Albus Dumbledore paced his office, still extremely agitated; seven years nearly he'd been searching for the boy to no success. He hadn't expected the time to go so quickly, he had simply thought he'd have to wait a few months to get the teenager back in his grasp. More fool him, since Harry Potter hadn't done magic since fading of the face of the earth. The only thing he could think was the boy perhaps as under the Fidelus Charm, and if he was, someone was helping him, and that made matters worse. Sighing in exasperation he sat down on his chair, his feet aching from the constant pacing he'd been doing for the past three hours. He hadn't seen it coming; the boy had gotten on the train home and all was silent over the summer holidays, then he'd failed to appear at Hogwarts for the starting feast. Once that was over, he had immediately gone to Privet Drive to retrieve him. Only to find the wards absent; whatever had happened, Harry had stopped thinking of Privet Drive as home. He'd put his own wards up, but they weren't anywhere near as strong as blood wards. He couldn't have anything happening to the Dursleys; after all, the boy would be going straight back as soon as he got his hands on him. Or he had thought as such, until Harry turned seventeen and was still missing. The Ministry hadn't had any more luck than he himself had; they had no idea just how important the boy was to the future of wizard kind. Only he did, and he hadn't shared the prophecy with anyone.
"Headmaster, Severus is in the hospital wing in critical condition. Poppy isn't sure if he will survive," said Madam Pince, coming into the office extremely winded. She'd been severely shaken by the sight of the bloody mess that was their Potions Professor. She'd immediately taken him to Poppy to be healed, and as always, duty required that the Headmaster be aware of anyone injured in the hospital wing, whether it is a student or a teacher.
As soon as she spoke, Albus leapt from his chair and Floo'd to the Hospital wing, the very figure of concern.
"Poppy! How is he?" asked Albus as he stepped from the fire, his blue eyes filled with worry. Severus being injured at Death Eater meetings wasn't an unusual thing. However, being harmed enough to fall unconscious and be taken to Poppy was another thing altogether. Then he caught sight of the wizard and couldn't help but wince. This wasn't good; Voldemort didn't usually hurt Severus quite so badly, he was after all the only Potions Master he had in his service, not to mention his spy. Very unlike him; he had a sinking feeling that his spy had been found out. Which made the wizard completely useless; he needed someone in the enemy camps. Especially now, with so much going on and the war beginning to spill out everywhere.
"It doesn't look good," said Poppy wiping her forehead as she continued to mutter spells under her breath as she worked urgently to save the life of a man she was very fond of. He was losing too much blood; if she couldn't get it stopped… she would lose him and that wasn't acceptable to her.
"Shall I call a healer from St. Mungo's?" asked Dumbledore, although if he was caught as spy he may as well die.
"I think I can manage," said Poppy. She knew of Severus' position as spy, however a healer wouldn't, and would immediately call the Aurors at the Ministry to have him arrested as soon as he came around. If they even allowed her to heal him before arresting him; the healers at the Ministry were incompetent―couldn't heal a cut, never mind the severity of Severus' injuries.
"Very well," said Albus, "Did he have anything on him when he came in? A Portkey?" he asked; this would be one way to find out if he was caught or not. The Portkey he'd given the man would break through all wards and get him to safety. He was to only use it if his position was compromised, which he had no reason to believe was possible. After all, they hadn't been stopping him lately.
"You would need to ask Irma," said Poppy. "Now leave, I must tent to Severus!" She did not like being distracted with inane questions; the Headmaster should know better.
"Daffy!" called Poppy, ignoring the Headmaster completely.
"Yes, Mistress Poppy?" answered the House Elf.
"I need Potions, bring me my usual emergency supply!" said Poppy, before turning to Severus once more and healing yet another cut. Her other hand was busy putting pressure on the wounds in a futile effort to stop the blood.
"Yes, ma'am," said Daffy, popping over to the potions supply cupboard where she began removing the potions her Mistress used in an emergency. These were the usual: blood replenisher, dreamless sleep, healing potion, pain relievers, dittany, and a few others. Placing them on the silver tray she quickly made her way back to the bed the dark wizard was lying in and placed them on the side table. Standing still, she watched the healer work, waiting on further instructions in case they were needed.
"Please keep me up to date, Poppy," demanded Dumbledore, unimpressed with being told to leave. He was unable to see the Portkey so he decided to nose around outside to see if he could find anything. Perhaps Severus had dropped it as soon as he fell unconscious; if Snape hadn't used the Portkey, he would know he at least still had his spy.
