Telling Him VI

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. You know that and I know that but I still have to write the disclaimer. I have read many fanfictions and consequently may have "borrowed" other people's ideas so if you recognise something it probably isn't mine. Finally if I am aware that I have taken somebody's idea I will put their pen name in brackets after it or acknowledge them at the end of the appropriate chapter this is only if I know the name. If you recognize something of yours that has not been acknowledged, tell me and I will acknowledge it. I am not making any money out of this so don't sue. I don't know why I bothered to write this as no one reads these anyway…

Athenakitty: Thanx for reviewing again! I like your idea for a title, but, for now at least, I'm going with Tigerrrlily's suggestion for now…

Tygerrrlily: Gr8 suggestion for title, and I'll add Sage to the names list. Thanx for e-mailing

I love it when people review; it makes me want to write. Since I need motivation to write they are basically essential! So thank you very much to those who did review, e-mails are good too!

#Parseltongue#

The story-

Waking up was very painful. Harry felt as though his back and legs had completely seized up, he guessed it was from falling asleep curled up on the bare floor, his skin was dry from the tears that had fallen the night before, and he had just woken up, not for the first time, from a nightmare. Voldemort had been torturing some of his Deatheaters, and he'd seen it all from the side. But he still felt the pain of the victims in a removed way. Pretty certain that he had found the caused his discomfort he stood up, clumsily straightening each limb. Insigna who had been sleeping peacefully woke up with an angry hiss and slithered over to the windowsill.

#What upset you so, last night?# Insigna asked,

The memory flooded into Harry's mind unbidden, shakily he answered, and told his companion about the event at the end of last year, how it had been his fault that Cedric had died, how he should have let Sirius and Remus kill Wormtail, etc.

Insigna did the snake equivalent of raising an eyebrow, #How exactly do you think it is 'all your fault'? You ought to give Pettigrew some credit. And personally I feel that Voldemort played a more important role than you.#

Turning to Insigna in shock Harry looks at her. Of course since snakes don't have eyelids they do tend to win staring competitions.

#You don't think it's my fault?#

#That is what I said, and I doubt 'others' do either, so calm down.# A few seconds later she hissed #the big man is coming, he's angry, be careful. I am going out to hunt# She left.

Harry vaguely realized that Insigna had not eaten since he'd had her, whilst hastily dressing. He was about done when he heard the stairs creak, and thanked Insigna for warning him in advance.

Staggering into his rooms, flinging off the cloak and mask, Severus collapsed onto a chair. His head was spinning, twenty minutes under the cruciatus curse; he'd done it before, but not with Voldemort casting. The more powerful the wizard that casts it the more painful it is. The same applies for hate, the more you hate a person the more painful the curse is. Unfortunately Voldemort is short of neither hatred nor power. Hence he was sitting in agony, with a potion just a few paces away that would kill the pain, unable to force his aching body to get it. Another unpleasant side affect of the cruciatus curse is that it drains the magic of the victim.

Dumbledore came down to the dungeons; he knew Severus had been called after seeing the young man head out to Hogsmeade. He had not spoken to Severus for sometime and wondered why the man was avoiding him.

After entering the rooms he saw him sprawled on a chair in obvious pain, it took the old headmaster a fraction of a second to guess what had happened and to find the conveniently placed potion. He administered it to an extremely ungrateful Severus, who, for the sake of his image, would rather suffer than be fed by someone else. The numbing effect was appreciated, but Severus schooled his features to ensure his relief did not show too obviously.

After a few seconds the pain had died down and he ignored the headmaster, hoping that he was not going to be subjected to an inquisition. He was disappointed.

"What happened?"

Dumbledore's simple question resulted in a tide of emotions flitting across a normally impassive face.

"The Dark Lord was- punishing those that he doubted the loyalty of…"

Dumbledore looked horrified, "You…"

"No, don't interrupt" He snapped. Severus was tired and generally unhappy, as most people would be after a bad night. And his certainly counted as a bad night. So his impatience and anger at his respected mentor was understandable. "I arrived late, the Dark Lord was not happy, he had made an example of people, but not everyone had seen, and so I was punished."

After a pause, "He doubts Zabini."

"Do you?"

"No, he is loyal. He is just clutching at straws, Goyle was called up, he's too stupid to change sides, can only do what he's been taught to do. He's very annoyed about the unfortunate demise of Crouch Jn. too, and Malfoy and the Lestranges are his top four. There was an Azkaban breakout. I don't give a damn what the Ministry says, I'd know the Lestranges anywhere."

"The Ministry is covering up, hardly surprising, but disappointing. Is there anything else you wish to tell me?"

Just like that, out-of-the-blue, Dumbledore was really annoying him lately, trying to make him talk. "I've given you my report."

"I meant is there anything else you wish to tell me, whether it is related to the meeting or not."

"No."

Dumbledore rose and walked to the door. He knew something was, if not worrying him, concerning him. And he was damned if he was not going to find out.

Draco was still considering how to talk to his mother when a house elf, he didn't bother to remember their names since, he swallowed hard, Liffy. It told him that his mother wished to speak to him, and that he should go to the East wing parlour.

This was surprising since they hardly ever used the East wing, but he put down his 'homework' and went to find her, it was the opportunity he hadn't dared hope for.

She was not sure if she was doing the right thing. Her daughter was glaring at her; she had managed to stay unnoticed by her father, and had avoided her mother too, eating food secretly brought to her by house elves, and leaving and entering through hidden exits about the grounds. She was not pleased to have been dragged by her mother, whom she thought had also remained unnoticed by, and have to see her brother. Did he even know she existed?

Draco, she wanted him to have a choice; if he wanted to follow his father then, well, she couldn't stop him. But a small, and largely ignored part of her mind, which she had subconsciously dubbed maternal instinct, insisted that if she had tried harder, maybe, maybe he wouldn't…

There we are, another chapter.

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