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Devlin Potter: Riddle and Rescue by GingeredTea
Chapter 22 : At the Horizon
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1

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 He had told.


The thought seemed to haunt him into wakefulness. His heart pounded like a drum inside of his chest, rushing blood into his ears. He was awake and upright in less time than it would take him to draw his wand.

He had told.

He felt almost frozen with the truth.

I told, I told, I told.

He swung his body out of bed, feeling like each of his limbs was heavy and useless. He fumbled putting on his clothing, only halfway through realizing that he was shrugging on a button up shirt. They had been returned. Was this some kind of reward? Had they been waiting until he gave in?

His brain was still tumbling with all of the Transfiguration text he had read. Matchsticks to needles, orange to red, red to pink, living to non-living, non-living to living, and much much more.

How long had he slept? He half suspected that he had awoken the moment his mind had relaxed enough that he had let the thought through: he had told.

He heard the door out in the hallway open and close. That might be Potter, ready to meet him downstairs.

Would he still have that smile? Had he told Alexandra? Would he have thought it all through last night and decided Dubhán hadn't been brave, that they didn't still love him? Did any of that really matter?

He'd meant what he'd said when he had told Potter that Voldemort wasn't worried. Dubhán had been thinking about it almost as much as he'd been thinking about her.If Voldemort were worried, he would have taken him back. That he hadn't yet proved he wasn't worried. Dubhán could think of many reasons why he wasn't worried, each more terrifying than the last. Dubhán hoped it was the first, least terrifying: that he trusted Dubhán's loyalty beyond corruption.

Bellatrix would have laughed at him - all of them would have - but Dubhán knew for him it was a possibility. He wasn't quite sure why, but Voldemort often didn't think he was capable of anything that Voldemort himself wasn't. If Voldemort wouldn't betray himself, there was a silver of a chance that Voldemort would think Dubhán wouldn't either - no matter what.

Though the chance was there, it was small and instead Dubhán knew that the others were much more likely. That he was done with him and would kill him when he pleased. That he would do to him what he had done to the men at the bakery all those years ago - make him forget. That he would whisper Imperio and Dubhán wouldn't know better. That he would threaten Emma and Dubhán would agree to anything he said. That he would be dragged in front of him on his knees and Voldemort would say crucio and Dubhán would be nothing, nothing, nothing forever.

"Stop thinking!" He demanded of himself, running his hands through his hair and digging his nails into his scalp.

He got dressed. He righted his hair. He tied his shoes. He stepped out into the empty hallway, looking far more put together than he felt.

Harry wasn't at the table. Emma and Alexandra were there drawing. Dubhán was late.

"You're awake!" Emma cried out, turning to grin at him. Ever since he had made her the flower at the ball, she had seemed to like him much better. He thought it was rather foolish of her to make friends like that. "You were a sleepyhead today," she added.

There was some food under a charm at the table - ham and some kind of bread, and jam.

"Mummy and I made you french toast," she said, her voice high, her words fast, and her smile far too bright for a sleepless, terrified, person like him. He tried nodding politely.

"Thanks," he said, sitting down. Alexandra had yet to speak to him, but there was a worried almost yearning look on her face. Dubhán wasn't sure if it was because of their argument last night in the hallway, or if Potter had told her - or both. He tried not to provoke her into telling him which.

Potter still hadn't come down. Perhaps he was also sleeping? Perhaps he had already eaten breakfast? Perhaps he did not want to see Dubhán.

Dubhán didn't ask Alexandra, but when he was alone with Emma in her room he asked her. She had asked him to play a game. If he had known it would be with fluffy animals he wouldn't have agreed, but as it was, he had. Now he was thinking he would have rather braved Alexandra's mind-reading eyes.

"Where is Harry?"

Emma looked up.

"You know - I won't be mad if you call him daddy. I can share. Aunt Molly said you might be worried that I wouldn't be good at sharing mum and dad."

"I don't want to call them that," he said, hoping to reassure her. She could own the titles for all he cared.

She seemed to think for a long moment.

"But I'm still your little sister, right?"

He had always thought of her as Emma. Confronted with the word and connection threw him aback. There was an eager worried look written plainly across her features. She fiddled with her bear.

"Yeah, 'course," he said, because how could he say anything else to her? Wasn't she the only reason he was here? Hadn't she been the one single thing he had demanded to be able to keep? Not Zee, not Harry, not Alexandra or Sirius or Remus or any number of people that still remained fuzzy in his memory but Emma.

She smiled.

