "I was only reading it for the articles."
Snape gave him a looked. "Hmm...I'm certain. That's what I would do with a sex toy magazine. Really Mr. Black, couldn't you come up with a better excuse?"
"I'm serious. They have some bloody good articles," Ron retorted, looking quite flustered.
Harry snickered at how uncomfortable Ron looked. Snape glanced at him quickly and Harry could've sworn he saw the man's mouth twitch with amusement. Snape glanced back over at Ron. "Indeed?" he inquired, his face blank. However, if one looked closely, they could see amusement dancing in his eyes.
Ron got up from the floor and grabbed the magazine from Snape's hand. He glared at them, then sniffed indignantly. "I'm going to take my magazine and myself out of this room and go somewhere where we'll be appreciated," he declared and stalked towards the door.
"Let me know how that goes, would you!" Harry called out and Ron raised a hand and flipped him off.
Harry snickered, then turned towards Snape. His former Potions Professor did not look good. He looked very tired and worn out. There were lines of pain around his mouth and eyes. "Would you like to sit down?
Snape sat in the chair that Harry had motioned to and sighed gratefully. He leaned back wearily, and closed his eyes, taking the opportunity to just rest. The last several days had been hard on him. The Headmaster had not been in a good mood and he had taken it out on Severus. Dumbledore was seriously pissed off now that he had no way of controlling Ron Weasley since he had become Ron Black. He had been livid and Severus couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction at the setbacks Dumbledore had been having.
"Are you all right, Professor?" Harry asked, concerned.
Snape opened his eyes and gave Harry a weary smile. "I'm fine, Mr. Potter. It's been a long couple of days."
"Did you have any problems getting away from Hogwarts? I hope the Headmaster wasn't suspicious of where you were going."
"The weekends are usually my own since the Headmaster is usually away on Ministry business. Sometimes he needs me, but not often," Snape explained.
"Are you interested in some lunch?" Harry asked.
"Please, and a cup of tea would do nicely," Snape said wearily.
"Sage," Harry called out and Sage appeared before him.
"You called, Sir?" she inquired.
"Yes, if you would be so kind as to get lunch for Professor Snape and myself. We would also like some tea. Oh, and you might as well bring Ron's lunch here too, because he can smell food from miles away," Harry said.
"Of course, Harry. I would be glad to," Sage answered before disappearing.
Harry looked over at Snape and saw an unexplainable look on his face. Wondering what it meant, he decided to ignore it for now. If Snape wanted him to know what was going on in his mind, he would let Harry know.
"How are you doing, Mr. Potter? Are you taking your potions?" Snape asked politely.
Harry smiled at him. "Please, call me, Harry," he requested. "I'm no longer your student and yes, I'm taking my potions. Dobby and Ron are quite insistent that I take them. I must say that I feel better now."
A small smile flickered over Snape's face. "Good. I brought you some more energy potions. You do not have to take them every day, but use them when you need to. It will probably take a little while longer before you have recovered from your stay in Azkaban. And though it pains me to say this, you may call me Severus," he said with sardonic humor.
Harry grinned at Severus. "Thank you, Severus. I must say that I was surprised that you let us go when we left Hogwarts."
Severus frowned slightly. "You are of age, and Mr. Black is your caretaker. Why shouldn't you leave?"
"I figured you would've told Dumbledore, since he is your...boss now," Harry answered hesitantly.
Severus snorted. "That's putting it mildly," he stated.
Harry shrugged apologetically then frowned. "How did you know that Ron is now a Black?" he asked with narrowed eyes.
"I asked your house-elf when he came to the castle several days ago. For some reason, he felt he could trust me with the information," Severus said with a slight frown.
Harry nodded thoughtfully and said, "Dobby is a good judge of character. If he felt he could trust you then I can as well. I trust Dobby to do what's right."
Severus looked at him and said, "Yes, about your elf," he began.
Harry interrupted him with a frown, "Dobby is not my elf. He's a free elf and belongs to no one but himself. He chooses to stay with Ron and me."
Severus gave him a small nod of acknowledgement. "Of course. About Dobby then, how did he become so powerful?"
Harry shook his head. "I'm afraid that's not something I can explain to you. If Dobby feels that he can trust you, then he'll let you know. It's not my secret to tell."
Severus looked at him with an unreadable expression before sighing. "Then can you at least tell me how he threw the Headmaster against the wall and knocked him unconscious? No house-elf I've ever seen would do something like that. It goes against their bonds. I have never seen such an aggressive house-elf before. Also, Sage, she called you by your name and talked differently than any other house-elf I have ever heard," he said.
