A/N: Okay, I know this is an old chapter and I am reposting it again after I got reviews stating that our Dark Quartet have already found out about the stone in the previous chapter. And so I had to edit the parts in this chapter that made it seem that they only found out about the stone now and not when Severus told them about it on Halloween.

This posting also means that I now have a lot of free in my hands since the semester officially ends this friday. I only have three exams left to contend with and then after that I will be devoting most of my term break to catching up on my stories. (That's good news folks!) Oh and I've removed the Chapter 14 Author's Notes in preparation for the next chapter!

Disclaimer: I don't know how many times I've said this, so if until don't know you still don't know the deal, then that's your problem and not mine! But I'm feeling generous today and will enlighten you to the fact that this does not belong to me! Now get that into your thick heads!


Chapter 13

November soon arrived and with it came the harsh cold weather that they merely got a taste of in the last few months. The castle corridors were quickly becoming drafty, though not as much as the dungeons. During the off winter season, the dungeons were already chilly and drafty to deal with, but with winter right on their doorstep, it was impossible to walk down the dungeon corridors, much less live in its dormitories without extra thick cloaks and bed sheets that have been charmed to keep their users warm and comfortable. It was therefore a blessed relief when their double Potions class finally arrived on Friday morning. The flickering flames below their cauldrons and the warm fumes emitted by their Potions, which would have been uncomfortable on an ordinary day, provided them with the much needed heat to thaw their otherwise freezing appendages. Even the Gryffindors, who abhor the thought of being locked up in a dungeon with the castle's resident snakes, could be seen bent closer to their cauldrons, all trying to absorb as much heat as possible before heading outside once more in the castle's freezing corridors.

For the day's practical lesson Severus had the Gryffindors paired up with the Slytherins, to much rancour, and had them brewing a simple Decongesting Draft for the Infirmary. He produced one green and one red velvet pouch that contained all of their names and started pairing up the names he picked out from the pouches.

"Weasley and Michaels…! Brown and Parkinson…! Finnigan and Bulstrode…! Granger and Malfoy…! Longbottom and Riddle…!" The calling of pairs went on in the same manner and each time the Gryffindors grumbled in disapproval until Severus, extremely annoyed with all the whining that was going on, took away ten points from Dean Thomas when he swore loudly at being paired up with Goyle.

While the Gryffindors bemoaned the cruelness and unfairness of the situation, the Slytherins were all silently wearing looks of disgust, eyeing critically the partners they all thought were too incompetent to be paired up with them. But amidst the sea of sneers and derision, one pair of red speckled green eyes stared down at his partner in complete fascination.

Like the rest of his House, Erebus waited stoically by his desk for Longbottom to lumber towards him, watching him intently from the periphery of his eyes. This would be his first opportunity to really scrutinize why of the many offspring of his followers, Dumbledork had chosen him as his protégé. He knew for a fact that Longbottom's parents were both in St. Mungo's permanent residence list courtesy of his Aunt Bella and Uncle Rudy's treatment. When he first arrived at Hogwarts, he was actually quite eager to meet the son of the two most skilful Aurors, the only ones to ever manage to cause so much trouble for his parents' Death Eaters. He was expecting to find a confident boy of eleven – since it was no secret that he was hand picked by the leader of the Light to succeed him – capable of challenging him throughout his years at Hogwarts. However he was utterly disappointed to find a chubby, stuttering boy who was more of a squib than the son of two powerful wizards.

Right now Longbottom looked like he'd been paired up with the Grim Reaper and was so tense that his hands visibly shook as he inched slowly towards him. Erebus was just about to thrown in a comment on how his parents were doing for kicks when the sound of a pewter cauldron scratching the immaculate surface of his wooden desk irritatingly reached his ears.

"Lift the cauldron, Longbottom!" barked Erebus, grabbing the shaking hands and startling the chubby Gryffindor so horribly that he dropped the solid cauldron. Metal collided loudly with stone and the entire class held its breath as in unison they all stared at the Potions Master, (the Slytherins in anticipation and the Gryffindors in dread) waiting for the inevitable eruption to arrive.