"Daddy had to go into work. His watch beeped at breakfast."

"When will he be back?"

"I donno," she said, shrugging. "When he catches the bad guy, I guess. But Mummy can get you anything Daddy would - she says so."


He had not opened the book.

Voldemort was becoming increasingly irked as the week went forward. The first few nights, he had understood; his boy was not foolish and only someone foolish would open something of his at a safe house designed and warded by Dumbledore.

This, however, he did not understand. They had been back at Godric Hallow for two nights and three afternoons and still Dubhán had not opened the book.

"Give me one of the Aurors," he shouted at someone - anyone who was around to hear. Someone heard, called back, 'Yes, My Lord' and scurried off. If the boy were here, he would have handled that in a much more dignified manner, but if the boy were here he wouldn't be feeling this...impatience.

He hardly looked at the Auror. He did not ask his name. He was just one of the few that they kept around to serve purposes like this. He made him scream, but not for the pleasure; it was simply a by-product of the bruises and marks he intended to send this man back with. Finally, he was a breath away from death. He branded him with the Dark Mark.

"Don't move him," he shouted as he walked away from the dead man. "Do not eat him," he hissed at Nagini. He had been spending much more time with the snake since the boy was not around.

He sat at his desk, withdrew his best quill, and settled down to write a note.

"This is only the beginning, Harry Potter. Return what is mine or I will keep returning what is yours."

He used a magical blade to hold it to the Auror's chest.

"Send him to the Ministry," he said dismissively. "Make it humiliating."

He would send him to the same place he had sent the boy. Let the newspapers miss that symbolism. Dubhán was his.

This would be much more fun.


Harry was on a personal leave combined with vacation that he had compiled over years of disuse. Despite this he had assured his team he would be there at night, when and if Devlin was asleep and didn't need him. They had been left specific instructions not to call himunless it qualified as a true emergency. So far, they had done well which was why when his watch went off during breakfast, he froze and knew it had to be bad.

Joseph Marlow had been in one of the first classes of Auror's Harry had trained. Last year he had been captured. He had been assumed dead. He had a wife and a baby that hadn't been born when he was captured.

Harry knew all of this without looking at his paper work.

Today, he had been found dead in the Ministry Atrium, before the Ministry had even opened it's doors to the public. He had used a portkey - his own portkey. The Death Eater's seemed organized enough to have kept the mans portkey which only responded to his fingerprints. They had put the Verified Portkeys (single use, only for the verified user) into effect after Devlin's body had been found. With Devlin Voldemort had used a random Auror's portkey - they hadn't known whose. Obviously he was keeping up with their cleverness. These verified portkeys typically only worked if the Auror was still alive, raising questions in Harry's head about whether Voldemort knew what should be a Department secret or if this Auror had been alive before the portkey went off.

The body was covered in bruises. He had been starved. He was filthy. He was still wearing his Auror outer robe, although they had stripped him naked underneath - probably just before sending the body. There was a stab mark and Harry wondered if they had killed Joseph the Muggle way - which would be odd.

"Were the cameras here?"

"No, sir. No one got a picture."

"Good." He clenched his jaw. "Why did you call me?"

Because although this was horrendous, it was not something his entirely capable crew could not manage. Harry would tell the wife - because that was what Harry did. He thought it probably made it just a little bit more bearable if they thought (rightly) that Harry cared enough to come to them personally. But that could have been requested of him through a letter.

"Sir...there was a letter on him for you."

The letter was laid out on a metal table. It was soaked in blood where it had obviously been stuck to the man. So that was why they had used a knife.

"This is only the beginning, Harry Potter. Return what is mine or I will keep returning what is yours."

Harry clenched his jaw again. Sometimes he wished he could make Voldemort's head hurt as much as could make his, but even if he tried the connection he had felt so acutely had waned after Devlin's kidnapping. Albus had worriedly said it was because Harry wasn't lettinganyone in, but now Harry had other theories. Voldemort had avoided their connection because he hadn't wanted Harry to see Devlin.

"There are rumors," the examiner said, voice hushed. "About what that letter means, sir."

"You're all idiots if you're calling them rumors," Harry said firmly, because pretending Voldemort didn't want Devlin wasn't going to help; it wouldn't last and it wouldn't stop the Ministry from being interested in him. Harry only lied if it was worth it and while anything to do with Devlin was worth even the biggest lie, this lie wouldn't help him.


