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Devlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue by GingeredTea
Chapter 13 : The Archives at the Hogwarts Library
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4


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Dubhán had never seen a house elf before. Grandfather had never allowed him. 'They're not right in the head,' he had said once. To Dubhán this seemed a perfect description. The elf that Remus called to serve them in his office was wearing a whole outfit that appeared to have been knit.

"Good afternoon, Dobby," Remus said kindly to the elf. "I know you are probably busy making lunch for the school, but would you mind wrapping something up for Devlin? He didn't get to have breakfast before coming here with Harry."

The tennis ball sized eyes turned to him and the big ears that adorned the sides of the creatures face began to flap in what Dubhán suspected (but could not be sure) was excitement.

"Oh, Dobby is remembering little Devlin! Dumbledore is telling Dobby that the boy is safe with Harry Potter again! Dobby is crying when he heard the news. Happy tears!"

He spoke like a half-drugged half-tortured man. Dubhán tipped his head a bit with concentration - watching the tiny thing. It took a breath.

"Dobby would be so happy to be getting Devlin food! Dobby has something special - the new Professor has taught the house elves how to make!" He popped his fingers and was gone. Harry and Remus went back to speaking about nothing at all until, moments later, the elf was back with two neatly wrapped packages.

"This one first," Dobby said, "then the special sweet thing."

Dubhán took the packages from the tiny animal, marveling at it's magic as their fingers touched. For a moment the elf's face crumbled and a worried line grew between it's eyes, but then it seemed to shake itself.

The first package was a sandwich. The smell of rare beef wafted up from between the whole sweet smelling bread. Devlin looked up at the little creature, surprised. His wolf was salivating, having dealt with the ladies well-cooked meals for so long.

"Dobby is thinking that little Mr. Potter is liking his food the same way as Professor Lupin..." There was a worry in the elf's voice, as if it might be the end of the world if he had thought wrong. Dubhán nodded and took a bite.

"Thank you, Dobby," Potter said and then he motioned for Dubhán to follow him into the hallway. Dubhán put the second item into his pocket and walked after Potter, munching as he went.

Unlike when they had first arrived the halls were dotted with students coming and going from lunch, or simply mingling in the halls. Potter was getting looks like he had when they had gone to Diagon Alley. Dubhán could smell his uneasiness.

"You don't like crowds," Dubhán remarked as he followed along, eying them all.

"Not that much," Potter said.

A group of girls giggled as they passed. For a moment Dubhán thought they were talking about Potter, which was fine with Dubhán, but then he realized that it was him they were referring to asadorable. He felt a scowl spread across his features. One of them, at least, looked mildly disturbed at the express. He grinned haughtily at her and she flinched back.

"Sorry about that," Potter said sympathetically.

"Is this why you like the Muggle's so much?" Dubhán asked. He felt uncomfortable and flushed at the girls comments. The only female he was familiar with was Bellatrix and he knew, under his skin, that her fascination with him was more than it should be. She was enamored by Voldemort and he knew, not because he had reasoned it out, but because she had made it plainly clear, that her fascination with him lay in his resemblance to his grandfather.

"You donno, I might be famous there too," Potter said, flashing a smile.

Dubhán knew it wasn't so - no one knew the name 'Harry Potter' in the Muggle world. Muggle's didn't know much at all. Like that they had been Obliviated. Or not to scream. Or that a large stick was no defense against a small wand. Or that hiding behind counters wouldn't save you.

But he didn't hate them, not like Grandfather. They were just useless, but not all things without a use had to be tossed in the rubbish bin. Grandfather was like his office - everything in it had a purpose and a place, or it wasn't there at all. Dubhán was always too curious to throw away every impractical thing.

Still, he wouldn't leave anything important to a Muggle - like someone else's safety.

OoOoOoO

It was obvious from Potter's expression that he had believed the pitch would be empty. Instead there was a row of children all lined up next to their brooms. A red-headed women jumped when she saw Potter and waved enthusiastically.