They were not disappointed.

"Longbottom!" the Professor's harsh voice came from somewhere at the back of the classroom where he was making his rounds. He was instantly standing before them, stared at the cracked cauldron on the floor before leaning furiously at Longbottom. "Even without brewing you manage to ruin a perfectly good cauldron. Do you have a vendetta against cauldrons Mr. Longbottom that you must see to it that every cauldron you come into contact with is destroyed? Or do you somehow have a twisted enjoyment at seeing yourself fail time and time again?"

By now Longbottom was a shivering mass slumped on the chair, miserably trying to make himself invisible and not meet the Potions Master's burning black eyes.

"Well answer me Mr. Longbottom!" snapped Severus cuttingly, boring his eyes into the terrified Gryffindor.

"N-n-n-n-no sir…" stuttered Longbottom, unable to peel his eyes away from the dark pool of his professor's eyes.

"Then tell me why in your very short tenure here at Hogwarts that you have managed to wreck not one, nor two but FIVE cauldrons? One of which you have yet to attempt to brew with!"

"I-I-I-I don't k-know sir…" Longbottom whimpered pathetically and looked as if he was close to soiling himself.

Severus sneered at the boy in contempt before extricating himself from his position on the front of the desk and stood in all his dark glory; his 6'4 frame intimidating even his Slytherins.

"Perhaps you think that you can get away with anything in this castle just because the Headmaster has chosen to be his prized student, the Golden Boy of Gryffindor? Well let me tell you now Mr. Longbottom that even if you were Merlin's apprentice himself, you would still be treated like any other student that pass through these halls!"

Severus was not oblivious to the glares he was receiving from all of the Gryffindors on how he was grilling one of their Housemates, but since none of them would dare to even speak a word against him when he was currently biting the head off of one of his students, he ploughed on. He also noticed the barely hidden smirks on his Slytherins.

"And fifty points from Gryffindor for inherent stupidity and ineptness, and detention with me tonight and tomorrow. Meet me here promptly at eight o'clock Longbottom or else you'll wish I'd made you scrub fifty filthy cauldrons. Do I make myself clear?" Severus ended his tirade by gathering the folds of his black cloak, arms crossed menacingly before his chest, and eyes directed right at the pale faced Gryffindor.

"Y-y-yes sir." the Gryffindor acquiesced timidly, utterly petrified of what he would be asked to do if he was a second late. Another stern bark later from the Potions Master and the students returned to labouring over their slowly bubbling cauldrons. With the show over, Erebus pulled out his bag of personal potion ingredients and set out to prepare the ingredients required.

"Longbottom," intoned Erebus, addressing the shivering Gryffindor. "I have never let anyone incompetent touch my potions and since I have a reputation to uphold, you will simply sit there and touch nothing else unless I tell you to do so otherwise. Understood?"

The timid Gryffindor stared wide eyed at Erebus, unsure of how to react to being address so coldly by a boy his age. But then he saw the piercing bicoloured eyes staring down at him and as if an invisible hand had grabbed the nape of his neck causing him to nod his head. The smirk that played on Erebus' face afterwards was enough to send anyone in a panic attack, and the Longbottom Heir was no different.

Erebus proceeded to hum an eerie tune as he stirred the simmering contents of his cauldron, conscious to the fact that his actions were causing the poor Gryffindor to go into a premature nervous breakdown. This was proving to be an enjoyable period for the Dark Heir. However as gratifying as it was to torment the Gryffindor, Longbottom's incompetence at Potion soon grated on his nerves and he turned sharply at the boy.

"It says to 'dice the flobberworm skin', Longbottom; not chop it! I will not have a bloody Griffindork such as yourself ruining my Potion!" growled Erebus, snatching Longbottom's hand that held the silver knife. Longbottom's body shook even more at the sudden touch and Erebus took this opportunity to pull the helpless Gryffindor towards him. "Now Longbottom, as amusing as it is that the mere sight of me sends you sweating and shivering like the bag of nerves that you are, you are such a big disappointment. I would have expected more from the son Frank and Alice Longbottom."

