Content Harry Potter Crossovers
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I finally woke with a cough, a wheeze and a sort of blort sound. Steeling myself, I tried opening my eyes, but gave up after about a billionth of a second and covered them with the back of my hand. I gave an audible groan to let the world know that I was awake, and I wasn’t happy about it.

"You’re awake."

I cautiously lowered my hand and blinked in the light to try and determine just who it was. "Well spotted," I offered.

The unfocused blob moved forward, resolving into an unfocused Blaise, who kissed me on the cheek and said, "Good morning, sleepyhead." She then lightly slapped the back of my head. "The next time you want to sleep for three days, give me some warning first. I’ll steal some of the hydrating potions that can be rubbed onto your skin from work."

"Thanks, but that won’t be necessary. I don’t plan on doing it again any time soon," I mumbled. With a grunt of effort, I pushed myself up onto my elbows, blinking blearily in the bright light. "Three days?" I asked.

Blaise nodded. "Three and a bit days. Dumbledore has been leaving messages for you on an almost hourly basis. Oh, and a bloody big owl obviously has orders to give his message to you only, and has been waiting in Hedwig’s aviary for two days. Hermione thinks he is from the Vatican, which reminds me, she insisted that you send her an owl the instant you woke up." Blaise paused, looking at me thoughtfully. "But you really need to do something first before all that."

My yawn probably gave Blaise a good view of my tonsils. "Whassat?" I gapped.

Blaise winced and turned her head to one side. "Brush your teeth. Please?"

I ended up ignoring the massive owl, Hermione’s message, Dumbledore’s stack of letters and even breakfast (though I did shower and brush my teeth). The owl and Dumbledore had waited long enough that another few hours wouldn’t matter, Hermione was at university classes for the whole day, and my stomach had been empty for so long I was full after just a quick drink of pumpkin juice. There was someone I needed to speak to, in order to make sense of recent events.

I stepped out of the floo with at least moderate grace (finally, after all the trips Zab had made me make to foil tracking, my floo skills had increased to the point where I could actually use the travel method without making an arse of myself), and ran my wand over my body, casting a quick spell to remove the soot. Not for the first time, I wondered just why that particular spell wasn’t taught at Hogwarts.

I hesitated in my stride. Perhaps it was, but just in one of the last two years.

I made a mental note to ask Hermione or Blaise when I got home, turned around and picked up the little silver bell on the mantle above the fireplace. I gave it a tiny shake and sat it back down. Within a pair of breaths, Brenan appeared.


I nodded to the ancient elf, the head of the Zabini house elves family. "Good morning, Brenan. Is your Master at home?"

"Master is in his study," the elf said politely.

I nodded. "Has he left instructions not to be disturbed?" I asked, from experience.

"No, sir. Would you like Brenan to announce you?"

With a smile, I nodded. "Yes please," I said, not wanting to take any chances.

Brenan led me down the familiar hallways of Zabini Manor, still immaculately kept and maintained. I wasn’t sure how many elves worked for Zab here at the Manor, but there had to have been far more than I had met.

Brenan gestured for me to wait outside Zab’s study, and disappeared with a shimmer. As I absently cast my eye around the hallway, I wondered if it was possible for a wizard to learn elf magic. The ability to move around an area warded against apparition would be most useful.

The door to Zab’s study swung open as silently as ever. I stepped inside without waiting to be invited. I learned quickly during my apprenticeship that Zab would not waste words when actions were enough.

My old Master looked up at me from his seat behind his desk. Even this early in the morning, he was dressed in immaculate robes that were of an older style, but had been looked after so well they still looked brand new. His all-seeing eyes swept over my form, picking up clues like seashells on a beach. "I believe Dumbledore is expecting you," he said tonelessly.

I shrugged. "He can wait. So can the owl from the Pope. I need some advice."

One of Zab’s eyebrows migrated north. "Papal correspondence can wait? This sounds intriguing."

"Yeah, well, don’t get too excited," I said, plopping myself down in one of the available chairs. "If you react in any way like you did to my remote casting, I’m out of here."

Zab placed his quill down and leaned forward, putting his elbows on the desk and lacing his fingers together. "Continue."

I gave him a quick rundown on my little mission to the Vatican, not glossing over anything. I explained that I’d been captured, and that I had blasted myself free. "The thing that I’ve been thinking about was when I escaped from their custody. I was exhausted afterwards, and I don’t know why."

Zab, who had mostly been silent during my story, held out a hand, palm up. "Well, the most obvious answer is that you expended too much energy. What did you do just beforehand?"

