Bane of My Existence
by Dream Howler

Author Notes: To those of you that think that Draco seems a bit OOC, he was written that way on purpose. His dad is dead, and he doesn’t have to live up to his expectations any more. He will be coming in a little more closer to character shortly, but will always be a little OOC.I am sorry that this took so long to put out. I had a bit of writer's block for awhile.

Author Thanks: Thanks to Dawn and Draeconin, for everything they did to make this chapter wonderful.

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Chapter 9 Recap:

Remus and Severus decided that they would pursue a relationship together. They haven’t defined the relationship yet, however you get an interesting insight into their budding relationship. Severus tells Remus about his new physical appearance and the potion he used. Remus asked Severus if he could be used as a test subject for its eventual release. They hope that the potion will have the side effect of a cure for werewolves.

Hermione received a book from her suitor to communicate with instead of using owls since Hermione didn’t have one of her own. They had several conversations, where she eventually figured out who he was, but hasn’t confronted him with the information. She wants to get to know him better as a person, ignoring pre-conceived notions, before she lets him know that she knows who he is.

Draco figures out that he and Harry had sex in a dream, and is shocked to find out it was his elf’s fault. Draco is worried what Harry will think about the situation when he finds out, and is quite upset with his elf.

Hermione finally tells Harry and Ron about her courtship. Ron actually thought that she and Fred had gotten back together, before finding out that it wasn’t him. Harry, of course, knew about Hermione’s suitor for at least a week before Hermione told them her theory about who her suitor was.

Chapter 10 - Cures, Surprises and Dreams Revealed

Remus hadn’t felt this good in years, not even before he had been bitten as a child. He never expected to feel this way again, like he had taken off twenty years off his appearance and body. It was wonderful not to wake up every morning feeling like an old man of a hundred, when he was only in his late thirties. His aches and pains now were a mere memory of their former selves. Severus had given him the regimen of potions twice now, and he felt increasingly better after each dose he took.  Remus was worried though; the full moon would be in two days, the first one since he had begun the potions. He felt the wolf had retreated quite a bit, and no longer lingered where he could feel its rising anger over certain things as the moon drew closer, but after so many years in the moon’s thrall, he found it hard to be absolutely certain that the wolf had completely retreated.

Severus had actually felt so inclined after that statement to give him a kiss; apparently very happy that the werewolf was contained where he wouldn’t get hurt. Severus still had a fear of werewolves after all of these years. Not that Remus could blame him; he sometimes had that fear himself. Dumbledore often wanted him to be an ambassador to the werewolf population, which meant that he had to curb his natural dominant nature to appear weaker to any Alpha he dealt with.  Luckily, Remus had lots of practice pretending to be harmless.

The only residual feeling that he definitely felt from his wolf was a continuing attachment to Severus: an attachment that felt like Severus should be much more than merely a friend or lover. Remus could barely remember a time when he hadn’t felt that way, though. It started when he was a teenager, but his friends, now long since dead or gone, would never have let him act on them. Before Severus actually found out that Remus was a werewolf, they had been forced to be lab partners in potions, and had almost become friends. If it hadn’t been for James and Sirius, he might have been with Severus years ago, a fact that Remus regretted more than anything: the lost time, and the companionship he could have had for years.

Several days later, Remus could hardly believe it: while the wolf had tried to come out on the full moon, it couldn’t fully take over his body. He became slightly more hairy, and his ears a bit pointed, a little like elves ears. He also found his face was elongated with a bit of a muzzle, and he still had his tail. That was all that could come forth. For the first time in more years than he could remember Remus felt mostly normal, although the tail threw him off balance whenever he tried to walk across the room. 

Severus was very excited at the results of his potions regimen; he had invented a cure for werewolves!  Well, nearly, anyway. Severus did several tests on the formula during the days of the full moon, and thought he may have come up with a way to get rid of the minimal effects left over.  If Severus could perfect this potion, then Remus could actually hold down a real job, and be able to have a real life.

