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
Severus and Dobby went to Snape Manor so that Severus could settle the house before he went into hiding with Harry and Ron. As Severus began to pack up his valuable items and his rare Potions journals from his room, he thought about how he could make the wards around the house totally secure. Unfortunately, there was always a chance that Dumbledore would get past them. He wouldn't put it past the man to try to destroy his home once he realized that Snape was no longer under his control. Dumbledore's retaliation would be vicious.
He continued to pack and looked up when Dobby walked into the room.
"Professor, sirs, is there anything you need for Dobby to do?" he asked.
"I don't suppose you can put a dust free spell on the furniture? Better yet, maybe you can find a way to ward the house from Dumbledore," Severus inquired sarcastically.
Dobby gave him a toothy grin. "Dobby can spell the furniture, and Dobby can ward the house. Dumbledore cannot get past elf magic. Dobby is strong and powerful. Dobby is the reason why Wizards bind their house-elves. Dobby is getting stronger than Dumbledore," the house-elf told the Potions Master smugly.
Severus looked at him, shocked. "Really? Free house-elves are that strong?"
Dobby shook his head. "Free house-elves are powerful, but not stronger than Dumbledore. Like Wizards, each house-elf differs. Our magic is just different -- Wizards cannot get around it. Dobby gave Harry Potter and Wheezy oath of protection. Dobby has bond with Harry Potter and Wheezy."
"Bond? How is that different than the one the Wizards force on the house-elves?" Severus asked.
"It's a willing bond. Dobby voluntarily bonded with Harry Potter and Wheezy. Dobby's magic has intermixed with theirs. Harry Potter and Wheezy are strong so they make Dobby's magic stronger."
"So, if a house-elf were to willingly bond with a Wizard, their magic would get stronger, and the strength would depend on the Wizard themselves," Snape reiterated.
Dobby nodded and replied, "Yes, but Dobby bonded to two Wizards, so Dobby is very strong. Dobby needs to be strong to protect Harry Potter and Wheezy from Dumbly and Voldymort."
Severus snorted at the name Dobby had given the Dark Lord. He snickered at the thought of calling him that to his face. He could only imagine the look on Voldemort's face.
"You do realize that this makes you a very unusual elf, don't you?" Severus asked.
"Yes, but Dobby is bonded to two unusual Wizards."
Severus looked at Dobby thoughtfully when he heard that comment. He didn't understand what that meant, but he would learn later. Right now, he had a house to settle. "Very well, if you would be so kind as to spell the furniture, I will finish my packing. I'll let you know when I need the house warded."
Dobby nodded then paused before asking, "Why does the Professor not ward the house?"
"I would, but I'm afraid that the house might be watched. If I do a powerful spell then Dumbledore would know something is wrong. Will the Headmaster know that you've warded the house?" Severus asked, concerned.
Dobby shook his head. "House-elf magic is different than Wizard magic. House-elves not need sticks to do magic. It feels different so Wizards are not able to sense it."
Severus looked intrigued by that idea. "Really? Dobby, we shall have to discuss this more later. I hadn't really thought much about your magic. I wonder if it can be used in the war that is sure to come," he mused absently, his mind already on the problem.
"Dobby would be honored to fight in the war against Voldymort. There are many free elves that would fight, but no Wizard asks them. They think we are nothing, mere slaves," Dobby stated sadly. "House-elves were once a proud race, but the Wizards have enslaved us, making us small and insignificant."
Severus looked at the sad elf and realized that this elf was something he'd never seen before. He vaguely remembered him before he took off with Harry and Black. He'd been a weak, quivering, and scared elf. His vocabulary was that of a child and he was entirely too meek. Now though, he noticed the proud stance, the confident gaze. He realized that his vocabulary was growing, he was sounding more educated. "How does the bond affect you besides the magic?"
Dobby smiled brightly. "Dobby is growing. Dobby is able to learn, to grow as an elf. The bond with Harry Potter and Wheezy has freed me from my fear. Dobby is growing confident, aggressive, and proud. Dobby learns from the other free house-elves to read, to talk good, and to stand tall. Dobby is learning to become a warrior elf for his Harry Potter and Wheezy," he replied proudly.
"Warrior elf?" Severus asked, confused.
Dobby looked at him solemnly. "Dobby cannot tell about that. It is very secret order. Just know that Dobby learns to take care of Harry Potter and Wheezy, and now you, Professor. There are many things Wizards do not know about house-elves, many they will learn in time," he said with a growl.
"Do we need to fear the house-elves?" Severus asked mildly.
Dobby shook his head. "No, Professor, the bonded elves can't go against their Wizards."
Severus looked at Dobby for a moment then smiled slyly, "But they can go around them, can't they?"