Erebus smugly watched as Longbottom stiffened at the mention of his tortured parents. "I believe the Janus Thickey Ward has never been more famous than when your parents were placed in it." At that Erebus released his hold of Longbottom's hand and returned to his cauldron, ignoring the shocked state he'd left Longbottom in.

The rest of the period passed by with little interruptions and best of all, none of the students were ever made aware that an altercation, albeit one-sided, had happened under their noses, and the only time that Erebus turned to look back at Longbottom was when he was preparing to bottle up his potion for the day, and he was not at all surprised at what he found. The Longbottom heir sat rigidly as if he had been glued to his seat, and had his fist clenched tightly as he stared blankly on his desk.

Erebus briefly pondered on the Gryffindor's stoic appearance before walking up to the professor's desk to hand in his potion. However just as he was about to head back to his work table, firm hands snatched his and promptly heard his godfather whisper sternly to his ear.

"Stay after!"

Erebus swerved around but before he could respond to the man's words, Severus had descended upon a Gryffindor who was just about to add an ingredient that would undoubtedly cause an explosion. A few minutes later the afternoon bell rang signalling the end of the morning period and the Gryffindors all scurried out of the dungeons, eager to get away from their irate Potions Master.

"Aren't you coming up for lunch?" asked Amanda when she saw that Erebus had remained seated behind his desk.

"You three go ahead, Uncle Sev wants to have a word." said Erebus, gesturing towards his friends.

"What did you do?" Blaise asked immediately. Erebus had a hunch on why his godfather wanted to speak to him and he said so to his friends.

"Alright," said Draco, giving him an amused look, "I guess we'll be seeing you later. Good luck!" The blond flashed him a "you're going to need it" look and Erebus rolled his eyes.

Just as the dungeon doors closed behind the three Slytherins, Severus emerged from his office, an impatient look upon his face. Erebus watched his godfather carefully as the man seated himself behind his desk, his dark eyes surveying him.

"Uncle, if this is about Longbottom," Erebus began casually, his innocent look firmly planted on face. "I don't know why you're so upset; it's not as if I harmed him."

"Whether you harmed him or not is not the reason I called for you to remain, Erebus. I was however under the impression that you've learnt that drawing attention to ourselves is not why we are here." said Severus curtly.

The look on Erebus' face dropped slightly before gathering himself and answering in a detached, nonchalant manner. "I was not drawing attention to myself."

Severus stared at his godson, trying hard not to lose his temper yet again on the boy. "Then what was it that I heard you talking about Longbottom's parents, was that not what you would call drawing attention?"

"Uncle, every single one in Wizarding Britain knows what became of the Longbottoms. None will find it odd that I know of that particular fact." said Erebus, his demeanour behind his desk was of utter confidence.

Severus pinched the bridge of his nose in fatigue. He was not unnerved to find the boy at complete confidence with his actions, it was a show frequently seen whenever the child had done something only he had knowledge of. It was very much a Slytherin trait as it was a Malfoy trait, but Severus wanted the boy to learn to at least be cautious and not be too bold under the watchful eyes of the Headmaster.

"Be that as it may, but I do not recall the location of the Longbottom's very ward ever becoming public knowledge." said Severus, leaning forwards his desk.

Erebus blinked and then stared at his beloved godfather before breaking out into a full blown smirk, causing said man to raise a dark brow. "You wound me, Uncle, for this is the first time you've ever thought so little of me."

"Explain!" Severus intoned, straightening out his tall form.

Erebus rose from his position behind the first desk and walked purposely towards were his godfather was watching him critically. "I've had the opportunity to watch Longbottom these past few months and I am telling you now Uncle, that a simple worm has got more backbone than that boy will ever have. Rest assured that not a word of our conversation will ever go beyond the three of us and I have somehow done something to make him fear me, making it all the more improbable that he'll rat me out." He saw at once that his godfather was about to say something and he immediately ploughed on. "Now before you say something else, I have not spoken or done anything towards him before today."

