The Games They Play

Chapter 33

"You should know that Hogwarts informed me that you were injured," Blake informed Severus, absently swirling the alcohol around in the glass, looking for all the world as if he wasn't keeping a keen eye on Severus' reaction to his words. Which of course, he was, he did wonder if Severus was able to communicate with her as well. Yes, he considered Hogwarts a 'her' he didn't know if it was the castle's doing or if it was more to do with Helga and Rowena's magic going into making her sentient that made Hogwarts feel 'female' as it were. Not that he'd ever voice that out loud, it would make him seem utterly insane.

"Hogwarts?" Severus asked dubiously, giving Blake an odd look, similar but not exactly like the one he had given Harry when he found out about his Parseltongue abilities. Similar only because there was no fear today, and there most definitely had been back then, he hadn't noticed it at the time. He was twelve years old at the time, so yeah, course he wouldn't understand the terror Severus had felt just hearing hissing. Which he no doubt associated with death due to The Dark Lord's penchant for having snakes around and using them to kill or injure people…then there was the fact when the Dark Lord was furious he would hiss in Parseltongue before curses and hexes would fly.

"I'm serious," Blake spoke, putting the now empty glass aside, "I could feel foreign magic here," gesturing towards his heart. "Urgent tugging as if something required my attention. I realized it was Hogwarts, it felt like home, felt safe."

Severus swallowed thickly, his brow furrowing, he didn't quite understand it himself.

"I pressed my hand against the wall and an image of the gates flashed before my eyes," Blake told him, a thoughtful look on his face, "I realized she was trying to get my attention - to you. I quickly began to make my way down towards the gates, every move I made I could still feel her, she made sure the path was clear for me, each corner I turned the stairs were pulling in and took me in the quickest direct path to you."

Warmth suffused Severus, his black eyes flashing, but as happy as he felt over it, he did indeed feel some confusion.

"That was not all," Blake said, "As I brought you here, your classroom, office and quarters doors all opened for me, I didn't utter a single password, and when I closed the doors the wards flared back up, and if I'm not wrong…they felt a little stronger than before."

"Why?" Severus muttered utterly baffled, even as he felt as though he could power London with the feelings he couldn't quite name, happiness perhaps, affection for the place he called home?

"I can't say, I've never quite felt anything like it before in my life, even Headteachers do not get to feel her to that extent," Blake shrugged, truly in the dark just as much as Severus was regarding Hogwarts motives, but he did know that it was nothing bad. She had been sincere in trying to look after those she cared for under her roof…under her protection.

"Not even in your timeline?" Severus questioned in surprise.

"I never really entered Hogwarts again after I was seventeen, and that was only for a short period of time, I only completed six years of Hogwarts." Blake sighed, rubbing his head as if he was trying to rub away a horrid headache. "Perhaps that is what the Headteachers feel? Not like I'm going to ask Dumbledore," his lips curled in derision, oh, how he hated the old fool. There was no other way to find out unless he spoke to one of the portraits.

"The portraits," Severus pointed out shrewdly, his mind echoing Blake's quite accurately.

Blake smirked, giving a single nod letting Severus know without words that it had been his thoughts too. "Phineas Black would be the best person to have this conversation with. He hated Dumbledore as well, and does the bare minimum when it comes to doing what the old fool asks. He would get a kick out of it as well, and the knowing secretive smirk Phineas would wear will most assuredly drive Dumbledore insane." Phineas hated Dumbledore due to his eccentricity, and his pro-Muggle beliefs and he was right to hate him so.

"His portrait was in the ancestral Black townhouse…what happened to it after Black moved into the new place?" Severus questioned, he wanted answers, and he didn't like mysteries.

"The portraits should be in the trunk with the rest of the stuff gathered from the townhouse…I'm positive Kreacher removed everything, even Walburga's portrait so it stands to reason the others would be there." Blake replied, his mind trying to figure out if he had come across them but he couldn't remember he had taken so many curses and hexes of a lot of items. "Kreacher?" Blake commanded, calling him from the cottage where he stayed with Dobby.

Just then a knock caught them off guard; they glanced at each other with caution and suspicion.

"Remain seated, you need to get your ankle better, especially if you wish to accompany me," Blake stated sternly, giving him a pointed look, "I will not let you come with me if you are not one hundred percent," it was going to be dangerous after all.

"Only Dumbledore ever comes down," Severus gritted out through clenched teeth, he really didn't want to have to deal with the old fool. He had already written everything down and sent it to the old man; he had nothing more left to say, so of course, he would come down here instead of letting him recover in peace.