"Harry!" She shouted, waving eagerly.

"Hey Gin!" Potter shouted back.

Potter led him closer to the women until they were standing a foot away from her.

"I didn't mean to interrupt, I thought the pitch would be empty." He scratched at the back of his head, the way he did when the lady was upset with him at the house. Dubhán watched him, because this gesture seemed to engender him to others.

"It's alright. Hey Devlin," she said, looking at him. He narrowed his eyes, studying her face. It was hard to recognize her, but looking past her perky, undirty, untired face, he recognized her as the women that had been at the table with his mother when he had written his potion down.

"Hello," he said, silky and polite, but with that edge that clearly distanced him from her and made it clear he didn't prefer her company.

"I'm Ginny Weasley," she said proudly, "Incase you didn't remember."

Definitely didn't prefer her company. Grandfather did not like the Weasley's, although Draco liked them less. He quirked his lips in a customary smile, thinly veiled distaste hopefully visible as well.

"Oh, I know you," he said, his voice perfectly polite even as he hoped his posture screamed that she was far below him.

He saw a flash of recognition in her eyes and waited with impatient triumph for her to look away - to react - but she didn't. She smiled.

"If Harry says it's okay, I'll let you join the firsties for their flying lesson," she said sweetly, bending down to look him in the eye.Making sure he knew he hadn't gotten to her. He clenched one of his fists, but demanded his lips into a smile.

"Oh please, that would be so much fun," he drawled. Potter was looking at him nervously from the corner of his eye. Ginny looked partly amused which irked Dubhán more.

"That's fine, Ginny," he said, but his voice sounded the tiniest bit uncertain. Dubhán couldn't decide if he should feel a flush of anger at the fact that Potter didn't trust him or a flutter of success, because he had worked so hard at the beginning to make Potter fear him. He fingered his wand and tried to convince himself that playing good had been just that - a ploy to get Potter's confidence so he could get his wand back. He hadn't really been seeking Potter's trust. He hadn't. "Do you want to, Devlin?"

Now Potter was at his level, crouching down and extending a hand to touch his shoulder. Dubhán pulled away, Potter tried not to look hurt, but the emotion swam into his eyes, joining the flashes of uncertainty, love, and worry that were already there.

"Fine," he said, more eager to get away from Potter and Weasley than in the flying. Potter nodded and pulled a shrunken broom out of his pocket. He unshrunk it and handed it to him.

"Alright class, Harry Potter is going to watch our lesson! Isn't that exciting?"

There were cries of "Yes Miss Weasley!" followed but some whoops that clearly came from wizarding children.

When everyone had quieted down, a single boy's hand shot into the air. He had umber brown hair and brown eyes and freckles smattered across his cheeks and he reminded Dubhán of someone else.

"Yes, David?" Weasley asked, kindly. His cheeks were flushed and he toed at the ground, nervous.

"Who is Harry Potter?"

There were jeers and jabs and cries of disbelief. The boy flushed more.

"He's Head Auror!" Another student finally piped up. Another two nodded.

"The Wizarding Hero!"

It quieted down.

"But what is an Auror?" The same boy asked, looking curious even as embarrassment covered his features.

The other children all looked at each other.

The boy had umber brown hair and brown eyes and a smattering of freckles across his cheeks and he reminded Dubhán of someone else. Someone he hadn't been especially nice too. The boy he reminded him of had been Muggle too, although obviously this boy had magic. When Dubhán was reminded like this, he often spoke before thinking - such was one of those times. He'd kick himself later.

"It's like a cop," he said, enough for his voice to carry. The rest of the students frowned in puzzlement, but recognition dawned in the umber-haired, brown-eyed, freckled boy's eyes.

"Oi! Cool!" The boy cheered. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Potter!" He said, his face now flush with excitement. "I wanted to be a cop before the owl came!"

Potter smiled but Dubhán frowned, because there was nothing particularly exciting about muggle cops, in his opinion. They were useless.