Harry grinned at him, "Oh yes, Dobby told me about that. I have to admit that the image of Dumbledore flying through the air and being knocked unconscious with a snap of a finger from an insignificant house-elf, amused me."
Severus flashed a Harry a grin. "Oh, it was amusing. After the Headmaster left my room and I got over the shock, I'm afraid I laughed myself silly."
Harry grinned at him and said, "Silly? You, sir?"
"Yes, me. Sadly, there have not been things to laugh about lately but I did enjoy that one small moment. Now, please explain," Severus commanded with a small frown.
Harry rolled his eyes at Severus' tone. "Simple, Dobby and Sage are free elves. Dobby's magic is no longer bound so he can use it however he wishes. Dobby has always been an unusual house-elf," he explained.
"So, Dobby being free made him powerful?" Severus asked.
Harry shook his head. "No, it just freed the magic he already had. What made him more powerful isn't something I can tell you without Dobby's permission. It's a secret," he told the Potions Master in an exaggerated whisper.
Severus rolled his eyes, exasperated at Harry's antics. "Very well. I will not ask again."
Sage appeared with the tea set and placed it on the table before them. She glanced at Harry and asked, "Minky wants to know if you want bagels with your lunch. She has made some fresh strawberry bagels for you enjoyment."
Harry shook his head. "I don't want any." He looked over at Severus and asked, "Would you like some?"
"Yes, actually I would," Severus replied.
Harry nodded and glanced over at Sage. "Please get Professor Severus some and you might as well bring several for Ron. You know how he loves his bagels."
Sage nodded and disappeared. A few moments later, she was back with lunch. She placed it on the table next to the tea set and nodded towards Harry and Severus. "Can I get you two anything else?"
Harry looked over at Severus and the man shook his head. Glancing back at Sage, he replied, "No, that should do it for now. Thank you, Sage."
Sage nodded then disappeared. Severus stared at the spot where Sage disappeared and sighed.
"Problem, Severus?" Harry asked.
Severus shook his head. "No, I'm just getting used to the idea of free elves. I've never heard of such a thing," he answered.
"You probably won't either. My ancestor freed the house-elves that worked for this castle. They've lived as free elves for years. When we first came here, Sage pretended to talk as Dobby does now, afraid of the new Master of the Castle. She had never seen a previously bound elf before, only heard of them, and she was afraid that Dobby would still be treated as a slave. It only took her a couple days to realize that Dobby was just a free as her, if not more, and that we were his friends, not Masters. Once she realized that, she started acting as you see her now. Ron and I were delighted of course. I also think it made Dobby's day as well. I think he thought he was the only free elf in the whole Wizarding World," Harry explained.
"Mmmm...well, actually not the whole Wizarding World, only those in Britain and Scotland. The house-elves in the Americas, Asia, France, and Australia are quite free. It's not something that the Ministry wants the Britain Wizarding World to know as they know a few good-hearted wizards would try to free them. I'm afraid that the British Wizarding World are very...bigoted. There are a lot of Purebloods here who would hate to lose their servants," Severus told him.
Harry blinked, his expression surprised. "Huh. I wonder if Dobby knows about this. I'll have to be sure to tell him that. He may want to visit some of those countries," he mused thoughtfully. He shook his head and sighed. "It just goes to show you how small minded the British Wizarding World is. The house-elves love to serve, if they so choose. I find it abhorrent that they are forced to serve those who would abuse them for entertainment. It's disgusting," he stated with a frown.
Severus sighed. "Yes, it is, but sadly, it's something that will probably never be changed. It's been that way for hundreds of years. It's would only take something drastic to change it," he informed Harry.
Harry pursued his lips. "Mmmm...we'll see," he stated.
Severus looked at him thoughtfully before shaking his head. Whatever Harry had planned, he didn't want to know. He could only imagine the chaos that the Wizarding World's Savior would cause. He smirked internally; it just might be worth staying around to see.
Harry and Severus began to eating, the silence of the noontide only broken by the sounds of silverware clinking against plates. When the men were finally done with their lunch, Sage came back and cleared the table, although she left Ron's plate with a warming spell on it.
Severus looked at Harry very closely and said, "I didn't know that people in Azkaban spent so much time in the sun that they developed freckles and auburn streaks in their hair."
