*A/N* I'm baaaaack! I am SOOOOOOO sorry it has taken me three years to update! I wont make excuses but I hope this chapter is good enough to make up for my absence. There is a lot going on, and yes it is sort of a filler, but its a jumping off point so I can get this 5th year portion where I need it to be. Things are getting darker in the wizarding world and this chapter proves that. If you have been paying attention, after the Christmas Holidays (in the story) I usually have things pick up at a rapid pace and this 5th year is no different. Now, without further ado, I present the long awaited chapter...
A Deadly Mistake
When Salazar and Godric got back to the chamber that night, it came as no surprise when they couldn't find any trace of Umbridge. When Salazar glared accusingly at his two beloved snakes, the only thing Emeralda and Nora would say was that 'she moved'.
And they refused to elaborate further.
Salazar was extremely upset because he really hadn't wanted Umbridge killed. He actually wanted her to suffer for the rest of her life by staring at the words 'I must not piss off Salazar' which she had been made to write with the quill.
And now she never would.
After thoroughly scolding the two snakes, who only glared at him, and ranting and swearing up a storm for nearly two hours, he finally sighed with exhaustion and plopped down on the floor.
Godric chuckled, picked Salazar up, and sat him down in a conjured chair.
"Feel better?" He asked, looking at his friend with concern.
"No." He answered solemnly. "Because now I feel awful."
"I feel absolutely horrible for what we did to that woman. She was unarmed, and honestly, she had no information that was useful to us. She only knew that Voldemort was back, and she had plans to create something called The Muggle Born Registration Committee, which, admittedly, was foul in itself, but I think we went too far."
Godric sighed and nodded as he sat down next to him. "Yeah, I think we did. I feel rotten, dirty, foul…"
"Exactly." Godric sighed.
"But Master, isn't that a good thing?" Emeralda asked. "If you didn't feel bad I would be concerned for you. I would fear you would turn into something foul. The fact that you do feel bad is comforting."
"Are you saying Speaker would turn into something like Morty? Cause if you are Shrew, I'll bite you. Speaker would never turn into something like Morty."Nora said with an angry glare.
"Fish Bait, I'm not saying he will end up like Voldemort. I'm just saying that if Master didn't regret his actions I'd be worried." Emeralda replied with a bit of impatience.
"Do you regret your actions Shrew?" Nora asked in a silky voice.
"Of course not." Emeralda replied haughty tone. "That woman hurt my Hermione."
Salazar and Godric glanced at each other and sighed quietly, but neither of them spoke. They didn't need too though. They both felt horrible for what they had done to Umbridge.
They didn't get to dwell on it much further though, because a bright silvery doe patronus sailed into the Chamber a moment later.
"Sir, we have a very complicated situation. Can you come to Headquarters immediately?" It asked, then promptly disappeared.
Salazar sighed heavily. "And here I was thinking I could go home and get some rest."
Godric chuckled. "No rest for the weary Salazar, you should know that by now."
"Indeed." He replied, as they both got ready to apparate.
"Master wait!"Emeralda called out just before they left. "Does this mean I can wander about the castle again?"
Salazar smiled and nodded. "Yes my dear, so long as you don't eat anyone else, unless I say otherwise."He said, giving her a stern glare.
"Yes Master." Emeralda replied, causing Nora to hiss loudly.
"Aren't you forgetting someone?" She asked with warning. "If I don't get to go, I will bite someone. I promise."
Salazar rolled his eyes. "Fine, come on."
Nora hissed triumphantly, but Emeralda let out a hiss that sounded almost like a 'humph', which caused Nora to look at her smugly.
"You're just upset because you're too big to come along. Maybe you should lose a bit of weight Shrew."
"Just wait Fish Bait, I'll get you back for that little remark." Emeralda said, as she made her way out of the Chamber.
Salazar and Godric just shook their heads, and apparated to Camelot.
They landed in the foyer at Camelot and quickly made their way into the room that housed Order meetings. They were a bit surprised to see that Molly had herded the children into a far corner, while Dumbledore, Snape, Merlin, Moody, Amelia, Arthur, and Mundungus stood around The Round Table, eyeing a small wooden crate suspiciously. When they approached the table, both Salazar and Godric noticed that the crate was filled with short clear tubes that were glowing with an ominous killing curse green color.
