One day I will get off my lazy butt and figure out how to upload
in html. Today is not that day.

PO'ed Eskimo: Here it is. Don't hurt me! :P


Narcissa had been right about the wards. Draco's attempt to
apparate bounced, and deposited him in the nearest train
station, and much to his chagrin, his abrupt appearance
drew attention from locals and travellers alike. Malfoys
simply did not apparate into train stations; they arrived
by carriage and accompanied by a dozen trunks and a handful
of house-elves, caused a fuss, complained about the
service, held up the lines, inconvenienced everyone.

They did not pop about entourage-less, dressed in slightly
rumpled clothing and aggrieved expressions.

Casting a universal threatening glare, which promised
unimaginable pain to anyone who so much as coughed, Draco
stalked over to the callhearth -- the *public* callhearth
-- and dropped two knuts into the slot, upon which the fire
sprang to life, and the dispenser spat a cloud of powder
over it.

"Lucius Malfoy."

Instead of his father's strong-jawed, stubborn face, a
small, wrinkled house-elf appeared in the flames. "I is
sorry, Master Draco, but Master Lucius is not taking calls
this morning."

"Teagle! Get me inside those wards, *now*."

"I is sorry, Master Draco, but Teagle can't lower the
wards. Master Lucius' orders. I... I is sending a carriage
to pick Master Draco up, but if you wishes, you can
apparate to the gates--"

"I certainly will not appear at my own gates like a beggar!
You get me out of this station this instant, Teagle."

The head house-elf's face twisted into a mask of anxiety.
"I is sorry, Master Draco. The wards is not to be dropped.
The carriage is being there in half an hour." Teagle ended
the call before he could protest.

Swearing creatively, but quietly, Draco considered his
options. Apparate to the gates -- not only demeaning, but
illegal as he was fifteen and not licensed, and dangerous
as the antidetection charms on his wand were not meant for
heavy use -- or wait for the carriage -- also demeaning,
but without the risk of an embarrassing expulsion from
Hogwarts. Much as he hated the place, it would not do to
have a Malfoy thrown out of anywhere.

Sighing inwardly, he found a cafe from which to endure the

* * * * *

Severus had reached a level of fury previously only
provoked by Sirius Black. Second place normally belonged to
Potter -- though which one he wasn't sure -- but Albus and
Voldemort had always tied for third on his scale of
rage-inducing persons.

Or at least they did until ten minutes ago, when Albus shot
directly to number one, displacing Black's long-held title
as Wizard Most Likely to Give Severus Snape an Aneurysm.

He tottered blindly toward the rooms he occupied ten months
of the year, not trusting himself with the transportation
of his own body any farther than the dungeons. He'd splinch
himself if he tried to go home, or end up circling the floo
network for hours or portkeying into a dragon's den. His
fists clenched at his sides so tightly they vibrated,
snippets of conversation swirling through his head.

*not such a terrible calamity after all, Severus*

*a gamble, true, but look at the stakes*

*he's a strong boy, and Lucius underestimates him*

*one of Voldemort's greatest supporters*

*the perfect opportunity*

*leash on him at last*

*turn in Harry's favour*

*a strong boy*


He skidded to a halt outside the Ravenclaw tower. One week
as a Death Eater had spent his grief over Lily, and it had
taken two more for him to swallow his pride and crawl to
Albus for help. Eleven months of spying, thirteen years of
tightrope-walking to report naught but rumours and bluster
from a shattered order, followed by two years in which no
one -- least of all himself -- knew if he could be trusted.

All because Albus saw an opportunity, took a gamble,
thought Voldemort underestimated him.

Thought he was a strong boy.

"No, no, and no again! I am not a bishop and the boy is not
a rook. Our lives are not your chess game." He clamped his
lips shut on the rant that threatened, and resumed motion,
his former jerky pace infused with purpose until the
graceful, sweeping bat the children knew so well returned
in full force.

His rooms sparkled beneath the dust-repellent charm; the
house-elves began at the bottom and worked their way up
during summer cleaning. A flick of his wand and a snarled,
incomprehensible word removed the charm from the hearth
area, unsealing the set of jars on the mantle. He snatched
a handful of dust from the second one in, called the flames
to life, and tossed the powder in.

"Gringott's Wizarding Law Firm, Department of Domestic
Forms and Contracts."

* * * * *

Breakfast had been on the table for twenty minutes.

"Chizzy." The elf appeared at his elbow, teapot in hand.
"Put that down, idiot, and go fetch Master Harry for

Chizzy vanished, and only returned after several minutes
had passed. He looked considerably greener than usual.
"Master Harry is saying... is saying he is not hungry."

Lucius snorted, and considered letting the brat proceed
with his hunger strike, but decided he was too thin as it
was. He tossed his napkin on the table, and rose.

The trek from the casual dining room to the family
apartments took nearly ten minutes, during which Lucius had
plenty of time to nurse his anger. *You'd think he'd be
grateful to me for taking him out of that pedestrian little
household. Imagine forcing the most powerful wizard in the
world to wash dishes.*

The thought gave him pause. Since when had Harry Potter
been the most powerful wizard in the world? In the top
five, possibly, but the best? That title surely belonged to
Voldemort... or, with the Dark Lord's recent floundering,
Dumbledore. But Dumbledore had not been able to destroy
Voldemort, for all his conniving. The job fell to Potter
again and again, and the boy had met the challenge every

*So what if he is powerful? The Mirror of Elcaro has never
led my family astray in all the centuries we've owned it.
Potter's potential only makes him worthy to be my mate. And
perhaps more.* He tried to dismiss those thoughts, still
not entirely certain the Dark Mark didn't alert his master
to traitorous thoughts. He knew he wasn't the only one
possessed of shaken faith. No one had been suicidal enough
to desert -- yet -- but the doubt lay in little things...
late arrivals to meetings, lack of recruits, lack of
initiative... They were ripe for a new leader, and though
Lucius was reluctant to risk himself he thought a few of
his compatriots might follow Potter. Nott, certainly. He'd
been petrified of the boy since the triwizard tournament.
Crabbe and Goyle. They would do anything Lucius told them.
Pettigrew, most likely. The man had a guilt complex a mile
wide. Severus... Severus, of course, would wish to advance
his son.