Dobby looked at him then gave him a feral grin. "Dobby not knows what Professor is talking about. House-elves are meek and mild, nothing but slaves," the house-elf said with an innocent smile.
The Potions Master chuckled. He was really beginning to like Dobby. If he had been a Wizard, Severus was sure that the house-elf would have been a Slytherin. "Keep your secrets then. Help me get this house ready. Afterwards, I need to go to Gringotts. I will leave Hogwarts for later. I want to be sure to leave the Headmaster a present, thanking him for his care," the Potions Master said with a malicious sneer. Dobby gave him a grin in return and disappeared. Severus returned to his packing, making sure to grab everything of value.
He went over to the wall and pressed a hidden button. A panel slid away to reveal a small hole. He reached in a pulled out a small box. Opening it, he smiled in satisfaction at the three keys he saw laying in the box. One was to an anonymous vault that no one knew about. The second was for a hidden potions lab that had been in his family for generations. It was under a Fidelius spell that only needed to be refreshed every hundred years. One of his ancestors had found a way to transfer the spell from a Wizard to a living plant. The large oak tree that stood in front of the lab was the secret. That something or someone other than a Wizard could be a secret-keeper was a secret of the Snape family - all the books containing information on the spell said that the secret-keeper needed to be a witch or a wizard. Severus felt smug that he was able to keep this secret from both Voldemort and Dumbledore.
The third key was for a library that had been in his family for several thousand years. It was a truly kept secret from the Wizarding world. The books there were so old that many Wizards would give their fortunes for just one of them. Only a select few had ever known about it and none, except for Severus, was alive any longer. He thought that Harry would like to know about it -- and if for some reason he died, then someone would at least know about the library. Maybe he could find something to help get rid of his Dark Marks in the library, it would be a good project for later.
He closed the box and replaced the panel. He turned towards the bed, laid the box in the trunk, and closed it. He looked around the room one last time before locking the trunk, shrinking it, and putting it in his pocket. He turned towards the door and walked out.
Severus walked down the stair and into the formal living room. He noticed that the furniture was covered and a spell that repelled dust had been cast over them. All the breakables were gone and he wondered why they had gone. Frowning in confusion, he walked through the rooms and found all the things that were valuable were gone as well. Surely Dobby didn't have time to do all this? It was a large manor and Dobby was but one elf. The work would have needed at least six house-elves to complete it. Finally, he walked into the kitchen and stopped in shock. Dobby was in the middle of the kitchen, floating off the floor with his hands spread wide. The hands glowed with a golden light and the items in the kitchen were whirling around the room. He noticed the spell was cleaning the kitchen, putting items away, and throwing away the food. Severus couldn't believe what he was seeing. When everything was done, Dobby's hand stopped glowing and he floated back down to the floor.
He turned and looked at Severus and smiled serenely. "Dobby's is a very powerful elf."
Severus looked around the kitchen and thought about the other clean and packed rooms. "Yes, Dobby, you are. Where are the items you packed up?"
Dobby pulled a bag off his belt and gave it to Severus. "Dobby shrunk all the Professor's items and put them in the bag. Professor can store them wherever he needs to."
Severus took the bag and thanked the house-elf. "If you're done, we need to leave. The longer we take, the more likely it is that the Headmaster will find me."
Dobby nodded and followed Severus out of the kitchen. They approached the library and Severus looked around in satisfaction. The books were gone as well. While he had better books in the secret library, some of these books were favorites since they had belonged to his mother.
"Professor, where do we go next?" Dobby asked.
"I need to go to Gringotts to take care of my account. Why?"
"Dobby needs to ward the house and close the floo connection. Dobby will meet the Professor at Gringotts, if that is all right with the Professor?" the house-elf inquired curiously.
Severus thought a moment then nodded his head. "I will meet you there then." He turned to the fireplace and grabbed some floo powder. He threw it into the fireplace and called out "The Leaky Cauldron." He disappeared in a flash of green fire.
Dobby watched as the Professor flooed out of his home. The trust the Wizard had in him was surprising. He had only thought that Harry Potter and Wheezy trusted him like that. He frowned thoughtfully, Dobby needs to find new name for Wheezy. Wheezy has a new name now.
Dobby walked over to the fireplace and disconnected the floo. He then set a ward around the fireplace to make sure that no one could get in if the floo was illegally connected. Looking around in satisfaction, he popped outside of the house and walked up to the front door. He closed it, locked it, and cast several powerful locking spells on it. He hadn't told the Professor the whole truth about elf magic.