On Saturday morning Harry stretched as he woke up, wincing as a pain shot up his lower body.  Sitting up in bed, he gasped as he realised that he felt like he thought he would if he had sex that night, which would be impossible, unless he was taken against his will and Obliviated.  He thought back over the last few days, and realised that each night he had been having strange erotic dreams which were more vivid than anything he had ever encountered before.

Gingerly swinging his legs over the side of the bed, Harry cautiously got up and went to take a shower.  Using the time in total privacy to go over what could have happened, he found himself distracted by memories of his dream, which was filled with loving thoughts and actions.  He doubted he could feel that way unless it was someone he cared about; it was definitely a boy, and he looked like Draco.

The more Harry tried to analyse his dreams the more worried he became. 

“Okay,” he groaned under the spill of water, “I need to find out whether they were actually real, or just my imagination.”  Drying off he decided to research obscure spells and potions that would make you feel like you were in love even if being taken against your will.  

Having spent the weekend holed up in the library, he found several potions and spells that met some of the requirements, although none completely fit the criteria. Giving in to the urge to scream Harry laid his head on his crossed arms in order to smother the sound.

“Harry? Harry, answer me right now!” he heard vaguely.  Lifting his head he saw Hermione in front of him, her arms crossed and her left foot tapping, obviously frustrated with him.

“Hi, ‘Mione.”

“Harry, whatever’s the matter?  You disappeared all weekend.”


“Have you been in here all the time?”

“Yeah. actually I…”

“What are you doing? Are you alright?”  Her machine gun delivery was confusing him slightly as he tried to come up with answers he couldn’t possibly fit into the   millisecond gaps in her speech. 

Waiting until she seemed to have run out of words, he calmly asked, “Are you done?”

“Well, I...  Er, yes, I’m done.  Can you at least answer me, please?” She begged.

Laughing Harry replied. “Nothing, yes, looking up spells and potions, not really.”


“Nothing, yes, looking up...”

“Yes, okay, I get it.  So what’s wrong?  This isn’t like you.”

“Actually, can you come with me outside, where we can talk properly?  Please?” Harry asked Hermione.

Intrigued, she nodded.  He stood up, packed up his bag, and they left together.

Sometime later, when they reached a large rock overlooking the lake, Harry casting several silencing wards and spells, explaining to her about the dreams, and with a lot of embarrassment, he also told her about the physical aches he had woken up with. 

“I’ve heard of something like this before, but I’m not sure where!” she exclaimed.

“I’m going…”

“To the library...” Harry snorted, trying hard not to laugh at her disgusted expression. “I’ll come get you for dinner.”

Shaking her head and laughing, Hermione stood up, brushed off her skirt, and wandered off back to the library.

Two days later Hermione dragged Harry out to the lake again.

“I’ve found a potion; it’s a bit obscure, but it would explain about the, ah, symptoms that you’ve been feeling.  It also seems as though it’s a potion commonly used by pure-bloods, only the book I found it in didn’t give many details of what it’s usually used for,” she explained.  “What do you want to do now?”

“Who might know what it’s for?” Harry asked, “Well, who we can ask anyway.  I can hardly go ask Dra-, er, Malfoy.”

“Dobby,” they both exclaimed together, then grinning at each other, and yelled a bit louder, “DOBBY.”

“What can Dobby do for Harry Potter, Sir,” Dobby asked as he popped in, bouncing up and down in his excitement at being called.

“Dobby,” Hermione caught his attention, “Do you know what the “Harmonieux Potion” is?”

“Yes, Hermione Granger, miss. for keeping harmony and peace in the house, stops the master and mistress fighting.  Is this what you is wanting to be knowing?”

“Dobby, who might be able to get it at Hogwarts?” Harry asked the elf.

“The house-elves only, Harry Potter, sir, it is being for house-elves only. We is making sure all is well in the household.  No-one here can use it, only elves and we’s not doing it.”

“Okay, Dobby, thank you. You can go now.” Hermione said quickly, before the elf could go into any further raptures.