I shrugged. "I just pushed everything away from me will every last scrap of will power I had. But I’d lost control of my emotions before and did that. Hell, I even did it deliberately against Snape earlier in the day that my apprenticeship started. It left me tired, but it didn’t leave me drained of magic."

Zab was quiet for a few moments. "Pushed, you say?"

I nodded. "Yeah. Here, look," I said, looking around the room. My gaze settled on an armchair near the empty fireplace. I took a breath and with a dismissive gesture, pushed out at the chair. It skidded along the floor away from me until the front legs encountered a rug. The sudden resistance sent the heavy oak chair tumbling, eventually ending up with its four legs pointing forty-five degrees into the air.

Zab glanced from the chair back to me. "Wandless banishing?"

I shook my head. "No, I’m not casting a banishing spell when I push. I’m just… well… pushing," I finished lamely.

Oddly, Zab didn’t roll his eyes or give me a sour look due to my incompetent level of description. "Can you please be more specific?"

I grimaced. "When I escaped, I pushed my magic out in all directions, deliberately doing what I accidentally did over the summer before my apprenticeship. It shattered everything around me."

Zab leaned back in his chair, and ran the tips of a finger around the edge of his goatee. "How long did you… push for?"

I blinked, thinking back. "I’m not sure. A couple of minutes, I guess," I said with a mental groan, having just figured out the answer. So bloody simple.

A flicker of a smile traced over Zab’s lips. "So you pushed out with all your magic in all directions for an inordinate length of time? Tell me you don’t still need to know why you were exhausted."

I gave him a grimace. "Yes, I mean, no, thank you. I just didn’t think about how long I had been pushing. I wanted to make sure that anyone around me was pushed away. I guess I just didn’t think about how long I was focusing for."

"Excellent. Another mystery solved. Now, this pushing…"

I groaned aloud. "What?"

"Are you sure you are not silently casting a banishing spell?"

I shook my head. "No, nothing like that. You know how long it took me a while to pick up silent casting during my apprenticeship, this is something that I can just, well, do. I can cast a banishing spell wandlessly, but it is weak and draining, nothing at all like what I’m doing when I push out. I suppose I just learned to control the outbursts I had when I was going through that irritable phase."

Zab’s expression was a deliberate cross between disbelief and horror. "Irritable phase, he says. Let’s see, you shouted down three senior faculty members of Hogwarts on numerous occasions, assaulting two of them, some Ministry personnel, including the head of Magical Law Enforcement, and successfully used your anger to break through the strongest Occlumancy shields on the planet, and you call it a irritable phase?"

I shrugged and stayed silent.

Zab’s expression turned into a grin. "Good, you are learning not to rise to bait. Now, this pushing…"

"What about it?"

Zab picked up the parchment he had been working on, and put it into an empty tray on his desk. He pulled out a sheaf of fresh parchment and poised his ever-inked quill above them. "When was the first time you performed this pushing?"

Zab and I spent nearly a full day practising. We started out trying to moderate the power I used when pushing out, with little success to begin with. Since it was anger that I had used in the past as the trigger, pushing without rage was as though I was pushing against a stuck door. A small amount of effort didn’t seem to work, but once I passed a certain boundary, my magic shot out and I figuratively fell flat on my face.

By the middle of the afternoon, at Zab’s suggestion, I had managed to change the direction of the force of the push. Instead of just being able to shove objects away from me, I could angle the magic so that I could push things at across my body. Even almost directly across me, though the greater the angle, the greater the effort it took to force the magic to work. It also took a rather expansive gesture to help me direct the flow of magic, which Zab berated me for constantly.   It appeared to seriously appal some innate sense of style of his. Or perhaps more likely, it offended his almost obsessive need for secrecy. Waving your arm about like a windmill vane wasn’t the best way to keep opponents from guessing your intentions.

At any rate, it took a focusing gesture from me to direct my pushing from any direction other than away from me. Though it was rude of me, I bolted when Zab pulled out a fresh notebook similar to the one in which we used to take our notes on remote casting. Since I was only really after some advice and direction, I sure as hell didn’t want to embark on one of Zab’s intensive studies.

Letting him think that I was just taking a toilet break, I made my way to the main room, with the inviting fire. Before Zab knew it (though, in all honesty, I bet he suspected it), I was spinning my way back home, via a half dozen counties. While the security on Zabini Manor was strong enough to let even someone as paranoid as Mad-Eye get a good night’s sleep, it did eat into your supply of floo powder.

