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
Sirius waited impatiently for Winky to come and collect the dishes. It had been over an hour since she'd left and he paced the room anxiously. She should be here any minute.
He heard a popping noise and whirled around to see Winky at the table. She glanced at him and walked to the table. She bent over to collect the dishes and began to mutter to herself, "Winky is hoping that the note has been written. Winky needs to get note to Dobby."
Sirius perked up, joy filling him when he realized who was going to help him. Dobby was Harry's friend. Sirius walked over to the fireplace, took out the brick, reached in, and pulled out the note. He replaced the brick, walked over to the table, and dropped the note on the tray.
"I want to thank you and Dobby for doing this. Tell him to hurry would you? Dumbledore's going a little nuts and he's threatened to kill me soon. I'm not sure how long he'll wait before actually killing me," Sirius told the house-elf.
Winky nodded, still looking at the tray. "Winky is happy to be helping Mutt. Winky not want Mutt to die. Dobby will free Mutt and Winky will be happy. Winky leave now and give Dobby letter. Dobby will come and free Mutt."
"Thank you," he said softly.
Winky nodded and disappeared. Sirius stood there and stared at where Winky had been. He had hope for the first time in two years. He started to shake, /Oh Merlin, please let someone find me/. He turned and walked to the bed to lie down, his eyes gazing out of the window absently. Hopefully, before too long, he would be out of here, then he would make Dumbledore pay for what he had done.
Severus and Dobby walked into the Game Room and found Harry and Ron sitting in front of the fire, playing chess. They both looked up at him and Harry smiled.
"Harry Potter, Dobby needs to go on an errand," Dobby said and Harry nodded in understanding. Dobby gave them all a smile and disappeared.
"Did everything go ok?" Harry asked, concerned.
"Everything went fine. I left a few surprises for the Headmaster, with Dobby's help of course. He should be getting my letter of my resignation tomorrow. I figure if you found the ring that would give us enough time to put it on and see if it works. Dumbledore won't be a happy man and I wouldn't put it past him to try to hurt me through the Dark Mark. I left a note letting him that I was called away for the weekend, but I'm not certain that it will keep him from going to my rooms tonight," Severus explained.
Harry nodded, stood up, and picked up a ring that was sitting on the table. He walked over to Severus and handed it to him. "We found the ring. I heard the snakes talking, so I'm sure this is it. It's also attractive enough that even you will like it," Harry said with a grin and dropped the ring in Severus's outstretched hand.
Severus took the ring and examined it. It was very attractive and he would have no problems wearing it. He'd always liked black onyx. His mother told him once that onyx stone reminded her of his eyes. She developed a fondness for them that had carried over to Severus. The Potions Master looked at Harry and gave him a tiny smile. "I won't have any problem wearing this ring. It wouldn't matter if was the ugliest thing you could find because if it does what it's supposed to, then it would be beautiful to me."
Harry nodded in agreement. "Ok, I went over the description of the ring from the journal that Tiberus James Potter, its creator, wrote. In order for it to work, I have to put the ring on your finger, and then add a drop of my blood onto the ring. Once that's done, I tell it to activate in Parseltongue and the ring creates a barrier around the Dark Marks, cutting off the connections. Once the ring is on and activated, only I can take it off. Only someone with Potter blood can do it since it needs my blood to deactivate it. So if Dumbledore or Voldemort find out about it for some reason, there isn't anything they can do about it," he informed the Potions Master.
Severus sighed with relief. He'd been concerned about the possibility of losing the ring. He was glad to know that it wouldn't be a problem.
"When do you want to do this?" he asked Harry.
"Now would be fine. The sooner we activate it the better," Harry said with a shrug.
"Won't Tom and Dumbledore know that the connections have been cut?" Ron asked from his place by the fireplace.
Harry shook his head. "From what I understood when reading Tiberus' journal, the connection is only blocked, not destroyed. The Headmaster and Voldemort won't know that it's been blocked until they try to use the connection. Once they do, they'll realize that Severus is beyond their reach and they'll be pissed," Harry said with a feral grin. Severus and Ron looked at Harry and grinned.
"All right then, let's do it now," Severus insisted.
"You need to sit somewhere comfortable. I'm not for sure how blocking the Dark Marks will affect you, and I don't want you falling down," Harry replied.