Blake just held out his arm, palm up instructing him to remain seated as he moved to answer the door. He was honestly expecting Dumbledore, but he was pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong. "Harry," he said, blinking at the sight of the worried teen.

"Is everything alright?" Harry asked, his brow furrowed green eyes alight with worry, glancing inside, seeing the Professor without his customary robes on was weird and told him last night must have been bad.

"What can Kreacher do for Master Blake?" Kreacher answered the call, standing behind Blake.

"Get in," Blake gestured opening the door wider allowing the teen to duck under his arm, stepping aside to stop himself from stepping on Kreacher. "Sit down," he gestured for the teen to go ahead and sit.

"Kreacher did you remove all the portraits from the walls?" Blake asked the House-elf as he reclaimed his seat.

"Yes, I did Master Black," Kreacher replied, his tone wary, he didn't like where this was going. He had his Mistresses portrait stowed away beside his locket that his Master had said was his.

"Look for Phineas Black's portrait and bring it to me please," Blake ordered the House-elf, "If I am not still here bring it up to my Quarters at Hogwarts, do not do so if I have company, that's not anyone in this room, you understand?"

"Kreacher understands, bring it to only you, or when you're alone with only who is in this room," Kreacher said, giving a bow before he popped away. It was slightly insulting really; he wasn't going to take that long to find the portrait at all.

"Why do you want the old Black Headmaster's portrait? What's going on?" Harry asked, as always eager for information.

"I want to ask him a few questions," Blake answered Harry's question, knowing more would be coming, he was terribly nosy.

"Why?" Harry then predictably asked.

Severus rolled his eyes in exasperation, the boy was too damn curious for his own good and had gotten into a lot of trouble he wouldn't have otherwise if he'd just kept his nose clean. It made protecting him next to impossible, but he must have done something right before he died in the other timeline he thought gazing at Blake briefly, he had grown into a strong impressive individual. He rarely thought of them both as the same person, the personalities were just so different that when he did think about it - it made his head spin. Although Blake's appearance here had definitely changed his feelings for both of them in different ways.

"I have a few questions to ask him about what being the Headmaster entails," Blake answered, being truthful without giving too much away. "Why aren't you with Neville, Luna or the twins?"

"The twins are busy and Neville is with Luna in the ROR," Harry replied, his cheeks going slightly red as he admitted this, especially with a teacher there…well two teachers actually. He regretted saying anything right away, especially with the looks of amusement on their faces, and yes, despite the fact they weren't laughing, Harry had learned to tell how Blake felt, and along the way, it helped him read even Severus to an extent.

"And just how did they find out about the Room of Requirements?" Blake enquired, green eyes gleaming in wicked amusement.

"I er…I might have told them," Harry said, shifting uncomfortably, he hadn't exactly assumed they'd have THAT in mind when he answered their question on knowing somewhere private. With Luna being a Ravenclaw and Neville a Gryffindor it wasn't easy to find anywhere after all. Neither house would be happy to have a student, not of their house invading their common room. So yes, he'd explained the Room of Requirements to him. Blake had mentioned the room a few times during the summer, and it had clicked for him, it was the very same room Dumbledore had mentioned to Karkaroff during last years fiasco.

Harry eyed Blake and Snape as they glanced at each other in amusement; there was softness in Snape's eyes when he looked at Blake. Biting his tongue Harry stared at the floor, wondering when they were going to make a move already, it was getting stupid. If he noticed it then there was definitely no subtly between them. "What happened?" he asked, wanting to know why his session had been canceled.

"Did you feel anything last night?" Blake asked, narrowing his eyes, wondering if it was just Harry's intuition when it came to these things or if he had seen something. He shouldn't have, the Horcrux had been removed, and with it the connection was broken. He should know he'd never seen anything since the removal of his own invading soul piece. Although he had often time wished for it back, just to catch a glimpse, to see what the Dark Lord was planning.

"No, he called didn't he?" Harry said, nodding as if he had suspected as much, he had already theorized that there wasn't much that would have Severus deviating from his normal routine. The fact Blake had broken the routine as well spoke volumes, his lessons were important, and there weren't many people that Blake would put it on hold for. "Are you going to be okay?" Harry solemnly asked, wincing just a tad, with Blake he felt safe, happy, although somewhat burdened by some of the knowledge of what the future held. Knowing that everything was going to be down to him, in the end, enabled him to feel like he could properly breathe for the first time. It wasn't just that though when Blake gave him information he didn't hold back, which meant he knew just how vicious and downright cruel Voldemort could be. But hello, he would know, he'd suffered under the Cruciatus Curse himself - twice! - He understood it better than everyone else his own age.

