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
Harry lay on the couch, exhausted from his lessons. He moved to get comfortable and groaned as his body began to ache. He knew that Severus was a perfectionist in potion making, but he didn't realize the man would be such a taskmaster in other things. He whimpered as he turned over on the couch. He looked over at Ron, who was lying on the floor, face slack from sleep. Ron had lain down on the floor after the lesson and immediately fell asleep.
Harry was startled out of his thoughts by a bottle appearing before his face. He looked up at a smirking Severus, who was holding a potion's bottle in his hand. "Here," Severus said with a grin. "I think you might need this."
Harry sat up with a groan, took the bottle, and opened it. He sniffed it and grimaced at the smell. "What is it?" he asked warily.
"It's a pain reliever plus an energy potion. You worked hard on your lessons and you're still recovering from Azkaban. I figured you might be a little sore," Severus said.
Harry looked over at Severus with an expression of disbelief. "A little sore?" he yelped. "Severus, I feel like my body has been trampled on by a herd of Centaurs, who then invited a herd of Hippogriffs to dance on my poor broken body. No, Severus, I'm not a little sore, I'm a lot sore!"
Severus snickered quietly before replying, "Drink the potion, Harry. You'll feel better if you do."
Harry grumbled a little, but obeyed the man. He swallowed the potion, grimacing slightly at the taste. He could feel the potion taking effect and sighed with relief as the throbbing in his body abated. He looked over at Severus and said, "Thanks. I feel better."
Harry handed the bottle back to Severus, who took and placed in the pocket of his robe. "You're welcome. I have a potion for Ron for when he wakes up. I'm assuming his body doesn't hurt as much since he's been more active than you."
Harry shrugged and said, "More than likely." The messy-haired young man sighed as his mind went back to the lesson Ron and he had just had.
After leaving Sirius's room, they had gone looking for a place to practice their lessons. They had eventually found a dueling room in the back of the castle. It was a very large round room with a dueling table in the middle. The room had several large mats lying on the floor and there were swords and staffs hanging on the wall. The walls were a dark blue with insets of golden griffins interspersed with dragons. All in all, it was a wonderful room.
Severus grunted with satisfaction and turned towards his students. "This room will do. I can feel the wards surrounding the room that makes it safe to do magic. Harry, I believe that we'll go over what you have already learned. You said your magic has increased since your magical inheritance so I'll need to know how much."
Harry nodded. "That's fine but you should know that Ron's magic has also increased since the Rites were done."
Severus looked over at Ron with surprise. "Is this true, Mr. Black?"
Ron shuffled nervously and looked at his former potions teacher. "Uh, yeah. I noticed an increase in my magic after I did the Emancipation Rite. After Harry and I did the Blood Rite, I noticed another increase in magic. That increase wasn't as significant as the one I got from the Emancipation Rite, but there was still an increase." Ron looked nervous a moment before saying, "Um...if you want, could you call me Ron? I'm not use to Black yet and every time I hear you say it I think you're talking to Sirius."
Severus gave him a sharp look before saying, "Very well, Ron, you may call me Severus."
Ron grinned at him and said, "Thanks, Uncle Severus."
Severus' eyes widened and Harry chuckled. "Oh, you didn't think that was a one time thing, did you?"
Severus glared, his expression annoyed. "Is this what I'm going to have to put up with while staying here in the castle?"
Harry looked at him with a serious look and nodded. "Yes," he said while Ron just smirked at him.
Severus sighed, shook his head, and began to walk across the room. "And for this I left the Headmaster and Voldemort's service. What was I thinking?" he moaned.
Ron and Harry snickered as they followed him across the room. Once they reached the mats, Severus turned around and looked at them. "Ron, you can sit this out if you want. This is just a refresher course for Harry."
Ron shook his head and replied, "No, I'll do some spells. Maybe I can see the difference in my magic that way."
Severus nodded his head and looked at Harry. "We will go over some of the spells that you learned before you were sent to Azkaban. Afterwards, I suggest you try to see if you can do the same spells using your wandless magic. Harry, it's important that you don't let anyone, except for those in this castle, know about your wandless magic. I want it to be a surprise. If either Dumbledore or Voldemort get a hold of your wand for any reason, I want them to be lulled into a false sense of security. They need to believe that you are defenseless. I want you to be able to give them a nasty surprise," Severus said with a feral smile.
Harry smiled at him coldly and said, "It would be my pleasure." He looked thoughtful a moment. "Actually, there is one other person who might need to know about my wandless magic," he informed Severus.
