Chapter 25 : Fluff Time
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"Poppy, I need to talk with Albus."
"Albus is at the dance with the others. You can talk to him in the morning. From what I have seen your son go through, I need to make sure you are alright."
Severus sighed and although he hated being there, he knew the mediwitch was not one to fight with. Madame' Pomphrey quickly cast a charm to determine any injuries. Luckily all she found was malnourishment and exhaustion. By the time she was done, Severus was sound asleep. As the witch left for her office she noticed someone out of the corner of her eye lurking in a doorway of an empty room. "Whomever you are, you might as well come out of there." Harry waited awhile until he thought she was gone. He then stuck his head around the corner and was instantly startled. "How come you're not at the ball with the others?"
"I wanted to see if he was alright."
"But why are you over here hiding in the shadows. You gave me quite a start." Poppy asked
"Sorry, it's just that I didn't want to um..."
After seeing the boy mope around the school the past few days she knew what was happening to him and quickly interrupted him. "He will be fine. He just needs some sleep and a few good meals."
"Thank you." Harry said as he started to head into the direction of his dorm room.
"Harry, he's asleep now but if you wish and you promise not to disturb him. You can go on in there."
"No thank you." Harry said as he left.
Meanwhile at the lake everyone was dancing, eating and some were even resting at the different tables. The kids seemed to be having such a great time it was hard to believe these were the same children that were running for their lives just a few days before.
Sirius was actually starting to feel his age. Although he did his best at keeping up with the twins out on the dance floor, he still found that he couldn't last more than one or two songs without resting. He figured it had to be the trip that caused him to feel this way, afterall he really wasn't all that old.
Bria was out on the floor dancing in her group of friends when Ann slapped her on the arm and pointed out her parents that had just arrived. She quickly walked over to them and grabbed their hands trying to pull them onto the dance floor. Remus just smiled to refuse then he joined his friend at the table. "How's he doing?" Sirius asked.
"He'll be alright. Poppy met us in the foyer and is now taking care of him." Remus replied.
"Well at least she's trying to."
"I don't think she will have any problems. Last I saw she was dragging him off with that grip of hers."
Sirius cringed and placed a hand over his ear. "I remember that grip a little too well."
"Don't we all." Remus replied.
The two men sat and watched everyone dancing around for awhile when Dannie arrived at the table just about out of breath. A short while later the band started playing a slow song. Remus then excused himself and went out onto the floor, took Bria by the hand, spun her around a few times and started dancing with her. "So, are you having a good time?"
"Are you sure about that?"
"Well it could be better but I'm still having fun." Bria replied.
"You know you could talk to me if you wanted to."
"Thanks but there's nothing to talk about." She said as she hugged him.
As Remus hugged her he noticed the knot on the back of her head. "What happened there?"
"Oh I banged my head falling out of bed in the infirmary."
"Infirmary? What happened that you had to go there?"
"Nothing. Harry had a bad attack and I went there to try to cheer him up and.."
'WHAT?!" Remus shouted as everyone turned to look at him.
"Dad, it's not what you think. He was being very moody and I changed then jumped on the bed. I didn't have my balance so when he tried to turn away I fell off. That was it nothing more." Bria explained as Remus glared at her. "Dad I swear. You can ask Madame' Pomphrey, we weren't alone in there for more than five minutes."
"Is that why you two aren't here together?"
"It's part of the reason. I thought at first he did it on purpose and I got mad. But the other part is he's been really moody lately and I don't want to be around him when he's like that."
"Doesn't' really talk to anyone hasn't been eating, and he keeps staring out into space."
"Well that's to be expected. Maybe now that everyone is back he'll be his old self again."
Half way through the next song Sirius escorted Dannie onto the floor to dance. "You old dog. Why didn't you tell me?" Sirius asked.
"Me an old dog? I think your confused again old friend." Remus said as he smiled.
"You know what I mean. Now why didn't you tell me?"
"Ok what gives around here?" Bria asked.
"Oh nothing that special." Her mom replied.
"What do you mean nothing that special?" Remus said as he stopped dancing and turned to glare at her. "Do you realize what I went through to even ask you?"
"The way you stammered through it, yes I do but I don't know why. You should have known what my answer would be."
"You are impossible." He said as he wrapped his arms around her waist pulling her closer to him.
By this time the students around them couldn't help but stop and watch out of curiosity. As Dannie rested her arms on his shoulders Bria noticed her mom's hand. "Well it's about time." She said.
Harry searched frantically through his trunk but couldn't find his invisibility cloak anywhere. He then sat and thought about where it could have been until finally he remembered that it was still in Sirius' possession. Harry then went over to his uncle's quarters, unlocked the door and looked around. He decided that it would be safer if he didn't take a chance on disturbing anything so he quietly said "Accio Invisibility Cloak". As soon as it appeared in his hand he slipped it over his head and headed back to the infirmary.