Harry looked at Severus in surprise, and then started chuckling and decided to play along with Severus's game.
"Actually, Severus, not only do we enjoy hours of refreshing and relaxing sunbathing every sunny day, but there are also several training centers, including a laundry, and a beauty school, where they train the inmates in careers for when they're released. I'm certain you've heard of that? Don't you think that they've done a nice job streaking my hair?" Harry asked with a grin.
Severus chuckled at Harry's reply and then said, "Seriously, Harry, you've never had freckles, your skin is paler than it was after eighteen months in Azkaban, although much healthier looking, and I can't see you being so vain as to color your hair first thing after you leave prison. Your eyes also have specks of brown in them and I noticed that Black's eyes have specks of green in them that hadn't been there before. In addition, Mr. Black is, well, blacker if you will pardon the pun, than he was. His hair and complexion have taken on a distinctly darker cast to them. Moreover, no one in their right minds would bother teaching job skills to inmates. What's going on?" Severus asked with curiosity.
"Simple, after Ron went through the Emancipation Rite, we both went through the Blood Brothers rite. I'm not certain what I expected with the rite, but neither of us expected that our appearances would change, or that we would have a bond through which we can share our emotions. All in all, it was a fascinating experience and was one of the best decisions I've ever made. By the way, most Muggle prisons spend a lot of time and money training and teaching their prisoners," Harry explained.
"Interesting," Severus commented, "Another thing that will upset the Headmaster."
Harry looked at him and smirked. "It's what I do best."
Harry reached over for his teacup and settled back for a moment. Then he sipped his tea and looked at Severus thoughtfully. He put his cup down and with a sigh. "So, how long have you known that Dumbledore was a manipulative son of bitch who's no better than Voldemort?" he asked casually.
Severus' head whipped up suddenly and he stared at Harry, his expression surprised. Harry stared at him calmly and Severus' expression changed to realization. "You know," he stated hoarsely.
Harry nodded and gave a heavy sigh. "I know. I've known to some extent, ever since Sirius was killed," he informed him with a sneer, ignoring the confused look Severus gave him. "That's when I realized that Dumbledore wanted to control me. I was his weapon, nothing more. Therefore, I decided to take control away from him and with Ron's help, I did that. I'm sure the Headmaster was pissed when he found out we were gone."
Severus smirked. "To say the least. I hear he destroyed several of the items in his office during his temper tantrum. He hasn't been in a particularly good mood these last couple of days, either. Something that has to do with the Rite, I presume?" Severus asked with a tiny grin.
Harry smiled then shrugged. "I'm familiar enough with the Headmaster's actions to know that he would use the Rite as leverage against Ron. We were just lucky that we found out the goblins could do it for us."
Severus looked surprised by the comment. "So that's how he did it. The Headmaster has no clue to how it was done."
Harry looked at him, confused. "I would've thought as old as he is, he would know the law. Then again I was told that it is not a well known law."
Severus shook his head and said, "Dumbledore has little to do with the other magical creatures of this world. He has just enough contact to make himself look good and that's about it. He was very shocked by Dobby. That reminds me, your little house-elf has a bottle of Phoenix tears that belongs to me."
At that moment, Dobby appeared before them and smiled at the Potions Professor. In his hand was the bottle of Phoenix tears that he had taken from Severus. "Dobby is giving you back your vial. Dobby has no need to them," He said as he laid the vial on Severus' lap.
"Ah, thank you Dobby," Severus said and Dobby nodded.
Harry laughed and said, "He told me earlier that he needed to give them back to you. He wanted to make it look like he had gotten what he came after. I asked him why he stuck around and didn't just leave when Dumbledore came by and he told me that he needed to teach the Headmaster a lesson."
Dobby turned towards Harry and held out a bottle of potions. "Harry needs to be taking his potion. Harry didn't take it with breakfast. Dobby doesn't forget even if Harry does," the house-elf told him sternly.
Harry laughed at Dobby and said, "You take your oath of protection very seriously, Dobby."
"Oath of protection?" Severus asked.
Harry looked at him and Dobby, a question on his face. Dobby looked at Severus and gave him an intent look before turning back to Harry and nodding. Dobby then glared at him and looked the bottle pointedly. Harry sighed, opened the bottle, and drank the potion. He handed the bottle back to Dobby, who nodded with satisfaction and popped out of the room.