Hermione’s expression on my arrival back at Grimmauld Place was emphatically emphasised with her balled fists resting neatly on her hips. And while that position stretched the fabric of her blouse across her chest in a most interesting way, pointing this fact out was probably not the best thing to do at that point in time.

"Good…" I paused, checking my watch. "Afternoon, ‘Mione. Bloody hell, is that the time?" I blurted, completely unconvincingly.

She ignored my act. "Harry Potter, you selfish prat! You were supposed to owl me the minute you woke up!"

 I swallowed, feeling the heat rising into my cheeks. I hated being yelled at my Hermione. Though she never belittled or threatened me, ala the Dursleys, her words hurt far more than anything Vernon ever said to me. "Sorry. I didn’t think…"

"No! You didn’t think!" she spat, interrupting me. "You didn’t think how I would feel at all!"

I sighed. "Actually, I did. What I didn’t think was that I would be so long when I left this morning."

Her eyes narrowed. "And how does how long you would be out affect the fact that I wanted you to owl me the minute you got up?"

I rubbed the back of my neck with one hand. "Because you were in classes all day. Thinking that I am still asleep for a few more hours wouldn’t stress you out anywhere near so much as knowing that I was awake, but not at home."

"Yet you allow me come home first and find you gone with no word!"

I closed my eyes and sighed again. "Sorry, but as I said, I didn’t expect to be out for as long as I was."

Her eyes blazed fire. "Can you honestly tell me that you didn’t expect to be delayed? That you were absolutely sure that you would be home when you expected to be?"

I opened my mouth to answer, but closed it quickly as I thought deeply. While I only went to Zab’s for some advice, I should have known, or at least suspected, that he would be interested in my ability to push my magic out. "I guess not," I said honestly. "But in my defence, I didn’t want to be out so long."

I braced myself for another verbal assault, but received a physical one instead. Not a slap, but an almost mortally aggressive hug. Her arms tightened around my neck, all but cutting off my air supply. "You great prat! I was so worried about you!"

"Sorry," I managed to croak. After a few seconds, I even managed to remember to put my arms around her, holding her close. For an instant, I regretted my actions, since they caused Hermione to tighten her own grip, cutting off my ability to breathe completely. But she quickly let go, pushing against my chest to put me at arm’s reach. She was blinking rapidly, her eyes bright with unshed tears.

"Damn you, Harry. I promised myself that I wouldn’t hug you until I’d yelled at you for longer," she almost pouted.

I blinked. "There was more you wanted to yell at me about?"

"No, but I was so angry with you. Would it have killed you to send Hedwig to me when you woke up?"

I shook my head. "But I didn’t want you to spend all day with your attention on something else!"

Hermione threw her arms into the air with a huff and stormed off. Well, I suppose that could have gone better.

After verbally duelling with Hermione, I left her alone to cool while I answered my mounting pile of letters.

Blaise hadn’t exaggerated too badly, there were eleven letters from Dumbledore, which meant that he was posting something to me more than three times a day. With a sigh, I ignored them and greeted the pompous looking owl who was waiting patiently on Hedwig’s perch. The massive bird gave her head an aristocratic tilt and held out one leg, managing to convey that she doubted that I had the ability to untie a simple letter without help. I gave it an insincere nod and untied the letter. The scrollcase broke away at my touch, leaving a tightly folded and rolled wad of parchment.

It turned out to be a cunningly worded invitation back to the Vatican in a little over a month’s time. Cunningly worded in that it was technically a demand, but used language that actually suggested that I had a choice. I shrugged and put it aside for now and picked up a handful of letters from the Dumbledore pile.

I broke the seal with my thumb and scanned the letter. Nope, nothing of interest. I balled it up and tossed it into the fireplace and broke open another as the fire brightened momentarily. Same again.

He’s sorry, and he want’s to know how I am, and where the horcrux is.

I scooped up the rest of Dumbledore’s literary efforts and added them to the now-merrily blazing fire, then went and made myself a belated, late-afternoon breakfast, whistling as I went.

Hermione and I made up later in the evening, and then she introduced me to the concept of make-up sex. It had not occurred to me that such a thing could exist, but then again, it was only in the middle of third year that I became aware of the act of sexual intercourse itself. It was only after not getting any of the sexual-oriented jokes the twins told me that Hermione deduced my ignorance of all things biological. She had taken me aside and, with a crimson face, patiently explained to me about the birds and the bees.

To this day, I praise my luck that Ron and the other Gryffindors didn’t notice that I had no idea about sex. Not that I felt at all to blame. After all, who the hell would have sat down and told me? As a child, I was always told not to ask questions, and I can’t imagine that either my Aunt or Uncle would have been kindly disposed enough towards me to give me The Talk.