He lined up with the other students, his broom on the ground next to him, his hand hovering in the air.

"Alright, now in a firm voice, say "UP"," Weasley said, her voice carrying across the field. Potter's eyes were locked on his body, watching his every movement.

"Up," he called, his voice blending with the chorus of the same word. Some brooms wobbled on the ground, some brooms floated into hands reluctantly, other's with a pleasant buzz, but Dubhán's broom shot into his hand with such force that he wobbled on his feet. It vibrated, humming audibly.

"You have a good grasp on your magic," Weasley commented kindly, just as she had done to every other student. She paused to look at his broom for a moment longer while he formed his response.

"Magical things understand me," he said finally. She smiled encouragingly at him.

"Perhaps, Mr. Potter, it is you who understands magical things," she said casually as she moved to the next student in line. Dubhán frowned, puzzling through her words.

OoOoOoO

"Hagrid!"

When Potter had claimed Emma would be scandalized that they might see Hagrid and she wouldn't today, Dubhán had pictured a handsome, charming, charismatic man. Not this.

He towered above Potter. Dubhán was especially aware that this lumbering figure could have lifted him in the air by his foot effortlessly and proceeded to pull him apart limb by limb without breaking a sweat.

Why Potter was walking towards him, further into the forest (and away from witnesses), with a smile was beyond Dubhán. Obviously Potter was as much an idiot as Voldemort had ever claimed. Dubhán, for himself, stayed rooted to his spot at the edge of the forest (the Forbidden Forest!).

The only thing Giants are good for is chaos - they're too stupid to follow direct orders.

"Is that yeh, Harry?" Hagrid called out, his voice as big as his form. He turned around slowly, to face them. He was in a shallow clearing, laying down hunks of meat. "I'm jus' feedin' the horses."

Potter seemed to become aware that he hadn't followed him. He paused, turned to look over his shoulder, and motioned for him.

Dubhán shook his head. He might be a fool - Grandfather had often claimed that enough, and sometimes Dubhán even prayed that he was a bit of one - but he was not an idiot. He took a deep breath.

"Devlin, come here. I want you to meet Hagrid."

He shook his head firmly, trying to tell Potter, through his eyes, that he didn't want to be here, but Potter simply laughed and began to come towards him.

It was then that something touched him from behind. He spun around, his wand already in his fingers, a curse already on his tongue.

It was a creature, as dark as night, as thin as a skeleton, with wide leathery wings. It stared at him through obsidian eyes. It's breath was cool against his skin as it breathed onto him. It had the form of a horse and the looks of a reptile.

"Fuck," Potter said abruptly, but Dubhán wasn't listening. All his attention was captivated by the creatures gaze. He felt as if he were in a trance. "Just stand still, Devlin!"

Like it's breath, it's magic was cool - not cold, not warm, but something inbetween. It was neither dark no light magic, but a shade of grey Dubhán had never encountered before. There was something in it's eyes that looked at him as though it knew what he was, and it made Dubhán shiver.

But there was also something kind in the acknowledgement of what he was. It didn't flinch away from him but instead seemed tounderstand and he found himself reaching out a hand. He heard Hagrid's booming voice saying "I'm not sure I'd be doin' that" and Potter calling out to him.

His hand connected with it's boney forehead, expecting the feel of leather and surprised to feel fur that could not be seen. It breathed again, sending a puff of cool air onto his forearm. It's magic radiated off of it, kind and gentle and understanding in way Dubhán had never felt magic be before.

When Potter came up beside him the creature fidgeted on it's feet, the trance between them broken. It ruffled it's leather wings and puffed out a nervous snort of cool air.

"It's alright, Devlin," Potter was saying, with the quietness of a man who is afraid. Dubhán turned to him, once more baffled by the fear that crept so easily into those killing curse green eyes. Fear consumed Voldemort, but it never showed. Many things consumed Potter and they all showed.