"Apparently, Dobby has given me permission to tell you about the protection oath. I found out that when a house-elf is free, his or her magic is actually stronger than if they are bound. They are able to use in ways that no one in the Wizarding World even knows of. By willingly giving someone an oath of protection, a house-elf's magic grows even more. I'm told that the magic of a house-elf should be stronger in order to protect those to whom they have given their oath to. I noticed that since Dobby has given Ron and me his oath, he has become stronger, prouder, and more aggressive. I've also found that the house-elves in this castle are nothing like those in the rest of the Wizarding World. Since they are all free, and have been for generations, they don't need permission to mate or to have children. They can use their magic however they want, they can go where they choose or do what they want. While they still enjoy serving the owners of this castle, they have their own minds and they are far from the submissive elves you see at Hogwarts," Harry revealed.
Severus looked intrigued. "I have to admit that I haven't really given the house-elves much thought. I had a couple when I was young, but both of them were very old and died not long after I graduated Hogwarts. I never got another one because the idea of enslavement repulses me for obvious reasons."
"Voldemort you mean?" Harry asked gently.
"That's only one of my masters," Severus answered bitterly.
Harry looked at him, confused. "What do you mean?"
"Have you ever wondered why I don't just pack up and leave Hogwarts and my position?" Severus asked. "I'm rich enough that I don't need to work. I am from a very wealthy, powerful Pureblood family. To alleviate any boredom I had, I could simply make potions and sell them. I'm not bragging when I say that I'm one of the top Potion Masters of the day. My potions are requested by the richest people and several governments. No, the reason I stay is because of the Headmaster."
Harry looked at him warily and asked, "Are you loyal to him?"
Severus snorted, contempt shining from his eyes. "Not by choice. I thought when I turned to spy on Voldemort that I was getting a better bargain. I was shocked to find that it wasn't the case," the Potions Master informed him bitterly.
Harry looked upset and asked, "Why do you stay then? Why not just leave? I'm sure you're Slytherin enough to have made plans to disappear if things didn't work out. Why not just leave?"
Severus opened his mouth to answer, but nothing came out. He growled, frustrated, and drew something out of his pocket. He put a small bundle on the table and drew out his wand. After casting/ finite/, three enlarged books sat on the table. Severus opened one and placed it in front of Harry.
Curious, Harry began to read and eyes widen with shock then horror. He looked up at Severus and asked, "Tell me he didn't. But ... how? Shouldn't those two connections interfere with each other? Wouldn't Voldemort know that you had been marked by the Headmaster?"
Severus shook his head, unable to explain. Grabbing the other book that Severus was holding out he read it. Harry started to comment when Ron came back into the room. He sat down next to Harry on the couch and looked at them curiously.
"So, what's going on in here? Oh, goody, food," he said eagerly and grabbed his plate. Harry watched in slight disgust as Ron began gulping down his food. He waited until Ron was finished before even continuing the conversation. He knew that Ron would only be concerned with eating and nothing else.
After Ron had finally finished his lunch, Harry handed him the first book that Severus had brought and told him to read. After a few minutes, Ron looked up, confusion on his face. "Um...why am I reading about Dark Marks? I already know that Snape has one so what the deal?"
"He has two!" Harry growled.
"Two? I didn't think you could have two. I know You Know Who," Ron paused then rolled his eyes at the look Harry gave him. "I mean Tom is crazy, but why would he be dumb enough to mark Severus twice?'
"He didn't. Dumbledore did," Harry growled angrily.
"WHAT?!?" Ron yelled, surprised.
"Apparently, that bastard gave Professor Snape another Dark Mark. Not only that, but he cast a secrecy spell on him as well. He can't talk about the mark nor can he tell anyone what the Headmaster has been up to," Harry informed his best friend. He looked at Ron's outraged face and swallowed a smile. Ron may not like Severus, but he hated the injustice even more.
"How do you know about the secrecy spell if he can't tell you about it?" Ron asked and Harry held up the second book that Severus had brought. Reaching for the third book, Harry began to read. After he was finished, he closed his eyes and sighed. "You've been able to get around both of these spells, haven't you? You brought the books you could leave clues about the secrecy spells. You didn't have to tell me anything, you just had me read about it, and I drew my own conclusions. You've been able to get around the loyalty spell several different times. I've seen it, hell I've heard it. Like the night we left Hogwarts and I've heard some of the comments you make about the Headmaster. Even earlier when we were talking about the Headmaster, you told me a few things that would go against the spells. So somehow you can get around it."
Severus nodded. "Fading," he forced out.