While it may be hard to impossible for Wizards to get around elf magic, it wasn't impossible for elves to use Wizarding magic. With his freedom, he learned that hidden on the Potter property, was a community of free elves. There were a startling number of free house-elves, around five thousand, and the community was over a thousand years old. It had been founded by the first free house-elf and with every passing year, there was an increase in the number of the elves that lived there. In order to keep the free elves safe, they decided to hide the community. It had been phased slightly outside of normal space. Only those with elf blood could pass the wards, unless invited.
Dobby was overjoyed with the community. Sage, the house-elf that worked in the castle, introduced him to the elders. When they felt his magic level and realized that he was willingly bound to two powerful Wizards by a protection oath, they began to train him, both in elf magic, Wizard magic, and fighting. Dobby would be ready when Harry finally took the war to Voldemort. He would stand by Harry Potter's side and protect him with his very life.
Dobby leaned forward and placed his hand on the door of the manor. He closed his eyes and his hands began to glow. He uttered a couple of words, and with a flash of light, a large golden sphere surrounded the house. Dobby uttered another word and the sphere turned green, then red and melted into the stones of the house. Dobby's hands stopped glowing and he took a step back from the house. He looked at the wards and smiled in satisfaction. /Let Dumbly try to get past the wards. He'll be in for a nasty surprise/, Dobby thought with a malicious grin then popped away from Snape Manor.
Severus walked into Gringotts and looked around. He approached one of the goblins at the counter, put his key down, and glared at him coldly. "I would like to talk to someone about my account."
The goblin glared back and picked up the key. His glare faded as he looked at the key and he nodded his head in respect. Snape knew that the key informed the goblin that he was an important person, and that he was someone to be treated with respect. "Of course, if you would follow me." The goblin backed away from the counter and walked away. Severus followed him into an office and directed him to sit. "If you would wait, Ghistpok will be in to see you in a moment." The goblin bowed and walked out of the office.
Severus sat in the chair and waited impatiently. He tapped his fingers against the arm of the chair and huffed. He was getting restless, maybe I should've gone to Hogwarts first. I could've packed my stuff, and then done what I needed here. I have a greater chance of running into Dumbledore this way.
He knew the Headmaster would have a long day at the Ministry, but there was always an off chance that he could leave early. Merlin knows he likes to know where his slave is at, Severus thought with a sneer.
The door opened and Ghistpok walked in. "I'm surprised to see you, Severus. Especially holding that key. I thought things had gotten...complicated for you." Ghistpok inquired politely.
Severus smirked at the goblin. "They had, but now they are uncomplicated - with a little help in sorting out my situation. I need to activate my vault as I'm sure Dumbledore will have issues with me later."
Ghistpok snorted, annoyed. "Yes, he seems to be having issues with quite a few people lately."
Severus was about to ask him what he meant when Dobby appeared in front of him. Dobby looked around and his eyes landed on Ghistpok. He looked at the goblin curiously then looked over at Severus. "Dobby warded the house and the fireplace. Dobby left a surprise for Dumbly just in case," the house-elf told him with a grin.
Severus looked at the house-elf in amusement. "What did you do?'
"If Dumbly tries to break the wards, a trap will go off and Dumbly will lose his wand hand. Sadly, it's not permanent, but it will slow him down. Dobby also added a trap that will change Dumbly into woman's clothing and a picture will be taken, then sent to the Daily Prophet. Dumbly will lose creditability. Dobby doesn't like Dumbly. Dumbly will regret messing with the Professor's house," he said proudly.
Severus chuckled, his eyes filled with mirth at the thought of Dumbledore's picture in the paper. He almost wished Dumbledore would try something. It would be amusing to see. "Dobby, you are truly evil."
Dobby smiled slyly and said, "Dobby knows this."
Severus chuckled and faced Ghistpok. The goblin was staring at the house-elf thoughtfully. "Are you Harry Potter's elf?"
Dobby stood straight and glared at the goblin. "Dobby is not Harry Potter's elf, Dobby is Harry Potter's friend," he said firmly.
Ghistpok nodded in understanding. "I believe that I have some paperwork for you to pick up. Mr. Potter told me that you would pick it up when I was finished with it. If you would excuse me a moment, I'll go and get it."
Dobby nodded and Ghistpok left the room. Dobby walked around, looking at the portraits on the wall and the gold statues on the desk and table. Severus watched him absently, waiting for Ghistpok to come back. A few minutes later, the door opened and the goblin walked into the office. He walked over to Dobby and handed him a large rolled up parchment. "This is the updated list of the inventory in his vault, his galleons, and his stocks, bonds, businesses and real estate. There are also copies of the paperwork that he asked for previously. I was going to send him an owl earlier today, but I got distracted. It seems one of my goblin assistants up and quit. He appears to have had a nervous break down," Ghistpok said with a strange smile.