Salazar raised an eyebrow as he looked from the crate to everyone else.
"Mundungus saw a chap selling these things in Knockturn Alley." Moody said before Salazar could even finish his question. "Said he calls them Bottled Killing Curses."
"We have arrested the young man, who claims he got them from a muggle born who didn't give his name." Amelia said. "We questioned him under veritaserum, and he said that he was told by the muggle born that if you throw the Bottled Killing Curses at someone, they will explode and kill the one who was hit."
"He said it was good defense for those who can't cast the curse." Mundungus added, causing Moody to glance at him and huff loudly.
Salazar looked at them, then at Merlin, before looking into the corner where all the children were huddled. He caught Hermione's eye, causing her to snort, which made him burst out laughing.
"I'm guessing you have tried…"
"Yes, I tried Harry. I really did, but they said that there is a stasis charm on each of them. They really don't want to take any chances." She said, trying to hide a giggle, which caused Moody to glare at her.
"Well Hermione is right." Salazar said with a grin. "The killing curse itself is not able to be 'bottled'. These truly are nothing more than a muggle invention called a Glow Stick. They are harmless, and it's my guess that the stasis charm was placed on them so that they wouldn't fade out, which these are known to do after a day or so. The lad you arrested was scammed by the muggle born, who was likely betting on the lack of knowledge the average wizard has of the muggle world."
"How can you be sure?" Amelia asked, looking at him with narrowed eyes.
Salazar chuckled again. "It's simple," he said, as he plucked one out of the wooden crate, causing them all to gasp and back away. "If you look closely you will notice that there is a smaller glass tube inside it. It's very brittle, and when the outer tube is bent, the brittle tube is broken and releases a chemical which is then mixed together after you shake it. Glow Sticks actually come in all different colors such as red, blue, purple, orange, yellow, green…" He said, as he waved his hand at the crate. "The chemical inside is virtually harmless, and you can even get it on your skin and nothing will happen, though some people have been known to have an allergic reaction, so it's best not to get it on your skin or in your eyes, just in case. I know I'm not allergic because Dudley actually poured one on top of my head when I was eight."
Then to the horror of everyone, save Hermione, he used the severing charm to cut the top off the Glow Stick he was holding, and poured the contents onto his hand. He then dimmed the lights in the room, causing everyone to gasp when they caught sight of Salazar's green glowing hand.
"…wicked!" The twins cried.
"Fred, I just got an idea."
"I'm right there with you dear brother. If we can invent a potion that works like this stick glow thing…"
"Glow stick." Hermione corrected.
"Whatever, we can launch it at the death eaters then turn out the lights. We would still see them…"
"…but they wouldn't see us. Brilliant plan ingenious brother."
Molly groaned lightly, but as Merlin relit the lights around the room, nearly everyone shuffled to the table. Fred and George grabbed a couple and began examining them, as Arthur stared at them with a happy grin on his face.
"The things muggles come up with. It's fascinating, isn't it?"
Molly simply rolled her eyes at her husband, but everyone else chuckled.
"Well Alastor, I know I'm not the head of the DMLE anymore, but I would advise you to let the young man who you arrested go with a warning. Still though, keep a watch for this muggle born and if you find him, bring him in for questioning and a warning."
"Will do Amelia." Moody said, but then he turned to Mundungus. "Never thought I'd say this, but good work. Let us know if you see anything else out of the ordinary."
"I will do me best Mad-Eye. Those things gave me the willies, they did. Didn't want one of them to hit me." Mundungus said, then he promptly apparated out, causing George to start chuckling.
"Too bad Umbridge isn't around. We could have had fun with her and the 'Bottled Killing Curses'." He said, causing the children to start giggling and laughing.
Salazar and Godric, on the other hand, sighed loudly.
"Speaking of Umbridge." Godric said. "I have to admit that she is dead."
"Dead!?" Half of those assembled cried.
"Yes." He admitted. "Salazar and I took her from her cell and interrogated her in the Chamber of Secrets. With Emeralda in there, we figured that we could use Umbridge's fear of snakes to get her to talk." He said, as he glanced at Salazar, who simply nodded. "Salazar used legilimency on her and found out that she knew Voldemort was back, and she even had plans to enact some foul legislation, should he take over the Ministry."