Harry was initially angry, but the way Dobby described the potion - as an elf’s guide to household harmony - the Masters never knew it was used on them, and by the time they did, they were grateful for the help. Harry and Hermione sat on the information for several days, which was when Hermione asked Harry if Draco and he were having problems at some point. Harry vaguely remembered that he and Draco were having some issues after Harry revealed that he was Anton, and that they had a meal that was served by Draco’s personal elf. He suddenly realised that it was probably when it happened, since Dobby said that it was a Malfoy tradition.

Harry wondered what exactly they discussed that night when the potion was introduced to his food. Had Draco remembered the dream inducing potion yet, and realized that he had sex with Harry? Draco didn’t seem to be acting oddly around Harry, so it was possible that he didn’t know. However, Draco was the master of keeping his emotions in check if he needed to. It was time to confront Draco with the potion and see what he had to say about it.

Draco knew that things were going too smoothly in his life not feel a little apprehensive when Harry asked to speak to him privately in the Room of Requirement. He had a feeling that he knew what the conversation would consist of, mainly because he noticed that Harry was being especially quiet lately. Of course, now that he knew that Anton was Harry, he noticed that he was usually quiet, anyway. Draco still didn’t know what to think of Harry, or how to reconcile the side of Harry that he saw during band practice and the typical Gryffindor that he saw in his daily life.

When Harry sat down before him, after casting several silencing wards and spells, Draco suddenly felt a little nervous. He just hoped that Harry wasn’t breaking up with him; he knew it would devastate him.

Harry sat across from Draco for several minutes before he began speaking. “I know that something happened between us, Draco. It took me awhile to figure out what it was, luckily Hermione is very smart, and Dobby knows your family quite well.”

Draco began to interrupt, but was stopped when Harry lifted his hand to silence him.

“I know that this apparently is what house-elves do for pure-blood families, and apparently it is always used without their Master’s knowledge. What I want to know is why it seems like a dream, and why I can’t remember it. It was my first time, Draco; I want to remember it.”

Draco cleared his throat, flushing slightly at Harry’s words. “I am so sorry, Harry. Mipsey meant well, honestly!” he exclaimed hurriedly. “She was worried when I seemed angry at you when you told me you were Anton and wanted to help us like she did for Mother and Father when she was their personal elf. She thought we belonged together, and she thought the potion would help us. Please don’t make me give her clothes, I have had her since I was a baby and as odd as it sounds, I kind of love her in a strange way.”

Harry smiled at Draco’s hurried explanation. He couldn’t believe that he had somehow coaxed Draco Malfoy into admitting that he kinda loved a house elf. He wasn’t going to comment on it, because Draco looked clearly embarrassed by his admission.

“I am not going to ask that of you, Draco. I actually find it interesting that she thought we belonged together enough to help. I am upset I don’t remember, though.” Harry said with a sigh.

Draco smiled slightly and moved slowly across the room to the couch that Harry was sitting on and sat down nervously. “Actually, now that you remember that it happened and know about the potion, it should come back to you in the next couple of nights. That’s what happened to me. If not, then I can see if mother will send father’s Pensieve and I can put my memory in it for you to view. It was amazing.”

Harry smiled and leaned over to rest his head on Draco’s shoulder, sighing again softly. “I didn’t think I was ready for that, yet. Now it is all I can think about. I have known about it for about a week or so now, but I didn’t know what to think. I was initially angry, but after I talked to Dobby… I didn’t know if I should be angry, or grateful that your elf thought that we should be together badly enough to use it.”

Draco reached up with his other hand and petted Harry’s hair softly. “We can re-enact it any time that you want, Harry. I would rather it be something you remember forever instead of something that didn’t actually happen. I… actually have a confession to make. I have only done it once before you, and the relationship wasn’t very long. Apparently, he just wanted to say he slept with me, and tried to dump me afterwards. Luckily, when he tried to dump me, he started bragging how he was going to tell everyone he took my virginity, so I Oblivated his memory of it. So, you could actually say that in a way, my first time with anyone was, or will be with you.”