"Arden, we have known each other for five years," Harry said, rubbing at his temples. Arden Graves had been been raised in England but when the war had become apparent his family had moved to America and Graves had gone with them. He had an accent that was an odd mix of English and American and he treated Harry like Harry suspected he treated his Captain in America, where he had first worked as a Medical Examiner.

"Of course Harry. You have to know he is using this as a tactical move - he will make the public at large demand things of your son..."

Harry clenched his jaw.

"I am well aware, Arden."

Harry wanted to go back home. He suspected Devlin had already awoken and he feared what the boy would read into his absence, but instead he headed upstairs, grabbed his cloak and had a look into Joseph's file to find his home address. Time to tell the wife. He didn't like them hearing the news through the grape vine.


Dubhán had snuck away from Emma with little time to spare. She had roped Alexandra into something called a 'tea party'; Dubhán wasn't aware of all the details, but it sounded much, much more boring than listening to Nott give a lecture. He hid himself in his room, reading.

He had scanned some of the more exciting chapters in all the books last night, but now he cracked the spine on the first year book and actually delved into the words for a deeper understanding.

Halfway through the matchstick to needle chapter he heard the front door downstairs open. A moment later he could hear Emma's voice shouting 'Daddy'. He stayed very still. Harry was back.

It took less time for Potter to come knocking at his door than it took Dubhán to convince Emma he wouldn't make pretend her dolls were talking.


He hid the books under his bed.

"Yes," he said, reaching his own hand out and opening the door.

Harry had hung his white robe up, but he was dressed very differently than he did around the house - slacks and a button up shirt. Somehow he looked less dashing and more weary, dressed this way. It didn't fit him. Didn't make him look more powerful. To Dubhán, Harry Potter's power would always be most visible in his killing curse eyes.

"Hey," he said, smiling. He smelled like salty tears, and blood, and the slightly pungent smell that filled the prisoner tent at the camp. He had touched someone who had died. Maybe that meant he had caught the 'bad guy'?

"Hello," he returned, trying not to let his nose wrinkle. No one else would notice, after all. This was one of those wolfish things.

"Sorry I wasn't at breakfast this morning," he said, fiddling with his wand. "I got called into work. I didn't expect it."

"Did he call you, then?"

Harry's head snapped up and his green eyes, so at odds with the killing curse they resembled for all the life left in them, bore into him.

"What do you mean, Devlin?"

"So he did, then? I figured he would, eventually." He tipped his head, looking more closely at the intensity - the worry, the sweat, the clenched jaw, the still wand - with which Harry's body simply radiated. "It's not like I know anything about it, sir. It is just...logical. You have something he wants. What else is he to do but call you?"

Harry seemed to shake himself. Into Dubhán's logic. Out of his own logic. Into something more pleasant than the facts that were aligning themselves in his brain.

"He did," Harry said, fiddling with his wand again. Grounding himself. He licked his lip and clenched his jaw. " shouldn't worry, Devlin. This is less about you and more about me."

Dubhán laughed. At the absurdity. At the ill-logic. At the fact that Harry actually believed it all to be true.

"It has nothing to do with you, sir," he said, soft but firm.

There was a pained look on Potter's face as he crouched down in front of him.

"Devlin. This isn't about you. You're not responsible for what he does. Whatever he does - it is not because of you." Devlin. The desperation in Potter's eyes to make him believe this falsehood had made the filthy man behind the bars surface in his mind again. His hand on his cheek. His insane laughter. It was what he had said that had made Dubhán betray Voldemort for the first time. But most of all it was the sheer look of desperation as he had whispered his name, over and over again. Trying to convince him Devlin was still real. Trying to make him see that he was still Devlin.

"You're right, sir. This isn't about me. It never was." And in that moment, he could almost see it clearly, almost grasp the exact words he should use to describe this almost indescribable, all-encompassing, thing. "It's about him. It always has been. I'm just here because we're both tangled up in his head."

He didn't feel any big revelation, no paradigm shift, because he had already known - he just hadn't known how to say it. Harry had drawn forward. His hands were on his hands, holding them.

"Nothing he did, nothing he ever will do, is your fault Devlin. You do not control him. You cannot control him." There were tears at the corners of Harry's eyes, making them brighter and more brilliant through the sheen of tears and against the red-rims.

"I made him not hurt me," he said, pulling away, scowling. He knew what Potter was saying. He understood the words. Understood that Potter was trying to make him relinquish his responsibility. But he couldn't. He couldn't not have any control. He had to believe he had some control over Voldemort or something would go terribly wrong. The fear was against his skin like a thousand wasps, his magic buzzing and boiling below. "I made him not hurt Emma!"