"She wanted to round up every single muggle born in Britain, accuse them of stealing magic, and throw them into Azkaban after snapping their 'stolen' wands." Salazar offered, causing everyone to scowl at that bit of news. "After that, I left Umbridge with Nora and Emeralda, with instructions for them not to let her move. It was one of those offhanded warning types of things and I really didn't think anything of it at the time. Godric and I left, so we could discuss what to do with her, but by the time we got back Umbridge was nowhere to be found. All Nora and Emeralda would say was that 'she moved'."
Hermione gasped as her hand flew to cover her mouth. "Emeralda ate her." She simply stated, causing Godric and Salazar to nod.
"Yes, she did." Salazar admitted with a sigh. "I should have never left them with her. They are, after all, wild animals and they hated her with a passion. I am very sorry."
It was half-truth, half lie, and both Godric and Salazar knew it, but they figured it was best to leave it at that. They really didn't feel like going into details. They still felt horrible about what they did to the unarmed woman, but the others didn't need to know what really took place.
Amelia sighed heavily. "Well, what's done is done." She said, as she shook her head. "You really can't be blamed for what they did. However, is Emeralda going to become a problem? We can't just have her going around eating people she doesn't like."
"I made that clear to her." Salazar nodded. "I don't think she will though. Nora goaded her into admitting that she only did it because Umbridge 'hurt her Hermione'."
"That's right, I did. I don't feel bad for the toad though. She got what she deserved, as far as I'm concerned." Nora added, as she stuck her head out of Salazar's robe sleeve.
Everyone glanced at Hermione, who had a sad, but somewhat peaceful, expression on her face.
"I guess she did what she felt she had to do." Hermione said quietly. "Truthfully though, after what Umbridge did to Ron and I, I can't feel bad for her. I just hope Emeralda doesn't suffer from indigestion."
That got a few chuckles out of most of the kids, but the adults simply nodded.
"Very well then." Amelia said as she rubbed her tired eyes. "It's been a long tiring evening for all of us, so I suggest we all get some rest. With it being just a few days before Christmas, I expect Voldemort to pull something, so we should be ready."
Everyone just nodded, before splitting up and heading off their rooms, or homes. When Salazar arrived at his flat in Diagon Alley, he fell into a fitful sleep filled with disturbing dreams he'd rather not remember.
"Belly Button, Belly Button, I poke you! Belly Button, Belly Button, why so blue?!" Tiny Voldemort sang at the top of his lungs as he danced around Bellatrix, who looked less than pleased at being called 'Belly Button'. "Don't you know that Voldy loves you?! He just can't admit it 'cause he's so cruel! Not to mention that you are married! Ohhhhhh, Belly Button, Belly Button…."
"SHUT UP! Bombarda!" She screamed, blasting a hole in the dining room floor, and causing Tiny Voldemort to go flying through the air. He landed on the dining room table, coughed cheekily, and grinned.
"What? You don't like my song? Anyone with half a brain knows you love Moldy Voldy, and wish he loved you back." He said with a laugh, but then he whispered loud enough for the whole room to hear. "He just can't admit it because you're married to Doofus over there." He added, as he pointed to Rodolphus. "You should kill him and get him out of the way. Then Moldy Voldy will love you."
Rodolphus gulped audibly and glanced at his wife, then at his Master, who simply scowled at his tiny counterpart.
"I do not love anyone." He hissed angrily.
"So says you." Tiny Voldemort said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "I know better."
"My Lord, any word on how we can get rid of this foul thing?" Bellatrix asked, as she sent a loathing glare at Tiny Voldemort.
"I can't go away until the half-blood loves me." Tiny Voldemort replied.
Bellatrix screamed with rage, and backhanded Tiny Voldemort so hard that he went flying into Pansy Parkinson's dinner plate. She whimpered slightly and visibly tensed up, but Tiny Voldemort stood up, shook the mashed potatoes from his red and gold stripped robes, and hopped back over to Voldemort like some demented hyper bunny rabbit.
Then Pansy whimpered in fright again.