The Potions Master looked curious. "Who?"
Severus looked surprised. "Nymphdora Tonks?" he asked and Harry nodded. "Why?"
"She told me that she quit the Order when she realized that Dumbledore wouldn't do anything to save me. She never believed that I killed those students and demanded that the Headmaster needed to save me. When he didn't, she quit the Order, unable to work for anyone who could just throw away someone like that. We met outside of Gringotts the other day and she told me that she would be able to help my with my Magical Sight, I think is what she called it. Apparently, she has it as well and told me that if I needed help developing it, then I could come to her," Harry explained.
"Ah, so that's what happened to her. I knew that she was no longer part of the Order, but Dumbledore never explained what had happened. He was a fool. He lost an important member of the Order. She could've been anyone, gone anywhere and the old bastard let her go. The stupidity of the man," Severus sighed. "Fine, if you decide to take Tonks up on her offer, then you may let her know about your wandless magic, if it comes up. If it doesn't, don't tell her."
Harry nodded with understanding. "All right."
Severus reached into his pocket and took out a couple of empty vials. Noticing Harry's curious look, he explained, "I'm a Potions Master. I always carry empty vials with me. You never know when you might need one."
"Ah," he murmured. It made sense to him. He watched at Severus transfigured the vials into a couple of feathers. The Potions Master laid them down on the floor and looked over at them. "I'm going to take you to the very beginning. I want you to cast Wingardium Leviosa just as you did in your first year. I want to see if there is an obvious change in your magic. I would love to have a magic meter to measure your power, but since I don't have one, this will have to do."
"Ron, you're first," Severus said.
Ron stepped forward and looked at Severus nervously. He pulled out his wand and aimed it towards the feather. "/Wingardium Leviosa/," he called out and watched as the feather flew into the air. It stopped and floated in the air. Ron looked at it in amazement.
"Ron, did you feel any difference when you did the spell?" Severus asked.
The redhead nodded. "Yeah. Usually when I do the spell, the item I'm levitating lifts slowly into the air. This time the feather just shot up into the air. It's also easier for me to do the spell. I felt like I barely had to call out the spell."
Severus looked pensive for a moment before nodding. "Very well. Cancel the spell and let Harry have a turn."
Ron muttered, "/Finite/," and the feather fell to the ground. Ron turned towards Harry and nodded at him. Harry took a step forward and pulled out his wand. He aimed it towards the feather and called out, "/Wingardium Leviosa/." He watched, stunned, as the feather flew into the air and slammed into the ceiling. Dust from the cracked plaster fell onto the ground and Harry looked at Severus, blinking rapidly. "Er...sorry?"
Ron laughed. "Oh, I think there's a definite increase in Harry's magic."
Harry looked up at the ceiling and shook his head. "Huh. I knew I had gained some more magic, but wow," he said, dazed.
Severus walked over to him, placed his hand on Harry's shoulder, and squeezed gently. "If you can do this much damage with just a first year spell and a feather, then you know what that means," he commented.
"Uh...he could kick Voldemort and Dumbledore's ass?" Ron said humorously.
Severus gave Ron a stern look and the redhead shut up. He turned back to Harry and replied, "While it's true you have more magic, you don't have the control. Dumbledore could come in here right now and defeat you simply on that one fact. Dumbledore and Voldemort both have had years to learn to control their magic. You, on the other hand, haven't. You could lose control of your magic and drain yourself. It's imperative that you learn to control your power. Simply put, you will have to relearn everything you have ever learned. From the simplest spell to the hardest, you must learn control or else you will lose."
Harry groaned. "Great. I thought I'd be learning more spells, not going over ones I already know."
Severus glared at him, his expression annoyed. "Harry, I understand that you want to learn, but first you must have control over your magic. Once you learn to control your magic, it will be easier for you to do harder spells. Remember, you could do the Expecto Patronum spell when you were a third year student, and that was before your magical inheritance. You had control over your magic then, so it made it easier to learn," Severus said.
Harry chewed on his bottom lip and nodded in understanding. "So, if I learn to control my magic..."
"Then you will have the ability to make any spell either very powerful or very weak. You will be able to determine just how much power goes into your spells. You will control your magic instead of your magic controlling you. You have a lot of raw power, now you just need to learn how to harness it," Severus explained.
"I understand. So, it looks like I get to learn all over again. Oh the joy," Harry trilled in a falsetto voice.