A few moments later Harry quietly entered the room where his father slept. Trying not to make any noise at all he sat down in a leather chair off in the corner hugging his knees to his chest and with his wand in hand just sat there and watched the man sleep.
Severus didn't sleep well that night. He kept waking up with this strange feeling that there was another presence in the room. The first time he was awoken by this feeling he called out to whomever was in the room but Harry remained silent. Severus looked around the dark room and with not seeing anything he passed it off as just his imagination. After awhile Harry eventually fell asleep in the chair resting his head on the arm of it but, unfortunately when he moved the chair made a noise that once again woke up his father. This time when Severus looked around he noticed only a visible leg hanging off a chair. He then got out of bed and headed over towards the occupied corner with all intentions of startling the boy as much as he had been but then he remembered Lily's words He needs you more than he will ever be able to admit. With that he instead just covered up his leg with some of the cloak that loosely hung down. As he turned around to head back to bed Remus and Sirius stopped by to check on him.
"Hey Sev, we figured you would be sound asleep by now." Sirius said.
"Keep your voice down." He said nodding in Harry's direction. "I would have been if I was in my own bed chamber where I wouldn't be disturbed."
"Well then we'll just get out of here and let you get your beauty rest so that tomorrow you can be your usual charming, wonderful self again." Remus smirked as they left the two alone.
"Well aren't you just too considerate." Severus replied sarcastically
As Sirius and Remus headed back to their quarters Jamie and Draco caught up with them also on their way there "Dad, has Harry already gone back to your quarters? He isn't in the dorm."
"No he's not but don't worry, he'll be fine tonight, we know where he is."
~ Next Morning ~
Severus woke up before sunrise and was reading the paper while enjoying a cup of coffee when he heard a loud gasp then a thud as Harry fell out of the chair and slipping out from underneath the cloak. Severus then pretended to be startled "What in Merlin's name are you trying to do? Become an orphan by giving me a heart-attack?" he snapped.
"I'm sorry sir...I didn't mean to. If you'll excuse me I'll just go and um...get ready for breakfast." He said nervously.
"No I will not excuse you."
"I believe we need to talk and since you are here already this would obviously be the more precise time." Severus stated
"Sir, if I don't leave now I will miss breakfast."
"Have a seat. Poppy already has an elf bringing something for you." He said with a smirk
"You knew I was there the whole time?"
"Of coarse I knew. Do you realize how loud leather chairs can be during the middle of the night?"
"I'm sorry I didn't realize that..."
"Would you stop apologizing. What happened to that smart mouth kid that defied me in class for four years and blew up at his uncle the other day?"
"I guess Sirius told you didn't he." Harry grumbled.
"It doesn't matter how I found out but, don't go getting mad at your uncle again he's not the one who told me." Severus continued, "You do realize that it was uncalled for."
"But he knew that Voldemort is out to capture you and he left you alone to fight those three Death-eaters."
"That is true he did leave me alone but, I have to agree with the reason he did." Severus stated.
"But they could have..."
"Yes they could have but they didn't. I didn't even see Voldemort this time. If it weren't for your uncles I would have and he will surely try to kill me the next time he sees me."
"Dad, would you um...train me?" Harry asked as Severus smiled. Harry then gave him a puzzled look. "What?"
"That's the first time you've called me that."
"No I said it a few times but if you wish I can go back to referring to you as sir."
"Well seeing how the secret has already been out for quite awhile now I'll leave it up to you. Just remember in class I'm still your professor."
"I know. You don't have to remind me."
"Sometimes I wonder. Now what do you want training in?"
"Well I was wondering since they have kids my age training maybe you could.."
"I should say not! You don't need to learn those curses, the last thing we want is for Voldemort to want you to join his ranks more than he already does."
"I'm not asking to learn the unforgivables, just something equally as powerful that I could use for self defense."
"No. I will not have you spending all your free time learning curses. You are still a kid, you need to act like one and not worry about adult issues."
"But dad, I've been fighting since I was little. I have to be able to be able to keep up with them."
"I know all to well how long you have been fighting. That is why I don't want you trained."
"You don't understand." Harry said as he started heading out of the room.
Just then Albus entered the room carrying a tray of food. "Good morning Harry. I just saw Dobby in the hallway, I guess this is for you."
"No thank you sir, I'm not hungry."
"You have been missing too many meals lately, I suggest you sit down and eat while I talk with your father." He said as he handed the tray to Harry and guided him over to a small table then walked back out to the hallway and waited for Severus to join him.
"Harry, I understand far too well. This is why I am against it." Severus stated as he joined the Headmaster.
"Severus, you know I hate to interfere with your personal life but, I must say Harry is right."
