Chapter 1 : The Phoenix Slayer
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Arthur Weasley looked a bit manic at the moment, to be quite honest. Attempting to walk and run at the same time, shoving people aside in the Ministry corridors- most aurors who saw him (for that’s was he was, the Aurors’ Corridor) indeed thought him to have finally snapped under the pressure of his new promotion.
Shoving open a door, he abruptly ran into a young witch in auror’s robes.
“Terribly sorry,” he said quickly before trying to move on.
He whirled around and found himself face to face with Nymphadora Tonks in all her bubblegum pink haired glory. Arthur breather out an audible sigh of relief, but the panic did not leave his eyes.
“Tonks,” he whispered quickly, “get Shacklebolt while I notify the rest of the Order. I’ve got a lead on…” he looked around at the curious ministry workers watching them and lowered his voice to an almost inaudible level. “The Phoenix Slayer.”
Nymphadora’s normally cheerful face paled to a clammy white instantly. “O-o-okay,” she sputtered, and whirled around the way she came without another word.
Mere hours later, six figures huddled together for warmth in the night-time storm. They stooped on top of a hill full of scraggly looking trees, looking as though they would blow away any moment in the raging wind. At the foot of the hill squatted a quaint, thatched cottage, which did not seem to be faring much better than the trees.
One of the taller figures spoke from beneath a thatched black cloak. “I have from an incredibly reliable source (who wishes to remain anonymous) that he was last seen around this area. I think that house is our best bet. I checked ministry records, and no one has lived in it for over twenty years. What do you think we should do, Minerva?”
The group turned to another one of the six, the new Head of the Order of the Phoenix.
“I agree, Arthur, we should search the house. Someone obviously lives there; you can see lights in the windows,” Minerva stated grimly. “Arthur- you, Tonks and I will go to the front, and Moody, Remus, and Kingsley around to the back. If I send up red sparks, that means that he is in plain view and we need to move in. Arthur, you will immediately immobilize him and we’ll take him to headquarters.”
“But McGonagle,” Tonks said, “what if he fights back? If I know Severus Snape, he won’t go down without a bloody hard fight.”
“Then use your god-damned auror instincts,” Moody grumbled. He was silenced by a sharp, reproving glare from Minerva.
“Minerva, I believe we may need to take Severus somewhere else besides the Burrow. I know the Grimmauld Place is vulnerable at the moment, but Harry and the children are there for Bill and Fluer’s wedding…” Remus trailed off.
“There is no other place, as horrible as it is. And we can’t take him to the Ministry- we wouldn’t be able to question him without Scrimgeour breathing down our backs,” McGonagle replied gently.
Each member of the Order nodded grimly before holding their wands aloft, and advancing upon the vulnerable cottage below.
At that very moment, a petite, raven haired woman was curled up upon a warm sofa in the cottage’s parlor. A heavy book lay open on her lap, but her deep, gray eyes were watching the blazing hearth expectantly. With an annoyed huff, she slammed the book shut and threw it onto a nearby table which tipped precariously with its impact. “Merlin, where is he…” she whispered furtively to the empty room.
As if in answer to her prayer, the dancing flames of the fireplace turned violently green. With a resounding whoosh, an imposing yet tired looking man stepped out of the flames, his black robes billowing behind him. His expresant eyebrows raised a bit upon seeing the woman.
“Goodness, Adelede, you’re still awake? I told you not to wait up for me,” he said dryly. But Adelede had thrown herself into his arms and failed to repress a hysterical sob.
“I thought they’d killed you, Severus! I thought they had found out!” she wailed into his shoulder.
“What on earth gave you that idea? I’ve been doing this for years. They’ve suspected, yes, but only that- never been able to prove anything,” Severus dismissed, a bit bemused at the crying female in his embrace. Comforting a sobbing woman was certainly not his forté.
Adelede sensed his discomfort and pulled away, looking a bit embarrassed.
“I’m sorry, it’s just that… Every single time he calls you,” she gestured to his right arm, “there’s a chance that you’ll let your guard down, Severus. Someday you will mess up. You will loose your concentration. And when that happens, you'll die. He'll kill you, dear. You know it.” She spoke every word carefully, so as not to anger him but still get her point across. Her words had the air of being rehearsed for quite a while.
Snape did not respond, but sank down onto the small couch, and rubbed his forehead wearily. Adelede recognized this as a sign of stress and sat next to him. Taking his cold hands in hers, she said softly, “I apologize. I shouldn’t speak of these things right now. You certainly don’t need the annoyance, what with Wormtail scampering under your feet like an eager puppy.”
Severus straightened from his slump and gave a small, rare smile. What she said was true: ever since he had carried out his Unbreakable Vow, Peter Pettigrew had worshipped the ground he walked. It was increasingly annoying at times, but sometimes Snape found it amusing in his own dark, sadistic sort of way.
Adelede leaned against him with a troubled yet content sigh as they both stared into the hearth, once again orange.
“You’ve been having a horrid week, haven’t you?” she murmured, interlacing her fingers with his. He did not draw away.
He had indeed. After having to kill one of the few who had ever trusted him and being tortured by the Dark Lord for not letting Draco fail his task, Severus was astonished that he had kept his sanity intact.
“Worst bloody one of my life,” me mumbled moodily.
“And it’s about to get much worse,” the pair heard a familiar growl. Severus and Adelede immediately jumped to their feet, but were stunned before they could pull out their wands.
Six figures strode forward form the shadows, wands held high.
“That was much easier than expected. I fear I may have underestimated you, Snape,” Tonks spat.
“We all underestimated him,” Remus said in his solemn manner.
If Adelede could have moved, she would have sighed in relief; she had expected to whirl around and see Malfoy and Nott smirking as they began to fire Unforgivables. But the Order was on her and Severus’s side- even if they didn’t know it yet.
“Who’s the woman?” Kingsley asked to no one in particular.
“Does it matter? She’s obviously with him. A Death Eater no doubt,” Arthur muttered.
Minerva stepped forward and pushed Adelede’s left sleeve up. “No,” she said, shaking her head. “It’s no Death Eater, but we should take her as well- she may have information. She shouldn’t be out here anyway, as this house is supposed abandoned…” A thoughtful silence greeted this remark.
“Please get on with it- I can’t stand this,” Lupin whispered, slicing through the group’s thoughts.
“Oh, yes. Arthur, if you would? We shall revive them at the Burrow, once they will not be a threat to us.”
Mr.Weasly nodded softly and said, “This won’t hurt a bit. You’ll wake up in about 24 hours.” He raised his wand and two purple streams of light shot towards the frozen captives.
So what did you think? Not too terribly awful, was it? = / Much love to reviewers!
~Snape Obsessed (A.K.A. Snob, A.K.A. Audrey)