His fingernails were digging into his palms. His jaw was wide and hurting. He was yelling. He reached forward and pushed at Potter who seemed too startled to catch himself and fell onto the floor from his precarious crouch.

"You don't know anything about what I can do!"

Potter stared up at him. There was no anger in his eyes. No annoyance that Dubhán had just shoved him. No vengeance ready to take hold and hurt Dubhán. Nothing, except that damn love and sadness, chilling Dubhán to the bone.

"Devlin. I love-"

"I don't!" He growled. But then a moment passed, with that hurt spreading in Harry's eyes and the anger fell away, just a bit. "I don't know how to love you. I don't understand what I see in your eyes."

"Love isn't something you understand, Devlin," Harry said, his voice rasp. "It is something you feel."

"I don't think I feel it, then. How would you know?" He hated that he was genuinely looking for an answer - that he would fix this if he could. That he did not think it possible. He could feel his chest rising, fast and quick and without enough air leaving or entering. His vision pulsed and he felt the sharpness plow through his thoughts, shaking him back into reality before he was on the floor, convulsing. Before they both were hurting.

You need the werewolf, the sharpness instructed.

"I need Geoffrey," he said. He could feel his frame shaking, not like he was about to seize, but like a last-ditch attempt to keep everything from exploding.

"Devlin - it's alright, okay? Look - we can work through this, alright?"

He shook his head.

"I need Geoffrey." You need the werewolf.


"I need Geoffrey!"

"You need to clear your mind!" Harry said firmly. "You need to do whatever Snape has taught you!"

"I need Geoffrey!" He shouted, his fists balled up at his side. You need the werewolf. You need the werewolf. You need the werewolf.

"You know how to do what Geoffrey does, Devlin. You threw Snape out of your head-"

"I need Geoffrey!"

Suddenly Potter had his wrist and was dragging him, down the stairs, into the living room. Past a bewildered Emma. Past a worried looking Alex. He grabbed some floo powder and threw it into the flames. He only said their destination after he had Devlin wrapped up against him. Severus Snape's Office.

It was a Saturday. The Professor did not appear to be in his office. Dubhán propelled himself roughly away from Harry.

"Stay here," Harry said, and went toward the door. He pointed his wand into the hallway. Expecto Patronum.Suddenly there was a great bluish white stag leaping from his wand, dashing down the hallway.

"I need Geoffrey!" He said again. Maybe they were keeping Geoffrey at Hogwarts now. He would not give up on this. You need the werewolf.

He had to get that boy out of his head. Had to dispel the image of the prisoner. Had to stop her from screaming. Had to stop it all before it overwhelmed him. He needed Geoffrey or he needed Voldemort in front of him, freezing his thoughts with fear. He didn't think they'd give him Voldemort.

It was harder to make the thoughts stop, the images stop reeling, the voices go quiet when he knew he wasn't in danger. Danger and a larger fear of his own life had always managed to mostly control these anxiety attacks, but Potter wouldn't point his wand at him, Potter wouldn't dismiss him to some stranger 'get the boy out of my sight, he's being ridiculous', Potter wouldn't demand better of him like Geoffrey, Potter wouldn't insist he hold it together - that made Potter very very frightening in a whole terrifyingly foreign way. With Potter he was free, and he found that freedom petrifying.

The door opened and closed moments later.

Snape was dressed in black slacks and a grey cardigan and he looked sour in an entirely different way - as if they had dragged him away from a very complex potion in the chill of the dungeon. He had his billowing cloak thrown hastily over himself, unbuttoned, unmenacing.

"Yes, Potter?" He drawled, his eyes locked with Potter's green. He hadn't yet even glanced at Dubhán.

"You said it was Occlumency," he said, his teeth clenched and Dubhán wondered what very unpleasant thing he was about to say. "He can't be dependent. This can't keep happening. Show him what to do. Please."

He suspected it was the 'please'. Potter was shaking and Dubhán didn't know if he was angry or afraid, because Dubhán didn't feel like he knew anything at the moment. The sharpness was plowing into his head, trying hard to keep them there and in that moment Dubhán wasn't sure if he was the wolf or the boy or some combination of them both. He looked down at his shaking hands and moved his fingers idly, trying to regain control over his body.

He had told. He had told. He had told. Potter knew. Was it only a matter of time until he was foolish enough to tell other, darker, things to Potter? What about the cave? What about the little run down cottage? What about what he had done to that boy? What about-

Stay here, it said to him. They were familiar words. Calming words. The first words he had ever heard from the sharpness when it wouldn't let him go into the darkness after Voldemort had tortured him.