At any rate, ‘make-up’ sex was just as explosive as the argument beforehand, only infinitely more enjoyable. Hermione and I had all but savaged each other in our haste, but once spent, I finally rolled off her and took several deep breaths.

"Well, that looked like fun," came a voice from the door.

Hermione gave a sort of ‘gleep’ squeak of surprise and dragged the damp and twisted sheet on the bed up to her chin. Since I was lying on it, I ended up almost rolling off the bed as it was yanked from under me. "Blaise," I greeted as I steadied myself. "Care to join us?"

Blaise rolled her eyes and stood up straight, before walking into the room. "From what I saw, there’s probably no wood left in your tree, Harry," she said while looking directly at Hermione with a smirk on her face. Hermione managed to hold Blaise’s gaze, despite her scarlet cheeks, but also managed to look rather proud at her former rival’s proclamation.

Blaise looked back to me. "Your former master would like me to pass on his profound disappointment at your cowardly escape today."

I grunted. "I’ll tell my former master later that I don’t have the six months necessary to spend with him."

Blaise and Hermione both raised their eyebrows. "Six months?"

I nodded. "Minimum. That’s how long it would take to document what he wants. He’ll have to make do with three-quarters of a day."

Both girls gave that some thought. Hermione broke the silence first. "What did he want to document, Harry?"

I sighed. "Does it matter?"

Blaise crossed her arms. "Yes," both my girlfriends said in unison.

I turned to look at Hermione in surprise, but she had a similar expression on her own flushed features. I may have been forgiven, but I guess she hadn’t quite forgotten my little error. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "You know my remote casting?" I asked rhetorically. "Well, it took my former Master and I nearly nine months to document that skill to his satisfaction. I can now sort of push things away, or even across me, just by letting my magic seep out. Sort of direct manipulation of the forces involved. No spell casting, no wand movement, just pure magic."

"What?" both girls all but shrieked.

I waved my hand to stop them from exploding with questions. "Look. Hermione, you remember that time you came to Privet Drive? With Professor McGonagall?"

She gave a cute little huff. "Of course," she growled. After a pause, she added, "You mean that psycho-kinetic surge?"

I nodded, feeling a little odd discussing magical theory while stark naked between two gorgeous girls. "Yeah. Well, I’ve sort of managed to work out how do that sort of thing deliberately. To start with, I could only do it when I was angry, but now, I can do it just by concentrating."

Blaise shared a glance with Hermione before saying, "Show us."

I glanced around the room for something to push against, and my eyes fell on the heavy, leather couch in the far corner. With a wicked grin, I looked at Blaise and waited until she showed signs of nervousness, then with a flick of my hand, pushed her into the couch. She gave a squawk of surprise, but the soft leather couch cushioned her impact enough that she was only shocked, rather than hurt.

Hermione spoke first. "Wandless banishing?"

I laughed out loud at her unknowingly mimicking Zab’s first question. "Look, if we are going to have a magical demonstration, may I at least put some clothes on?" I asked her.

"No," Blaise said, with feeling. I turned to face her to discover that she had risen from the couch and was right at the edge of the bed. A sultry fire in her eyes was the first hint I got before she put both hands on my chest and pushed me back onto the bed.

I suppose a Slytherin would be turned on by a demonstration of power…

Oh, and while it took nearly ten minutes, I did eventually manage to get more wood for my tree.

The next morning saw Hermione and I in Hogsmeade, making our way towards Hogwarts. I stopped once more at the fountain, feeling not a small amount of déjà vu. The only difference between now and the last time was that there was one less of Voldemort’s functioning horcruces in the world. A definite net gain. I was half-surprised that there wasn’t more birds singing in the trees.

My eyes were drawn to Cho’s tear-free visage as her image danced and spun away within the waters of the fountain. Once more, my heart clenched as I thought about the sacrifices others had made fighting Voldemort.   For some who still lived, who had lost everyone they cared for, the victory must have seemed so very hollow. Not for the first time, I silently gave thanks to the universe at large for having two brilliant and wonderful women in my life. Not for the first time, I silently wondered just how it would affect me to lose one of them. I’m not sure I could survive the ‘Survivor’s Guilt’.

I looked up at Hermione, held out my hand and gave her a bright smile that belied my most recent thoughts. "Come on, ‘Mione, the Master Manipulator wants to see us."

Hermione sighed, but took my hand. "Would you please stop calling him that?"