Severus ran a weary hand through his face and leaned back on his chair, "Still Erebus, what you did was unnecessary."

The dark haired youth watch the weariness that wrapped itself around his godfather's form and said, "You are thinking far too deep into this, Uncle. I can tell that whatever you and Father are up to is taxing you greatly so you need not worry yourself about trivial House rivalries. Draco and I have got it covered."

"Can you at the very least swear to me that this will not go beyond, as you call it, trivial House rivalries?" asked Severus.

"You know me well enough Uncle, that I cannot promise you that." said Erebus, "I however can promise you that I will strive to make it appear as if it were mere trivial House rivalries. Of that I can at least assure you of."

"Child, I am not asking you to stop pestering Gryffindors, it will be highly hypocritical of me if I did, but all I am asking of you if to exercise a bit of caution especially around Dumbledore's handpicked student. There is a reason why Longbottom was chosen from the rest of the Light children and playing these mind games with him will only incur Dumbledore's attention. You, of all people, do not need his eyes fixed on your every move. This is the last time I am warning you Erebus, I know you know how to be discreet and therefore I am begging you for your own good to watch what you say in front off Longbottom. I do not care what you have in store for those hot-headed dunderheads, just be careful!" Severus said gravely, emphasising the last of his words. "You are a cunning child of Slytherin, I am sure you can pull that off. Am I making myself clear, Erebus?"

"Crystal, sir." Erebus nodded his head and then reached out a hand towards his godfather. "Now why don't you take a break today? I'm sure a day without blundering dunderheads will do you good."

Severus looked down at the petite hands on top of his own calloused ones before looking up to see his godson. "I shall consider your advice, but for now you best be on your way to the Great Hall and remember what I have told you Erebus. It is pertinent that you do not forget it."

"Yes, sir." Erebus cocked his head at his godfather one last time before heading out of the dungeons for a much needed lunch break.

sSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs

The next day, the morning of the first Quidditch game of the season had the castle abuzz with pent up excitement. The game was a match up between Slytherin and Gryffindor, and days prior to the game, students from both Houses took it upon themselves to take out as much of the opposing players as possible. Even Erebus, who had little spirit for the game took part in the age old inter-House rivalries, sending out his pet constrictor, Shiva, loose in the Gryffindor changing rooms.

"I still can't believe you refuse to even tryout for the team, Reby." Draco commented in frustration as the Slytherin Quartet entered the Great Hall on the morning of the match. "If I had your talent in the broom, I would not bother attending Hogwarts with its traitorous scum and go on ahead to play professional."

"I doubt no one in the family will ever allow you to get away with that," said Erebus calmly, used to this round of questioning from his cousin. "I can just imagine Uncle Luc's face at the thought of his only son and heir playing Quidditch rather than stepping up as the future Head of the Malfoy Family."

"It's best to keep all possible avenues open. I'm sure Father can at least understand that. You can understand that." replied Draco nonchalantly, staring pointedly at the dark haired youth.

"True," acquiesced Erebus taking his seat in the Slytherin table, across from Draco and in between Blaise and Amanda. "But can't you just accept the fact that I simply do not find Quidditch as fascinating as you find it?"

"If as you say you don't find Quidditch fascinating, why did you set Shiva loose on the Gryffindor team the other day?" questioned Draco.

"I simply got fed up with Flint nagging about how little my House spirit was and decided to shut him up by allowing him and not I, to use Shiva against the Gryffindor team." explained Erebus.

"But you're the only boy in the entire wizarding world that finds no interest in Quidditch!" exclaimed Draco in frustration, getting the attention of those sitting close to them.

"I find that hard to believe," said Erebus delicately, staring down the blonde Slytherin.

Draco huffed in defeat and crossed his arms before his chest, "I say you're wasting your talent."