Severus Snape paused for a moment, but then he was in front of him, his black eyes boring into his green.

"Look at me," he said. Dubhán wanted to look away (he would be foolish to look at him now with all these faces and places reeling behind his eyes), but the sharpness gave a growl and lunge and suddenly they were looking at the traitor. Somehow he knew Snape wouldn't see any of it in his head.

It was like a cool fog in his mind, hardly unpleasant, not quite comfortable. Like waking up with too little sleep. Like the daze after you see blood pooling for the first time. Like the haze after Imperio is lifted. Like how it felt when Voldemort peered into his mind. For a moment Dubhán could breathe, because he knew this.

Suddenly, they were in the meadow again and it seemed to Dubhán that they had come here far too quickly, far too easily, far to welcoming. There was no valley. No mist. No bridge needing to be built. Snape was in front of him and Dubhán was looking at him, just like they had been in the office. The sun was shining here and it was summer, the grass a burnt wheat color, the whole of the world in that early morning sepia coloring.

Dubhán thought it all seemed very familiar, even though it shouldn't.

-Are you going to start explaining?- Snape asked, while he looked around. He took a step. The grass crunched beneath his feet and Snape looked at the ground, seemingly startled by what Dubhán thought no one should be startled by at all.

Dubhán did not understand. It was Potter who had brought him here and he had no idea what Potter meant Snape to do for him. He had asked for Geoffrey.

-What is there to explain?- The fear was slipping aside. He felt detached from himself. As if he would have needed to reach across some distance to feel anything but what he felt right now, in this place. As if those emotions were belongings that he had forgotten to bring along. -I did not ask to see you.-

-Why did you bring me here again?- Snape asked; he reached a hand down and pulled it through the grass, pulling off a tiny tip. It broke apart into seeds under the crush and twist of his thumb and forefinger. The seeds fell to the ground lightly when he released them. Watching them, Snape seemed to frown further.

-I don't know. This is just where we go.-

Except some part of him knew that wasn't entirely true. He had never brought Voldemort here. Never brought Malfoy or Bellatrix here. Only Snape.

The mere idea that his mind had reacted differently to the threat of Snape than someone else frightened him for almost unfathomable reasons. He felt like it was on the tip of his tongue, at the edge of his grasp, at the horizon of his thoughts. It was one of those things that Geoffrey would have ruffled his head and said 'you will know next year - your mind is still growing.' But Dubhán felt like it should be one of those things that someone explained to him; one of those things that he needed to know so badly that he didn't have time for his brain to catch up to this desperate need.

-The last time I was here, in your mind - you were afraid. Why are you not equally afraid now?-

The grass was being swept aside by the wind, rustling in a peaceful tune that Dubhán felt he had heard many times, except there was no grass like this at camp.

-You were trying to see things then,- he answered slowly. Everything seemed to move slow and methodical here. He found his thoughts to be clearer and more logical here, but harder to bring onto his tongue. -I know how to stop it now.-

Snape snorted and Dubhán wondered how he could seem as caustic and sharp here as he could there when Dubhán couldn't muster the same.

-Don't you recall what I said about the Hippogriff? You played a good trick - had a bit of fun - but now we are both aware that we are capable.-

Dubhán felt anger burn at his skin and he found himself stepping forward. The grass was bending beneath a harsher wind. The sun had sunk lower in the sky, burning the sky in it's deep amber hues.

-Fun?- He asked, snarling. -You think I was having a bit of fun?-

Snape peered at him. His features were stone-still. His eyes like the dark abyss of nothing, nothing, nothing, that Dubhán had fought so hard to tear himself away from all those years ago.

His hair was whipping in the quick wind. He bent to pluck another bit of the grass, crushing it again. The seeds flew quickly away from him.

-No, perhaps you weren't. A larger part of you was probably frightened, but that small part that threw me out - he was having a bit of fun.-

Dubhán felt the anger cool against his skin as his mind refocused itself into puzzling through Snape's words. His hands were clasped in front of him, while his dark endless eyes peered at him intently.

-I don't know what you mean,- Dubhán said, but it was a half-truth - an attempt to side-step the full-truth. His fingers brushed by his pocket, searching for his wand, but there was no wand there.

-Why did you bring me here?- Snape asked and it seemed odd and random to Dubhán, who had thought they had moved beyond the question. Snape's voice was firm and harsh and perhaps even a bit cold. Dubhán pulled himself up to his full height.