Ron snickered as Severus rolled his eyes. The Potions Master turned towards Ron and said, "You can use this time to learn more control as well. Your magic has also gotten stronger. It may not be as strong as Harry's, but there's a definite increase over what you had. You need to learn to control your magic as well."
Ron sighed and looked at Harry with resignation. "It looks like we're first years again," he said mournfully.
Harry nodded and grimaced before replying, "Let's hope there's no troll this time around."
Ron laughed as Severus groaned in remembrance. Ron pause mid-laughter and looked at Harry. "If you had a chance to do it all over again, would you still save Hermione?" he asked softly.
Harry looked over at his brother and saw the pain in his eyes. "Yeah, I would still save Hermione. Only this time I don't think I would be friends with her or maybe I would. I don't know. Her betrayal hurts, Ron," Harry said. "I just don't understand how she could throw away years of friendship in an instant. We all went through a lot together. I always thought we would always be friends. Why was she so eager to betray me? I could understand if she had done it after the trial, hell I would've expected it, but she was the first to turn on me. I thought she knew me better than that," he whispered as he gazed at Ron.
Ron took a step forward, placed his hand on Harry's arm, and squeezed gently. "I don't know what Hermione's reason is for betraying you and I don't really care. I just know that if she'd been a real friend, to the both of us, then she wouldn't have done it. Don't' think about her any longer. She's not worth the pain," he said firmly.
Harry smiled at Ron gratefully. The redhead lifted his hand off Harry's arm and grinned at him. "Look at it this way, you may have lost a friend, but you gained a brother. That's gotta be worth something," Ron quipped brightly.
Harry smiled at him, his face beaming with joy. "You know, you're right. It is worth something. I have you, Dobby, Sirius and now Severus. So, yeah, it's worth it."
Severus cleared his throat to gain their attention. "As much fun," he said with a grimace, "as this is, can we get back to what we were doing?"
Ron and Harry looked at each other and smirked. They looked at Severus with innocent and attentive faces. "Yes, Uncle Severus," they chorused together.
Severus crossed his arms and looked at them with disapproval. They smiled and Severus glared. Their smiles got even wider and Severus glared harder. They kept up the silent war before Harry lost it and started to giggle. Severus and Ron looked at him in bemusement before Ron turned towards Severus and shook his head sadly. "Azkaban made him lose his ever lovin mind," Ron said.
Severus snorted, amused, and watched as Harry calmed down. "Now that you're done with your infantile humor, may we proceed?" he asked caustically.
Harry wiped the tears off his face and nodded at the Potions Master. "Sure, Severus, I'm done. Please, oh masterly one, teach us so that we may learn," he intoned and broke down into giggles again.
Ron shook his head with mock sadness. "It's so sad when they finally go crazy."
Severus sighed and rubbed his finger across his forehead. He took out his wand and pointed it at Harry. "/Hama ab Aqua/," he said softly and a bucket of water appeared over Harry's head. The messy-haired young man cried out in shock as the bucket tipped over and spilled the water all over him. Ron burst into laughter and Severus stood there with a smug expression on his face. "Now, Mr. Potter, if you're finished, shall we proceed?"
Harry pouted a moment, then with a smirk, he waved his hand and the water disappeared and he was dry. "Sure, I'm ready," he said smugly.
Severus rolled his eyes at Harry and grunted with annoyance. "Very good Mr. Potter, I'm impressed," he said sarcastically. "Wands out!" he snapped and the two young men had their wands in their hands before they realized what was going on.
Severus smirked at their action, pleased that he still had it. "Now then, let's start with the feather again. Harry, this time less power in the spell, please."
Harry had thought the lessons were going to be easy. He figured that he would show Severus that he knew all the first year spells and they could move on. Sadly, that's not how it went. After he finally got control of the/ Wingardium Leviosa/ spell, Severus started him on other spells. It quickly became apparent that Harry didn't even have the control of a first year student. After several hours of trying to control his magic and to control the level of power that went into each spell, he was exhausted. Severus was a very hard taskmaster, but Harry could honestly say that he had made some good progress. Harry had been so tired and his body sore from the lessons that they hadn't even touched the subject of him using the wandless magic yet. He dreaded tomorrow's lesson.
Severus walked over to Ron and squatted down. He shook the redhead and watched as Ron snorted and turned over. Harry chuckled. "You're going to have a hard time getting him up. He's a deep sleeper."