“Wow; that is just horrible. I can’t believe that someone could be so cruel. What happened to him afterwards?”

“Well, I was a little mean toward him, of course. When he tried to sleep with me again, I told him that I would never sleep with him, ever. He was quite embarrassed. I was lucky when I was a child, that my father taught me several important survival spells. I was glad that one of them was the memory charm.”

“Yeah. I didn’t have that luxury, being that I was with magic hating Muggles for all of my life. I hate going back there; they treat me like their personal slave. Do the dishes, weed the garden, and clean up the house. It never stops! When I am not done with what they perceive to be enough work, they deny me food. It’s a wonder I actually survived to Hogwarts' age.”

Draco looked at Harry sadly. That was the first time he had heard some of the extent of what Harry had gone through. He knew now that his Muggle relatives didn’t treat Harry well at home.  After years of being told he was treated like a prince, his eyes were opened. It was probably why Draco had identified with Harry so much. They were a lot alike, in more ways than one.

“I wish I had known. I can’t tell you how many years that we were told that you were living the ultimate life. Severus was always telling us you were fine. Of course, he was getting that information from the Headmaster, and obviously, the Headmaster didn’t know or something, ‘cause he was wrong.”

Harry nodded. “I was embarrassed at first. I did try to tell him once or twice. Even Ron and the twins told him that I had bars on my window and was being starved. When Ron told Mrs Weasley, she said something along the lines of, ‘if you do that again, I will put bars on your window’. I don’t think at the time she even believed Ron. Of course the next summer Mrs Weasley started sending me food over the holidays. Maybe she found out the truth, or maybe she just wanted to make sure I didn’t starve.”

Draco sighed, hearing the pain and suffering in Harry’s voice and cuddled close to him, placing his arm around him in comfort. “It’s okay now, Harry. I won’t let anything happen to you. You could come and stay with Severus and me if you like, this summer. He’s my Godfather, so I thought I would stay with him. We can help you train some more, and hopefully we can end this war. I am tired of living in fear for my life. It’s one of the main reasons that I am almost glad my father is gone. He can’t force me to be something I am not.”

Harry smiled for a moment, and then sighed softly. “I am glad too. I wouldn’t want to face you on the battlefield and have to decide if I want to kill you or not. I don’t think I could.”

“Don’t worry, Harry. I couldn’t do it either. You have been a part of my life for seven years now, and now that I have you, I don’t want to let you go.” As he said that, Draco leaned over and gently kissed Harry. It was a soft exploration of mouths, fused together in comfort for several moments before Draco let out a soft moan.

Turning his upper body more toward Draco, Harry continued kissing him. Harry couldn’t help thinking that Draco was such a great kisser. As the kiss turned more passionate Draco lifted his right hand and rested it on Harry’s cheek, their chests pressed together, and Harry’s hand caressing Draco’s back. Both let out heartfelt moans, when they ended up falling down onto the couch, rubbing their erections against each other.

After several minutes of frotting against each other, kissing like their lives depended on it, both Draco and Harry gasped, each realizing that they needed a shower due to the cum that was now seeping through the front of their pants. Neither really cared about it and Harry rested comfortably on Draco’s chest, sighing happily.

Draco was the first to speak, and it was a soft whisper in Harry’s ear. “That was really nice.”

Harry looked up into Draco’s eyes. “Yeah, I think we may have to do that again, preferably with no clothes on.”

Draco grinned, “Most definitely. I would love to see you naked again. You have a nice body.”

Harry blushed slightly, he was just glad that he was starting to get taller and more filled out with the nutrient potions that Snape was giving him. His many hours of Quidditch were now giving him the body that he always wanted, though with the potions, he was getting a bit too big to play seeker anymore. It was a good thing that Harry had decided to give the honour to Ginny this year. Gryffindor wasn’t too happy that Harry had decided not to play, but he convinced them that he needed to focus on his studies this year. Severus even promised to use his experimental potion on him when he had tested it on some of Harry’s blood. He said it was a precaution for Harry’s sake, due to his curse scar and other characteristics, that it would be best to test the blood’s reaction first. Harry was wary of giving away his blood, but he knew he could trust Snape with it. Even if Severus were an expert at Blood Magic, he wouldn’t try to use the blood to try to control Harry. Severus might not be a nice man most of the time, but he trusted him.