Severus looked at him strangely, but didn't ask for an explanation. "Why are you doing Mr. Potter's business in front of me?"
"Simple, you're in the presence of his friend, Dobby. Mr. Potter himself told me what a trusted friend he was. If Mr. Potter or Dobby didn't trust you, neither would be with you. I have a feeling that Mr. Potter helped you with your complications."
Severus grunted in confirmation. "Dobby, I have a favor to ask of you. I need you to go to Hogwarts and begin packing my rooms and my office. Leave everything regarding the school and the teaching position, but pack my personal things. I have potion ingredients that I need to pack personally, so I will meet you after I leave here. I also need you to check for Dumbledore. If he comes back before I get there, take what you have and come to me. I don't want to confront him yet."
Dobby nodded his head. "Dobby understands. Dobby wonders though, will Professor and Dobby leave Dumbly a surprise before we go?"
"Yes, Dobby, I believe we will," Severus said maliciously.
Dobby grinned and disappeared.
Severus turned his attention to Ghistpok. "I need you to move as much as you can from my family vault to my hidden vault. I have reason to believe that the Headmaster will try something later, possibly try to gain access to my vaults since he lost Potter's money. I want to make sure it's empty,"
Ghistpok nodded his head. "I can have that done. Luckily, your family was paranoid enough to leave family items elsewhere. The money in your three vaults should fit into your new one. The other vaults are hidden under pseudonyms so the Ministry will have no luck finding them." Ghistpok pulled out a piece of parchment and began to write. When he was done, he signed it then it disappeared with a pop. "It is being done as we speak. Is there anything else you need?'
"Not really, I have enough money to get me through a least a year. If I need more I'm sure I can find a way to get to you."
Ghistpok looked at him a moment then sighed. "I've been the manager for your family estates since your grandfather's time. You've never done anything wrong, so as such, I will let you on a little goblin secret. Mind you, if this ever gets out, I'll be dismissed from my position."
Severus looked intrigued by the comment. Ghistpok got up and walked into the small room off to the left. Severus could hear banging from inside the room. A moment later, Ghistpok came back into the room and walked over to Severus. He slowly handed him a small bag. "This bag is one of a few that were made. We goblins decided it was too easy to get into, but if you leave it somewhere safe, it shouldn't be a problem. This is like our bottomless bags, except this bag takes money straight from your vault. It can also find family heirlooms and such. You just have to name what you need and the bag will fill. There is no security spell on that bag. Anyone that has access to it will have access to your vault. This is why we discarded them."
"I'll find a safe place to put it. Do you need to set the bag to my vault?" Severus asked.
"Yes, I need your key and a drop of your blood, please," Ghistpok said and walked around to sit at his desk. He placed the bag on the desk and looked at Severus. The lanky-haired man placed his vault key on the desk, and then transfigured a quill that was lying on the desk into a knife. He cut his finger and held it over the bag. A drop of blood fell on the bag and Severus pulled his hand back and healed his finger.
He watched in fascination as Ghistpok raised his hand over the bag and began to mutter in Gobbledegook. The bag, the blood, and the key glowed purple for a few seconds then faded. The blood was gone and Ghistpok handed him the bag and the key. "The bag has been set to your secret vault."
Severus took the bag and the key and put them in his pocket. He glanced at the goblin and asked, "I don't have to tell you that you never saw me today, right?"
"Of course, Mr. Snape," Ghistpok replied with a sly smile. "Do give Mr. Potter and Mr. Black my regards. I hear I missed quite a show with them today."
"Show?" Severus asked, confused.
"I'm afraid that is something Mr. Potter and Mr. Black will have to explain it to you. Is there anything else you need, Mr. Snape?" Ghistpok inquired.
Severus thought carefully before nodding. "If Dumbledore tries to get into my vault for whatever reason, I want you to keep a record of what he tries to do. I'm curious to see what he wants. How long will it take to empty my family vault?"
"It should be done by tonight. If you are indeed disappearing, then it will take several days for the Ministry to try to freeze your accounts if Dumbledore attempts that route. By then everything should be moved."
Severus nodded, satisfaction gracing his face. "Excellent. Until our next meeting."
"It's been a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Snape. May the gods grant you gold."
"And you as well, Ghistpok," Severus said then got up and walked out of the office.
Dobby appeared in Professor Snape's office and began to pack his belongings. He packed up the bedroom, then the bathroom. He went to the living area and began to pack all the items he could find. He put some on the bed, to inquire if they belonged to Severus or the school. Dobby looked around and smiled with satisfaction. Since his increase in power, it was so much easier to do housework. He could do the work of six house-elves. He took pride in that. House-elves may be slaves to the Wizarding world, but they did live to serve. It's just too bad that the Wizards couldn't let them be themselves.