"The loyalty spell is fading?" Harry reiterated and the Potions Master nodded. "So, that's how you are able to get around it."
"Around what?" Ron asked.
"Apparently, Professor Snape also has a loyalty spell on him. It's supposed to make him totally loyal to Dumbledore. He can't say anything bad about him, or go against any of his wishes. He'll always be concerned about Dumbledore's welfare, and he will defend that old bastard with his very life. This spell was created for making slaves, Ron. Severus is nothing more than Dumbledore's slave."
Ron sat back against the couch, shocked. He knew that the Headmaster was manipulative and cared only about power and money, but to give Snape the Dark Mark was beyond what Ron could comprehend. He couldn't believe that Dumbledore could be dark enough to do that. Ron sighed as another precious belief crumbled under the burden of reality. It hurt to know that Dumbledore was no better than Voldemort. He just had more practice at hiding it.
Ron looked at Severus and asked, "What else has he threatened you with?"
Severus didn't answer, but he looked over at Harry and gave him a pointed look. Ron looked confused for a second before his eyes widened in understanding. "Azkaban. He threatened you with Azkaban," he snarled, disgusted.
Harry glared coldly. "Over my dead body," he snapped.
Ron nodded in agreement and looked thoughtful. He tapped his lip with his fingers and said slowly, "So, let me get this straight, you have two Dark Marks, one from Tom, and the other from Dumbledore. You're also bound a by a secrecy spell, therefore you're unable to tell a soul anything about Dumbledore, not that anyone would believe their precious Headmaster is evil or dark. You also have a loyalty spell cast upon you making you Dumbledore's slave. On top of that, you have the threat of being sent to Azkaban hanging over your head if you step out of line. How am I doing so far?" he questioned.
Severus tried to answer, but he couldn't. He growled, frustrated once again and Ron stopped him. "Don't bother trying to answer. Your reaction is enough for me to get the message. So, if you're a prisoner, why haven't you gotten desperate enough to kill yourself? That would be one sure way of getting out from under both of them," Ron asked, curiously.
Severus' eyes darkened and he looked away, a look of shame on his face. Ron's eyes widened in understanding and he cursed. "You tried, didn't you? You tried, but Dumbledore stopped you. He cast another spell on you, didn't he? That's why he cast the loyalty spell on you. Merlin, he's taken everything away from you," Ron said with a horrified whisper. Severus looked down in sadness and rage, unable to look at them. Harry stood up and began to pace back and forth.
"That's it! You're not leaving here. We need to find a way to get rid of the Dark Mark. Both of them! Then we need to find a way to cancel the spells. This is wrong! No one should have to go through this. You're an honorable man and this is how you're repaid. Oh no, not on my watch!"
Ron had been reading the book on the loyalty spell when he looked at Harry. "Actually, I think we should take the loyalty spell off first then the secrecy spell. According to the loyalty spell, Severus would be forced to tell Dumbledore that he's seen us and that you're fine. That can't be allowed. I assume that Dumbledore's Dark Mark is hidden with a glamour of some sort. We need to know its location before we can get rid of it and only Severus knows where it's at. So, we need to make sure to take off the secrecy spell."
"So, how do we get the spells off?" Harry asked Ron and the redhead shrugged and sighed with resignation. "Its times like these when, I wish we were still friends with Hermione. I hate to say it, but we need to do," Ron paused to grimace with distaste, "research."
Harry cracked a grin at Ron and was about to reply when a feminine voice behind him said, "Why don't you just cancel it with the /finite /spell."
Harry whirled around and saw Rose standing in the corner of the room. "I figured it wouldn't work with the spell. Isn't it a powerful dark spell?"
Rose nodded, her eyes on the book that Ron was holding. "Yes, it is, but that's the beauty of using both of those spells. The inventors decided that since the spell was so powerful people would think that they would need to use a powerful cancellation spell. In a rather brilliant move, they decided to make it simple so they keyed the spells to end with a simple finite spell. Those two spells are rarely used because of the small chance that they will not work right."
"There have been a few cases where the spells didn't work properly -- usually to the spell-caster's regret. If not cast properly, the spell will begin to fade and the victims will find a way around the spell. It doesn't always create a loyal slave. It seems that it doesn't work correctly on your friend. He shouldn't be able to get around it at all, but as you said before he has moments where he is not loyal to your Headmaster. Either your Headmaster didn't read the fine print on the spell, or he thought that no one would ever find out about the spells. Rather arrogant of him if that is the case," Rose said with a sniff of disapproval.