Harry and Draco cleaned up, and continued cuddling for a while before making their way downstairs for band practice. All in all, it was a good day all around.

Severus had to admit that, for the first time in his life, his existence had taken a turn for the better. He had a potential lover, a place to sing, and was doing something he really enjoyed. If it weren’t for the Dark Lord still running around, Severus’ life would be perfect. After he practised several songs with the band, he sat and listened to them intently. He had to admit that Harry had gotten his talent from his mother in spades.

He had decided, after careful consideration, to invite Harry to his office to let him view some of his memories of Lily. He had learned through Draco that no one had ever told Harry much about his mother at all. It was almost as if she didn’t exist anymore to the people that she had loved and thought she had meant so much to. Lily had been Severus’ best friend since he was a young child, and had many fond memories of her.

Once practice was over, he pulled Harry aside and invited him to his office for a talk. He had several things to discuss with him, as well as the memories that he wanted to share with Harry.

Harry was slightly shocked when he followed Professor Snape down to his dungeon office as he didn’t actually stop in the office, but walked up to a door that Harry had never seen before and opened it.

“This way, Mr. Potter.” Severus said as he held open the door. Once they were inside, he re-warded the room with its normal charms and wards. “This is my private sitting room that is linked to my office. I wish to discuss things that have no business being heard by prying ears.”

Harry nodded, understanding completely that some things did call for privacy.  He also had a feeling that he knew what the subject of the conversation was going to be for the day. However, Harry was mostly wrong in his assumptions.

“Harry, what do you know or remember of your mother?”

Harry looked at him confused for several minutes. “What do you mean, sir? I mean, the Dementors showed me her death, but other than that, the Mirror of Erised, and when she came out of Voldemort’s wand, I don’t know much about her otherwise. Most just tell me I have her eyes and that she was kind but fiery. All of that sounds kind of a contradiction if you ask me.”

“Well, Harry, you may not know this, but for many years, your mother and I were best friends. We met when we were young children. I have decided that it was high time you learned something more about your mother. You seem to have much more in common with her than you do your father. For which, I must say, I am very grateful.”

Harry nodded, clearly aware of what his father had done to Snape over the years, so he didn’t comment about that. “What can you tell me about her? I have been asking people for years.”

“How about I show you, instead? I pulled several memories that I think would interest you. The day your mother and I met, when I told her she was a witch. The day our Hogwarts' letters came, and she finally believed that she was a witch. I pulled one of her intense practicing sessions with of her violin, and several others. I will be right here while you view them. If you have any questions, just ask.”

Harry nodded, almost in tears as he realized that he would finally see his mother for the first time for real. He had often wondered what she would be like now. Knowing what she was like as a child would help complete a puzzle for Harry.

“Thank you, sir. I really appreciate this, more than you will ever know.”

Severus nodded and directed Harry toward the Pensieve that was sitting in the middle of the room. “I have already put the memories inside. You may start at any time.”

Harry nodded, too choked up to speak, and leaned into the Pensieve. Harry instantly recognized his Aunt Petunia, despite all the changes in her appearance; the expression on her face looked remarkably like the one she usually wore when around him, as though she smelt something thoroughly unpleasant which she didn’t want to deal with.

After several moments, he continued to look around, and identified his mother, who was talking to a little black haired boy, that Harry instantly recognised as a young Severus Snape, trying to make friends with Lily by telling her that she was a witch. Lily obviously didn’t believe in witches, but she seemed to humour Severus.

Petunia was instantly mad at her sister for talking to the freaky boy that lived down the lane, and tried to get Lily to leave him alone. She called him several names, before Lily stood up to her sister and told her to leave her friend alone. It was the start of a beautiful friendship.