Daffy quickly got a basin of water and began to help Poppy; she was very good with potions and healing, and hence why she'd been taken on by Poppy Pomfrey. She didn't get called often, just when Poppy really needed her, during the events of an emergency. Poppy preferred doing everything on her own, so she knew what had been done and what could still be done. The wizard was very pale, paler than normal but it might be because of all the blood which was saturating everything around him.
"…Now, Arthur, you will be on your own tonight unless you wish to join your wife and Hestia Jones," said Dumbledore. Arthur wasn't a man to argue, it's why he'd put him with Severus on Harry Potter duty. In fact, none of the Weasleys had quite recovered from the events that had transpired six years ago. Arthur's only daughter Ginny Weasley had been possessed; her remains had not been recovered to this very day. He'd tried to keep the fact students were being petrified as quiet as possible. He hadn't been successful, the Minister had arrested Hagrid, but as the attacks continued it had become glaringly obvious it wasn't him and they'd had no choice but to release him. Just as they'd received a message in rooster blood 'her skeleton will remain in the chamber forever,' Molly had Floo'd over in complete panic: her daughter's hand on the family clock had pointed to mortal peril. They had searched the entire school after closing it; when Molly had finally gone home…the little hand moved from mortal peril to dead. Then to his shock Voldemort had appeared in the school, a handsome seventeen years old and Dumbledore had promptly duelled him, which ended in his death. Of course Albus had never told anyone, which wasn't unusual; he never told anyone anything he didn't have to. He'd had a fight on his hands to ensure Hogwarts was allowed to reopen, and he'd succeeded just in time for the students to return in the New Year, five months after they should have been there to begin with. Not only that, but Gilderoy Lockhart hadn't been seen since; he was missing, presumed dead as well.
"Has Severus been called?" asked Remus curiously, knocking Albus from his thoughts. He never called him Severus to his face, but when he wasn't there he called him as such. Snape wasn't on a first name basis with many people; in fact he even called Albus 'Headmaster,' nothing more. It was as if he tried to distance himself from them as much as humanly possible.
"I'm afraid Severus is in the hospital wing. His cover may have been compromised, but I do not know for certain since he's yet to wake up," said Albus sorrowfully. Such an opportunity would never come up again; a spy was a great thing to have and he'd been over the moon to acquire one. Perhaps he could convince Severus to speak to a few of his Slytherins, allow him to tell them the truth about Voldemort's blood status― that surely would turn a few of them against him. Perhaps it would acquire him a spy; after that Severus really would be completely useless to him. The only reason he fought the board of governors so hard was because of his position as spy; perhaps next year he would simply agree with them and have Snape removed from his potion as Potions Master.
"Will he be alright?" asked Minerva, deeply concerned; she got on very well with the Potions Master, and she loved his sarcasm although he could be a bit too much for her at times.
"Poppy isn't very optimistic," said Albus.
Sirius Black, strangely enough, remained silent; usually when Snape was brought up he went off the rails and had a lot to say about his old classmate. Fortunately everyone was too preoccupied to notice Sirius Black's out of character display, there were actually a few people there who were genuinely worried about him. Sirius had always thought Snape indestructible; the knowledge that he was hurt kind of blew that notion to hell and back. He stared at Remus before turning back to face the group as a whole, his face as always was impassive... other than when something would get him to react explosively.
"Too bad," muttered Doge.
"Indeed," said Albus, quietly.
One Week Later
Harry felt the wards shift, as he ate his breakfast. It was Brecon, back with the information he had requested. Only five people were keyed into his wards at Potter Manor, and only they could come into his home uninvited. They thankfully didn't make a habit of it, only in an emergency or when he'd asked them to bring him something. His breakfast consisted of blood, which he was currently drinking from a goblet Dobby had provided him with. The little Elf had found him, when nobody else had been able to; Harry had stunned him until he was able to force a bonding on the Elf, nullifying the one he had with Lucius Malfoy, which by the way Dobby had been all too eager to see broken. The bond he had was different, with no way for Dobby to betray him, or get around his orders like he had obviously done with Malfoy.
"Sorry to disturb you, sir, I have the information you requested. Our sources were all too eager to spill the beans on him," said Brecon smirking in grim amusement. It had taken him a week to get all the information he could, and it wasn't even the end of it either. He still had other people to see; hopefully he'd get more useful information, but if not he hoped what was in the files would be enough.
"I have no doubt, a man like him probably has many enemies," said Harry, including him. Putting his hand out for the information Brecon handed him the large bound folder. Harry put the goblet down as he began reading the information, which would take him a few hours; there wasn't half a lot of information there. It seemed Brecon had been correct, many had been all too happy to reveal every juicy piece of information on the so called 'light wizard'.