"I could always pour a glass of water over his face," Severus said slyly.
Harry smirked. "True, but I have a better way." He got up and walked over to his sleeping friend. He squatted down next to Severus and cleared his throat. "RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY! WAKE UP RIGHT NOW!" Harry yelled and watched as his friend sat up and looked around wildly. "I'm up, mum!"
Harry and Severus chuckled as Ron glanced around the room. His eyes landed on them and he groaned aloud. "You know, you won't be able to do that for very much longer. I'm no longer a Weasley, and eventually I'll realize that."
"True, but I'll use it until it stops working," Harry said cheerfully. "Be glad I did it this way instead of going with Severus' idea."
Ron looked at Severus warily and asked, "What idea?"
"A glass of water poured on your face," Severus said with a straight face.
Ron gaped at him. "That's mean!"
Severus arched an eyebrow and asked, "You're point would be?"
Harry grinned at his friend. "Better get up, Ron. You need to get to the Ministry to see if you can get a hold of Percy. Severus here has a nice potion for you if you're hurting."
Ron looked at Severus eagerly and waited as the man took the potion vial out of his robe pocket. The redhead quickly grabbed it, opened it, and swallowed the potion. He sighed with relief as the ache in his body disappeared. He handed Severus the empty vial and got up from the floor. "Is it lunch time yet? I'm starving," he stated.
"Yes, I think it is. Why don't you have Sage get you some lunch? I'm going to go visit with Sirius. There are a couple of questions I've been meaning to ask him," Harry said.
Ron looked at him curiously. "Oh, like what?"
"Did Sirius go through the veil and if he did, where did he wind up? If he didn't, then who in the hell went through the veil? Was Sirius even at the Ministry that night?"
"You know I would like to hear the answer to those questions myself," Severus said. "Do you mind if I join you?"
Harry shook his head. "No, that's fine. In fact, why don't we all have lunch with Sirius. I'm sure he wouldn't mind. He's probably bored out of his mind."
"Well, if everyone else is going up to Sirius's room, then I might as well just eat my lunch there," Ron said.
The three men walked out of the room and made their way up to Sirius's room. They could hear voices coming from his room as they got closer.
"Damn it, Dobby! Why can't I at least go outside? I'm bored out of freaking mind here. I feel fine!" Sirius said, aggravated.
"NO! Mutt cannot go outside. Mutt has to stay in bed and get some rest. Don't make Dobby smack you!" Dobby said sternly.
Harry shook with silent laughter at the argument. Dobby was taking his protection of Sirius very seriously. His godfather had yet to learn that you don't piss off a free house-elf. They walked up to the door and Harry knocked.
"Come in," Dobby called.
Harry opened the door and entered the room. "Hey, Dobby. Hey, Padfoot. I thought you might like it if we came up here for lunch. I had some questions that I needed to ask you, and Severus was curious about the answers so he came with me. Ron just wanted lunch," Harry explained as he walked over to the bed.
Sirius's face had brightened when the three men came walking into the room. "Harry! Prongslet! Celevon! Whatever the hell you're calling yourself right now, come in and help me! This house-elf," Sirius spat, annoyed, "won't let me do a damn thing. Maybe you can talk him into letting me get out of this bed."
Harry shook his head vigorously. "Oh, hell no. Sorry, Padfoot, I love you and I would do anything for you, but I'm afraid getting Dobby to change his mind isn't one of them. He is very determined to watch over you, and he's a very stubborn and powerful house-elf. Sorry, Sirius, but on this, you're on your own."
Sirius crossed his arms and pouted at Harry. He sniffed mournfully and looked at Harry with large puppy dog eyes. The messy-haired young man shook his head and chuckled. "Sorry, Sirius, I really can't help you."
Sirius groaned as Dobby looked at him and smirked. "Dobby will be getting your lunch now," he said and popped out of the room.
"Why me?" Sirius sighed.
Harry cracked up and sat down on the bed. "Don't worry Padfoot, you'll be out of here tomorrow, and you can go get your wand. Then you can help Severus torture Ron and I all you want."
Sirius's face brightened at that. "So, how were your lessons?"
Harry and Ron moaned in remembrance as Severus stood there with a smirk on his face. "Ron's magic increased when he did both Rites. He had to learn some control over his magic, which he did quite easily. Harry, on the other hand, needs some more help," Severus explained.
Sirius looked at them, perplexed. "Why?"