"I prefer to believe that I am reserving my talents for something better. As you said, we have to keep all possible avenues open." Erebus stated simply, ignoring the incredulous look on his cousin's face. And throughout the little banter that went between the two boys, the rest of Slytherin House went about their own business, knowing by now that those who dare get in between their brotherly bantering would only suffer.

Soon the time for the match arrived and the whole of Hogwarts made its way to the Quidditch pitch.

"Where are you going? The Quidditch pitch is this way." said Draco when he noticed that Amanda was heading back towards the dungeons.

"It's bound to be freezing cold out there and I forgot to get my cloak. I'll just head back to my room and get it, I'll meet you guys up in the stands." said Amanda, shivering slightly as the double doors of the castle opened and a gust of cold air burst into the Entrance Hall.

"I could lend you mine," offered Erebus and proceeded to remove his extra thick cloak. "I've been stranded in much colder places than this, I won't be bothered much."

"Thanks, but I think Professor Snape would be bothered very much if you went out in only your uniform." said Amanda, pushing the offered cloak away.

"We'll save you a seat up in the stands then," said Blaise. Amanda nodded and waited until the rush of students thinned before trudging her way back down into the dungeons.

A few minutes later, a fully cloaked Amanda was on her way to the Quidditch pitch when she heard an agitated exchange going on inside an unused classroom. With the entire student body out watching the match, Amanda was curious as to who had remained inside the castle. Peering around to make sure no one else would be coming around the corner to catch her, Amanda walked gingerly towards the unused classroom and perked up at what she was heard.

"Are you sure this is what's under the trapdoor?" asked a voice that sounded a lot like Weasley for the Slytherin girl.

"Positive!" exclaimed a high pitched voice that could be none other than Granger's.

"But, but what are they thinking keeping a thing like that in a school?" asked a new voice in confusion that Amanda pinned to Longbottom's.

"Well it's obvious they're hiding it from someone." said Granger's shrill voice. "Why else would they let a three-headed dog inside a castle full of students and under a trapdoor."

Amanda then heard something heavy landing on a wooden surface and Granger's annoying voice sounded once more. "I borrowed this from the library the other day for light reading and it says right here that Nicholas Flamel is the only known maker of the Philosopher's Stone. It turns any metal into pure gold and gives its drinker immortality."

"Immortality?" asked Weasley unintelligently.

"It means you'll never die." snapped Granger irritably.

"I know what it means!" Weasley cried out in equal irritation.

"But who would want gold and be immortal?" asked Longbottom out loud, silencing the argument that had sprung up in the background between Granger and Weasley.

"I don't know," said Granger, hating not knowing something.

'This is not good' thought Amanda. She had heard all that she needed and dashed outside to relay it to her friends.

sSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs

The match between Slytherin and Gryffindor was on full swing, with the Griffin house trailing 50-10. It was obvious to all that this year's Gryffindor team was not living up to its previous years and the addition of a Seeker that was far from Charlie Weasley's capabilities was disheartening the whole House. The Slytherin team took their opposing team's disheartened state to make a number of goals in only a few minutes and all sounds were drowned by the loud cheering of the green and silver clad students.

Yet despite all the rambunctious cheering going on around him, Erebus only found himself mildly interested, and that was only brought on by the Gryffindor's pathetic display. He was beginning to regret ever allowing Draco to persuade him into coming up to watch the game as he could be doing much more productive things now that the entire school was out of the castle when Amanda suddenly burst through the crowd.

"What took you so long? Did you get lost on the way to the pitch?" asked Erebus and then he got a good look at her, noticing for the first time her out of breath look. "Did you run all the way up here?"

Amanda stood bent double before the Dark Heir, a worried expression on her face. "I've found something that I think you'll want to hear."

Erebus stared levelly at his friend and asked, gesturing at the crazed crowd, "Will it get me out of this torture?"

Amanda stared around in confusion before understanding what Erebus was trying to say. "Yes," she replied tentatively. "It's highly confidential."