After the packing was finished, Dobby decided to take the time to visit Winky. He popped out of Severus' room and appeared in the kitchen. He looked around and found Winky working by the table. He walked over to her and tapped her on the shoulder.
Winky turned around then squealed in delight. "Winky so happy to see Dobby. Winky lonely without Dobby," she said sadly.
Dobby blushed with happiness at his friend's comment. Dobby may be a free elf, but he still remembered his friends.
"How is Mutt?" Dobby asked, concerned.
"Mutt is hungry and tired. Dumbly has decreased Mutt's food again. Winky is concerned for Mutt. I's afraid Mutt is going to die if Dobby can't help him."
"Has Winky been able to find the address to Mutt?" Dobby wondered.
Winky had tears in her eyes and shook her head. "Winky can't find it. Dumbly's place is under a spell and Winky doesn't have enough magic."
Dobby patted the sobbing house-elf's shoulder and thought hard. His face brightened and he looked at Winky slyly. "Can Winky get Mutt to write a note? Dobby has enough power to find magical signature. Dobby is a free elf now and Dobby's magic is growing."
Winky's eyes brightened for a second then dimmed. "Winky cannot talk to Mutt in human form. Mutt will not know to write note and Mutt cannot write in doggy form."
Dobby looked thoughtful before asking, "What if Winky not talk to Mutt. What if Winky talk to food when serving Mutt? Winky can answer questions then?"
Winky frowned in concentration. She was not as sly as Dobby and needed to think a moment. Her face brightened and she whispered excitedly, "I's can do that. Mutt would know to write note."
Dobby nodded his head in agreement. "Mutt needs to put some of his magical signature into the note so Dobby can find him."
"Mutt not have stick to do magic," Winky sighed sadly.
"Have Mutt try very hard. Tell Mutt if he wants to escape, then Mutt must use magic on note."
Winky nodded in excitement and said, "Winky will tell Mutt that. Winky needs to feed Mutt soon. Winky must go find paper and ink. Winky is so glad that Dobby is friend and can save Mutt."
Dobby blushed at Winky's comment. "Dobby glad too. Winky let Dobby know when Mutt has written note."
Winky nodded and Dobby got ready to leave before pausing. He looked at his friend, his face solemn. "Winky be careful. Dumbly will be in bad mood later. Be wary of him," the house-elf warned.
Winky looked scared. "Winky will," she told him.
Dobby nodded and disappeared.
Winky watched Dobby pop out of the kitchen and sighed. She walked over to the small table in the corner and rooted around. She gave a squeal of delight when she found a quill, ink and some parchment. She hoped that Mutt would understand and that Dobby could help him. Mutt was her favorite person and she hoped that Dobby could find a way to get him out of his prison before Mutt died.
Winky walked over to the counter and placed the items on the tray along with Mutt's food. She grabbed the tray and popped out of the kitchen.
She reappeared in Mutt's room and placed the tray on the table. She walked over to the sleeping man and shook him. He looked at her blearily, weakened from lack of decent food. He gave her a kind smile, but didn't move. Winky walked over to the table, dragged it closer to the couch, and began to put the items on the table. Looking at the table, she began to talk.
"Winky is glad to have parchment and ink. Winky would think that a note could be written to help someone escape. Winky is thinking that a note with magic signature would help someone find someone. Winky is thinking that maybe Mutt can write such a note. Oh, if only Winky could be telling this to Mutt, but Winky must leave. Winky will be back and hopes to find note on Mutt's tray."
Winky turned and looked at the wide-eyed Mutt and nodded. She popped out of the room and back into the kitchen at Hogwarts. She would've stayed longer, but she knew that Dumbly watched how long she stayed. She didn't want Dumbly to have a reason to check up on Mutt. She wouldn't fail in this. She would make Dobby and Mutt proud. She would be back later to pick up the dishes and hopefully, Mutt will have written the note.
Sirius stared at the spot where Winky had stood and jumped off the couch. At first, he couldn't understand what she was talking about and why she had been talking to the table. Then he realized she'd gotten around Dumbledore's command about not talking to him. When she left the parchment and ink, he could've cried with sheer joy.
He rushed over to the table and grabbed the parchment and quill. He sat down and stared at it, not sure to whom he should write it. Deciding to write it to Harry, he began to scribble on the parchment.
I don't know if you'll get this letter or not, but if you do, I want you to know that I'm alive and I'm being held captive by Dumbledore.
I know its over two years since my supposed death, but I hope things are well with you. I don't know if you can find me or not, but get Remus to help you. I know he believes in everything you do, so he'll believe this letter is legitimate.