Severus' eyes flickered with surprise at the honest question from Harry, he also caught the wince, and it took him a few seconds to understand why it had occurred. Of course, he had been the one to brew the potions to ease the symptoms of the torture that had been inflicted on Harry. Nobody deserved that sort of hurts bestowed upon them, let alone a fourteen-year-old teenager. He remembered the first time he'd been held under it, he had been unable to stand, Lucius had been the one to side-long Apparate him to Spinners End after the meeting. The fact Harry had managed to pick himself up and somehow evade the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord and get to safety along with the dead body of his fellow champion was a bloody miracle. "I'm recovering," Severus answered honestly, gratitude enveloping him; even Albus didn't ask him that without ulterior motives.

To have someone caring, more than one someone was a godsend, a gift he wouldn't take for granted.

"Now that you're here, why don't we have a session?" Blake demanded in a gruff manner.

Harry blinked utterly used to his moody ways; it usually meant Blake was thinking of not so pleasant things, like the future. Not that anyone could blame him, the future had sounded pretty fucking bleak. Either that or he was blaming himself internally for something that was more than likely not even his fault. Given the subject, he deduced it was more than likely he felt responsible for Severus' injuries.

They were planning something. He didn't know what yet, and honestly…Harry wasn't sure whether he wanted to know or not. He knew both Blake and Severus were dark wizards; they would do whatever it took to end the war, no matter the consequences to their own conscience. Who was he kidding? He hated not being in on the action, not knowing what was going on. It's what had led to all those previous encounters. Harry scrambled to get up out of the chair when Blake stood, following him, inwardly wondering how he knew this place so well…the map or had he been down often enough to get it all internally mapped out in his head. He had kept an eye on the map so he didn't get how that could have occurred.

Blake muttered a few spells under his breath, the room was bare, a spare bedroom that wasn't used. Then he stepped into position, a serious air around him, like always when they did this dueling stance. Waiting patiently for Harry to stand at the opposite side, then their wands were drawn towards their chest, their hearts a quick bow before it was swiftly withdrawn and held out and aloft, ready to commence their duel.

He didn't need to be instructed he knew the ins and outs now.

"Bombarda!" without more ado Harry began the duel, knowing better than to use the disarming charm; he had learned that lesson a long time ago.

"demissam demergi totam facti sunt!" Blake said it very quickly his wand aimed appropriately.

Harry cursed as he began to submerge into the floor, acting quickly as he had been trained to do, "Subsisto! Protego! Ferveret sanguis!"

Blake swiftly erected a shield and then redirected the blood boiling curse to harmlessly hit the wall. Sending his own spells in retaliation, "Incisura! Vulnus!" using spells he'd been teaching Harry for weeks, to make sure both the spells and counters were stuck firmly in his mind. It would prevent him freezing if he was facing a true opponent.

"Parma! Avis!" Harry conjured up first the shield spell, then the birds to catch the slashing spell 'Vulnus' was a nasty piece of work, and its counter was longer than the spell itself, so it was best just to use something like Avis or use something in the way.

"Expulso!" Blake cast with lightning quick reflexes. "Bombarda! Incarcerous!" adding a few mild ones in to see if Harry could deal with them all.

"Protego! Confringo! Expelliarmus!" Harry muttered.

"Come on now," Blake spoke, slightly vexed that Harry was resorting to completely Hogwarts authorized spells now after doing so well.

"Contrarium!" Harry cast refusing to get angry, another thing Blake taught him, anger made you sloppy, make mistakes, remain calm always in face of an enemy, aiming the spell at Blake's knee, trying to use the spell to cripple his knee make it jerk backward and cause Blake to fall down. "Vulnus!"

"Avis! Langlock!" Blake cast the two spells in rapid succession; the birds distracted Harry long enough for him not to notice the spell until it was too late.

Harry pursed his lips, making an indignant noise at the back of his throat for a second before concentrated, then blue bolts of electricity began leaving his wand zooming straight for Blake with precision.

Blake smirked impressed, he hadn't seen Harry able to use that spell non-verbally yet. Throwing shield after shield up, actually having to work to keep himself from being hit.

The electric conductor continued on…Harry visibly straining to keep it up. Then out of the blue, he cast a non-verbal blasting curse followed by the blue bolts of electricity, both of them hit their targets. Due to the fact, the shield charm he was using didn't work against blasting curses.