"Great!" exclaimed Erebus, bolting out of his seat and clapping his hands before reaching out to the two other boys in front of him. "Draco, Blaise, let's go!"

"What?" the two boys cried out in unison, their attention snapping away from the match.

"But the game's barely began! I want to see Gryffindor defeated!" grumbled Draco.

"Amanda has something important to tell us," Erebus stated. "And the pitch has too many prying ears." Draco was about to protest further when a reddish green stare rendered him temporarily mute.

"This has better be good, Amanda!" snapped Draco, reluctantly turning away from the game just as Slytherin scored another point and made his way towards the stairs. Erebus ushered for Amanda and Blaise to go before him and soon all three of them were descending the stands behind a fuming Draco.

The quartet quickly made their way back to the Slytherin common room, and as soon as they were through the sanctuary of the stone arch, Draco flopped grumpily and unceremoniously on a sofa by the fire with his legs resting atop the armrest. Erebus and Blaise on the other hand took a more dignified route and sat themselves comfortably on the sofa next to Draco's.

"Alright Amanda, spill out whatever it is that is making me miss a Gryffindor defeat." said Draco.

"Quit whining Dray, you make it out as if you're missing out on an extremely important event." said Erebus, having just about enough of his cousin's Quidditch fanaticism for the day.

"So says the guy who finds no interest on the wizarding world's most famous sport!" mumbled Draco under his breath from his position on the couch and thus oblivious to the annoyed look on his cousin's face.

"Just ignore Draco, Amanda, he's just sore, he'll get over it in a bit." said Blaise at the anxious look on the girl's face. "So what's this important thing you're so eager to tell us?"

"The Gryffindors know what's hidden in the third floor." cried Amanda, looking directly at the Dark Heir.

The words that went out of Amanda's mouth were like a trigger that sent all three boys jumping out of their seats, looks of utter disbelief etched on their faces.

"How?" blurted Draco, all traces of annoyance at being pulled from the game gone from his aristocratic face.

"I was passing through the corridors when I heard hushed voices coming from an unused classroom. I went over to investigate and heard Longbottom, Granger and Weasley. I didn't hear the beginning of their discussion but I do know that they've seen the Cerberus the professor was talking about and Granger somehow figured out from a book that a Philosopher's Stone is being hidden here in the castle, directly beneath the beast." said Amanda, looking expectantly at her friends.

Throughout Amanda's quick retelling of events, Erebus stood stoically, carefully digesting the information he was receiving. He couldn't believe that a group of Gryffindors such as Granger, Weasley and Longbottom were able to find out what was hidden in the castle. Even with Granger's brains it was still highly unlikely that a bunch of first years found out on their, even they knew nothing about the stone until Severus told them about it.

"They must have had help," voiced Erebus, deep in thought.

"The question is who told them." stated Draco. "This is not a topic of casual conversations. Someone other than the Dark Lord has plans for that stone and is using the Gryffindors to get it."

Amanda and Blaise looked between the two boys before Italian wizard gave his opinion on the matter, "But why these three Gryffindors out of everyone else in the castle?"

It was Erebus who answered. "Longbottom."

"Longbottom?" asked Amanda in surprise.

"Yes," said Erebus. "He's Dumbledore's protégé and whoever's planning to get the stone must expect that the Headmaster's taught the boy advance spells and is planning to use that to his or her advantage."

Draco snorted at that. "I doubt Longbottom knows anything beyond the Levitating Charm. Whoever this person that's dropped hints around those three must not have seen Longbottom in classes if –."

"We're getting ahead of ourselves here." interrupted Blaise, earning a baleful look from the blonde boy. "We don't know for certain that someone else other than the Dark Lord has any interest for the Stone. For all we know the three of them could have just overheard the professors talking about it, Severus did say that the stone is well guarded and I won't put it past the Headmaster to recruit all of the professors to help guard the stone."

"You're over estimating the Gryffindorks a tad too much here Blaise." said Draco, his arms crossed. "And which among the professors are stupid enough to discuss the Stone where they can be overheard by students."