Things are looking Grim here and I hope to see you soon. I hope you can get around the devil with the four Prong pitchfork. I hope that you're up to no good and you have managed some mischief.
Until then, Prongslet.
Love you lots,
Sirius leaned back and looked at the note. There were enough clues here to let Harry know that the note was genuine. Sirius knew that he had to infuse the note with magic, but he was afraid. He tested the wards for the last three years and every time he had a bout of wandless magic, Dumbledore came to check out the wards.
He was afraid that Dumbledore would find out about the note and if he did, then Winky was good as dead, Sirius too.
Sirius took the ink and quill and ran over to the closet. He pulled out the small dresser and lifted up the carpet. He squatted down, lifted up the loose floorboard, and dropped the items into the hole. He replaced the floorboard and the carpet and scooted the dresser back into place.
He walked back over to the table and folded the note. He moved over to the fireplace and pulled out a small brick, which he had worked to loose during his long stay. Taking a deep breath to calm, he grabbed the note and concentrated. He felt his hate and rage for Dumbledore flow over him and his desperation gave him a boost in power. He focused the magic on the note and watched as it flared up with light then dimmed. He panted, but quickly inserted the note into the hole and put the brick back into place. He made sure nothing looked out of place and walked over to the window. Once more, he focused his hate and rage and the magic shot out of his hands and hit the wards. He wanted Dumbledore distracted from the magic hidden in the note. If his magic was all over the wards then hopefully Dumbledore wouldn't notice the hidden note. Well, he hoped he wouldn't notice.
Sirius fell onto the ground and panted. He laid there for several minutes until he heard the floo activate. He snarled at the noise, knowing that Dumbledore used the floo to taunt him, to let him know that there was a way out, but Sirius couldn't use it, even if he had floo powder. The connection was keyed only to Dumbledore, and it was watched.
Dumbledore walked out of the fireplace and looked around. He found Sirius on the floor and smiled at him coldly. "Well, well, well. It looks like the little dog has some life in him yet," he chuckled and his eyes twinkled maliciously. "What's the matter, puppy? Need to go out? Why don't you accept that you will never leave this place alive?"
Sirius snarled at him, his expression furious. "Someone will find me and when they do, I will make you regret ever holding me here."
Dumbledore tutted and gave him a mock look of kindness. "Sirius, really. Everyone thinks you're dead. Remus has moved on, and Harry is happily living his life without his godfather. Why, just today, the dear boy and I were having tea, and discussing ways to kill Voldemort. I shared some lemon drops with him and we had a great time," Dumbledore said pleasantly. His expression changed and he glared at Sirius. "You're time on this earth is close to an end, dogboy. Once I have what I need from Harry, I shall kill you both. I will finally have the power that I am destined to have, and there isn't a thing you can do about it. So expend all your energy trying to destroy the shields. It won't work and it will only weaken you."
Dumbledore smiled brightly and said, "Well, I must be off. I have to get back to the Ministry. There are things to do. Ta, ta!" The old wizard turned around and flooed back out of the room.
Sirius growled with rage and began to destroy the room. Furniture went flying and mirrors were smashed. He finally expended his anger and slumped down wearily. He hated that man, hated him with every fiber of his being. He'd thought he hated Snape, but it was nothing compared to his hate for Dumbledore.
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall. He went over his conversation with Dumbledore and grimaced at the thought of Harry having tea with that bastard. There was something nagging at him though, some comment that didn't fit. What was it?
Sirius's eyes popped open and he grinned, Dumbledore was lying. He didn't have tea with Harry. His godson had always hated lemon drops and there was no way in the hell he would eat one. The old man was just trying to goad him into anger. Sirius grimaced ruefully - well, it looks like it worked.
Sirius smirked. He may have gotten angry, but Dumbledore never noticed the hidden note. He didn't even check. The note was safe, and as long as he stayed calm, Dumbledore wouldn't be back for a while. He didn't need the Headmaster coming back to check on him. He would give the note to Winky later when she came to pick up the dishes. Sirius tried to temper his hope, but after so long he couldn't help himself. He hoped that it would soon be over with and he could be with Remus and Harry.
Severus walked out of the floo and brushed the soot off his robe. He glanced around his rooms and found them already packed up. Dobby came walking out of his office and stopped when he saw Severus.
"Professor, Dobby has packed up your bedroom, bathroom, and living area. Dobby left some things out since Dobby not know if they belong to you. Dobby packed your office, but left the potion ingredients out. Dobby not knows enough about them to pack them. Dobby found an interesting potion for Dumbly though," he said with a smile and held up a small vial of yellow liquid.