"With his magical inheritance, he received a very significant magical increase. He needs to learn control all over again," Severus informed him and explained what had happened when Harry had performed Wingardium Leviosa on the feather.
Sirius looked at his godson with amazement. "Well, that's interesting. So basically you need to relearn everything again?"
Harry nodded. "I've finally got control over the first year spells. Now, I have to start on the second year spells. I thought Severus had been kidding, but after the first several times I had cast a spell, I felt drained. I was putting too much power into the spell and I couldn't control it. It's better now, but I still need some help."
Sirius looked at him with a seriously. "Then help is what you'll get. With my help and Snape's help, we should get you in tiptop shape. But Harry, you'll need to listen to us carefully. We do know what we're talking about. We're not going to treat you like a child, so when we tell you to do something, there's a reason for it. Even if you don't agree with it at the time," Sirius said.
Harry sighed with resignation. "All right."
"Good. Now, let's have some lunch and you can ask all the questions that you need to," Sirius said cheerfully. He looked over at Snape, rolled his eyes, and said, "Well, sit down, grease boy."
Severus sneered mildly and sat down in the chair next to the bed. Harry looked at Sirius, astounded. His godfather noticed the look and arched an eyebrow. "What?" he asked, baffled.
"You're being relatively nice to Severus. Why?" Harry asked.
Sirius smiled grimly at Harry. "I've come to realize that there were a lot of things the Headmaster was to be blamed for. Did you know that Snape, James, Remus, Peter, and I were friends at one time?"
Harry looked between Severs and Sirius, an amazed expression on his face. "No. I know that Snape hated you, Remus and my dad. The thought that you might've been friends, is well, weird."
Sirius chuckled. "When we were first years, we hung out together. We had several classes together and James and I realized that Snape wasn't such a bad guy for a Slytherin. For that whole year, we hung out and we were friends. The second year, when we went back to school, things began to change. Rumors were started about Slytherin being evil and the fights between the Marauders and Snape started. Snape had begun to act strange, ignoring us, calling us names, and treating us like dirt. Instead of finding out what was going on, we decided that Snape was no longer our friend. Finally, about six months into the school year, James was attacked and beaten up pretty severely. He'd always claimed that it was Snape who had done it, but no one would believe him as Snape had an alibi. From then on we were enemies," Sirius explained.
"I never attacked James," Severus snapped.
Sirius looked at him, his expression grave. "No, I know that now. I've had almost three years to think about things. Once you know all the players and their positions in the game, things become much clearer. To the Marauders, Dumbledore was the embodiment of the perfect Gryffindor. He could do no wrong. Imagine what would've happened if the students began to see that the Slytherin weren't as bad as they were made out to be. What if the Slytherins and Gryffindors became friends? What if we had united together and defeated Voldemort the first time around? Who wouldn't benefit from that? Think about it, using what you know now."
Severus looked at him, baffled, before his eyes widened with disbelief. "Dumbledore would've lost out."
"Huh?" Harry asked, confused. "How would've he lost out? Wouldn't he have still been in the position of power that he was in before?"
"Yes, but if the Slytherins and Gryffindors worked together in the war, then who would be our enemy once Voldemort was defeated? We wouldn't have needed a hero anymore. Dumbledore's standing would've crumbled. We learn from a very early age that all Slytherins are evil. Why is that? We're told that all Dark wizards come from Slytherin.
Why? We know it's not true, especially with Peter's betrayal. Also, Grindelwald wasn't a Slytherin, he was a Ravenclaw. I thought about it and I've come to realize that the rumors that Slytherin are evil became more prominent over the last 100 years. Who do we know that's still around who would benefit from that rumor?" Sirius asked.
"Dumbledore," Severus growled heatedly.
Sirius nodded. "I think that Dumbledore began to spread those rumors during our second year at Hogwarts. Then you began to act strange, and to us Marauders, that was suspicious behavior. With Dumbledore subtlety encouraging us, we became enemies."
Severus sat back in his chair with a sigh and shook his head. "All these years," he moaned softly. "My father got a letter at the end of my first year, letting him that I had become friends with several Gryffindors," Severus explained. "He beat me and then threatened me with death if I didn't discontinue our friendship. When I asked who had sent him the letter, he told me that it was an anonymous person who was worried about the integrity of the Slytherin name. He never did find out who it was that sent him the letter, not that he cared."