"I wasn't afraid," he said firmly and to show he meant it he reached out again to the creature, who calmed under his hand. "Animals don't scare me. They understand me. I can make them do things, if I want too."

Something dark flickered across Potter's eyes - an ugly cloud of something more potent than his earlier fear, and it made Dubhán look away, feeling hurt despite not understanding its appearance.

"Tenebrus here seems ter like yeh," the giant man said, his voice gruff and unrefined. Dubhán looked up at him, feeling the creatures comfort and taking a cue from it.

"He's very handsome," Dubhán said, honestly. There was no reason to be rude when speaking about something so amazing as a magical creature. He wasn't stupid enough to lie, especially in front of the creature. It would understand. It nudged at his hand, begging for more attention.

The giant man nodded.

"Yeh seem to be good with him," he added, motioning to the creature. "Do you know anything about Thestrals?"

Dubhán felt his heart stop for a moment. His hand stopped caressing the creatures neck. It snorted unhappily.

Thestrals.

Something one only saw if they had seen death.

"Yes. But I didn't know what they looked like."

If he had known he would have pretended to be unable to see it.

Now Potter's fear made sense, at the same time that it made even less sense. Potter feared the implications of him having seen someone die. Potter feared him being tainted. Feared him being dark. Feared him not being his little boy.

But why fear?

Dubhán had expected hate. Malfoy had made it plainly clear what Potter thought of people like him. Then again, Malfoy was a bastard. Geoffrey's words crept into his mind.

This is where you belong.

Was it possible that Potter wouldn't hate him?

He glanced at the killing curse eyes again, remembering the man's words from the night of his almost-escape. I could never hate you.

His lips felt suddenly chapped and his hand stilled on the creature's neck.

For a moment he felt compelled to tell Potter everything, but then that feeling was swept away by the knowledge that he would knowand Dubhán knew what happened to traitors.

Hagrid was rambling on about the creature, but Dubhán wasn't listening. Potter was staring at him, that fear and concern and curiosity still lighting up his eyes. It wasn't until Potter began to tug on his arm that Dubhán realized Potter had excused them.

"Are we flooing back, now?" He asked as he followed Potter back to the castle.

"Two more things to do," he said and there was a firmness to his strides. His hands were in his pockets, his shoulders set - he looked like a man on a mission. He led Dubhán through the Great Hall and down into the coolness of the castles dungeons.

"Where are we going?" He asked cautiously. This far down there were snacks carved into the stones, wriggling with magic.

"To get something," Potter said cryptically, without turning around. "Alex wants it," he added.

It was a plain door that they arrived at, thick and dark with an iron handle. Potter stepped in front of it and tapped it with his wand. A flame-red bird appeared for a moment on the knob and a moment later the door was pulled open. It was Severus Snape on the other side.

"Potter," Snape drawled, looking him up and down with clear distain. Then suddenly his eyes fell past Potter onto him, and he frowned. "Abusing the system, are you Potter?" He sneered, a comment Dubhán did not quite understand. "This obviously can't be much of a business meeting with the boy here..."

"In the long run, perhaps you will feel differently," Potter returned, just as cryptically. "I'm here on Alexandra's behalf."

Snape's brow twitched but he stepped away from the door to allow them entrance.

"Take a seat," Snape said, motioning to a sofa and two sets of chairs. Potter sat himself on the sofa and Dubhán sat himself on a chair. Severus eyed them both and claimed the other chair. "Explain yourself quickly, Potter. I have potions brewing that I suspect are far more entertaining than whatever drivel you have to say."

"Alex and I want Devlin to have Occlumency lessons. Alex wantsyou to be the one to teach him."

Dubhán felt his heart slam unrhythmically against his ribcage. He stood abruptly, mutely shaking his head. Horrified. Scared. Terrorized.

His blood was rushing through his body like a cold river, making him shiver. He wanted to run, but he was frozen. Snape's eyes were on him in an instant. The man rose from his chair in a fluid ominous motion and stalked off to another room. For a moment Dubhán thought that was it - he had clearly refused, but then he came back, a potion vial in his hands.