Severus walked over to the couch and sat down. He looked at Harry with anticipation. Harry walked over and squatted down in front of him. He looked over at Ron and asked, "Could you hand me the knife I laid out?"
Ron nodded. He got up, moved over to the table, and picked up the sharp knife. He walked over to Harry and handed it to him. Harry took the knife and nodded his thanks to Ron. He put the knife on the couch, glanced at Severus before taking a deep breath. He placed the ring on the middle finger of Severus's left hand and the ring adjusted to fit his finger. Harry picked up the knife and cut his finger, flinching at the sharp pain. He raised his finger to the ring and watched as a drop of blood rolled off his finger and onto the ring's gold snake. The snake moved and he could hear the snake's hissing getting louder.
"/What is your command, Master?/" it hissed.
"Activate," Harry replied and the snake began to glow. The glow began to spread down Severus's left arm, surrounding the Dark Mark on his forearm. The Dark Mark pulsated and with a flash of green light and the Dark Mark faded to a pale grey color. The glowing green light crept up the arm and down Severus' torso, stomach, and then reached around to his back. After a few seconds, Harry saw another flash of green light.
"Your will be done, Master. The Marks have been blocked," the snake hissed and ceased moving.
Harry glanced at the Mark on Severus's forearm and looked at the man. He saw that Severus was staring at the Mark, an expression of disbelief on his face. "Hey, you ok?" he asked, concerned.
"The Marks don't hurt," Severus replied, amazed. He glanced at Harry, his eyes wide and dazed. "Ever since I got the Marks, there has always been a nagging low-grade pain. Nothing could ever get them to stop hurting. It was just something that all Death Eaters learned to ignore, or used it to fuel their rage," he said.
"Eh...you no wonder you were a cranky bastard," Ron commented in the silent room and Harry snickered. Severus' head whipped up and he opened his mouth to make a snide comment when he saw the mischievous look on Ron's face. He paused then gave them a small smile. "It could very well be."
"By the way Harry, you're bleeding on the carpet," Ron stated casually.
Harry looked down and realized he forgot to heal the cut. "Crap!" he cursed and with a wave of his hand, he healed the cut and cleaned up the blood. "Ha! What do you think about that?" he asked and looked over at Ron, who was staring at Harry with shock. "What?" he inquired, uneasy at the redhead's expression.
"I think he was shocked by the usage of your wandless magic, Harry," Severus said.
Harry looked at him and noted that Severus looked surprised. "But I told him about learning wandless magic in Azkaban. He knew I could do it."
Severus' eyes widened, his expression filled with disbelief as he stared at Harry. "You did wandless magic in Azkaban?" he asked.
Harry rolled his eyes, annoyed. "Yes, I know. I'm not supposed to be able to do magic in Azkaban, yadda, yadda. Once I gained my magical inheritance, I was able to do some wandless magic. It was hard, but by the time I was released, I could transfigure items, heal small cuts, and change into my animagus form. It's not a lot."
"Not a lot?!?" Severus yelped. "Mr. Potter, you don't seem to understand the importance of this. No one can do regular magic, let alone wandless magic in Azkaban, not even the Headmaster. The fact that you could heal and transfigure items in Azkaban is phenomenal. I don't even think Merlin himself could have done it. And when did you become an animagus?" the Potions Master asked.
Harry shrugged indifferently. He couldn't understand what the big deal was. So he could do a little wandless magic in Azkaban. Whoopee. It didn't help him any while he was in prison. "It happened while I was in Azkaban. I received my magical inheritance, and then two weeks later, I was begging any being who could hear me in my lonely cell to take me somewhere else, or to make me anyone else. I was surprised when I transformed into my animagus form. It was exciting for about two seconds until I realized that I could never go anywhere with it. The only thing it transforming into my animagus form did was help with the effects of the Dementor spell. Whoopee. For all I knew, I was going to be in Azkaban for the rest of my life. It wasn't something to get too excited over," he informed them bitterly.
Severus gave him a look that told Harry that the Potions Master believed he was stupid. Harry suppressed a snort of amusement. It might've been a year and a half or more since he'd been in the Potion Master's class, but he would never forget those looks. He kind of missed them in a way. "You do realize that Wizards need a potion to help them gain their Animagus form don't you?" Severus asked.
Harry nodded, chewing on his bottom lip thoughtfully. "I thought it was rather strange, but since it helped me a little, I really could've cared less at the time. I'm sure that other Wizards have spontaneously gained their animagus forms under extreme stress. Right?" he asked, not liking the look on Severus' face.