"Looking at it now though, it was probably Dumbledore who sent him the letter. He needed a way to discourage me from being your friends. He knew what kind of father I had and that I feared the man. When I got back to school, I had to ignore you. I was being watched by several of the Slytherins. They would've reported back to my father if I was seen with you. I had hoped to get you four alone, but I never had the opportunity. Then the rumors started and the Marauders began to act strange. When James was attacked and the four of you blamed me, I knew then that our friendship was over."
Sirius looked at him sadly. "We were only twelve years old. How would we know that it was all because of one man? All we knew was that our friend no longer wanted to be our friend and then he attacked James. It was enough to break the friendship. We never even bothered checking anything out to see if it was true. I think Dumbledore had someone use a polyjuice potion to appear as you then beat James up, hell it might've even been him. It's not beyond the realm of possibility. Regardless, it effectively destroyed our friendship and any peace the Slytherin and Gryffindors might've had was destroyed as well. He kept that bitterness and rivalry going throughout our school years. Whenever it looked like we might forgive and forget, something always happened," he said.
"Then came the night that I sent you after Remus. I sent you after him for no reason than stupid rumors again. When Dumbledore covered it up and I got off with nothing more than a slap on the hand, you must've hated us even more," Sirius murmured.
Severus looked at him and nodded. "It also effectively drove me to Voldemort. Whatever hopes I had that Dumbledore would help a Slytherin was destroyed in that moment and I went to the one person who had promised me power; power that I would use to rid myself of the Marauders and Dumbledore. I was so very foolish," the Potions Master told him grimly.
"You were still a child, Snape," Sirius sighed. "We all were. We were part of the machinations of an evil old man. We couldn't have known. The majority of the Wizarding World believes that Dumbledore is a savior, a kind, benevolent grandfather of the Wizarding World. They can't know what he's truly like. All I can say is that I'm sorry, Severus. I'm sorry for not knowing, sorry for allowing my stupidity to hurt you," Sirius apologized remorsefully.
Severus looked at him for several moments before nodding. "I'll accept yours if you accept mine. I'm not a kind man, Black, and I doubt that I'll change. Too many things have happened over the years, but I think its time that we had a truce. We need to be together in bringing down Dumbledore and Voldemort. We can't be having hostilities in our own group. We need to stick together if we're ever going to accomplish that."
"I accept your apology as well," Sirius said.
Harry beamed at the both of them. "We're just all one big happy family, aren't we?" he asked happily.
Sirius glanced at Snape who rolled his eyes. Sirius snickered and looked at Harry. "You, my godson, are way too happy."
Dobby had appeared in the middle of Sirius and Severus's talk. Ron was already eating and Dobby was getting a plate together for Sirius. He jumped up on the bed and laid the plate on the animagus's lap. He gave Sirius a stern look. "Be sure to eat all that."
He hopped off the bed, made another plate, and walked over to Severus. "Here you go, Professor."
Severus thanked the house-elf and began to eat. He watched as Harry got up and walked over to the table, sitting next to Ron. He began eating and talking quietly to Ron.
Sirius looked over at Severus with a serious expression and asked quietly, "Just how powerful is he?"
Severus glanced over at Harry, looking pensive. "He is very powerful. If I had to estimate, I would say that he might be as powerful as Merlin himself. You know as well as I do that no one can do magic in Azkaban. For him to be able to do that, he has to have tremendous power. I wish I had a magic meter that could measure his power, but I'm pretty sure that he's more powerful than Dumbledore. He just doesn't have the control. He would be drained in a duel between either Dumbledore or Voldemort. He needs a lot of work. I'm just afraid that we may not have the time to do it," Severus said with a worried look on his face. "I'm not sure what Dumbledore has planned next, but we've been incredibly lucky so far. I just have a feeling that the luck is about to run out."
Sirius nodded in understanding and looked over at his godson and the boy he would call his nephew. "I would die to protect them both. We can't let Dumbledore or Voldemort get their grubby little hands on them," Sirius said adamantly.
"I agree. We shall teach them all that we know. I also have access to a library that Harry might find useful. After he's done with his lessons, I think I should take him there. There are books there that haven't seen the light of day for hundreds of years. There are bound to be spells in there that have been long forgotten," Severus mused thoughtfully.
"Library?" Sirius asked, curiously.
Severus glanced over at Sirius and smiled slyly. "Let's just say that the Snapes are very fond of knowledge. A lot of the knowledge in that library has been forgotten."
"And I assume that no one knows about it?" Sirius smirked.
"It's been well hidden for over a thousand years," Severus replied smugly.