"Drink," he commanded, holding the tiny bottle out to him.

Dubhán shook his head fervently. Snape leaned close to him.

"You are going to have a seizure. Which would you prefer, a calming draught or the embarrassment of falling on my living room floor unconscious and letting me hear you scream?"

He grabbed the vial from the traitor and swallowed it with practiced ease.

"I never scream," he said, after the foul taste had all but left his mouth.

Snape's regard flickered with curiosity for a moment and he looked to Potter as if seeking confirmation.

"Not the one time he had a seizure with us," he said, nodding.

"Why not have the boys mother teach him - or...the famous Harry Potter..."

"Alexandra said she couldn't do that," their was a firmness in his voice that Dubhán recognized as the same one Geoffrey used with the other Death Eaters to silently say: don't question me about this in front of the boy. He wasn't surprised that Snape seemed to understand the silent command, but rather that he seemed to allow the command. "And are you sure you haven't inhaled too many potion fumes today? I never thought I'd see the day that you'd forget how thoroughly I suck at Occlumency in any traditional fashion," Potter added, laughing cynically.

"I never forget what makes you a dunderhead, Mr. Potter. In fact they are some of my most treasured thoughts. That and the dog chasing you up the tree. I do attempt at every chance to make you as thoroughly unable to forget as myself." There was a sense of practice to this exchange that didn't escape Dubhán. For Potter it seemed to be almost entertaining, but for Snape - Dubhán could see the true distain in his eyes for Potter.

"Such a shame you aren't as entertaining as you were when you were a student, Mr. Potter." Potter smiled charmingly, Severus sneered and Dubhán pondered on what lay between the two men to fuel such an exchange.

"Will you teach him?" Potter asked, breaking the momentary silence.

Snape stared at Potter hard for a long moment.

"I will give the child one lesson. In this first lesson he will prove he is capable. If instead he proves he is like you, the lessons will cease. I do not have time to instruct a dunderheaded child - I waste enough of my time with them during school hours."

Potter stared at him hard for a moment, then shifted his gaze to regard him momentarily - as if summing up the possibility of this 'bet' falling through.

"I think that will be fine. What will he need to demonstrate to prove that he is capable."

Snape's eyebrow twitched and for a moment surprise flickered onto his features.

"Don't tell me the famous Harry Potter actually thinks before he agrees these days," he drawled sarcastically.

Potter flashed him a smile.

"I'm not a boy anymore, Severus."

"And you are not my friend. We have spoken at length about your desire to use my first name."

"Yes we have, but talk doesn't always change things. You may think of me as you will and call me what you like." Potter shrugged. "Now, what would he need to prove?"

"That he is capable."

Potter waved his hand dismissively.

Dubhán looked between them, trying to catch every word and every reaction. He needed to understand what was happening. He fought the drowsiness that the calming draught brought.

"We already know he is capable," Potter said, casually. He must not have been thinking, because just as Dubhán's eyes snapped to his green, Potter's green snapped to his own. Where would Potter get that idea?

Snape's regard was on the both of them.

"He has to be able to clear his mind. The one thing you have never been able to achieve."

Potter's eyes were still on him, but he nodded at Snape's words before finally disentangling their regards.

Where would Potter get that idea? What would make Potter so certain?

"Agreed," he said as his eyes connected with Snape's. He rose from his chair and motioned for him to do the same. For a moment Dubhán stayed where he was, a strange, potent, concoction of emotions boiling inside of him. When had he agreed? Hadn't Potter said he was done being used?

But then he stood, because there was no reason for the infamous traitor to know that he in anyway cared that Potter had lied. It was in the dark hallway, with the snakes slithering across the stones, that he froze.

"You lied," he said to Potter's back, as he walked away, not yet noticing that he wasn't following. The words stung the tip of his tongue. He had almost believed the man. Potter froze mid-step and turned around slowly, with a look of confusion on his face.