"Because he is trying to do everything he can to make up for the mistakes he made in the past. Are you ever going to welcome him into your life again?"

I thought deeply for a second. "I’m not sure, ‘Mione. A few months ago, I would have said no. Now that he’s no longer treating me like a child, it might make it easier. But he is still making assumptions about me and my well-being. If I need help, I’ll ask for it. I did before I took off on my whirlwind adventure. He gave me the earring so I could understand the different languages, and the means to destroy the…" I paused and glanced around. Even though no one was around, I was taking no chances. "…item. But when he turned up, well, he just assumed that I needed help getting out of there."

She gave my hand a squeeze. "Is that all? The fact that he still assumes things?"

I raised an eyebrow. "Given his track record, that single thing is a lot."

Hermione nodded. "Maybe. But his intentions are good."

I sighed. "Road to hell, and all that rot. Anyway, there is one reason I doubt I will ever trust him again."

Hermione’s face grew set. "And what exactly would that be?"

I put on a sneer, reminiscent of our ex-Potions Professor.

She rolled her eyes, suppressing a giggle. "Snape?"

I nodded. "He still trusts the slimy git. And I have a sneaking suspicion that he has confided in him."

Hermione gave my hand a squeeze as the imposing castle came into view. "Are you sure? When we last spoke to him, Professor Dumbldore said that he had not even informed Snape of the existence of the horcruces."

I nodded thoughtfully. "True, but that certainly doesn’t mean that he won’t. To study the bloody things, or at least discover how to destroy them, he may need to consult with someone who has a deep knowledge of dark lore. Snape is the obvious choice, though I would prefer he spoke to Moody, or that fellow from the Department of Mysteries, Croaker. Hell, even Remus would be a suitable choice."

Hermione gave me a scandalous look. "Harry! Professor Lupin would never…"

I held up a hand and touched my index finger to her lips. "All I meant was that as the bookworm of the Marauders, and suffering from a dark curse himself, I’d imagine that he would be a little more than an expert on dark magic matters. That is not to say that he specialises in that area."

Hermione pursed her lips, giving the tip of my finger a silent kiss. As I removed them, she continued. "But you still think Professor Dumbledore would tell Snape before any of those others?"

"Probably," I replied glumly. "He made Snape and Sirius work together, even though they wanted nothing more than to kill each other. Snape and Remus may have a tolerable working relationship, but the pair will never be friends. And every time in my childhood I needed something extra, that’s who Dumbledore recruited to do the job. Through it all, I just get the feeling that it was as much for Snape’s benefit as my own."

"What do you mean?"

I shrugged. "Snape is a bitter, twisted little man. He clings to whatever power, no, not power. Authority. He uses it like a cloak, to keep out the world, and abuses the power it gives him, just to prove to himself that he can. I think Dumbledore is desperately trying to change him, force him to become more human, before it finally does push him from dark to evil."

I turned to look at Hermione, only to discover that she was looking back at me with an expression of intense interest.

I shrugged. "Anyway, everything about Snape’s relationship with me revolves around what happened with my father. Snape hated him, well, they hated each other, but my father proved that he certainly didn’t want Snape dead. Now, as much of a prick as Snape is, I’m not sure I can see him letting an enemy die, if he could prevent it. But what I can see, is that he would then lord the fact that he was owed a wizard debt over that person forever.

"And I think that is why he hated my father so very much. The fact that James Potter saved his life, yet didn’t, as far as I know, demand anything from him. It must have driven Snape wild, wondering when the debt would be called, or what imagined humiliation he would have had to endure to discharge the debt. As different as I am from my father, I can’t imagine that he saw a wizard debt from Snape something to abuse like that."

"Are you sure? I mean, Snape and your father absolutely loathed each other."

I nodded. "Yes, but when it came to something as important as saving a life, my father did the right thing. He may have been a prankster, but he was infinitely more serious about important things. No, I’m not convinced he even realised that he had earned the debt. And if he didn’t think about it, while Snape was consumed by it, well, you can almost understand why Snape is like he is today."

I again looked up at Hermione as we approached the main doors of the ancient castle. Oddly, her cheeks were a little flushed, more than I would have expected from the leisurely walk up the road from the town below. She slowly licked her lips, then caught her bottom lip between her teeth. Signs I belatedly recognised.

"Um, ‘Mione?"

Wordlessly, she leaned over and crushed her lips against mine. I reciprocated happily, though I was curious. It was very unlike my Gryffindor girlfriend to be so… mercurial… in her emotions.