"Why doesn't Voldemort know about the library?" Sirius asked.
Severus snorted with contempt and said, "Not all Snapes know about the library. It's been passed from one family member to another. Only those with a thirst for knowledge are allowed to have the key. My father could've cared less about learning. He just wanted money and power. My grandmother refused to give him the key, so instead she gave it to my mother. My mother was a wonderful woman who had been forced into a marriage with a man she didn't love."
"Her love of knowledge rivaled even Miss Granger. When she became sick and realized she would be dying, she gave me the key. She knew of my love for potions and she knew that there were books that contained lost potion recipes. She had a feeling that I would enjoy learning about them. I visited the library several times after she died, but then I was initiated into Voldemort's service and I no longer visited the library. I was afraid of being watched, and I didn't want Voldemort to be suspicious of my activities. After I left Voldemort's service, I went to Dumbledore and realized the sort of man he really was. I knew then that there was no way in hell that the man was getting anywhere near my family library," Severus elucidated coldly.
"When Harry rescued me, I took the key and figured that I would let him have it. I doubt I will ever have children and I'm not even sure that I'll survive the war, so I want someone to have the key so that the knowledge won't be lost."
"Harry has a thirst for knowledge?" Sirius asked, puzzled.
Severus chuckled. "Oh, yes, he does. He may've pretended to be a slacker in front of the school and Dumbledore, but one night I found Harry avidly reading books that he had taken from the library. He always read in a deserted classroom in the dungeon. I would check up on him periodically to see how he was getting along. He was always reading different books. He may not have had classes the last nineteen months, but trust me that boy already knows the spells he was supposed to learn. He had a very Slytherin approach to his education. He was hiding his true talent and letting everyone believe that he was a mediocre student at best. I must say that I was quite proud of his Slytherin tactics. I never told anyone, not even the Headmaster."
"So, if he knows all the spells he was supposed to learn, then what are we teaching him?" Sirius asked.
"He may know the spells, but he can't use him. His power is too great. He has to learn control first, before he can even be able to use a single spell he learned. Plus, he needs to learn more than what Hogwarts teaches. I have a feeling that many reasons Hogwarts curriculum is so mediocre is because of the Headmaster. I looked over some lesson plans from classes a hundred and fifty years ago, and they were teaching spells in school that the Aurors learn now. I think the Headmaster changed it so that no one could gain the knowledge to defeat him," Severus told him.
The animagus sighed. "There is just so much that the Headmaster has to answer for. You know, in some ways, it's almost a good thing that Harry was in Azkaban and out of the Headmaster's way. I'm afraid of what he would've done if he had been around when Harry gained his magical inheritance. Harry has so much to learn," he moaned.
Severus smirked. "Yes, but he's intelligent enough to do it. If he can fool the Headmaster for years, then I don't think he'll have a problem."
Sirius chuckled and looked over at Harry. "Why that sly dog," he said with pride.
Severus snorted. "No, that would be you."
Sirius groaned at the bad pun. "Hey, what do you mean that Harry rescued you?" he asked suddenly.
Harry over heard Sirius's question and growled angrily at the thought of what Dumbledore had done to Severus. The glass in the room began to shake and there was a low humming throughout the room. Harry's hair began to move and there was a soft breeze blowing around the room.
Severus looked at Harry, alarmed. "Harry, you need to calm down. Your magic is taking control of you. Rein it in Harry, now!"
Harry took a couple of deep breaths and tried to calm down. The glass stopped shaking, the humming disappeared, and the soft breeze vanished. Harry took a couple more deep breaths and looked over at Severus and Sirius with a sheepish expression. "Sorry about that. Just remembering what Dumbledore did to Severus pisses me off," he explained.
"Ah, yeah, I can see that," Sirius said, bewildered. "Could someone explain to me what happened to Snape, please?"
Severus sighed deeply and began to explain. As he told Sirius how Dumbledore had basically made him into his slave, Sirius expression darkened with fury. By the time Severus has finished his explanation, Sirius was livid. He sat a moment and the room was quiet. "You do realize that the Headmaster has to die don't you?" he asked coldly.
Harry and Ron looked at him, shocked while Severus nodded. "What do you mean, Padfoot?" Harry asked cautiously.
"If the man is evil enough to imprison one man, turn another into a slave, attempt to kill someone, and lie all his life for power, then what will he do if Harry defeats him and lets him live?" Sirius asked. "You know as well as I do that he won't allow you to take his power away from him. He'll have to die or be drained of his magic so that he can no longer be a threat. We can't allow him to become another Dark Lord," Sirius declared.