Harry saw many more memories that afternoon. He saw her excited to find out that Severus was right about her being a witch when her Hogwarts letter came. The first time she rode a broom, which made Harry laugh as she was a bit like Hermione in that respect. It didn’t take Harry a moment to realize that his Quidditch skills came from his father.

He saw her first potions lesson, where she was partnered with Severus, and saw that his mother and Severus had a great love of the subject. He saw her first Charms lesson, where like Hermione, she got levitation right on the first try.

Harry lost count of how many memories he saw that day, but he knew that he would be grateful to Severus for showing them to him.

While Harry was viewing memories, Severus was making a training schedule for Harry and Draco. Between Draco’s Quidditch, band practice, and studies, there wasn’t a lot of time. Luckily, Harry had dropped a couple of classes last year, and he had several free periods during the day when Draco didn’t. So he decided to schedule what he could together, and use Harry’s free periods for independent study in subjects that he thought would be useful.

Dumbledore had finally given him permission to do what he could to prepare the boy, since Harry was running out of time. He needed to prepare him as much as possible for the final battle. Severus just hoped that he could teach him enough to make sure Harry survived.

When Severus had written his list, he noticed that Harry had finished viewing the memories, and was crying. Severus was at a loss what to do, having been deprived of true comfort since he was a young child. However, he stood up, and walked over to Harry, awkwardly patting him on the back, clearly nervous at the prospect of touching Harry that way.

Severus recognized that Harry needed some comfort and he was the only one available. He felt that he had been more than generous in letting Harry see his memories of Lily, including the violin recital that she had given. He had also included the night he was almost killed by Remus. It gave him the creeps, but he figured that as much as he had hated James Potter, Harry deserved to see his father as something other than a bully for a change.

As Harry recovered from the overload of raw emotion, he looked up into Severus’ eyes and smiled. “Thank you, sir, I appreciate being able to see them. More than anything in the world, I have always wanted to know my parents. It is probably the best gift I have ever received.”

Severus cleared his throat, making sure to blank his expression as he moved toward his seat and sat down. “You are welcome to view them again, if you like. I would not mind. Perhaps, if I recall some memory that I think you will find interesting, I will add to the collection. I am glad that I could help you learn more about your mother. She was my best friend for many years. I miss her dearly.”

Harry nodded and smiled. “I appreciate that, Sir. I wish I had really known her. My relatives were not nice to me growing up. I am glad that I never have to see them again. They treated me worse than a house elf, which says a lot about their character.”

Severus still wasn’t used to the fact that Harry was abused growing up. He had made so many terrible assumptions in the last seven years. At least he was trying to make up for it now.

“I am sorry that I didn’t think to warn Dumbledore not to place you with them. I remember Petunia well, and she was a horrible young woman last I knew her. At the time, I was mourning the loss of my best friend, and my part in the whole disaster. I had no idea that he would attack your parents. You must believe me that even if I had hated your father, I would have never let her suffer if I could help it.”

“I believe you, Professor. It’s okay now. No one will ever treat me like that again.”

Draco didn’t exactly know what to feel today. He had received a letter from his mother saying that she was going into hiding at one of their little known homes in the Far East. She, of course, didn’t mention the location, but Draco knew which one she was talking about. It was one that they purchased after the end of the last war, and it was an ancient and well protected home. The only problem was that she wouldn’t be able to contact him often, which left Draco alone for the first time in his life.

Of course it could be reasoned that as long as he had Harry, he wouldn’t be completely alone, but Draco had always been extremely close to his mother. Harry had been remarkably supportive once Draco told him, but he was bemused by Draco’s altered behaviour. Draco seemed subdued, and didn’t really act like the young man that he had started to fall completely in love with.

Sitting by the lake again, Hermione and Harry sat down to talk about Draco’s situation.

“He’ll be alright, Harry,” Hermione assured Harry. “Just give him time, and be there for him.  He needs that, he’ll be his old self soon enough.”