She finally pulled back, and looked up into my eyes. Her own were lidded with desire. "I’ve told you how sexy it is when you use your mind."

I swallowed, wishing I could adjust myself. Part of me had just grown significantly, and was in a rather uncomfortable position. "Well, the Room of Requirement is probably available," I squeaked, mentally cursing my unmanly change of tone.

Hermione shook her head with an expression of regret. "No, we have an appointment with Professor Dumbledore. It would be rude to make him wait for us."

I gave a small growl of frustration. "Fine, but give me a minute," I said, looking around for any voyeurs. Finding none, I shifted my hand to my groin and adjusted myself into a more comfortable position. Her expression had changed to a mock one of scandalous shock.


"You could have let me do that," she pouted.

I raised an eyebrow. "Not unless you wanted to do some cleaning charms before we went in there," I said with a smirk.

Her scarlet face was almost Weasley-esque as we finally entered the building. I gave her a few moments to compose herself before we climbed the stairs to Dumbledore’s office. I gave her hand a squeeze and whispered, "’Mione? Whatever happens in there, please just follow my lead? If you want to yell at me afterwards, you can, but if Dumbledore has brought Snape, I need to set things straight."

Hermione shook her head. "I still don’t think the Headmaster will ask Snape to join us," she said.

I nodded. "I hope so too. It would mean a lot to me. But just in case, please just stay quiet and let me say what needs to be said."

I pulled my backpack off one shoulder, and pulled Ravenclaw’s journal from within. I placed the book on Dumbledore’s desk, closely followed by the shiv he had loaned me. I hoped he would ignore the fact that it had a blackened blade, and much of the magic within had dissipated. (I’d done some research in the library at Grimmauld Place before coming to Hogwarts to return the items, and discovered to vague horror that the shiv was one of only two in existence.) I gripped the earring in my lobe and whispered the command word, allowing the tiny metal stud to slip relatively painlessly away from my ear. Wordlessly, I gently placed the metal stud next to the book, before stepping back and sitting down in a waiting armchair.

Throughout the whole time, Dumbledore’s eyes never left my own, the ancient blue eyes behind the half-moon spectacles radiating a deep sadness. At first, I thought it was pity, and I was prepared to launch into a verbal barrage that would have made my explosion at the end of my fifth year an inconsequential thing. But something in his gaze was different, and I finally recognised a combination of sadness and regret.

I leaned back into the armchair and waited silently, simply taking comfort in Hermione’s presence in the chair next to me. I needed all the comfort and support I could get, since Snape was indeed leaning against the wall in a shadowy niche behind the Headmaster with an arm-crossed sullenness that exuded menace. Hermione and I had shared a glance and a smile when we noticed that he was present. Oddly, I didn’t feel a single touch to my mental defenses, so either the oily prick had been ordered to behave, or he had learned that poking a lion with a stick was not a good thing to do when the only thing between you was the lion’s ethics.

Oddly, McGonagall was also present, and she sat stiffly on the other side of Hermione, looking over at me with an oddly blank expression. The only flicker of emotion that crossed her stony features was, weirdly, a flicker of a smile when Hermione reached out and took my hand. I gave it a squeeze, before releasing it and lacing my fingers in front of me. Displays of emotion in front of McGonagall still seemed inappropriate to me.

Dumbledore finally stopped looking at me, and glanced down at the items I had returned. With a deep, regretful sigh, he picked up Ravenclaw’s journal and began gently flicking through the ruined pages, stopping to read the odd legible passage.

"I’m not entirely sure I have the courage to have been able to have done this, Harry. As much as I am grateful you were ultimately successful in your mission, the price was so very high."

I nodded sharply. "Hermione has already told me just how expensive it was. I’m not sorry though, it is just one more thing that the world will have to accept for Voldemort’s actions," I said cryptically. "May I ask what he is doing here?" I asked tonelessly, jerking my head in Snape’s direction.

"Believe me, Potter, your desire for me to be absent in no way comes close to my own," Snape snarled.

Dumbledore stiffened, and his eyes hardened. "Severus, please! Harry, I have confided in both Professors Snape and McGonagall our aim to destroy Voldemort’s horcruces. I still believe that it would be best in terms of secrecy if you were to locate and return them, however."

"Headmaster, you can’t be serious! The idiot compromised…"

Dumbledore slapped a palm down on his desk with a loud retort. "Severus, please!" he repeated.

Hermione and I exchanged a glance filled with curiosity. Dumbledore had always been, if not supportive, at least apologetic for Snape’s actions and attitudes. I couldn’t remember a time when he had told the oily git off for any infraction what so ever. Even cutting Snape off in mid-tirade was so unusual as to almost be unique.

