Potions and Answers:
The next afternoon was a blur for Harry and honestly it was a lot of fun. He never realized that Draco Malfoy had a sense of humor or could be anything but a stuck up prat. That made him wonder if he had made a mistake by not letting the sorting hat put him in Slytherin. Maybe if he had, things would've been different between himself and Snape. Harry let out an audible sigh.
"I'm not boring you am I?" Draco asked, smirking as he stole yet another one of Harry's chess pieces.
"No, just thinking," Harry admitted making a quick move on the chessboard.
"Anything good? I know it isn't about our chess match," Draco asked capturing Harry's bishop with a shake of his head.
"Do you think things are going to be different?"
"What do you mean?" Draco asked sitting up a little straighter.
Harry shrugged his shoulders. He still didn't know if he could trust Draco or not.
"Harry, a shrug isn't an answer," Draco said sounding a lot like his Father and Uncle.
"You sound like Snape," Harry said smiling slightly.
Draco smiled back before reaching over to touch Harry's hand and said earnestly,
"I know I've been a real prat about a lot of things, but I promise you can trust me."
"What do you think my friends are going to say about all this?" Harry asked biting his bottom lip with worry.
Draco shrugged his shoulders back. If he was honest, he hoped the two would hate the idea and he would get Harry all to himself, but the fear in Harry's eyes made him answer,
"Granger'll be fine with it and the Weasel's brothers wont let him be too pratish about it."
"Hey, I thought we decided no name calling," Harry snapped pulling his hand back and crossing his arms across his chest angrily.
Draco groaned and said with a sly smile,
"Hard habit to break, plus Weasley makes it so easy."
Harry just shook his head and looked back at the chessboard hoping that his game would improve.
Severus smiled when he saw the look on Hermione's face as they walked up to Malfoy Manor. Most people associated the Malfoy's with darkness and assumed that the Manor would be gloomy and depressing, Malfoy Manor was anything but. With his ability as a Dryade, the gardens were lush and beautiful. Narcissa always insisted on bright colors and veered away from Slytherin green with the acceptation of Draco's room.
"Are you finished with your inspection?" Severus drooled.
"It's amazing. I've never seen a more beautiful garden."
"Thank you, I take a lot of pride in our gardens. You should see the greenhouses. As a Potions Master it's important for me to have the freshest ingredients possible. Lucius also loves his collection of animals. I'll have Draco take you and Harry on a tour later on," Severus promised.
"Is Draco being nice to Harry?"
"He's trying, but my nephew can be a bit spoiled and jealous," Severus said honestly. "Come on, I'm sure Harry will be excited to see you."
Severus loved the pure joy that graced Harry's face the second he saw Hermione. The boys' chess game was left abandoned and the endless chatter associated with pre-teens commenced.
"Hermione! I thought you were coming tomorrow?" Harry asked as she pulled him into a huge hug.
"I thought it would be better for her to come today. She can help us with the heritage potion," Severus said. He wasn't about to share that Dumbledore might have gone after the girl and her family in his quest to find Harry.
"Can I help with the potion Uncle Sev?" Draco asked. He hadn't bothered to greet Hermione yet.
"Of course, we'll count it as homework time today. I need you to show Hermione and Harry into the greenhouse to collect the ingredients we'll need first," Severus said smiling slightly knowing that it would get his Godson going.
Draco smiled wildly at that. Severus was extremely protective of his greenhouses and rarely let Draco explore on his own.
"Wicked!" Draco said getting up to go.
"Draco, you may want a list of ingredients," Severus said with a smile before waving his wand and producing a neatly written list on a twelve-inch parchment. "I have to head back to Hogwarts for a little while, please gather and prepare the ingredients as instructed, but do not start the potion. And Draco make sure that you stay on the right side of the greenhouse."
"I know Uncle Sev, the left side is too dangerous," Draco says in almost a bored voice.
"Young man, there are plants that will hurt or kill you on the left side and you know it. Take this seriously or I will assign a different activity for your study time," Severus said sternly.
"Sorry Uncle Sev, I'll take it seriously, promise," Draco said tilting his head down in embarrassment. He couldn't believe his Uncle had chastised him in front of Hermione.
"Thank you Dragon. Harry, please help your cousin and stick to the right side of the greenhouse," Severus said giving his son a soft smile.
"Yes sir," Harry said.
"Have fun and I will see you soon," Severus said as he walked towards the floo, disappearing a few seconds later.
Lucius smiled as he walked out of his solicitor's office. The fact that Sirius Black had not received a trial was going to play a large role with getting him released. He couldn't believe that Dumbledore had left an innocent man in jail that many years and wondered how Sirius still seemed to be the person he remembered.