Since she had gotten home for the Christmas break, her life had been turned upside down. She couldn't believe the destruction of her once beautiful and comfortable home. Her own bedroom and been taken away from her and was now being used to house Bellatrix and a few of the others who had escaped from Azkaban. She was now forced to sleep in a small room with her parents, which was barely big enough for a house elf.
The house was nearly in ruins though. There wasn't a wall that didn't have a massive hole in it somewhere, due to the Dark Lord and Bellatrix's tempers. The library was littered with books that had been blown up, burnt, and/or ripped apart when they proved to not hold information that was useful, and the general over all feeling of depression, anxiety, and doompermeated through the entire house, and there wasn't a dementor in sight!
This wasn't how it was supposed to be, especially around Christmas.
Where were the elegant dinner parties? Where was the laughter, lighthearted chatter, and sense of entitlement that goes with the pure-blood way of life? Was this what it meant to be part of the Dark Lord's followers? If so, then it was highly disappointing.
Sure, some of the escaped Death Eaters dragged a family of muggles into the drawing room yesterday and spent all day hexing and torturing them before they were killed, but they were just muggles and didn't matter. However, when her Dad later spoke out of turn, the Dark Lord held him under the torture curse for nearly a minute!
That wasn't as much fun to see.
And even the Christmas Eve dinner they were currently eating wasn't up to standard. It was a tasteless, meager meal, and not even fit for a house elf, if they had any. According to her Mother, the Dark Lord had killed all the house elves because he didn't trust the little blighters.
Her own mother had to cook this meal!
But she knew enough not to say anything. When she got off the Hogwarts Express her mother had pulled her aside and warned her not to do anything drastic. She was warned not to speak unless spoken too, to not get in the way, and to make herself as scarce as possible. She was not to look the Dark Lord in the eye under ANY circumstances.
Pansy hadn't understood why at the time, but she did now and she wasn't happy about it. This wasn't the way things were supposed to be. Commoners were supposed to fear the Dark Lord and his inner circle, but it seemed that his own Death Eaters feared him too.
He was the Dark Lord. He was their leader. He was going to take over, and the mudbloods, blood traitors, and non-connected half-bloods would perish and/or grovel at the feet of the pure-bloods, like they were supposed to.
So why wasn't that the case yet? Why did the Dark Lord torture and kill his own people?
Pansy suddenly felt like someone was watching her and she looked up, only to find the Dark Lord himself staring right at her.
"Is there something you wish to ask me Pansy?" He asked in a cold, aloof tone.
"N-no My Lord." She replied meekly.
The Dark Lord simply smirked, but his attention wavered as round one-thousand five hundred and seventy-three began between Tiny Voldemort and Bellatrix.
"Oh pretty pure-blood princess, what is the matter?" Tiny Voldemort asked in a mocking tone, as Bella tried to stab him with her fork. "Is Belly-Button butt hurt over the fact that she bows to a half-blooded son of a muggle!?" He shouted gleefully.
Bella let out a vicious cry of rage and shouted a blasting curse at him, but Tiny Voldemort side-stepped it and caused the spell to hit a bowl of soggy green beans, which went flying everywhere.
"Crucio!" Voldemort bellowed, causing Bella to fall out of her chair, while she screamed loudly. He finally lifted the curse after a few moments, but he stood up and towered over the fallen witch as she twitched and groveled at his feet. "It is time you learned to control yourself Bella." He hissed maliciously. "Learn to ignore him." He added, as he plucked a single green bean off of his robes and dropped it on her head.
He turned to sit back down and smiled at everyone from his throne-like chair. Pansy narrowed her eyes as she watched him, but he looked at her and smirked again.
"Happy Christmas everyone." He said in a false cheery tone.
Pansy simply narrowed her eyes even further.
"So he wants Excalibur." Salazar simply stated, as Severus nodded silently.
The Order had gotten together to have its own Christmas dinner, which was spread out on the massive dinning room table that had been placed at one end of the grand ball room. The ball room had, like the rest of Camelot, been decorated for Christmas.