"Are you fully recovered, Harry?"

I blinked at the unexpected question. "Yes," I replied simply.

Dumbledore appeared a little uncomfortable. "I wish to apologise for my presumption on leaving the Vatican. I had assumed that any escape route you had planned had been removed from you during your incarceration. I should have known that you would have had something they could not take away up your sleeve."

"In my pocket, actually," I clarified. "And they did take that away."

Snape snorted. "Planning is just a pair of syllables to you, isn’t it, Potter?"

I leaned forward in my chair and levelled my eyes on Dumbledore. "I refuse to work with him. Either you throw him out right now, or I will," I said, just louder than a whisper, but enough to be heard by everyone in the room.

Nearly all the portraits reacted in some way, but their objections went unheeded, for the most part. Snape’s eyes bulged as he took in my threat, and he had his wand out and took aim at me while Dumbledore just closed his eyes with resignation and frustration. "Is it at all possible for the two of you to even sit in the same room without antagonising each other?" he asked the room.

Coming to the conclusion that he was not about to heed my request, I called upon the training I had done with Zab just yesterday and sprang to my feet. Swinging my left hand as though I was trying to slap Snape from a distance, I pushed out with my magic, enhanced a little with the anger and hatred I felt for this waste of oxygen.

Snape’s sneer slid from his face comically as he was suddenly hurled from his nice, comfortable shadowy corner and across the back wall of the office. He managed to twist in the air to land hard on his palms and knees, rather than on his back. He still managed to hiss out a shield charm, and the air around him flickered slightly. Not that a shield charm in any way affected what I was doing. With a grunt, I made a lifting gesture with my right hand, which, combined with another push, propelled the slimy git vertically, in spite of his protective magic. In the midst of all this action, Snape was screaming epithets at me, Dumbledore was roaring something else, with McGonagall joining it too.

I ignored them all.

Snape passed the high window before he reached the apex of his vertical flight, (aka, the ceiling, which he hit rather hard) allowing me to time my next move. As he fell, I mentally pushed out at him a third time, combined with a double-handed, thrusting gesture, just as he reached the window on his return leg.

The glass shattered as he was forcibly defenestrated. His screams of anger turned to shrieks of fright, and I could hear the rapid clatter of him hitting the tiles of the roof outside of the Headmaster’s window. More clatters and his rapidly diminishing vocal histrionics indicated that he was falling away quickly down the steep slopes of the roof. Ignoring Hermione’s stunned silence and the shouted comments from Dumbledore, McGonagall and the portraits, I turned to Fawkes, whose head had retreated away from the noise, but the old man beat me to it.

"Fawkes!" snapped Dumbledore, pointing towards the shattered window. The beautiful phoenix leapt from his perch and shot out the broken window in a crimson blur. Snape’s cries and screams of fear and rage were suddenly cut off by a faint "oof!" From then on, only a series of ever-fainter curses and insults reached out ears. Fawkes was obviously lowering the Potion Master to the ground.

Stunned silence reigned for nearly a minute before Dumbledore almost exploded.

"Good Lord, Harry, what has gotten into you?"

I blinked slowly and focused my eyes on Dumbledore. "I gave you an option," I said.

He blinked in return. "I beg your pardon?"

I leaned forward, putting my knuckles on the edge of his desk. "I. Gave. You. An. Option. You could have asked him to leave. You could have sent him away. You didn’t. I did. Just as I said I would."

"Mr. Potter!" bawled McGonagall. "You could have killed Severus!"

"Nah," I said offhandedly, waving her comment away. "I’m not that lucky."

"Mr. Potter!" McGonagall shrieked, after just the barest of pauses to compose herself. I’m almost sure she fought down a smile, and was just being indignant for forms sake.

"Harry! If Severus had fallen, you could have been charged with murder! He could still press charges of assault!" Dumbledore said heatedly.

I reached out and grabbed a handful of the front of Dumbledore’s robes and pulled him close. It was probably the first time since he had faced Grindlewald that he had been physically assaulted. "Snape drew his wand on me," I spat. "Now listen to me very carefully, old man. I will say this once, and once only. I swear on my parent’s grave that if that bastard ever draws his wand on me again, either he or I will die."

I released his robes with a shove, physically pushing him back into his chair. As the old man collapsed into his armchair, his expression was one of total, uncomprehending shock, right down to the gaping mouth.

"Harry," he started, before I cut him off.