"There has only been one person to ever do that, Harry," Severus replied carefully.
"Who?" Harry asked warily.
"Merlin himself," Severus informed him.
Harry's eyes widened and he leaned against the couch in shock. That was a surprise. "So, does that mean I'm all powerful?"
"Of course not, Harry. It simply means that you're a very powerful Wizard. In fact, I'm certain you have more power than Voldemort or Dumbledore. The only problem is even though you might be more powerful, they have more experience and knowledge. You can't very well defeat either of them if you can't remember a single spell you've learned," Severus explained, exasperated.
"Missing the last nineteen months didn't help either. I need to learn what I've missed, but I can't go back to Hogwarts. I don't want to be around Dumbledore. He would try everything in his power to gain control over me and I refuse to be his pawn in his war against Voldemort. In fact, the farther I'm away from the Headmaster, the better." Harry growled.
Severus sat back and gave Harry a hard look. "I can help you. I can teach you what you need to know. I have the knowledge that you need and I can teach the Dark Arts that Dumbledore wouldn't allow you to use. You know as well as I do that you can't defeat Voldemort by light magic only. I also know that the knowledge of dark magic Dumbledore knows is extensive. Where do think I learned a lot of my spells? Think of this as payment for the ring and your help," he said.
Harry looked at him with surprise and hope. "You would? But, you don't need to help me because of the ring. I'd have done it regardless."
"I know Harry, and that's why I'll teach you," Severus said quietly. "You didn't have to help me. I know of your real feelings for me. Our relationship was built on years of mutual hate and dislike and the fact that you helped me, even though you disliked me, means a lot to me. I would be happy to repay you in any way that I could. Even if means teaching you things your feeble mind cannot comprehend," he informed Harry with a small smile.
Harry's expression was blank for a moment before he realized that Severus was joking. He smiled at his former Professor. "I accept your offer and I thank you for teaching whatever my feeble mind can learn."
Severus smiled at him, his eyes filled with relief. Harry realized that the Potions Master hated feeling indebted to anyone. Severus would feel that this was one way to pay his debt and teach Harry what he needed to know all at the same time.
"Oi! What about me?" Ron whined.
Harry rolled his eyes at his friend. "Do you want to learn too?"
"Hell yes! You're going to need help to take over the world you know. Who better than me? Your best friend, your brother?" Ron asked
Harry turned to Ron, grinning wickedly. "I thought you didn't want to take over the world? Too much paperwork, I think is what you said."
Ron grinned, shrugging nonchalantly. "I can change my mind. Oh, you need to tell Snape about the journal."
Harry's eyes brightened and he got up and moved to the table, picked up the journal, and walked back over to Severus. He handed him the journal and sat down on the couch.
"What's this?" Severus asked.
"Tiberus James Potter's journal. He wrote down all his research on creating the ring and removing of the Dark Mark. There's a potion in the back of the journal that is suppose to the get rid of the Mark, but Tiberus was unable to complete it. He was missing a key ingredient, but could never figure out what it was. Once his friend died, he discontinued his research on the potion. If you can find the ingredient, then we'll have a way to get rid of your Dark Marks. I want you to read it and see if you can find out anything," Harry explained.
Severus looked excited as he opened the book. He skimmed through it and when he reached the last page, he read the potion formula. He gazed across the room absently, his mind racing through possible ingredients. "I will need a lab to work with. I have one, but I can't access it at the moment."
"There's one in the castle dungeons. Ron and I found it when we went exploring. There are ingredients down there as well. There was a preservation spell on everything. They should still be good. If not, then we can get what you need. From what I could tell, it's a pretty good lab if I do say so myself."
Severus gave him a sardonic look and Harry grinned. "Then again, maybe I'm not the best person to judge what a good lab is."
"Indeed, Mr. Potter," Severus said wryly.
Ron snickered and Harry rolled his eyes. He left Severus on the couch, reading the journal. He walked back to the chessboard and looked at Ron. "Do you want to continue the game?"
Ron nodded and moved over to Harry, sat down and they began to play. The fire was crackling in the background and Harry and Ron's voices were low so as not to disturb Severus' reading.