"What?" Potter asked. Dubhán kept his gaze firmly on a spot just past Potter's shoulder.

"You lied. You said you meant what you said in Dumbledore's office."

"I did."

He looked slowly back at Potter, whose brow was crumpled in confusion.

"Obviously not. When did I agree to this?"

Suddenly the confusion was gone from Potter's eyes. Relief flooded his features even as weariness crept in after it. Potter was by his side in an instant, on his knees, his hands hovering above Dubhán's chest like he wanted to embrace him, but was holding himself back.

"I meant what I said, Devlin. You're done being used for anything. This isn't me using you. This is me making damn sure no one elseever will." His voice was far from a plea, but everything about his body was. "I won't have anyone controlling you like you feel he controls you. Don't you understand I am trying to help?"

He understood. Perhaps not as much as Potter wished he would since he could not understand all the emotions swimming in Potter's eyes, but he did understand. He no longer believed they meant to kill him. If he thought hard enough and breathed deeply he could almost convince himself that Potter wouldn't hate him for what he was, even.

He understood more of it than Potter, it seemed.

"There is nothing to be helped," Dubhán said, more firmly. Potter didn't understand. Dubhán was who he was and there was no turning back. "Don't you understand? I'll never be what you want."

He wanted to finish by telling Potter that he should just send him back, but this was the first day that his wand was in his grasp and he hadn't yet figured out how to keep Emma safe.

Potter swallowed and looked away. Dubhán felt a bubble of triumph at the mere possibility that he had made Potter understand. Even if Potter wouldn't send him back, just the idea that Potter knew he could never have him made him feel safer than he had in a long time.

"I don't expect you to understand this, Devlin. I don't know why Voldemort wanted you alive - I hope some day that you will tell me - but I know it was after he knew you. But me? I wanted you more than anything even before I knew you. I loved you from the moment your mum told me there was the possibility you existed. I loved you before I could see you. I loved you before you could hold your own head up. I wanted you even when all you could do was stare blankly at my face. I wanted you even when you grew bigger and threw fits that sometimes felt like they would make my head explode. I wanted you even when you lit my work papers on fire, made your plate of food explode, told me you hated me. When you hit your sister - I still wanted you. When you broke the w-" but Potter didn't finish his sentence, he shook his head. "There is nothing you could do to make me hate you, Devlin. I want you more than Voldemort ever could."

Dubhán was pretty certain he knew what he had been about to say and the mere hint at it made him feel as if the hallway was getting smaller by the second.

He tried to shake himself. He wouldn't think about that.

Don't think, don't think, don't think. Just do what has to be done.

"You could hate me, I promise," he said, just as he had said that night.

Potter frowned.

"No, I couldn't. But even if I could hate you, I would still love you and still want you."

Dubhán wanted to say that was impossible, but he shut his jaw with a click. Wasn't it entirely possible to hate something even as you clung to it? Hadn't he been hating Potter this whole time, but clinging to the ghost of his memory, regardless? Hadn't he cursed the lady more than once but cried out for her while he felt the unfairness of it all at the camp?

Hadn't he sometimes hated that it had been him and not Emma, but been adamant that it would never be her?

He hated Potter, but it wasn't the only thing he felt for the man.

"You said we had to do two things," he said after a moment. Potter nodded, accepting and acknowledging his change of topic.

"Yes, I need to drop some papers off with Hermione," he said, rising to his feet.

"And where will we find her?"

"If I know anything about Hermione we'll find her in the Library since it-" he glanced at a time piece in his pocket "-is her break."

The Hogwarts Library.

It was almost enough to make him forget about the Hate/Love/Want discussion.

"Alright," he said and they fell into step together, each trying to shrug off the uncomfortable silence that now surrounded them.

The Library was behind two double doors, one of which was propped open. Inside the tables were filled with students reading quietly or chatting in whispers with friends. Dubhán felt mesmerized, enough that it must have shown on his face.