"Albus, I must say you live to interfere in other people's personal lives, especially mine. So why would you say Harry is right?"
"As you well know they are training children. We don't know how long these children have been going through training in the Dark Arts but from Remus has even seen some children as young as seven years of age trying to curse them."
"As far as I know this program is still fairly new and is still in the experimental stages but how long she has been instructing these children before she made herself known to Voldemort is hard to say."
"You are right. We don't know how long they have actually been trained, with that in mind Harry is going to have to defend himself against them. Maybe not in the near future but sooner or later they will come after him and he must be skilled in equally powerful curses if he is to survive."
"Albus, you know how reckless he can be. What is to say that he won't go sneaking out with some crazy notion of trying to solve a problem again when he isn't fully prepared again."
"Because now instead of hiding in the shadows to help him through it without anybody knowing, you can openly keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't get into too much trouble."
"And what are the other parents going to say when they hear that a student is learning the Dark Arts from their Death-eater father while on school grounds. You know the Ministry will never approve of this."
"Why don't you start taking him to your family home on weekends for his training. If I remember right you once told me they had quite the setup for such practice sessions there."
"You mean torture sessions. Those were not my happiest days while growing up and I swore I would never go back."
"You need to put those ghosts to rest. You did learn a lot back then and what will make it easier is you know not to teach them in the same manner that your parents taught you."
"Albus, we were talking about Harry. Since when did he become them?"
Albus shrugged "Since now. You also have Draco in your care at this time plus the other kids. Afterall you could probably use some help from Sirius and Remus so you might as well include their children. Besides it will give the twins the chance to see where their mother grew up."
"Sirius and Remus in Snape Manor without being confined to the dungeons. That would really have caused an uproar when we were growing up. But with all the kids, why don't you just include the whole Weasley clan as well?"
"I was actually debating that idea but unfortunately Molly and Arthur will be picking them up this afternoon from the Three Broomsticks."
Severus just glared at Albus with hearing that remark then asked, "Why are the students not taking the train?"
"Due to the attack last weekend, the Ministry figured the sooner they were in their parents custody the safer they would be."
"What about the Muggle born children like Miss. Granger?"
"Molly will be taking them onto The Leaky Cauldron so that she can meet her parents there." Albus continued. "Now getting back to the training. I have already sent some house elves over to the estate this morning since I assume it has not been cared for since your parents passing. You, Sirius, and the children can head over tomorrow and then Remus and his family can be over on Sunday since the ladies don't know your property well enough to go running around. Is this sufficient with you?"
"Why do I have this feeling that you were stretching the truth when you said you had just now thought of this whole idea?"
"That my dear boy is my own little secret."
"Do I really have a choice?" Severus asked but Albus just smiled. "I thought not."
"I'll leave you to give your son the news while I go discuss it with Sirius and Remus. Good day Severus."
"Good day Albus. Thank you so very much." Severus sarcastically said as he walked back into the hospital room. He then grabbed a chair and placed it at the small table across from Harry. "I hope that you realize this little plan of yours to have Professor Dumbledore join you on this attack against me to train you will not be a very pleasant outcome."
"I never even spoke to Professor Dumbledore about wanting you to train me. I didn't think it would be something he would approve of. That's why I wanted to wait until we were actually alone before I spoke to you about it."
"I still don't understand what would make you come up with this idea. I went through such training and believe me it's not very easy, infact it borders on the edge of torture."
"Does this mean you will help me train?"
"On one condition." Severus said as Harry looked at him. "You tell me exactly what made you decide to do this."
"I can't do that." He said as he bit his lip.
"Wait a second, we get into and argument then I get lectured by Albus because I refuse to train you then when I agree to do it for one small answer you refuse throwing all your efforts away? I don't understand, what is it that you won't tell me?"
"You wouldn't understand."
"Then make me understand."
"You'll think I'm being foolish." Harry replied
"Only if it's for one of your foolish stunts when you go out looking for trouble."
"No it's nothing like that, but it's still foolish." Harry said while Severus sat and waited for an answer. He then took a deep breath and said. "I've been thinking about it since last Saturday when they took you away. I tried to help but they hit me with Cruciatus and I couldn't do anything after that other than watch you leave."
Severus listened closely to him and sighed, "Harry, your uncles and I will help you and the others train for emergency only but I want to make something clear. I am honored to know that you tried to help me but that was another stunt that you should not have done. It's not your job to try to help me. It is my job to make sure you're safe and I cannot do that if you keep doing things like this. Where would we be today if instead of casting Cruciatus they had cast the killing curse?"
"Couldn't you teach me how to block them?"
"Unfortunately only your mom knew of some way to block the killing curse. She may have been an expert in charms and spells but she was not one who would keep notes on her findings, she didn't want them to fall into the wrong hands. As for the Cruciatus, I don't have a way to block it completely but I can teach you how to manage the pain so that it doesn't cause to significant of damage to you."