Severus' mind went over the day, hardly able to comprehend how his life had changed. He never knew that when he agreed to have tea with Potter, no, Harry, that his life would take a turn for the better. Thinking back on his visits to Hogwarts, his manor, and Gringotts, he wondered how this would turn out. He was finally free, or at least partially free, from Dumbledore and Voldemort's domination. Even if he were to die now, he would at least die doing something worthy. He would make sure that he taught Harry everything that he knew. He knew the boy needed all the help he could get. There was no way that Harry would able to defeat Voldemort with what he knew now, no matter how much magic he had. Severus shook his head at the sense of futility that welled up inside of him. It made him anxious as he realized that the Wizarding World's best hope was on a boy who had missed the last nineteen months of his education. Seventh year students at Hogwarts knew more that Harry did right now. He sighed.
As thoughts raced through his head, he remembered the comment Ghistpok had made about Harry and Ron. He looked up at the two young men, who were arguing over a move and repressed a small smile. He was glad to see Harry's spirit hadn't been destroyed by betrayals and his stint in Azkaban, though he would never admit it aloud. "By the way, while I was at Gringotts today, Ghistpok told me to ask you about a show that he missed today? What did he mean?" Severus asked curiously.
Ron and Harry looked at each other and grinned with delight. Harry looked at Severus and asked, "Have you ever driven a goblin crazy before?" he inquired innocently. Ron snickered and Severus' eyes narrowed.
"No, I can't say that I have. Why? Have you?" Severus asked, confused.
Ron and Harry started to laugh and Severus waited impatiently for them to calm down. Harry grinned at him wickedly and said, "I would explain it, but it would lose something in the story telling. How about you use Legilimens to find out what happened."
Severus stared at him a moment, his expression stunned. "You would let me do that?" he asked, shocked.
Harry stared at him, his expression confused. "You trained me, Severus. I trust you not to take advantage of my mind."
Ron snorted, amusement shining from his eyes. "What little of it there is," he said with a smirk. Harry turned and punched his friend in the arm.
"OW! That hurt you prat," Ron whined.
Harry grinned at his friend and said, "You deserved it for being so mean to me."
Ron pouted and Harry turned back to Severus and asked, "So, will you?"
Severus nodded and pulled out his wand. He pointed it at Harry and muttered, "/Legilimens/." Scenes from Harry's first meeting with Glixx flashed through his mind. He was amused by Harry's dramatics, snickered at Glixx growl of frustration. He began to laugh as he saw Glixx being dragged away by Goblin guards. Retreating from Harry's mind, he smiled at the two young men. "You do know that you are both a menace to society, don't you?"
Harry and Ron grinned innocently at Severus. "Whatever do you mean?" Harry asked.
Severus shook his head and turned back to the journal. He could hear Ron and Harry bickering over who had moved last.
Two hours later, a popping noise and thumps interrupted the silence. They turned towards the noise and saw a bloody Dobby standing over a human and an elf. Dobby looked at them, desperation on his face. "Dobby needs help! Please! Winky and Mutt are hurt!"
Harry, Ron, and Severus got up and rushed over to Dobby. Severus squatted down and turned the house-elf over. He grimaced at the hole in Winky's chest. He pulled out his wand and did a scanning spell. He lowered it and looked sadly at Dobby. "I'm sorry, Dobby. Winky's dead. There's nothing I can do for her." Dobby's eyes grew large as tears welled up.
Harry rushed over to the man and turned him over. Harry gasped, shocked, and heard Ron shout, "Sirius!" Harry stared down at the injured form of his godfather in disbelief. He knew that Sirius was alive, but to actually see him and touch him, it was overwhelming.
Severus' head whipped up at the name and he stared at the injured man, stunned. Harry looked at him, tears in his eyes. "Help him, please!" he pleaded.
Severus shook off his shock and crawled over to the injured man. He pulled out his wand and scanned him. He grimaced at the reading. "Dobby, do you know if the castle has any potions for Crucio? I also need some Blood Replenisher," he asked the shocked and dazed house-elf. "Damn it, Dobby! I need your attention!" he yelled.
Dobby started and looked over at Severus. He blinked and snapped out of his shock. "Dobby not know, but Dobby will ask. Dobby be back." The house-elf popped out of the room and Severus turned back to Sirius.
"I thought he was dead," Severus muttered, still unable to comprehend what he was seeing.