There was even a large multi-colored (curtesy of the twins) Christmas tree in the corner, which had been decorated by everyone. It had Hermione's favorite blue-bell flames for lights, green and silver baubles that Draco had created, conjured orange baubles so Ron could show his love for the Chudley Cannons, socks and knitted hats for Dobby, bouncing blubs for Neville, charmed nutcrackers which sung carols for Blaise, popcorn-on-a-string because Arthur had seen something like that in a window display in muggle London, and even a dead mouse or three was hung on its branches, because Nora and Hedwig had insisted.
It may have not been a traditional tree, but it was theirs and it made everyone chuckle, smile, and shake their heads at its ridiculousness every time they saw it.
However, right now the topic of conversation wasn't anything Christmas related. Severus had been sitting on this information for about two weeks, and he knew he couldn't stall anymore. The Dark Lord was getting restless about getting his hands on Excalibur, causing Severus to finally breakdown and mention it to everyone.
"Yes sir, he does." Severus said with a sigh, before turning to Merlin himself. "Why? Why in the name of Merlin did you make mention of Excalibur, if it has the power to kill the three of you?" He asked desperately, causing Merlin to chuckle at his slip of the tongue.
"It is true that Excalibur has the power to kill myself, Salazar, and Godric," he said softly, "but Severus, do you honestly think a wizard like Voldemort has the ability to actually wield it? You are speaking about a wizardwho relies so heavily on magicthat he cannot possibly hope to successfully wield such a muggleweapon. He simply doesn't have the knowledge, or the practice."
"I suppose that's true." Godric said with a thoughtful nod. "Wizards using swords in battle went out of fashion centuries ago, and the only ones who actually know how to use a sword is the three of us." He added, as he pointed to himself, Salazar, and Merlin, who all nodded.
"I can't see him becoming good enough to defeat us in such a way." Salazar said.
"Not to mention, he's more than likely to injure himselfwith it, before killing one of us." Merlin said with a smirk, which caused Salazar to immediately narrow his eyes.
"You've seen something." He accused.
"Perhaps." Merlin said evasively.
Hermione, who, along with everyone else, had been following the conversation with rapt attention, gasped loudly. "You aim to make Voldemort injure himself so that he is weakened."
Merlin's beaming grin told them she had deduced the situation correctly. "More than that, anyone who sustains an injury from Excalibur will find that the wound does not heal." He quickly added.
"Well that's excellent news." Amelia said with a nod, as Susan, who had been brought to Camelot for safety, stared around the table in shock.
"So, how do we get Excalibur into Voldemort's hands without endangering Professor Snape's position?" Cedric asked curiously.
"Mr. Diggory has posed an excellent question." Albus said. "We cannot take the chance that Voldemort has a pensive, so whatever we think of has to be completely foolproof."
"I agree." Salazar said with a nod. "But I think we should use veritaserum, like Severus has already suggested to Voldemort."
"Me too." Hermione piped up with a firm nod. "But like the Headmaster said, we can't take the chance of him having a pensieve. This could be a test of the Professor's true loyalty, and we can't take any chances. Him dousing me with veritaserum is fine by me, but to in order to sell the entire ruse, Professor Snape will have to put me under the imperious curse."
Her words sparked an immediate massive outcry, most notably from Molly, Amelia, and Minerva.
"He could make you do anything he wanted!" Molly cried.
"You'd be helpless!" Minerva added.
"As Minister for Magic, I cannot condone that!" Amelia shouted in disbelief.
"Listen! Please listen!" Hermione shouted over all the noise. Everyone quieted down, but most were still grumbling their displeasure under their breath. Hermione gave off an exasperated huff and shook her head, but then she continued. "We have already seen the damage the imperious curse can do, when Lucius Malfoy placed the Headmaster under it, but the imperious curse canbe used for good as well."
"There is nothing good that can come from the imperious curse." Amelia said strongly.
"Minister Bones," Hermione said with a small smile, "what would you do if something happened to Susan?" She said, as she motioned towards the girl. "What if something horrible happened and Susan found herself in a severely distressed state of mind? What if she fell into such a depression that the only thing she could think of was to kill herself by throwing herself off of the astronomy tower at Hogwarts? Let's say you happened to be there and were desperately trying to get her away from the edge, but nothing was working. Talking to her wasn't working, trying to spell her away from the edge wasn't working, and nothing else you could think of worked. Now, what if your last resort was using the imperious curse? Would you let her jump off and kill herself because the curse is an unforgivable, or would you use it to save her life?"