-I told you already-Dubhán never finished. Snape had stepped forward to interrupt; eyes harsh and commanding, using his height to make sure Dubhán was aware that he was the boy and Snape was the man.

-Which is why I was not asking the frightened boy.-

Dubhán fell very still.

-We're the same boy,- he said, after a long silent moment. He felt his hands searching once more for his wand.

-How can that be true if we are here?-

-I brought you here,- he replied, jaw tight, eyes narrowed.

-No,- Snape said simply. -Are you Devlin right now, or the werewolf?- It was asked calmly enough, except that those black eyes weren't leaving his, the intensity almost suffocating. There was no reason to look at him so closely here - he was already in his head - except for fear. He was afraid of him - perhaps not potently so, but the fear remained. Dubhán could feel it as if knowing such a thing were innate. Snape was afraid of him because he was a werewolf.

No one had ever been afraid of him because he was a werwolf. The Little Dark One, yes. The boy who could whisper in Voldemort's ear - yes. Thomas at the party had been afraid - of the fact that he had been near Voldemort he supposed. The girl was afraid of him because of what he had done to her. No one had ever been afraid of him because he was a werewolf. He felt startled for a moment.

-I'm always both,- he said, his words slow and thoughtful. He would not have bothered to answer if the man or the lady had asked, but Snape was different. He did not like contemplating how he was different.

-Yes, I can see that,- Snape said, stepping forward. He peered at him like Dubhán would have peered at a puzzle, or watched a new spell, or studied a very important text. As if Dubhán were a completely new potions ingredient and he was trying to decide what he would be best used in. -How particular. You are aware of the oddness of your own statement, yes?-

The wind stopped blowing and everything was very still for a moment.

-No,- he said. He knew many werewolves, feral werewolves, who would have answered the same - he had felt relatively protected by the three words.

When he had told Geoffrey about the sharpness Geoffrey had nodded. Of course - all of us feel that. He had still been little then, and months later he had come back to the subject, asking if all of them not only felt but heardthe sharpness. Geoffrey had gone very still and looked at him oddly for a moment. Dubhán had known then that Geoffrey's sharpness did not save him. That Bernard's sharpness did not tell him when to look and not look at someone bigger and stronger. That Zakara's sharpness would never push forward and take the brunt of a curse for him. His sharpness was different. More alive.

-It protects me,- he said at last, elaborating even though Snape hadn't asked him.

-Obviously,- Snape said, looking around. -Impressively so-

-Why isn't it normal?- Dubhán asked. He had asked Geoffrey, but he hadn't known. He had asked Voldemort, but Voldemort hadn't felt it was an appropriate discussion. He asked now, not really expecting an answer.

-When legilimency is preformed on a werewolf the Legilimens never reaches the werewolf itself because it is a magical creature - a beast - and Mind Magic does not work on the werewolf. Werewolves and humans do not encode their memories in the same way, therefore we cannot 'share' memories.-

Snape looked around again.

-This is different. This is very, very different.-

-Why?- He pressed, hoping for the answer he had wondered about a hundred times.

-This is something your werewolf has created. He should not be able to create such a place or share it with you - because werewolves do not encode their memories in the same way as humans. You should not be both. Yes, humans bitten tend to have wolfish tendencies but these are senses, vague ideas - things that slip through the barrier. I do not know yet what is wrong with your mind-

-There isn't anything wrong-

Snape stared at him for a moment.

-Defensive about your sanity - how intriguing.-

Dubhán did not ask him why it was so intriguing.

-Let us talk about the much more embarrassing situation at hand; that Potter brought you to my office. You have been kept weak. You have been subdued in your ability to help yourself. It is no longer necessary or believable. When you feel should picture this place. Or make a new place if you must continue the Death Eater's visual. Write your worry in your own sand, Devlin.-

Dubhán had listened but did not really understand. He opened his mouth to ask, but before he could formulate the words, the meadow was pulsing and dimming and he was in Snape's office.

"There," Snape was saying to Potter, "I fixed it temporarily. He won't turn blue for the moment. He will have to fix the rest. Stop coddling him. He won't die from a bit of panic."

Dubhán looked at Snape, who wouldn't look at him. He wanted to ask what he had meant about Geoffrey keeping him weak - subduing his ability to help himself, but Snape was clearly intent on avoiding all of Dubhán's opportunities.

"I am sure you know how to get back home, Potter. Please do leave promptly. Now, if you will excuse me, I have potions to brew."


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