"That's quite devious," Harry said and looked over to Severus. The man looked relieved and hopeful. "Would you like me to try to take off the spell for you?" Harry asked.
"I didn't think you could. You don't have a wand. It was snapped before you went into Azkaban," Severus said, confused.
Harry smiled and Ron smirked. Harry pulled out his wand and showed it to Severus, whose eyes widened with surprise. "Ron tricked the Ministry by transfiguring a trick wand that belong to the twins and exchanged my wand with the false one. The wand the Ministry snapped wasn't mine. Ron took my wand and hid it, thinking that I would need it later. I was very lucky that he did that."
Severus looked over at Ron and smirked. "That was positively Slytherin of you, Mr. Black."
Ron grinned back at him. "Thank you. I thought so," he said calmly and Harry had to hold back his laughter at the look Severus gave Ron. He must've assumed Ron would be offended when he was called a Slytherin, but Ron was getting more comfortable with his Slytherin qualities. It wasn't the insult it used to be.
"So, do you want me to take off the spell?" Harry asked.
Severus paused, and then nodded. He sat up straight in his chair and waited for Harry to cast the spell.
Harry lifted his wand and pointed it at Severus. "Finite," he said and watched as Severus slumped into his chair. He rushed over to Severus and checked on him. He watched, concerned as the man's eye fluttered and he looked around. "Did it work?" Harry asked anxiously. Severus opened his mouth to say something and growled, as he couldn't say a word. It hadn't worked.
Harry looked back at Rose. "I guess you were wrong on this one, Rose. Thanks for trying though. It looks like Dumbledore is a little more devious than we thought."
Rose frowned at Harry. "I wasn't wrong about the cancellation spell, but there must be something blocking it. Did the Headmaster give you any jewelry, or any other item that you would be keeping on your person at all times?" Rose asked Severus. He shook his head and Rose growled in frustration. "The spells must be keyed somewhere. That would be the only way to counteract the cancellation spell. You would have to cast the /finite /spell at the item it has been keyed to."
"The Dark Mark," Ron said suddenly. Harry, Rose, and Severus looked at him in surprise. Ron looked a little uncomfortable at suddenly being the center of attention, but shrugged it off. "Think about it. It's the only thing Dumbledore gave you that you carry everywhere. He keyed the two spells onto the Dark Mark. Crap!" he said suddenly.
"What?" Harry asked.
"Dumbledore hid the Dark Mark under a glamour and Snape can't tell us where it is, so we can't find it. If we can't find it then we can't cancel the two spells. It's a rather vicious circle," Ron said with some awe. "Rather brilliant and devious if you think about it."
Severus looked disappointed and Rose grumbled in discontent. "Too bad you can't see past the glamour spell. I'm sure the spell he used for that is not going to be easy to get rid of."
Ron looked at Harry sharply and Harry began to grin. "My magical aura thingy?" he asked and Ron grinned.
"May I ask what you two are muttering about?" Severus inquired with a glare. Disappointment did not react well with the man.
Harry smiled at him. "Did you know that I can see magical auras?" he asked innocently. "Yep, sure can. I can see magical creatures, I've seen through a Metamorphmagus, why I'm sure that I'm going to be able to see magical items next. But I'm positive you don't want to know about all that," Harry said with mock sadness.
Severus looked excited and asked, "You can see magical auras?"
Harry looked at Ron, mock confusion on his face. "Isn't that what I said?" Harry asked. Ron snickered and Severus gave him a ferocious glare.
Harry gave a large sigh and replied, "Yes, I can see magical auras. I'm sure with a little coaching, I'll be able to see your Dark Mark. If I know where it's at then I can cancel the spells."
"That's great, but then what happens afterwards? He'll still have the Dark Mark and unless you know a way of getting rid of that Dumbledore can still get to him, just like You Kn...Tom can," Ron said.
"I may have a suggestion for that," Rose said. They looked at her with curiosity. "Several hundred years ago, a Potter had a friend with a Dark Mark that was given to him by force from a Dark wizard. In an attempt to help his friend overcome the pain of the mark, Potter constructed a ring that blocked the connection between the dark wizard and his friend. It worked, very well in fact. They started to research the Dark Mark and ways to get rid of it, but before they found anything useful, the dark wizard ambushed Potter's friend and killed him. Potter kept the ring and his research and put it in the family vault. It should still be there."
"Sounds good, but why are you so hesitant to tell me about it? What's the catch?" Harry asked.