"You would think he'd know better," said Brecon snorting in amusement. They all knew of Harry's extreme distaste of Albus Dumbledore, and him being the reason Harry had chosen this life. They didn't know why; they'd asked around, but to this day they hadn't gotten an answer. He had never made it a personal vendetta to go after him, and for that he had their respect. With such a power base, why wouldn't a leader choose to go after someone he hated? He put the needs of the group ahead of his own desires, and that was what made him so popular. Of course they suspected now that it might have stirred Harry's hatred by Dumbledore appearing.
"Most people never learn from their mistakes, Brecon; you'd think they would but they never do," said Harry solemnly.
"Yes, sir," said Brecon. "I have a few other people to see about Dumbledore later today, so I might have more information."
"I will be at the warehouse later," stated Harry, nodding firmly.
"Yes, sir," said Brecon, nodding before he left Harry alone.
Once he was alone Harry allowed himself to relax; the problem with being a leader was he had to always be calm and in control. When he was younger it had been a hardship, but now it was second nature to him. The curiosity over what could be in the folder got to him, so he began properly reading them as he drank his supply of blood. It was merely animal blood, and it wasn't as enticing as human blood. He nearly spat it out when he got to a rather interesting tidbit: the Dumbledore name was clouded in mystery one hundred and forty years ago. Dumbledore's father had been arrested for attacking Muggles... interesting. Not only that, but the mother's and sister's deaths had been 'mysterious,' If this information was right, a bust up at the funeral put the blame on Albus Dumbledore's shoulders. He noticed Dumbledore had the habit of sticking up for dubious characters, then dropping them in it.
There wasn't really much information about the teachers of Hogwarts; they were clean, successful academically, and achieved rather impressive accomplishments. None more so than Professor Flitwick, which surprised Harry; he hadn't thought much of the little professor while he was at Hogwarts. That was until he got to the last teacher, one he knew and remembered all too well: Severus Snape. He was a Death Eater; according to the transcripts, a wizard called Karkaroff had named him during his own trial to try and get off lightly. Snape's closed trial, however, revealed him as a spy for Dumbledore, but he knew that much already. This was definitive proof, since Veritaserum had been used to prove it; it took guts spying on Voldemort.
A pop startled Harry out of his thoughts; staring up at the wizard he raised an enquiring eyebrow. "What are you doing here?" asked Harry staring blankly at the wizard, surprised to see him.
"You were right," said Remus tiredly.
"There was never any doubt," said Harry, glaring at the wizard. One year ago he'd spoken to the man, tried to get him to see his side of things, but he wasn't prepared to accept the fact the man he admired had done all the things Harry said he was capable of. He'd locked the memory away so nobody could see it and added a spell so Remus couldn't speak of it. Then he had him sent to the Leaky Cauldron to wake up, and he had never seen him again. He was curious; what could have changed his opinion so drastically for him to actually seek him out? Added to the fact he knew where to find him; that didn't comfort him, but he must have been added to the wards by his parents or grandparents before him, to be able to get into the Manor.
Remus swallowed thickly, it had taken a great deal of courage to say that and Harry wasn't even helping soften the blow. He may not get along with Snape, but what Dumbledore was doing was insanity. He wasn't sure if Harry would take pity on him; but he had to ask, at the end of the day it couldn't hurt.
"Speak," demanded Harry impatiently, closing the folder.
"I-I'm here as a friend, Harry," said Remus hoarsely.
Harry sat back, observing Remus curiously, wondering what he meant by that.
Remus couldn't help but fidget, the stare was unnerving him especially with the boy's green eyes so similar but different from Lily's.
"You had that chance a year ago; you chose to believe me a liar," stated Harry coolly.
"You were right, isn't that enough?" asked Remus his amber eyes filled with desolate despair. If only he could turn back time and do things over, things would be so different. He should have accepted Harry's offer, but like an idiot he hadn't and now he may have blown any chance. "Do I have to get on my knees and beg your forgiveness?"
"I may be many things, but I am not Voldemort," sneered Harry, his green eyes flashing angrily; he didn't make his people subjugate to him.
"I can't say anything right can I?" sighed Remus exasperated.
"Sit down," stated Harry, "Dobby?"
"What can Dobby do for Master Harry?" asked Dobby making an appearance, dressed in a smart attire with a large stitched P on it.
"Bring a breakfast and coffee for Mr. Lupin," said Harry simply.