"Do you really love reading that much?" Potter asked, humor and a bit of weariness in his voice.

"Yes. I like to get lost in books," he said, taking his first step into the Hogwarts Library.

"Well then...welcome to Heaven, I suppose."

Potter gestured playfully at the Library with a wide dramatic sweep of his arms. Dubhán looked at him and glared - for some reason that made Potter snigger.

"Already embarrassed to be seen with me?"

"Embarrassed hardly covers what I feel about being with you," he said quietly, hoping the man would take a clue.

"Auror Potter!" A young man called out, coming over.

"Hello Grant," Potter greeted, shaking the boys hands. "I just saw your dad this morning. How shall I tell him you're doing? He complains daily you do not write home enough, you know."

"Aw, it's just so busy here, Auror Potter. I'm alright. We have exams coming up, you know..."

"Yeah, I figure. I'll tell him you've got your head buried in a book then..."

"Oh really? You'd do that? Thanks, Auror Potter! I've managed not to get any detentions this year, so far."

Potter laughed.

"And that is a miracle." The boy nodded. "Say, have you seen Professor Granger?"

"Oh yeah, she's over there with the firsties," the boy said, motioning to a rather large table.

"Thanks, Grant," Potter said and motioned him over. Grant gave him a surprised look before sending him a wave on his way out of the Library. Dubhán ignored him.

Potter snuck up on Hermione and her quiet studious looking group. She was talking about an assignment that sounded an awful lot like Potions homework.

"-you to go over the different kind of Slugs, right?"

The group nodded. Potter lifted a finger to his lip to keep everyone quiet. He crossed his arms lazily, standing right behind Hermione.

"Can anyone guess what Potion he's working you up too?"

No one answered. Some slunk lower in their chairs.

"There are a lot of potions that use slugs," a girl said, perking up. "How should we know which one he wants to teach us? He's not very forward."

"He's also been having us study stirring patterns," a boy said, sounding like he was complaining.

"Yes, I do see that. He assigned an essay, correct?"

"Yes," said a chorus of voices.

"We'll look at the parameters he wants you to follow for the essay in just a moment. First, Mr. Potter obviously wants to talk to me."

Hermione turned around to smile sweetly at Potter, who grinned.

"Hey, Hermione!"

"Hello, Harry," she said. Her eyes flickered to Dubhán and she sent him a smile.

"Do you think I could borrow you a moment after you're done here?"

"Yes, we have fifteen more minutes left." Potter nodded and stepped back to lean against a bookshelf end.

"Excuse me?" Dubhán said, tugging on Potter's robe. Green eyes shot down to meet his own. "Am I allowed to look around?"

Potter seemed to go over it for a moment. He pulled out a piece of parchment from his robe.

"Yeah, go for it. I'll know if you stray too far though. No going through any doors."

He nodded.


It wasn’t intentional that he found himself in the isle over which a sign reading: ‘Daily Prophet Achieve’ hung, but it was with the beginnings of a purpose that he paused there. He ran his finger across the spines of the bound newspapers ‘2004-2006’ ‘2006-2007’.

He paused, feeling a creeping sensation up his spine. One more book and then it would be the year.


‘We’ve discussed this before. You’re father isn’t looking for you. He gave up.’

But had he?

It was a traitorous thought and Dubhán knew he should wipe it from his mind right now, but instead his foot lifted and his hand dragged across another book. 2008-2009.

He would have been four and five that year, probably playing in that room with no idea what was about to happen.
Another step. Another bump as his finger dragged to the next book.

2010-2011

He felt his heart beating hard but steady, so that he could hear his own pulse in his ears and feel the blood pounding throughout his body.

He knew he shouldn't.

But knowing he shouldn't, hadn't always stopped him.

Potter thought he coward in fear from Voldemort, but Potter hardly knew him. Geoffrey thought he sometimes purposefully tested Voldemort's limits, but Dubhán thought Geoffrey wasn't half as aware as he thought he was.