Harry leaned back in his chair and said, "That means that Voldemort will have to be the first one to die. If we went after Dumbledore now, he might chuck his good guy image, destroy Voldemort and take over. While Voldemort is powerful, his is afraid of one person, Dumbledore. As far as I know, Dumbledore is afraid of no one. There wouldn't be anyone to keep him in check while I learn what I need to know. Does anyone truly know how powerful Dumbledore is?"
"We know that Dumbledore is powerful, but we're not sure just how powerful. He could very well be hiding his magic or he could be exaggerating his magic. One can never be too sure," Severus said. "We have to find a way to keep him in check. We simply don't have the resources to be fighting two Dark Lords.
Ron piped up, "I would go with the assumption that Dumbledore is just as strong as Harry if not more. If he isn't then great, but if he is, at least we won't get a surprise."
"That's a very good idea, Ron," Severus said and Ron blushed.
They finished lunch and sat around talking. Harry was sipping his tea when he finally decided it was time to ask Sirius the questions he had thought of earlier.
"Padfoot, were you with us at the Ministry the night you supposedly died?" Harry asked.
Sirius looked at him, surprised, and shook his head. "No, I was getting ready to go to the Ministry when I was hit on the back of the head by something and it knocked me unconscious. When I awoke, I was in Dumbledore's manor, wondering what the hell was going on. Later that night, he came by and told me that everyone thought that I had died by falling into the Veil and that I was a prisoner in order to keep you in line. Apparently, Kreacher informed Dumbledore of my intentions to go to the Ministry," he explained.
"Kreacher?" Harry hissed.
"Yes, apparently Dumbledore forced a bond on Kreacher and he reported everything I did to Dumbledore. Merlin knows if I ever find that little elf, I'll kill."
"Too late," Ron informed him cheerfully. "Lupin transformed one night and escaped from the basement. He found Kreacher and proceeded to rip him apart. Couldn't happen to a better house-elf, no offense, Dobby," he said to the house-elf.
Dobby smirked. "I'm not offended. I happen to agree."
"So, do we know who it was that went through the Veil?" Harry asked.
"Dumbledore didn't say who it was, but it wasn't anyone important. Well, at least to him. He told me that the man was under the Imperious curse," Sirius replied.
"Is there anyone from the Order that went missing around that time?" Harry asked Severus.
Severus gaze was distant as he went through the missing Order members. He shook his head and said, "No, there was no one missing at that time. There was however a missing Death Eater. No one could explain how he had disappeared. He wasn't anyone of any significance, but it was unusual."
"Who?" Harry asked.
"Marcus Flint. His father was quite upset with his disappearance. He had plans for the boy," Severus explained.
Harry remembered the cruel and sadistic Slytherin. The feud between Marcus Flint and Oliver Wood was right up there with the feud between him and Draco Malfoy. "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy," Harry said sarcastically.
Severus grunted in agreement. "Yes, he was a rather vicious Slytherin, wasn't he? I must say that I was glad to see him graduate. He really gave Slytherins a bad name," he said with an indignant sniff. Harry, Ron, and Sirius grinned at his tone.
Ron stood up and stretched before looking at Harry. "Well, I've had my lunch. I think it's time that I go find Percy. I need to see if he knows anything," he said, his face blank.
Harry looked at him carefully and asked, "Are you sure? Do you want me to go with you?"
Ron shook his head and replied, "No, I'll be fine. He probably won't even talk to me. I'm no longer his brother, but I'm still your friend. You know that you were a big part of the reason he left the family."
"Or so he says," Harry said and Ron nodded.
"I guess I should go find out then, eh? I need to get ready. I'll talk to you later," he said and walked out of the room.
Harry watched him leave, concerned at how hard this would be for his friend. He hoped things went well for Ron. Harry couldn't understand how Ron didn't consider the Weasleys his family anymore. Harry thought that it was impossible that eighteen years of love could disappear in a few months. Whatever else Ron may be feeling for his former family, he knew that somewhere, deep down inside, he still loved his former family. He hoped that maybe Percy could be the exception to the rule. Whether Ron wanted to admit it or not, he still needed his family. Harry just hoped that Ron would never regret going through the Emancipation Rite. Harry knew it couldn't be done a second time.
Hama ab Aqua - Loosely translated Latin - Bucket of Water
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