"Yes, sir," said Dobby popping away to do as Harry bid him.
"What happened?" asked Harry, his demanding tones nowhere to be heard, but it lurked as always under the surface.
"Do you remember Severus Snape?" asked Remus.
Harry's lips turned into a smirk, "I do."
"He was a spy for Dumbledore, but his position was compromised by Pettigrew who had been following him around for weeks," said Remus his amber eyes flashing in fury just thinking about the little rat.
"Pettigrew?" enquired Harry, wondering why the name was familiar to him.
"He was your father's best friend, he was their secret keeper…He sold them out to Voldemort," said Remus warily.
"According to my information, he was killed by Sirius Black nearing seventeen years ago," stated Harry, remembering now why the name was familiar.
"Sirius was innocent, is innocent. He didn't betray your parents and never laid a hand on Pettigrew. The little rat cut his own finger off and turned into his Animagus form and fled down a sewer," said Remus. "Sirius is your godfather and has been searching for you for many years." It had killed him when he realized he couldn't speak about Harry; the boy was powerful, so bloody powerful and scarily so.
"Interesting," said Harry. "Tell me more about Pettigrew," he added, his tone turning cold.
Remus shuddered at the power leaking from his voice, it made Dumbledore and Voldemort seem like adorable two year olds. It was obvious Harry was used to getting his own way. "He went to school with us, same year, and in Gryffindor too. He became an Animagus, along with Sirius and your father, to stay with me during the full moon. Your dad was a stag, Sirius was a grim dog, and Pettigrew turned into a rat. He has a silver hand now, nobody is sure why," said Remus quietly.
"And Black?" asked Harry curiously.
"Sirius escaped Azkaban. Voldemort attacked the prison and released all his followers; Sirius managed to get away. He sent me and Dumbledore the memory of what happened that night in the sewer, and the memory of James switching secret keepers so we knew he was innocent. He immediately told Albus as soon as he knew he wasn't going to be sent right back to Azkaban that Voldemort was back, and that he had raided Azkaban, which was never in the newspaper," said Remus quietly.
"Give me a memory of Pettigrew turning into a rat, and how he looks now," demanded Harry, furious that someone who had betrayed his parents and him was still out there. It would be his own personal hunt; he would find Pettigrew if it killed him, which of course it wouldn't. Harry summoned a vial to him without thinking, missing the amber eyes widening at the non-verbal wandless magic coming from the eighteen-year-old. But Harry was handing the vial over, not even giving Remus the choice of whether he wanted to share a memory or not.
Closing his eyes he allowed the memories to come to the forefront of his mind before using his wand to extract them carefully and placed them in the large vial. The feelings for the memories dulled, allowing some of the bitterness he felt to fade away. Only then did he realize they had gotten largely off-topic; he was here to save someone.
"Severus was caught as a spy. He's just spent the last week recovering; he's not even fully recovered yet, and Dumbledore is sending him on another mission," said Remus, his voice indignant.
"And why would I care?" asked Harry his lip curled.
"He's sending him to spy on you!" cried Remus.
"Excuse me?" demanded Harry sitting forward, his gaze intense once more.
"Not you, but your group…. he suspects something isn't right with you… but not what!" cried Remus. "Look, he doesn't know what he's getting himself into… he has no idea that you warned Dumbledore. Only me, Sirius, Burbage and Dumbledore know; it was Charity that told me! It's a suicide mission!" He wasn't quite sure why he was defending Severus Snape so strongly, other than the fact of his guilt at nearly killing/turning him into a werewolf. He knew he'd affected Severus, it had been obvious the way he avoided them, but not seeing him every day had helped lessen the guilt. Until he came full time to the magical world, then the guilt returned with a vengeance. He knew if he tried to talk to Severus... he wouldn't listen. He owed Severus, and this was the only way he could really repay what he and Sirius had done as kids.
"If I go back on my word it makes me look weak," snapped Harry frostily.
"Please, if not for me... do it for your mother! They were best friends, she'd do anything for him," said Remus now begging.
Harry remained unaffected by Remus' words, twitching slightly when he felt the wards in the warehouse alert him to an unidentified presence trying to get through the wards. This time he knew exactly who it was. Without a word to Remus he Apparated out just as Dobby returned with the breakfast Lupin no doubt probably wouldn't eat after the Elf making it.
Remus stared at the space, despair building up inside him. So much for Harry not killing people for no reason; he'd made the right decision not to join after all ― even if Dumbledore wasn't any better.
Big thanks to Jordre for editing this chapter :)