That brought the grumbling to a complete halt, and caused Amelia to stare at Hermione with a gobsmacked expression.
"I would hope you wouldn't let me jump Auntie." Susan said softly, causing Amelia's eyes to flicker to her niece. "I would want you to use the curse for a good thing, the good thing being saving my life." She added.
Amelia visibly wilted before their eyes and let out a slow breath as she bowed her head, which caused Hermione to smile apologetically at her.
"I'm sorry to have used such a horrible hypothetical situation Minister, but I hope I have proved my point. I trust Professor Snape with my life. He is not going to make me do anything that will put my life in jeopardy, nor is he going to make me enter his living quarters and force me to do unspeakable acts of a sexual nature."
Severus let out a shocked, startled cry at that remark, which caused Salazar to snort loudly, but it was Merlin who outright laughed.
"I can honestly say that I agree with that." He said with a chuckle. "The imperious curse does not cause any pain to the one it is placed on, and if Hermione is comfortable enough with the idea to even suggest it, I think it's something we should think about."
"She's also right about it selling the ruse." Godric added. "How else is Severus supposed to explain how he was able to get his hands on Excalibur, when he gives it to Voldemort?"
Salazar and Albus both nodded, but the Headmaster looked towards Severus.
"And what is your thoughts about this plan Severus?" He asked, causing Snape to sigh loudly.
"I think that if Miss Granger ever again mentions the words 'me', 'Professor Snape', 'living quarters', and 'sexual nature' in the same sentence again, I will use her insides for potion ingredients. Barring that, I think it's a solid plan." He said, causing Salazar, Godric, and Sirius to burst out laughing.
"We will have to work out all of the details, of course, but I too think it's a good plan." Albus said with a twinkle, as he looked over to Amelia, who sighed heavily.
"I will allow Severus Snape to cast the imperious curse on a willing Hermione Granger, and he will not suffer any repercussions." She said formally, causing Albus to nod.
"Thank you, Amelia." He said happily. "Now, I suggest we continue our excellent Christmas dinner. Our pudding seems to getting cold."
"I agree Professor!" Ron said enthusiastically, causing a few people to chuckle loudly.
But Hermione, with a mischievous glint in her eye, suddenly glanced at Nora, who was happily investigating some whipped cream.
"Say Nora," she said with a grin. "What do you think about you and 'me' getting together to write an essay for 'ProfessorSnape' on the 'sexual nature' of snakes and slipping it underneath the door of his 'living quarters'?" She asked quickly, causing Nora to hiss with amusement.
"GRANGER!" Snape shouted as he jumped to his feet.
Hermione squealed loudly with laughter as she slipped out of her seat and onto the floor, crawled underneath the table to the other side, and ran out the door, just as a mild stinging jinx erupted from the potion master's wand. Nearly everyone burst into laughter as they watched the embarrassed, red faced man run after her, mumbling curses under his breath about 'cheeky know-it-all Gryffindor females'.
"Hermione pranked Snape!" The twins cried gleefully, as they fell out of their seats with laughter.
"Happy Christmas everyone." Albus said with a hearty laugh, as the kids giggled at Snape, who could be heard yelling for the girl all throughout Camelot.
Many of the adults laughed and wondered out loud what would happen to Hermione, if Severus actually caught her.
Boxing Day was mostly a lighthearted and joyous day for everyone at Camelot. Salazar, Godric, Severus, Sirius, Remus, and the children who were 'in the know' spent several hours talking to the Potters via the mirrors, before the rest of the castle got up that morning.
The only dark spot in the day was due to Harry. It seemed that Harry was a bit depressed because he couldn't spend any actual time with them, and when Salazar asked James and Lily about Harry's solemn attitude, they explained that he just wanted the war to be over so that he could 'go home.'
Apparently, Harry was becoming less and less pleased with being stuck in Brazil. He was always complaining about how none of his South American friends knew the real him, since he never even used his real name at school. He wanted to go someplace where he could truly be himself without having to watch every little thing he said, least he slip up and say something that would put his family in danger. James told Salazar that Harry considered Neville, Hermione, Blaise, and the twins as his only real friends, since they at least knew who he really was.