“I can try.  I know that makes sense and that he’s really hurting at the moment.” Harry agreed. “It can’t be easy for him with his father dead and his mother away.”

“No, I would imagine not,” she replied. “How are you holding up?”

“I’m okay. Just a bit down, really. I hate seeing him this way.”

“I know you do.  You need to let him know that, though.  Knowing you are there for him will really help, you know.”

Getting to his feet, Harry held his hand out for her to grab onto, and hauled Hermione to her feet.  “What would I do without you?  Come on, let’s go find him.” 

It took a good month for Draco to begin to start acting like himself again, and it was mainly Harry that helped him to that place in his life. It took quite a bit of convincing, but Harry reasoned that at least Draco knew his mother was safe, and he could concentrate on surviving the war without worrying if his mother was dead or alive.

Voldemort sat in the library of Lestrange Manor, observing the messenger that had been sent by one of his lieutenants. He had recently learned that Narcissa Malfoy had gone underground after her husband's death. This, of course, meant that Voldemort had lost all access to the Malfoy fortune. The loss of funds went unnoticed for quite some time, due to other sources of income, as the Malfoy heir slowly changed the permissions on his family vaults.  He had told the goblins that any withdrawals had to have his explicit permission, his magical signature, and something else: a ‘something else’ that Voldemort couldn't get out of his human source.

Voldemort was understandably angry, and since he had a body in front of him, he cast Crucio on him for several minutes before telling him to get out of his sight. His plans were going to hell in a hand basket. He was tired of having his plans disrupted, though a particularly bright side to the situation was that he had found out that Dumbledore was not well, and was stepping down as Headmaster of Hogwarts.  It was rumoured that he may not live much longer. If Dumbledore died, there would be nothing to stop him from taking over the world: certainly not that insipid child, Harry Potter.

He still couldn't figure out how Potter had eluded him all these years. It was as if the boy had the most incredible luck known to wizarding kind. It also didn't help that since his possession of the Potter boy, he had felt something was off with the boy. Though the boy seemed to want to destroy him, he felt the pity for him that Voldemort didn't want from him. He didn't need any pity from anyone.

It was time to think of a new plan to get the Potter boy out of the castle. Perhaps it was time to capture one of those red headed Weasleys that Potter was so fond of. However, ‘which one?’ was the question. It had to be one of the adults, unless he could get one of the children from a Hogsmeade visit. It was a distinct possibility that it would be easier to follow that route. Voldemort, if he liked anything, liked to find an easier way to doing things.

It was time to summon one of his inner circle, the person closest in proximity to the Potter boy, Severus Snape.

Severus was busy kissing Remus when he felt the intense pain from his Dark Mark. He wasn't sure that he could do anything other than respond. He had received some information that the Dark Lord might suspect that he had betrayed him, but he could tell that the summons was for him alone. Usually Voldemort felt the need to show off, and if he was indeed suspicious, he would have summoned the entire Dark army.

Severus placed one last kiss on Remus' lips, and schooled his face to show no emotion.

“I must go, Remus. The Dark Lord is summoning me.” Severus walked to his bookcase, and tapped the bookcase with his wand. Seconds later, a giant potions shelf appeared. Severus grabbed several potions off the shelf, and turned to Remus, who was standing there stunned.

“Must you go? What about the rumour that he was suspicious of you?” asked Remus.

“The summons is just for me. If the Dark Lord was going to kill me, then he would be calling the entire Dark army. I will be fine. I am sure of it. I know the difference between the calls to know. I may find myself Crucio'd quite a bit, but I doubt he will kill me tonight. It is hard to ignore a personal summons.”

Remus nodded and though he looked worried, he knew that Severus was more than capable of taking care of himself. If there was one person that he could count on in a fight, it would be Severus Snape. Severus was the ultimate warrior, and Remus was proud to know him.

“Be careful, Severus. I know you always are, but I don't want to lose you, now that I have you.”

Severus nodded, “I feel the same, Remus. I will see you as soon as I am able.”