"How soon can we start?"
"Well first of all I have to get Remus' potion ready for tomorrow evening and Professor Dumbledore has been kind enough to already arrange for some elves get the estate ready today. I figured that Sirius and I would take you, Draco, and the twins over there tomorrow morning and then Remus and his family will join us on Sunday."
"What estate are we going to?"
Severus sighed, "The family estates. It has everything we will need there. Mind you; in order for me to continue with this after the holidays then you must be willing to obey all that you are ordered to do. This will not be fun. You will have to be on a very strict schedule with little time for homework and no time at all for fun and games. You will probably hate me more than ever by the time we get back but since this is what you are willing to do then so be it."
Just then Remus barged in. "Severus, I hate to tell you this but Lucius has just arrived on the grounds and is trying to hunt down Draco."
"Who let him in the gates. He's not suppose to be allowed here anymore since Draco is under my care."
"That's what makes it even worse. It seems he was able to apparate onto the school grounds. Looks like when we had the cave-in last week it weakened the wards in that area. Dumbledore, Sirius, McGonagall, and I are going to get started on the repairs but we need you to deal with Lucius."
"Where is Draco at now?"
"He's with the other kids at Dannie's, Matt's helping her keep them in line."
Severus then turned to his son, "Harry, I want you to join the rest of them now."
"What if this is another one of Voldemort's traps?"
"Harry, what did we just discuss? Now do as I tell you." Severus snapped. Harry just glared at him. "Harry, please."
"Yes sir." Harry said as he headed towards the dungeons with his dad but and Remus headed out the main entrance.
As they approached the portal to the Slytherin house they came across Lucius. "Ah Severus. I am so glad to see that you are feeling better after your ordeal this week. You do realize that Lord Voldemort was quite displeased that you reneged on your meeting with him."
'Lucius I know for a fact that you could care less about my well being this past week and as you have probably guessed by now I no longer serve Voldemort as I once did." Severus continued "What do we owe the honor of your presence?"
"Draco's mother has requested for him to visit with her during the holiday so I have come to collect him."
"We had an agreement. Now if your wife would like to meet with the boy then she may owl me with a time and date and I will set up for her to visit with him here on the grounds."
"What about during the holidays. She is quite anxious."
'That I must say is out of the question. He has requested to spend the time visiting with some friends."
"Well since that is the case I will relay the message onto his mother. You shall hear from her soon."
" That I do not doubt. Good day Lucius." Severus said then as he headed onto his private lab he thought 'That was too easy. He is definitely up to something.'
Meanwhile down in the dungeons Harry knocked on the door to Dannie's quarters. As Ann opened the door she said, "There you are. We spent half the morning looking for you so that you could go with us to take Ron, Ginny, and Mione into town to meet their parents. By the way, where were you all night?"
"Visiting with my dad. Bria can I talk with you in the hallway?"
"I suppose so." She said as she followed him out the door.
"I had this made for you in town last weekend and I meant to give this to you yesterday and I'm sorry it's late but Merry Solstice." He said as he handed her a small package.
Bria opened up the gift and was surprised to see a Celtic moon with a snake wrapped around it. "Harry I can't take this."
He immediately interrupted her, "I know this past week I have been acting funny but I have had a lot of things on my mind with my dad and...I have been working on the problem."
" I am sorry for the way I treated you yesterday morning, I didn't mean to hurt you. Please take it." He said as he pulled the charm and necklace out of the box.
Bria sighed. "If you would have let me finish you would understand. I don't blame you for me getting hurt yesterday. That was partially my fault, I was being pushy and really wasn't balanced on your bed."
"You do know how bad that sounds."
"Yes and so does my dad. Anyway, as for your gift I still have one last thing that needs to be done before I can give it to you on Sunday if that's alright."
"Of coarse it is" he said as he tried placing the jewelry around her neck but she quickly dodged him.
"As for that. You should already know, I can't wear silver."
"I didn't think you could but what about the beads that were on your dress?"
"In all honesty, they were really a pearled gray."
"If you would trust me and hold still so I could put this on you then you would realize that I had it made out of white gold." He then whispered in her ear as he attached the clasp. " It would have looked great with your dress last night."
As she turned around she asked, "Did you really like it?"
"Of coarse I did." He said as he leaned in to kiss her.
After a few moments Bria finally broke the kiss, "So what kind of trouble do you think we'll be getting into during winter break?"
"From what I can tell, none. We'll probably be too busy."
"Doing what?" she asked.
"I think dad wants to explain it to all of us tonight. Needless to say it looks like we'll all be going up to the family estates."
"Good it will give you some time to get to know your dad better."
"We will have to wait and see." Harry said as he led Bria back into her mom's quarters.
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