"The ring can only be activated by a drop of Potter blood," she said.
"I can do that."
"And the ability to speak Parselmouth," Rose replied.
Harry stared at her, his expression shocked. "That Potter was Parselmouth?" he asked.
"Yes, he was."
"But I got my Parselmouth ability from Voldemort," Harry stammered.
Rose frowned at him. "I don't know who told you that, but there have always been Parselmouths in the Potter line. True, it's rare and often skips generations, but I know at least twenty Parselmouths that have been in the Potter line since I died."
Harry gaped at her. Severus got up and walked behind Harry, putting a comforting hand on Harry's shoulder. "Remember who told you this, Mr. Potter. Take anything he says with some skepticism."
Harry turned and looked at him then nodded in understanding. He frowned heavily. "It's just another thing that he either kept from me or twisted for his own use. Seriously, what was the man thinking? That I would never visit my vault or check out my family history? I may not have been old enough then, but he had to know that once I was old enough I would want to know more about my family. I would be able to research and travel to find out more," he said.
"I doubt Dumbledore thought you were anything more than a little kid under his control," Ron stated. "You may have had doubts about him, but who would you have gone to for help? My former parents? Lupin? No, because they're to close to Dumbledore to see what he's really like. Severus? You couldn't go to him for two reasons, one he was a spy for Dumbledore, and two he hated you. The one person you could have gone to was/ killed,/" Ron said with a sneer, "when you got to close to him. He was a problem so he had to die."
Severus looked at them in confusion. That was the second time that he had heard Black's death mentioned with the same amount of anger and disdain. He had thought that Potter loved his godfather, but the way both of the young men mentioned Black's death, he was beginning to wonder. Severus thought about it for a moment then shook his head, no there has to be something more to it. He would find out when he had the chance.
Harry frowned at Ron and said, "Regardless of what the Headmaster lied about, I can still activate the ring for Severus. That'll take care of the connections until we can find a way to get rid of the Dark Mark or kill Voldemort and Dumbledore, whichever comes first."
"Well, then, what are we waiting for?" Ron asked. "Get rid of the spells then let's go get the ring."
Harry nodded and looked at Severus. "You know this is going to piss Dumbledore off, don't you? You won't be able to leave the castle for a long while. Is there anything you want to do first?"
Severus frowned then nodded. "Take off the spells first," he forced out. Harry could see him struggle to get around the secrecy spell. "Then I will take care of things on my end. I can't leave here with the loyalty spell intact. I want to make sure I have some things taken care of before I cut the connection. Once that's done, there is no going back."
"Very well. Take a seat and get comfortable." Harry watched as Severus sat down. With a sigh, Harry grabbed a small stool and sat next to Severus' chair. He took a couple of breaths and then stared at Severus intently. He gazed at him for several minutes then blew out a breath in frustration. "It's not working. I can't see any magic. Maybe it won't work for this."
"No, Harry, you're slowly developing it. You can see the auras of magical creatures, you can see past the Metamorphmagus form, you'll be able to see magical signatures. You just need to clear your mind and relax. Let the magic come to you, don't try to force it. It won't work that way. Now, take in a couple of deep breaths and let it out," Ron said softly.
Harry obeyed, breathing in through his nose and out his mouth. He did this several times before he could feel him body unclenching. He did a couple of more times and his body was finally relaxed.
"How is it you know what to do, Mr. Black?" Harry heard Severus ask.
"Bill has the same gift. He was older than Harry, around twenty-two or so when he developed the gift. He had to train to develop his gifts fully. He used these techniques that he learned to help me when I was having trouble accessing my power after my magical inheritance. For some reason, it was hard to use my magic, something about a block. As you know, it's common after a magical inheritance since the body can go into shock with the increase in power. Bill sat me down and had me go through the technique that enabled him to access his gift. Once I learned it, I only had to use it a couple of times before the block was gone and I could finally access my full potential," Ron explained.
"Ah," Severus commented.
"Good, now close your eyes and find your magical core," Ron said to Harry. He closed his eyes and looked inside himself. He found his magical core, a large bright ball of glowing energy, centered in his abdomen. He felt a warm glow fill his body and Harry sighed in contentment. He could hear Ron talking to him in the distance.
"I want you to touch the core and let the magic crawl up your body until it reaches your eyes. Don't force it, just let it come on its own."