Severus took it from him, looked at the name, and started to laugh. "Where were you expecting to put this?"
"Dobby thinks that Dumbly's lemon drops should be laced with the potion," Dobby said wickedly.
Severus chuckled wickedly and agreed. "I think it would be a smashing idea. Since the potion is flavorless, he won't even know it's there. Good, you can do that while I pack up my potions and the ingredients. I'll be sure to find something else for the dear Headmaster," he sneered.
Dobby quivered in delight and disappeared. Severus chuckled; he really liked that house-elf. Maybe the wicked side came from being a Malfoy house-elf.
An hour later, Severus had finished with his packing. Dobby shrank the items and placed them in another bag. Apparently, elf magic didn't harm the ingredients and potions like Wizarding magic did. He kept a couple of vials out for the Headmaster and looked around the bare room. He had been here almost twenty years and this was the first time he'd seen it this empty. He was glad to be leaving. It had been his prison, and thanks to a boy that he had hated and treated rather shamefully, he was finally free of the prison. Even if he died by either Voldemort or Dumbledore's hand, he will have done it while being free.
Severus stalked over to the desk in his office and grabbed a piece of parchment from the drawer. He sat down, grabbed a quill, dipped into the inkpot, and began to write a note. Once done, he signed it with a flourish and sealed it. He leaned back in the chair and tapped his chin thoughtfully. Dobby walked into the office and looked at Severus.
"Is Professor all right?" Dobby asked, concerned.
"Yes, I'm fine. Tell me Dobby, is there anyone in the castle that you trust to deliver this note to the Headmaster. I would like it delivered tomorrow during breakfast."
"Yes, Winky will have it delivered, sirs. Winky can give it to a school owl to be sent during breakfast."
"Isn't Winky Dumbledore's house-elf?" Severus asked.
"She is, but Winky doesn't like Dumbly. Winky will lie as much as Winky can. Winky will help you sir," Dobby explained.
"Very well. Winky!" Severus called out and the house-elf appeared before him.
"Yes, sirs? How can Winky help?" she squeaked. Her eyes widened when she saw Dobby, but she did nothing. Severus looked at her and it seemed that the two house-elves were having a conversation with their eyes.
"Winky, I need you to deliver this note to the Headmaster in the morning using a school owl. I need this delivered at breakfast."
"Winky can do that. Winky wonders why Professor doesn't do it?" she asked suspiciously.
"Professor is free," Dobby said and Winky's eyes widened with joy.
"Really, Dobby?" she asked excitedly and Dobby nodded his head. Winky squealed in joy and gave Dobby a hug. "Winky so happy. Dobby need to wait, Winky be back in a minute." With that said, she popped out of the office.
"What was that all about?" Severus asked sharply.
"Dobby and Winky knows Professor under Dumbly's spells. Dobby and Winky could do nothing. Winky wasn't sure to trust you."
"You and Winky could see the spells? How?" Severus asked curiously.
"Dobby could see because he is free and his magic was stronger. Dobby can sense Wizard magic. Winky could see because Winky has been forcefully bonded to Dumbly and can see his magic. Dobby and Winky knew nobody would believe them, so Dobby and Winky never told. What Wizard would believe a house-elf?" Dobby said quietly.
Severus nodded in understanding. It made sense. House-elves were nothing but slaves. They were considered lower than dogs in the Wizarding World.
Winky popped back into the room and bounced over to Dobby in excitement. She handed him a letter and grinned. "Winky got letter!" she squeaked and Dobby's eyes widened in joy.
"Winky is good! Winky is the best!" Dobby trilled excitedly.
Winky nodded her head vigorously and beamed at Dobby. She looked at Severus warily, leaned in closer to Dobby, and lowered her voice, though not low enough that Severus couldn't hear her. "Mutt says thank you. Mutt says to hurry, Dumbly is nuts. Dumbly threatened Mutt with death," she said tearfully.
Dobby looked at her seriously. "Dobby understands. Dobby will take care of Mutt. Winky not worry. Winky did a good job."
Winky beamed at him and grabbed the note Severus put on the desk and popped out of the office. Severus looked at Dobby curiously and asked, "What was that all about?"
Dobby looked at him solemnly and shook his head. "Dobby cannot say. Dobby needs to take care of this. Dobby doesn't want Harry Potter to know yet. Harry Potter would confront Dumbly and Harry Potter is not ready. Dobby will take care of it," the house-elf growled, his eyes narrowed in anger. Severus arched an eyebrow in surprise, whatever it was about, it made the house-elf very angry.
"Very well, but if you need my help for something, let me know. I owe Potter...Harry also."