"I'm just saying Ray," uttered Blaise.

Erebus looked between his friends and tried to make sense of everything. It was way too much of coincidence that the Headmaster would hide an artefact such as the Philosopher's Stone inside the castle and then have his protégé and his friends know about it. Erebus had his own opinion about how the Gyrffindorks found out about the stone, but he first had to prove his idea before broaching the issue with the adults. "Draco, Blaise is right. We have to put into account every possible situation."

"You actually believe that Neville, scared of his own shadow, Longbottom is capable of piecing pieces together simply by overhearing professors talking about the Stone?" cried Draco indignantly.

"No, I do not but I do believe he had some help." said Erebus calmly.

"Who?" wondered Amanda.

"That is what we have to figure out." said Erebus. He then began to pace the length of the common room with a thoughtful expression on his face while his friends traced his every move.

"Do we tell the Professor about this?" queried Blaise.

"No, we won't tell them that we know until it's absolutely necessary." said Erebus. "But we best keep an eye on those Gryffindors. If the stone is really what Father is after, then we'll have to ensure that they have a clear path to it. No foolhardy Gryffindor will ever thwart a Riddle."

Erebus turned around to find all three of his friends intently following his every word, "Something else is afoot here that we still don't know about, one of which is why choose a school of all places to hide such a valuable artefact and how in Salazar's name did those Gryffindors find out, most especially Longbottom. These are no coincidences my friends and I am willing to bet my limbs that Dumbledore is behind all of this."

For the rest of the day Erebus kept to himself, contemplating on what else could be going on in the castle.

sSsSsSsSsSsSsSsSs

He was absolutely certain that with Longbottom being the Headmaster's Golden Boy, the old man must have divulged something to him and in turn told his bumbling Gryffindor friends. And so for the next few days, Erebus vested all of his limited resources into figuring out exactly how much the three Gryffindors knew about the stone that was hidden in the third floor. Being the only child and heir of the ruling Dark Lady in a House whose majority supported his family had plenty of benefits, one of which was a certain commanding hold over the entire Slytherin House, though Severus could overthrow his wishes if he found them too ridiculous or utterly pointless. An outsider to the comings and goings of the Slytherin House would never believe that a mere eleven year old boy could easily command a young man six years his seniors into doing his bidding, and if an idiot ever did resist, a simple 'You are going to regret your actions,' drawl coupled with an intimidating reddish green glare would immediately have them begging on their knees for forgiveness. This was rare though, but if experienced once, one hardly ever resisted again for a long time.

This was but the limited control Erebus had over his ancestor's founding house and as he makes his way through the years at Hogwarts, the more power he would ultimately have over the entire House. But for now having members of his House act as his own personal help was enough, he could wait until his third year to be able to punish them as he saw fit if they ever fail him. Immediately after Slytherin won the Quidditch match, Erebus cornered Flint and more or less ordered him and his friends to go and intimidate Longbottom and his friends at every possible opportunity without it being too obvious in payment for using his pet snake against the Gryffindors. Flint, giddy from their victory, agreed without question and once he and his friends had their fill at the victory party, left the dungeons in search of three Gryffindor first years. Erebus hoped that the daily torment from Slytherin would have Longbottom shaken and anxious enough that once he, Erebus, decide to finally descend upon him, he would be more willing to cooperate and perhaps spill a secret or two out of fear of him.

However once in class, when he was but an arms length away from the Gryffindors, he would position himself within eavesdropping range hoping that their curiosity was too much for them to control and slip-up during class when they think no one is listening to them. His efforts finally paid off during their History class three days after the game. Lupin was discussing the post-founder era of Hogwarts when he, seated a table behind Longbottom and Granger, overheard Longbottom mentioning to the bushy haired witch that he'd been called to the Headmaster's office last night.

"What did the Headmaster want?" Erebus read Granger's rapidly moving lips.

"He asked me if I'd noticed anything happening around the castle." answered Longbottom.