Lucius smirked to himself, then pushed aside the vague
plans. He couldn't stage a rebellion without Harry's
cooperation, and that would be a long, and delightful, time

"Dar-ling!" he sing-songed, rapping his cane on his
husband's door.

"Go away." The response, muffled by the heavy oak, sounded

"I know you had a rough day yesterday, but skipping meals
won't help anything."

"I'm not hungry."

"I won't have you harming yourself because of a
temper-tantrum, Harry. You need to eat, and I've told the
house-elves you will only eat at the table, so you may as
well come out."

"Go to hell."

"Language, Harry." Lucius tried the door knob, and of
course it wouldn't turn. "La puissance est la vie," he
whispered. The phrase would unlock any door in the house.
He tried the handle again.

It burned his fingers.

Firming his jaw, Lucius drew his wand. "Alohomora!"

The door spat blue sparks at him.

Torn between surprise and fury, Lucius pushed back his
sleeves, and shouted the spell to return all control of the
wards to their master. "Murus dominatus!"

He flew back through the air and hit the opposite wall,
cracking a portrait frame and his skull.

The door did not even rattle.

"Potter! Don't even *think* you'll get away with locking me
out of a part of my own house!"

"*Our* house. Sweetheart."

He staggered back to the door, and began throwing curses at
the charmed wood, with painful results. "Open the door!"

"Bite me."

"You have to eat some time, Potter."

"I'm sure my father will be very unhappy with you if you
let me starve to death."

*Severus. Fuck.* "Goddamn it, Potter, open this door this

"Go fuck yourself." A giggle, muffled but clearly
*laughter*. Potter was laughing at him. "Darling."

Snarling, Lucius raised his wand again.

"Er, Father?"

He spun around to find Draco -- stained, rumpled, and
all-around disheveled -- staring at him with the same
wide-eyed timidity one might regard a rampaging hippogriff.
"Yes, son?" He managed a level tone, and applauded himself.

"Why is Harry Potter locked in Mother's bedroom?"

Lucius blinked. With all the hustle and bustle of getting
divorced and remarried and the wedding night and trouble
with the in-laws, he'd forgotten to tell Draco about his
new stepfather.

* * * * *

Whistling cheerfully, Severus rang the Malfoy's bell, then
nodded politely at the house-elf who opened the door. "Good
morning, Chizzy."

"Mister Severus Snape." The elf admitted him, reluctance in
every gesture.

"Where might I find--" Shouting and the sound of explosions
from the upper levels answered his question before he could
complete it. The foyer's chandelier rattled. "Never mind. I
believe I can find him."

The house-elf seemed grateful to escape, and fled without
further protest.

Severus strolled through the house, following the appalling
noise, scroll clutched in fist, Nev-R-Full satchel bouncing
at his side. Eventually, he arrived outside the traditional
suite of the mistress of the house, and regarded the swath
of destruction, which was once a corridor, with grim

"--don't care *what* contracts the Mirror of Elcaro told
you to sign! It's Harry bloody Pot--" A sharp crack
silenced Draco Malfoy's shrill voice.

"Never question my motives again--"

"But this is intolerable!"

"Do *not* interrupt me! You will tolerate it because I say
you will."

Severus observed the pair of blondes, amused to see two
banes of his existence at each other's throats. "I hope I'm
not disrupting an important father-son chat."

"Severus," Lucius spat. "You did this. How dare you put up
wards in my house?"

"I did so at the request of your husband -- and if memory
serves me, he has the right of fair usage of all your major
assets, including the right to erect wards or have others
do so on his behalf." Severus rocked gleefully on his heels.
The morning spent in Mr Pitonschist's company was proving
both useful and entertaining.

Lucius visibly reined in his temper, and seemed to recall
Severus was not a wizard to casually annoy. "I am merely
concerned for the boy. He has refused to come out for

Severus smiled brightly, knowing full well the expression
was both ludicrous and terrifying on his face. "Entirely my
fault. I promised Harry I would be here for brunch, and he
was probably waiting on me. Oh, this is for you."

Malfoy took the scroll he offered, and shot Severus a
venomous glare when it flashed green, signalling that the
Ministry had recorded the contents as served to the proper
recipient. "What is this?"

"Cease and desist order. As Harry Potter's biological and
magical father, I have filed for a partial magical
restraining order. You are hereby forbidden from using
magic -- including all hexes, charms, and potions -- upon
the person of your husband." Severus smirked, though he
knew that Lucius, once recovered from this setback, would
be more dangerous than ever. Who knew defending Potter
could be so much fun? "Violating the terms of the restraint
is worth a two-hundred and fifty thousand galleon fine and
up to six months in Azkaban. I trust we have your
cooperation in the matter." Without waiting for a response,
he rapped on the door, pleased when Harry admitted him

He stepped inside, and as the door swung shut on his heels,
he heard Draco yell, "Snape is Potter's father?!"


Note: I absolutely could not resist the C&D order. Blame my
muse. She got into the ice cream again. The battle has only
just begun, and yes, the Mirror will be explained at some
point. Thanks again to those of you who reviewed. It's always
fun to see what people think of the story. I have a lot on
the go, so don't expect the updates to show up at this pace
all the time -- I was supposed to be working on Chrysalis but
got distracted.