He gave small nod and touched his magical core. He felt a flare of power and watched in awe as he saw the magic crawl up his stomach, then his chest. He could feel the warmth creeping up his neck, and then his head. His eyes began to itch and he slowly opened his eyes. He looked at Severus in awe. He could see Severus was surrounded by a light green color, with a mixture of red and gold enhancing the green. He glanced over him carefully and saw black magical aura on his left forearm. There was a disgusting feeling the black spot gave off and Harry realized it was Voldemort's Dark Mark. Harry now knew what he was looking for and began to look for Dumbledore's mark. He couldn't find it anywhere. Harry frowned at him and said, "You need to turn around. I can't find anything on your front except for Voldemort's Dark Mark."
Severus nodded, stood up, and turned around. Harry looked over him carefully and found the mark. It was a large dark spot with some orange and a sickly yellow mixed in. Dumbledore had marked Severus on his lower back, a place that would always be hidden. Harry took out his wand and pointed at the black spot. With a muttered, "Finite," he watched as a beam of gold hit the dark spot. Harry watched the spells on the mark disappear in a bright burst of color and he could no longer see either the orange or the yellow.
"They're gone. The finite spell got rid of them just a Rose said it would," Harry said.
Severus turned around and looked at Harry. "Are you sure?" he asked sternly.
"Yes. Before I cast the spell, I could see the magical auras of the spells, but once I cast the finite spell, they disappeared in a burst of light. They're gone and nothing remains but the black aura of the Dark Mark. If you don't believe me, why don't you say something kind and wonderful about our beloved Headmaster," Harry said with a smirk.
Severus gave him a sharp look. "Our beloved Headmaster is a manipulative, egotistical, homicidal maniac who makes Voldemort look good. Not only that, but he's forced me into servitude by marking me with a Dark Mark on my lower back," he said with triumph. Severus stood there looking proud, then suddenly deflated, collapsing in the chair.
Harry jumped up in concern and rushed over to him. "Severus, are you all right?" he asked.
Severus looked up at Harry with pain-filled eyes. "I'm finally free of those spells. For the first time in almost twenty years, I can truly say what I want. I'm no longer forced to lie. It's hard to contemplate."
"It'll be better once I get the ring. In fact, I think that Ron and I should go see our good friend Susie at Gringotts. He must be missing us by now," Harry said with a grin directed towards Ron.
Severus looked at him, confused, while Ron started to laugh. Harry grinned at Severus. "I'll explain it to you sometime. Now, if you want, you can put your affairs in order. I'll ask Dobby to accompany you, he can help you pack and bring you back here. He's quite adept at detecting tails and tracking spells. I'm positive that as soon as the connection to Dumbledore is closed, he'll realize that you've neutralized the Dark Mark and he'll find a way to retaliate. Voldemort will, of course, be just as happy with you. You won't be safe. It's one thing to have one powerful wizard after you but to have two, well that's going to be a mite difficult. Are you sure you want to do this?" Harry asked with concern.
Harry could see Severus thinking about it carefully before making up his mind. "I would rather die free than to be bound in servitude any longer. It may not be a very Slytherin outlook, but right now, I don't care. I want my mind to be my own again."
"All right, then Ron and I will visit Gringotts, and you do whatever you need to do. Dobby," Harry called out.
Dobby appeared before Harry. "Yes, Harry, how can Dobby help you?"
"I need you to go with Severus and help him however you can. I want you to watch out for Dumbledore. Severus is under our protection now. I want you to watch out for anybody that follows him or for any tracking spells that may be placed on him. Once he is done, bring him back here."
"Dobby will protect Severus," he said firmly. "Headmaster will not get him. Dobby will teach him another lesson if he tries," Dobby said with a menacing growl.
Harry, Ron, and Severus grinned at that image. "Very well. Ron and I are off to Gringotts. We'll see you two later."
Harry and Ron waved at Severus and Dobby as they left the room. Severus looked at the unusual house-elf. "I guess we should be off. I need to go to Hogwarts, then Gringotts and my manor. Maybe if we're lucky, we can get in some Dumbledore torture while we're at Hogwarts. I have few potions that can be used," Severus said with a sly look.
Dobby looked at him and gave him a feral smile. "Dobby is okay with that."
I would like to thank Fangella Marie for letting me use the name Eppy for my vibrating brooms. I use it to honor the great Eppy, the dominatrix house-elf that resides in her story, Harry Potter and the Azkaban Parody. It's a wonderful parody of all the Azkaban stories out there. If you haven't read it, then you need to do so. You can find it on Fanfiction(dot)net.
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