His next stop was going to be a tough one. Remus Lupin was an amazing man, who had numerous hardships that were not his fault, but that of the wolf. The problem was if the wolf was allowed loose, the news Lucius was bringing could lead to his death or at least dismemberment. Something Lucius wanted to avoid at all costs.
Lucius knew that Sirius wanted him to wait but also knew that Sirius would want his one true love with him at the trial, so he took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
"Lord Malfoy, is everything ok?" Remus asked the second he opened the door of his small cottage.
"Actually we need to talk about Sirius," Lucius said and didn't miss the golden shift in Remus' eyes.
Remus took a deep breath, feeling the wolf in the back of his mind. Losing Sirius would've been much easier than learning about the betrayal. Sirius was his soul mate and had done everything in his power to break down Remus' defenses so they could explore their love. They were only three months out from getting married when Sirius had betrayed them all leaving Remus alone. Killing not only James and Lily, but Peter as well. Why would Lucius want to talk about that man who had not only betrayed him, but broke his heart into a million pieces?
"Remus, you might want to sit down for this conversation."
"Sirius is dead to me and there is nothing in the world that you can tell me that would change that," Remus almost growled.
"How about that Peter is alive and Sirius is innocent?" Lucius asked knowing that shock value would be the best course action.
Remus paled visibly as he stumbled back into a chair. Lucius watched as the younger man broke within seconds. Tears filled his eyes as he asked,
"How? Why? Dumbledore showed me the memory from Severus."
"What memory? Severus never showed me any memory."
"The memory of Sirius bowing before Voldemort and telling him the location of James, Lilly, and Harry."
"Remus, it had to be a fake memory. Going to see Sirius was Severus' idea and he would never have done it if he knew Sirius was guilty."
"I'm going to kill him," Remus said stalking towards the floo.
Lucius grabbed Remus' arm before saying softly,
"Remus, Sirius is going to need you and trading places in Azkaban is not the way to do that. I agree that Dumbledore has to pay for everything he's done, but murder is not they way to go about it."
Remus sagged under the weight of it all and Lucius helped him back in the chair.
"Now let me tell you what's going to happen next," Lucius said giving Remus a small smile.
Severus walked back into a place he used to call home. Before Lucius Malfoy walked into his life, this Castle was the only home he had after his mother died. Now each second he's in there, is one that is full of lies, lies that had cost him his wife and his son. He felt the slight pressure on his mind before he actually saw Dumbledore walk back into his office.
"Severus, any luck or is the boy still alluding you?"
"The Grangers haven't heard from him and they leave on vacation in the morning. Are you sure he hasn't made it home yet?"
"Positive. I will take over the hunt from now on. There is another matter that I need you to help me with."
"It's my summer Headmaster, and I do have other obligations."
"This is a simple matter and shouldn't take you long to complete. I wish for you to tutor Neville Longbottom. His Grandmother is concerned that the boy is a squib and you will determine his mantle," Dumbledore said with a smile.
If he couldn't have Harry, he would turn the Longbottom lump into the savior. Sure the Longbottom child would be harder to control, but with Severus' along with his overbearing Grandmother, the child would be beaten down just enough. Plus Longbottom was not the wizard Harry was and would likely to die in his first encounter with Voldemort, making the Headmaster more powerful than other.
"I will make time for the boy," Severus said through gritted teeth.
"Thank you my boy."
Severus stormed back into Malfoy Manor hoping to see his brother before seeing the children. He had to calm his temper. Even with all of his years of training, he knew Occlumency wouldn't be enough.
"Sev, what's wrong," Lucius asked the second Severus stormed into the parlor.
"He's planning on killing my son!"
"What do you mean? Harry is the beacon of the light, Dumbledore wouldn't dare…"
"He asked me to train Longbottom. You know he is the other child in that bloody false prophesy."
"Sev, sit down and think. Harry is safe here with us and when he returns to school, you will ensure that he is safe there. Once Sirius is released, you will have Lord Black behind you as well."
Severus just shook his head and took the drink Lucius offered him. After a few minutes of silence, Draco ran into the office laughing wildly. He was surprised to his Uncle sitting there.
"Uncle Sev, you're back," Draco exclaimed excitedly.
"Where are Harry and Hermione?" Severus asked giving Draco an indulgent smile.
"Oh, they'll be here in a second," Draco said smiling wickedly.
"I can't believe you did that Draco!" Hermione said running into the office covered in mud. Harry came in right behind her looking the same with a hand full of mud, which he was about to throw at the younger Malfoy.