This caused Salazar to sigh heavily, but he silently vowed to hopefully have the war finished so Harry could at least come home for his seventh year, but it was looking less and less likely that would happen.
At dinner that same evening, Severus mentioned to the full-time residents of Camelot that Voldemort had several plans in place, but he didn't know any details of those plans. He had previously told them what Voldemort had said about Amelia being his top target, which is why she and Susan were now living at Camelot full time.
"So," Amelia said with a sigh as everyone turned to look at her, "we don't know what he plans to do."
"No Minister." Severus said with a shake of his head.
"But Severus, you're his second in command." Molly said with a disgusted shiver over the thought of how that came to be. "Surely he has, at the very least, told yousomething."
Everyone looked at the young man hopefully, but he sadly shook his head.
"I wish it were true Molly, but The Dark Lord is planning everything on his own. Unfortunately," he said with a slight sneer, "his paranoia has grown so much that he is now convinced that his tiny look-a-like is a spy. He refuses to speak about his plans until the last possible second."
Molly heavily glared at her twin sons, who paled considerably at this news.
"We-we didn't think…" Fred stuttered, causing Molly to huff.
"No you didn't." She said angrily. "You didn't think, and now we have no way of knowing…"
"Molly, this is hardly the place…"
"I will NOT be swayed from saying what I have to say Arthur." She snapped, causing Arthur to glare at her as she turned her attention back to the twins. "We have no way of knowing what You-Know-Who is going to do now because of this little stunt of yours. I hope, going forward, that you actually THINK about the possible consequences your actions could have on the future of this war. What you have done is completely irresponsible." She scolded.
The twins hung their heads and nodded solemnly, as a heavy silence hung in the air. No one knew what to say now, until Draco tentatively spoke up.
"But this is a good thing too." He said in an uncertain tone, causing everyone to glance at him. "I mean, Professor Snape has a scapegoat now."
"I suppose that's one way of looking at it." Salazar said with an approving nod. "Unfortunately, though, Molly it right. If Voldemort is not speaking about his plans, that leaves us in a bind because we have no way of knowing what they could possibly be."
"Could Tiny V-V-…I'm sorry I just can't say it…You-Know-Who be spelled with a listening spell?" Draco asked, causing everyone to look his way again.
"It's a good idea in theory Draco," Snape said with a smile, "but The Dark Lord would find that spell in an instant and remove it. Also, there are no other spells like it that he wouldn't be able to detect almost immediately."
"Oh." Draco said quietly, as he glanced at the table and sighed, but Hermione smiled at him.
"It was a good idea Draco, so don't be discouraged. If you think of something, just speak up." She told him, causing him to smile back.
"I don't know what help I could really be. Besides, Mother and I aren't apart of the Order."
"That might be true," Hermione replied, "but we know the two of you pick up things that are said around here."
"If you don't outright listen at the door." Fred said with a wink, causing Draco to stifle a laugh.
"They work perfectly, you know." He said with a grin, as he pulled a long, thin, flesh colored string out of his pocket, but everyone gasped when an attached human ear popped out along with it. "Granger snores terribly in her sleep, Longbottom likes to pretend he's teaching a Herbology class whenever he's alone in his room, Bones likes to pretend she's a full-fledged Auror, your brother, loudly I might add, holds mock Quidditch games that star the Chudley Canons, and Mother," he said with a grin as he looked up at her, "I didn't know you had a thing for the Weird Sisters."
"Draco!" Narcissa cried, as she blushed a deep red, which only made her son's eyes glint mischievously.
"Excellent report, my good man!" George exclaimed gleefully, as Hermione, Susan, Ron, and Neville all started sputtering in denial.
George handed him five galleons, but when Draco went to hand him the ear, Fred waved him off.
"All testers get to keep the products after successful trial runs. The Extendable Ear is now yours." He said with a large grin.
Draco immediately rolled the ear back up and stuck it in his pocket. Then he leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms over his chest, and smirked at everyone sitting around the table. Hermione, Neville, Susan, and Ron were now glaring at him, but Godric, Salazar, and Severus all starting chuckling.