Dubhán's heart thrummed as he lifted the book off the shelf, a subconscious reminder that he had better want this badly enough to be willing to settle for the consiquences.

Sometimes there were things that just had to be done and this was one of them.

Had Potter really given up?

'I punish anyone who dares to raise their want against you - Potter has never laid a finger on Malfoy in your revenge. He was there that night, wasn't he child? Does he not know who took you? Does he not know who to punish?'

Dubhán lugged the heavy book over to a table. He could see Potter from here, but he was busy talking to Hermione now as the first years read quietly.

If it were important it would be on the first page. Potter and Grandfather were always on the first page.

He was rewarded with Potter's face. He was dressed in his Auror robes and sat atop his shoulders was a little boy, grinning delicately. It was a staged photograph.

If you don't want them sneaking up on us all the time, honey, then you have to give them something better than an angry Harry that they manage to sneak up on.

The memory came with the lady's voice, softer and sweeter than she ever spoke with him now. Somehow he thinks it would be hard for him to be in the room with her, if she spoke that way to him. He wasn't six anymore, after all.

Harry Potter's son kidnapped!

He'd been expecting that. This had nothing to do with Potter - reporters would have reported it regardless, right?

Then, three weeks later, there was another picture of him with Potter and Alexandra, Hermione, Sirius, Ron, and Remus. Except he isn't on Potter's shoulders, smiling. He isn't smiling at all and neither are the others. No one looks aware that they are being photographed, but least of all him, because he is laying down, his eyes closed, his lips pale - dead. He's in a casket, floating above ahole. His favorite teddy clutched in his arms.

DEVLIN POTTER'S FUNERAL HELD AT GODRIC'S HALLOW TODAY

Devlin Potter, kidnapped by You-Know-Who almost three weeks ago, is now confirmed dead. The body was portkeyed into the Ministry, not only rising alarms about the child's death, but also about the Ministry's security. Before the press could arrive, the body had been taken away, but eyewitnesses say it was 'badly bruised' and another eyewitness claims: 'he had bruises on his arms and legs, like he'd been held prisoner' and that he was half-starved. It is assumed that he was brutally tortured to death.

He was buried today in Godric's Hallow next to his grandparents. Harry Potter remains out of the office and unwilling to speak…

He felt his whole body heave with the impossibility of what he had just read.

Dead?

Potter hadn't just thought he was dead...he had believed he'dknown.

His hands were shaking and his vision was swarming and it was with his last ounce of ability that he shut the book and shoved it back further on the table - away from him. He got up - if he didn't now he wasn't sure he ever would - and went to find Potter.

He was still talking to Hermione. He tugged on his robe, but all Potter did was murmur a quick 'hey there, Devlin. One sec, alright?'

But he didn't have one more second.

"I want to go home," he said softly. An infinitesimal look of surprise brushed by Potter's brow and lips. He turned and looked down at him.

"What did you say, Devlin?"

"I want to go home. Now."

Potter was still staring at him. Dubhán knew any moment the jittery feeling rushing across his skin could turn into somethingworse. He swayed on his feet and clung to Potter suddenly.

"Please," he whispered, hoping no one was seeing him.

He not looking for you.

Because he thought he was dead.

Potter nodded.

"Yeah, sure. I'll firecall you tonight, Hermione."

"Of course," she said. She peered at him for a moment. "Harry?"

Potter stopped mid-movement of turning around and Dubhán could almost curse the women.

"Do you want to use my fireplace? It's much closer than Dumbledore's."

Perhaps he wouldn't curse her after all.

UPCOMING:

They rushed toward the sound, only to find the Death Eater on the floor with his hands clutching at his head - looking as if someone were torturing him. Sirius paused in confusion, but Remus rushed forward. Whatever he might have felt about the Death Eater, Remus like Lily had never been able to watch anyone suffer. He grabbed for the man, hauling him onto the sofa and trying to pry his hands away from his head.

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