"Harry, please don't throw that in here. Looks like someone could use a cleaning charm," Lucius said with a smile waving his wand and within seconds Harry and Hermione were clean.
"How bad does the greenhouse look?" Severus asked trying to sound stern but the smiles on the children's faces told him what he needed to know.
"Sorry, I might have gotten a bit carried away," Draco said looking down.
"It was all of us sir. Draco was just a bit faster," Hermione said.
"I guess we should go look," Lucius said.
Severus' heart broke when he saw the look of fear that crossed his son's face, but smiled when Draco threw his arm around the younger boy and said,
"Don't worry. A few spells and it'll be fine. I wouldn't risk Uncle Sev's greenhouse for fun."
Harry looked at the blond with uncertainty, but followed the two older wizards to what he was certain would be his doom.
The greenhouse looked like it was hit by a tornado, but Severus knew that Draco was right and nothing was destroyed. There was dirt covering the floor and most of the automatic watering cans were turned over. All it would take was a couple of spells and the room would be put to rights, but first…
Draco was shocked when he was hit with the ball of mud and exclaimed,
"It's only fair Dragon, as I'm sure you're the one who started the mud war," Severus said before turning and striding out of the now clean greenhouse leaving three shocked children behind.
Sirius smiled when the Dementors were called away for the second time that week and wondered what his pompous cousin would have to say this time.
Remus had no idea what he was going to say when Sirius was brought into the room. Sorry, just wouldn't cover it, but knew that was going to be the first words to fall out of his mouth. He almost cried the second Sirius was brought into the room. His love was beyond thin, he was covered in grime and his once beautiful gray eyes were clouded with a sorrow that broke his heart.
"Moony?" Sirius asked with a slight tremble.
"Sirius, I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am," Remus said his golden eyes full of pain.
"Why?" Sirius asked his voice breaking.
"Dumbledore showed me a memory that proved your guilt and I believed him."
"What do you believe now?"
"That I was wrong and that I'm going to spend the rest of my life making it up to you."
Sirius smiled brightly at that, making Remus pull him into his arms. For the first time since that fateful night in October so long ago, Sirius Black knew everything was going to be all right.
Severus watched as the three children cut and diced the ingredients that would finally prove to his son that he was telling the truth. The three chatted about everything. Draco and Harry were obsessed with Quidditch and Hermione humored them with historical facts about the game. He wondered if things would change once Ron Weasley was brought into the mix, he hoped that the red head would take the news well, but feared that the boy's prejudice against the Malfoy family might be a problem.
Harry watched in awe as Snape put together the list of ingredients. He had always been fascinated with potions and thought it would be his favorite subject. That was until Professor Snape ruined it for him. He wondered if things would be different if Snape was really his father. The man had shocked him completely earlier when he hit Draco with a ball of mud. Harry was positive when they had destroyed the greenhouse that Snape would go ballistic, but instead the man calmly cleaned the greenhouse and then exacted revenge on the blond Slytherin. Draco had promised that his Uncle was fun, but until that moment Harry didn't believe him.
Severus smiled at the intense look on his son's face as the potion turned from a light green to a dark orange.
"All we need now is a drop of your blood and mine," Severus said poking his finger and dropping some into the cauldron before motioning to his son to do the same.
"What are we looking for Professor?" Hermione asked.
"You'll see in a few seconds," Severus said smiling slightly. He loved this potion and the second the tree began to form, he saw that his son did as well.
Harry watched in awe as the tree formed within the cauldron. Branches filled out with names underneath them. One side was labeled Prince, while the other was labeled Riddle. Harry's name was at the root of the tree. The first two names above him were that of Severus Tobias Snape and Lily Riddle Evans.
"Who's Tom Marvolo Riddle?" Draco asked. "I thought Harry's mom was muggleborn?"
"That is a common misconception, Lily was adopted by the Evan's," Severus said.
"So there are no blood wards?" Harry asked angrily.
"No, Harry. Petunia is your aunt only by paper, not blood."
"Is that why she hated me?" Harry asked tears welling in his green eyes.
"No, she hated you because she was jealous. Petunia didn't know the truth, few do."
"Did James know?" Harry asked.
"Your other father knew the truth and Harry, what James did for you makes him your father as well," Severus said pulling the black haired boy into a hug.
"Are things going to change?" Harry whispered into the robes of the man he now knew was his father.
"Yes. I promise things are going to be better and you're going to be happy if it's the last thing I do," Severus promised getting a much wanted smile from the young boy in his arms.
Sorry again about the long wait. I hope you liked this chapter.