"No!" I shouted. "Time and time again, you gave him power over me, and time and time again, he abused it. Not once in the entire time I was a student here did that bastard ever given any indication of wanting to do anything other than curse me into oblivion. Now that I am an adult, he simply ignores any rules that govern his behaviour here and threatens me with his wand on sight. You may trust him, I do not. You may think he can be redeemed, I absolutely do not. He is a cruel, vindictive, petty man, who has a chip on his shoulder so big he can’t see past a twenty-year old grudge to save his soul. The sadistic bastard should not be let anywhere near children, let alone allowed to teach. You had best tell him what I said word for word, because I imagine he will commit suicide by trying to curse me if I have to.

"Now, I am here on my own terms, not yours. I don’t trust you, or your motives. You may be a beacon for the light, but you’ve fucked up my life with your overhanded decisions, manipulations and lies so often that I simply cannot afford to give you the benefit of the doubt. If you want my help, then you will accept my terms. It is as simple as that. And rule number one is quite simple. Snape and I have nothing to do with each other. Got it? I don’t want any potions he has brewed. I don’t want any tutoring from him, no matter if he is the last repository of knowledge on the planet. I don’t want him any where near me, hell, I never even want to see him, now or ever again. Do. You. Understand?"


For some reason, hearing him call me by my first name irritated me. I cut him off with a sudden wave of my hand. "Shut up. Rule two. From this point on, call me Mr. Potter. I never want to hear my first name from you again," I snarled, wondering if I was overdoing it just a little bit. Thankfully, Hermione was holding to her agreement, and not interrupting me.

"Mr. Potter, I’m sorry. I had thought we were building a new working relationship. One based on mutual respect," he said carefully.

I dropped back down into my chair without grace or dignity. "We were, until you decided to make that bastard involved."

My choice of language was apparently having an affect on McGonagall’s ability to speak, and Hermione was still silent, though her expression was flickering between shock and amusement.

Dumbledore gazed intently at me for a while before responding. "Was there no way to discuss his inclusion? His knowledge of dark magic is almost unparalleled."

"Which is only beaten by his hatred of me. No, I don’t trust him."

Dumbledore suddenly looked so very tired. "H- Mr. Potter, Severus has proved himself time and time again."

I shrugged. "So you keep saying. I haven’t seen it. As a matter of fact, your blind devotion to that datum without visible evidence supports a theory I’ve had for a while."

Dumbledore blinked. "And that is?"

"That he cast the Imperius Curse on you and made you believe that."

"Mr. Potter, like yourself, I can rid myself of the Imperius," he said haughtily.

I narrowed my eyes. "If someone cast it on me, and told me to kiss my girlfriend, I’m not sure I could break it."

He frowned. "Meaning?"

"That you want to believe Snape is redeemed, or at least, is in the process of being redeemed. How hard is it to resist the Imperius when you are being told to do something you want to do?"

Dumbledore sat back in silence for a few moments pondering my words. "Very well, Mr. Potter. I shall have Poppy give me a thorough check up, to detect any trace of the Imperius Curse on me."

I shrugged. "Do what you like. So long as you follow Rule One, I don’t give a rat’s arse."

Dumbledore’s expression turned from careful neutrality to disappointment. "But we need someone who has such a deep understanding and knowledge of dark objects, Mr. Potter," he said, almost pleading.

I kept my own expression grumpy, but determined. "Then get Croaker, or Moody."

Dumbledore shook his head and looked down at his lap. "I have no authority over Mr. Croaker. I cannot request that he aid us in this endeavour. And I’m afraid that Alastor is quite ill at present."

I blinked in surprise. "You actually admit that you need authority over someone before you approach them for help?"

"That’s not what I said!"

I shook my head. "Sorry, but that is what you said." I replied, just as thundering footsteps ascended the staircase outside the Headmaster’s door. I took a deep breath, and held it for a second.

Snape barged through the door, purple faced and spluttering, spittle gathered at the edges of his mouth. Despite Dumbledore’s barked warning, he levelled his wand at me and shouted, "CRU-"

He got no further before I gestured and pushed hard and fast.  My magic hit him in the stomach and blew him backwards like a leaf in a cyclone. The esteemed Potions Master of Hogwarts sailed out the door and into the spiral staircase, where he continued to fall, arse over head. The thuds, grunts, yelps of pain and the occasional snap of bone echoed up the enclosed stairway.

You know, it was becoming easier and easier for me to use my magic in this way, and it felt more satisfying as well. Of course, that could simply be the fact that I’ve been beating up on Snape, but I think the point remains.

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