Harry glanced up at him and glared angrily. "Dumbledore," he spat, "kept him prisoner since my fifth year. I didn't know he was alive until Ron did the Emancipation Rite. Once we figured it out, we had no clue to where to look for him. He could've been anywhere."
Harry glanced down at his godfather. He placed Sirius' head in his lap and stroked his hair. There was blood on his face, a large cut on his arm and there was blood soaking his shirt. He prayed that Sirius would be all right.
Dobby popped back into the room, followed by Sage and a very old house-elf. Severus sighed with relief as he noticed several potion bottles resting in Dobby's arms.
Dobby stopped in front of Severus and held out the potions. Severus took one, opened it, forced Sirius' mouth opened and poured the contents of the vial into his mouth. He closed Sirius' mouth and massaged his throat to make him swallow. He grabbed the vial of blue liquid and repeated the process. He saw some of the cuts closing. "Good," he muttered under his breath. The second potion kept bleeding wounds closed so that they could be healed properly.
Severus grabbed his wand and said a spell to remove Sirius' bloody shirt. There was a large cut on his chest that was the main source of all the blood he had lost. Severus cast a couple of healing spells and watched as the cuts healed. Soon the only evidence of the cuts were the thin white lines that would eventually fade. He cast another scanning spell and saw that the potion for the Crucio aftereffects was working. Looking over the readings, he nodded with satisfaction. Sirius was stable and he would recover. He looked at Harry and smiled wearily. "He'll be fine. I healed the cuts, and the potion is working on the effects of the Crucio spell. He should be awake by tomorrow. Until then, he needs to rest."
Harry sighed with relief and looked at Severus gratefully. "Thank you, Severus," he said with a quivering voice. He looked over at Sage and said, "Sage, I need you to get a room ready for my godfather. I need you to look after him for me, please. I have some things I need to do first, but I'll be along in a moment."
Sage nodded and disappeared. Harry looked at the old house-elf that was waiting patiently. "Who are you?" he asked quietly.
"My name is Arlen. I'm the house-elf healer. I came for the body of Winky. I need to begin the preparation of her body for burial. Were you her master?" Arlen asked with a frown.
Harry shook his head and said, "No, I'm not. I'm not even sure how she died."
Dobby looked at him with large sad eyes. "Winky saved Mutt. Winky threw herself in front of a spell meant to kill Mutt. Dumbly was quite angry and was getting ready to kill Mutt, but Dobby arrived just in time. Dobby only wishes that he had been there sooner," he said sadly.
"Dumbledore killed her? Dumbledore was trying to kill Sirius? Why? Why now?" Harry stammered, shocked.
"Dobby not know. Dobby blasted Dumbly against the wall and grabbed Winky and Mutt and came here. Dobby couldn't save Winky," he sobbed. Sage reappeared, walked up to Dobby and put her arm around him, trying to comfort him. Dobby began to wail and Sage walked him over to the corner of the room. Harry looked at Dobby then Winky sadly. He liked the tiny house-elf and he was sad that Dobby lost his friend. He also felt guilty because he was glad it was that Winky had died and not Sirius.
Arlen looked at him and asked, "May I take Winky's body then?"
Harry nodded and watched as Arlen grabbed Winky's body and disappeared. He looked down at Sirius and sighed. The Headmaster had a great deal to answer to. Dumbledore may not care that he killed a house-elf, but Harry did. That was just one of the many things that Dumbledore would pay for.
Sage finally got Dobby to calm down and they walked over to Harry. Dobby looked down at Sirius and said, "Dobby is glad that he could save Mutt. Winky loved Mutt and wanted to him to live."
Dobby looked at Harry then Sirius. Dobby's face grew determined and he said, "Dobby will take Sirius up to his room. Dobby will care for him. Winky would have wanted that."
Harry was reluctant to let his godfather go, but he knew that the man needed a bed. He waited until Dobby walked over to him and loosened his arms. Dobby knelt down and looked at Harry. "Dobby will take good care of Mutt." Harry nodded and Sage, Dobby and Sirius disappeared.
He sat a moment then looked at Severus with a fire shining from his eyes. "When can you start the lessons? I have a Headmaster and a Dark Lord to take care of," he growled. The looked in his eyes scared both Ron and Severus. They were both glad that he wasn't mad at them. Severus realized that Dumbledore and Voldemort were in trouble and he couldn't wait to see what happened. He'd almost felt sorry for them if he didn't think they deserved everything that they would get.
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