Dobby nodded his head in understanding. "Dobby understands. Is Professor ready to go?"
Severus looked around the empty office. "Yes, I believe I am. Before we go though, I want you to check to see if the Headmaster is still gone. If he is, then I need to leave him a note and some surprises," he said with a grin.
Dobby nodded and popped out of the office. A few seconds later, he popped back in and grinned. "Dumbly is still gone. Dobby can take Professor to Dumbly's office."
Dobby took Severus by the arm and they popped out of the office. They reappeared in the Headmaster's office and the Potions Master looked around. He leaned over and whispered to Dobby, "Did you lace the Lemon Drops?"
Dobby nodded his head in excitement. "Dumbly will never know what hit him," he said with a malicious grin.
Severus snickered and walked over to the Headmaster's desk. He carefully pulled out two vials out of his robe pocket and laid them on the desk. He grabbed a piece of parchment out of the desk drawer and wrote a note.
I have been called away for the weekend. There is a meeting I must attend. I will explain all when I get back. I expect that I will have important news.
Severus grunted with satisfaction. That should keep him out of my rooms until he gets my letter tomorrow morning.
Severus took the clear potion and walked over to the Headmaster's tea set. He opened the teapot and carefully poured in the potion. He lifted the teapot and swirled the potion around. After a few seconds, he put the teapot down and replaced the lid. Lacing the teapot with a little surprise for the Headmaster and for the Hogwart's staff was fun, but he reflected that being around to see the results of teatime with the Headmaster would have been more fun.
Putting the empty vial into his robe pocket, he walked over to the desk and lifted the other vial. He opened it and poured it on the Headmaster's chair. He watched as it soaked into the seat cushion and disappeared. He smiled, capped the vial and placed it in his pocket. He backed away from the Headmaster's chair and looked around. He stopped when he realized that the portraits on the wall were looking at him. Shit! They could tell the Headmaster what was going on.
"Dobby, we have a problem," Severus said urgently.
Dobby looked at him then looked at the portraits. Dobby looked back at Severus and smirked. "Dobby has already taken care of the problem. Phineas Nigellus tried to tell Dobby to stop, and then threatened to tell the Headmaster. Dobby doesn't like to be threatened. Dobby put a spell on the portraits that will last a couple of days. The portraits can't tell the Headmaster what we did here."
Severus looked down at the house-elf, surprised. "Has anyone ever told you that you would have been a wonderful Slytherin?"
Dobby's eyes widened in surprise then smiled. "No, but Dobby thanks the Professor for the compliment."
Severus nodded and looked around the room one more time. His eyes landed on Fawkes and he wondered how the Headmaster could have a creature of light bonded to him. Did he force the bond somehow? Severus shook his head, No, you can't force a phoenix to bond. Their magic won't allow it.
"I wonder why Fawkes stays with the Headmaster. Is there something that Fawkes knows about Dumbledore that we don't?" Severus asked thoughtfully.
"Fawkes is not a real phoenix," Dobby said absently, glancing around the office.
Severus head whipped around and he stared at Dobby, his expression shocked. "What?"
Dobby noticed his reaction and nodded his head. "Fawkes is a transfigured bird. Not a real phoenix. Dobby can see the owl beneath the spell."
Severus turned to look at the Phoenix. What the hell? /It had to be more than just a transfigured bird. Fawkes had rescued Harry from the Chamber during his second year and Severus himself had seen Fawkes disappear in a flash of fire. The phoenix had even swallowed the death curse for Dumbledore when Sirius was killed. So, if this was a transfigured bird, then where was the real Fawkes? Was there even a real Fawkes? Severus tried to approach the bird, but changed his mind and walked over to the window. He looked around, confused. /What happened? I was going to see Fawkes.
Severus turned around and looked at the bird again. "Dobby, are there any other spells on Fawkes?"
Dobby looked at the transfigured owl and nodded. "There are at least three. Dobby not sure what the spells they are. One Dobby believes is a/ See-Me-Not /spell. Dobby can't identify the others."
"That would explain why nobody got close to the bird. There must also be a confusion spell and some other spells to mimic phoenix behavior. I wonder though, has Fawkes has always been a transfigured bird or did Dumbledore actually have a real phoenix at one time," he mused thoughtfully.
"Dobby not know. Dobby believes a phoenix helped Harry Potter in the Chamber. Where the phoenix came from, Dobby not know," the house-elf replied.
Severus was quiet for a moment before saying, "Well, its time to go, Dobby. We left our surprises for Dumbledore, so we need to leave before he gets back. I'm ready when you are."
Dobby walked over to Severus and put his hand on the man's arm. With a pop, they disappeared, leaving behind some confused portraits and a sleeping bird.
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