"Did you tell him about the stone or the three headed dog?" asked Granger, looking carefully around them.

Longbottom shook his head and then Erebus had to indiscriminately lean forward his desk just to be able to hear and read Longbottom's lips as he whispered his answer to the witch. "No, of course not, but somehow I think he knows we know about what's hidden in the third floor. He looked straight at me and then gave me a knowing smile before telling me I should never be afraid to approach him if I was ever in need, and then he ushered me out of his office."

"I don't know Nev. I'm sure the Headmaster was only being concern about your life here at Hogwarts, after all it is his job to keep the students safe and happy." said Granger, not knowing what to make do of her friend's concern.

"I guess your right, Hermione." replied Longbottom agreeably. "He's just being the caring Headmaster that he is."

Erebus wanted nothing more than to plug his ears and blind himself at the words that were exchanged between the two Gryffindors. How someone could stand to be in the old man's presence and still believe him to be after your own wellbeing was beyond him. But these two seem to take Dumbledore's grandfatherly visage at face value. He would have thought that with Granger being the annoying know-it-all that she was, the witch would be able to spot the signs of Legilimancy that Longbottom had described to her, but she hadn't and Erebus' marginal respect for her intellect dropped like a leaf in the wind.

He was now sure more than ever that the Headmaster was up to something, for why else would he be interested in what Longbottom thought was odd and more importantly why would he dig through a student's mind when he was pretty certain it was illegal to do so. His thoughts were so focused on what the Headmaster wanted with the stone and Longbottom that he failed to notice Lupin walking up towards him and call his name until a rather painful jab in the ribs from Draco brought him out of his daze.

"Draco, what the –" Erebus started in both pain and annoyance.

"Mr. Riddle, perhaps if you'd been paying attention to my class, your housemate would not have had to poke you to get your attention and you would have saved yourself a great deal of pain." said Lupin sternly, cutting off what would have been a long and cursed filled diatribe.

Rubbing his sore side, Erebus schooled his face to be void of the irritation he was currently feeling and turned as respectfully as he could to the werewolf. "I apologize, sir."

Being a werewolf, Lupin was capable to detecting the slightest inflection in how a statement was delivered, thus knowing whether someone was lying or not. And whether or not he caught the lack of sincerity in Erebus' words, he did not let it show on his face. "Very well, Mr. Riddle. Now would you mind telling me if you know the answer to what the Founders devised and left behind in the castle so that the Headmasters and Headmistresses after them could find and contact all magical children that are of aged to be schooled at Hogwarts? Your classmates don't seem to know the answer."

Erebus raised a surprise brow that Granger did not know the answer to that question, but then again the girl knew nothing about the mind arts and so he could understand why this simple question would escape her as well. Feeling rather vindictive towards the witch, Erebus flashed a superior smirk towards her before answering the werewolf's question.

"I believe Rowena Ravenclaw enchanted her quill to detect underage magic throughout the British Isles and then Godric Gryffindor had a room built called the Room of Calling where Rowena's quill would reside protected and undisturbed. Salazar Slytherin then spelled this room to only reveal itself to the current Headmaster or Headmistress during times of need and finally Helga Hufflepuff sealed the room and connected it to the castle's magic, allowing only Hogwarts to have complete control over the room and quill. She also wrote the only book to ever mention the room's existence."

Granger looked about ready to shout that what he'd just said was a lie and no book written by the Hufflepuff founder exist today, much less one about a room controlled only by an inanimate castle. But at Lupin's affirmative nod of the head and 'Ten points to Slytherin!' she deflated like a balloon and stared like a gaping fish at the pale Slytherin. Erebus' smirk just grew bigger at her expression and soon the pain to his side was forgotten and Draco released an audible sigh of relief.


A/N: For those you read the original version of this chapter, I hope your satisfied on how I edited the whole Amanda overhears the Gryffindors scene.

Expect the next chapter to be out in a few weeks, one at the latest and two at the most.

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'Til next post

dan4eva