Severus quickly exited the room and hurried out of the castle to answer the summons, hoping that his normally keen instincts were correct, and that he would return alive from this encounter with the Dark Lord.

Severus arrived at Lestrange Manor, and repressed a shudder at the rush of dark magic that trickled along his skin as he crossed the wards. He had never liked this place, and it seemed to get darker and more evil with each passing year. It didn't seem to matter that the house had stood unoccupied for a number of years while the Lestranges were in prison.  With the Dark Lord now occupying the manor, the building was fast becoming one of the vilest and most nauseating houses in the world.

Severus went directly to where his mark led him, which was the largest library in the Manor. Behind the desk, Voldemort seemed almost like a sane member of the Wizarding World, the one that he had once met a long time ago when he was a foolish young man.

“You summoned me, My Lord?” Severus inquired as he bowed his head in the usual manner of respect that the Dark Lord requested. Normally, he would have to bow and scrape for a sliver of attention, but since the Dark Lord was behind a desk, it made such actions impossible.

“Yessss, Severussss.” Voldemort hissed. “I have need of your intelligent mind, and your keen observation skills. I need to know which of the Weasleys Potter favours the most. I assume it would be the youngest two? Which one would you think would make him come for me the quickest?”

Severus should have expected this plan of action at some point, but it actually caught him off guard. He considered before he answered, but he knew that he would have to inform the members of the Weasley family as soon as possible. He also knew that telling the truth, would better serve his purposes in the end to continue to feed information to the Order.

“I would say that the Potter brat values the youngest son the most. The brat had the youngest Weasley male as the thing he would miss most in the Tri-Wizard tournament, so I doubt that has changed much in the intervening years. They always seem to be stuck together like glue, no matter how hard anyone tries to pry them away from each other.” “Just as I suspected. I had actually thought it might be the girl, but apparently, you think otherwise. Why is that, Severus?”

“I would have agreed with you before last term. However, Potter has removed himself from her presence. I haven't noticed them near each other the entire school year. She seems to be dating someone else now.”

Voldemort considered Severus' words very carefully. It was possible that Severus might be lying, but he knew that Severus was telling the truth. His spies in Hogwarts had given him the same information.

“Very well, leave me now. I must plan.” Voldemort said, turning toward the unshielded window and peering into the moonlight.

Severus bowed, and backed out of the room cautiously, surprised that he made it out of the room without being Crucio'd into insanity, albeit it being a temporary state. He quickly made his way out of the Manor and Apparated back to Hogwarts. He had a report that he needed to give to the Headmaster. The Weasley family was in great danger; if anything happened to them, the impact would send Harry into a tailspin.

Severus knew that his days as a spy were over, unless there was a way to send the Weasley family underground without alerting Voldemort. He would know more when he spoke with the Headmaster. 

Dumbledore wasn’t surprised that yet another family was to be put in danger because of Voldemort and his quest to kill Harry. Of course it wasn’t the boy’s fault, but it seemed that trouble always followed him. When Harry was informed of the possible capture of Ron, he begged the Headmaster to forbid him to go to Hogsmeade for any reason.

Dumbledore tried to assure him that it was imperative that Ron be shown to be following his normal patterns. If Ron didn’t show up, then Severus would no longer be useful to the Order as a spy, and that would be a bad thing. Harry was still quite upset, but as he calmed down, he suggested that perhaps one of the Order members might disguise themselves as Ron. Dumbledore thought it was something that may work, the problem was that after an hour, the potion would wear off, and Voldemort would know that Severus had told someone.

Harry mentioned his special glamour that could only be removed by a spell known only to him would be a good alternative to Polyjuice. All they needed was an order member who was approximately Ron’s size, and the rest would be fixed by the spell. Dumbledore promised to see what he could do, and since they had several weeks before the next Hogsmeade weekend, he would look into other alternatives to keeping Ron safe.

Harry felt very uncomfortable with the possibility that Dumbledore would just let the real Ron be captured. He began to wonder if the Headmaster was still able to function as the leader of the light, or if his illness made him unfit to lead.

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