"If it makes you feel better Mr. Longbottom," Severus said with a smirk, "I used to do the same thing when I was your age, only with potions. You'd be amazed at how much information you retain by doing that."
Neville turned bright red as everyone burst out laughing, but Molly glared at the twins.
"What are those things, and you better not be trying to make anything else to send to You-Know-Who as a joke." She said sternly.
"We aren't Mum." The twins said in unison.
"These are for our joke shop that we plan to open after we graduate, and they are called Extendable Ears." Fred went on to add.
"You stick the ear under a door or window, then you place the string in your own ear. It allows you to listen to things you otherwise wouldn't be able to hear. It's just for laughs." George added, causing Molly to huff loudly.
"Very well then." She finally said with a frown, which caused the twins to breathe a silent sigh of relief.
However, at that moment, a silvery phoenix patronus sailed into the room.
"Severus," Dumbledore's terribly sad voice rang out. "Come to Hogwarts immediately. I'm afraid I have some bad news regarding a member of Slytherin house." It said, before vanishing.
Everyone stared at each other for a moment, before Salazar, Severus, and Godric sprang to their feet.
"I hope nobody's hurt." Hermione gasped, as they all watched the three of them apparate away.
Over the holidays, Albus had decided that it was beneficial to have a single small room, which was located inside the hospital wing, left open for members of the Order to apparate in and out of should the need arise. So, when Severus, Godric, and Salazar arrived in that room, they quickly made their way into the main hospital wing.
They found Aberforth, Minerva, Poppy, and Dumbledore standing solemnly around a bed. Both witches were in tears, while the brothers watched them approach with a sad, despondent expressions on their faces.
"NOOOOO!" Godric cried, as he caught sight of the battered, broken body lying in the bed.
"Theo." Severus breathed in shock, as Salazar stared at the boy in horror.
Dumbledore shook his head sadly. "He passed away not five minutes ago. Poppy tried to save him, but he was too far gone. He did manage to convey a few words before he passed, however."
"Who did this?" Godric asked as he looked up at Dumbledore with tears in his eyes.
"His father." Aberforth replied with a dark look.
"Why?" Godric asked, as his eyes grew very cold.
"For letting their gift of Parseltongue become public knowledge." Albus answered in a hollow voice. "After the attack, and when his father had left, Young Mr. Nott said he was able to crawl over to their floo and make his way to the Hog's Head."
"He left him there to die." Salazar breathed in horror.
"When he arrived," Aberforth said, "he asked me to help him, because he knew I was Albus's brother. I brought him straight here."
"He kept slipping in and out of consciousness, but he managed to tell us who did it and why." Poppy tearfully added. "I did all I could, but it wasn't enough. I'm so sorry." She said, then she dissolved into fresh tears.
Godric began shaking with rage as he stood up, then he speared Severus with a deadly glare. "What is his father's name?"
Severus swallowed thickly, but replied immediately, "Thaddeus Nott."
"Where would he be right now?" Godric asked, as his fists clenched tightly.
"Godric…." Salazar began.
"Shut up." Godric snapped. "Theo was a child. This is no different than what we used to do back in the old days."
It was true and Salazar knew it, but as he stared sadly at Theo's broken body his eyes narrowed in anger.
"I have your back." He replied with a determined nod, as Severus's eyes bounced between the two of them.
"Sir, Nott is probably…his best friend is Rabastan Lestrange. He is probably at the Parkinson's house, but that's where The Dark Lord…"
Severus trailed off as Godric stomped towards the apparition room, but as Salazar followed behind him, he glanced over his shoulder.
"Tell Mad-Eye we will be coming into Auror headquarters with Thaddeus Nott. Whether he is dead or alive still remains to be seen." He said coldly as they disappeared into the little room.
"I hope they kill the bastard for what he has done." Aberforth said, as two loud cracks echoed throughout the hospital wing.
*A/N* As you can see, there are consequences to everyones' actions. Fred and George's Tiny V has its drawbacks, and we STILL haven't seen all the drawbacks to that. Salazar and Godric have made a huge mistake as well. They should not have let Theo go back home for the Holidays. The fall out from this will be felt, and it will be big. Let me know what you think! I wont be gone as long next time! The next chapter has already begun!