Blake went careening into the wall, blood splattering everywhere from where Blake had used his arm to literally shield himself from the blasting curse, which was weakened due to it being non-verbalised but still strong enough to break through the shield charm.

A muffled curse word later, Harry was kneeling beside Blake worried, not reveling in his success.

"Move aside," Severus stated causing Harry to jump in shock before shuffling to the side, "Retrieve a blood replenisher, pain reliever and a salve, go!" he gestured for the teen to go ahead and get them. Shaking his head, he also pointed his wand at Harry and reversed the curse, causing a sigh of relief as Harry's tongue was once again where it was meant to be not stuck on the roof of his mouth. He did not like that spell at all, and he was determined to find out more about it. So he quickly made correct guesswork's as to where the lab was after one wrong turn grabbing everything he needed.

Severus used a gentle spell to return Blake to the land of the living instead of the more known medical one.

"Bloody hell," Blake groaned, sitting up, he was far too proud to be embarrassed really.

"Let me see your arm," Severus demanded, putting more weight on his good leg, he was definitely not going to undo all Blake's hard work, and he most assuredly was not going to be left behind. Whatever Blake was up to, he was going with him, and it had nothing to do with playing the hero or being a good guy, he just wanted to ensure that Blake came out of this alive and that he kept his promise to himself, that he would see the Dark Lord destroyed once and for all. He refused to die this time around before the final battle, he wanted to live but to live he had to ensure Blake destroyed the Dark Lord.

"I told you to stay off your feet," Blake reprimanded, grimacing as he held up his mangled left arm. "I'm so not used to this pain anymore," he admitted with a pained groan.

"Here," Harry called as he shuffled onto his knees, keeping a grip of the vials in his hand.

Severus plucked the pain reliever immediately and uncorked it before passing it over with a single determined look that told Blake to swallow the damn thing.

Blake sighed in relief as the potion got to work right away.

Severus got to work on repairing the damage to Blake's arm, due to the speed in which they were dealing with it; his tattoo wouldn't suffer for it.

"I can't believe I managed to beat you," Harry said, sounding utterly stunned.

"That's exactly what I want you to do," Blake stated sharply, "You did really well, I'm proud of how far you've come and your ingenuity,"

Harry flushed at the praise, a small smile curling at his lips, fondness overtaking him yet again, he really liked that he was praised, sure it was hard earned but it happened. He wasn't used to people wanting him to do well, to be smart, but for a bit of praise…Harry would do it all over again if he could. It felt amazing, yes, he was going to do his best to earn more praise. "Thank you," Harry whispered no cocky masks or sarcastic remarks to be found. "I didn't think it would work…but I just knew what I had to do all of a sudden," he confided.

Blake's lips twitched and he nodded that he understood, much of what they did had been 'just knowing what to do' it always came at the right moment too, usually during severe situations. "You are always at your best when the situation is dire," their thirst for survival was immense. "Thank you, Severus," he added, as his arm was smothered in salve before bandaged tightly with a quick simple spell.

"Your head?" Severus questioned.

"Aches but no wound," Blake told him after mentally assessing himself.

"Come on, I'll help you up!" Harry said, easily standing up, helping Blake regain his bearings, and all three of them slowly but surely made their way out of the spare room they'd just used for an impromptu duel. "And don't think I've forgotten earlier, what are you planning?"

"I'll tell you," Blake stated seriously, "But only when I've had a chance to think it through, I'm not keeping it from you in an attempt to protect you, I just don't have a solid plan yet, do you understand?" making it clear to the fifteen-year-old.

Harry nodded sombrely, and he trusted Blake completely, he hadn't lied to him yet and he knew deep inside he never would.

"Good!" Blake said slumping into the seat with a sigh, rubbing his forehead, his eyes closed as his head thumped painfully; damn the teenager hadn't half got him good. It had been a long time since he had been so thoroughly caught off guard. It would show him for assuming he had the upper hand because of the spell.

As always Severus watched their interactions with concealed curiosity.

There we go! thank you all so much for your patience and reviews when it comes to all my stories they all mean the world to me! You know I've never had the 'final battle' be just a duel between Voldemort and Harry before...perhaps when Voldemort was due to break into Azkaban? Or will Blake publicity challenge Voldemort to a duel making the wizard have to attend? Sort of like a contract of sorts using old blood and magic to enable it? IT would definitely help him gain popularity in terms of Blake warning the magical world of what could come...with the Muggles and all provide proof of how they could be found out etc... or will Blake get to work on his own? Or become the Minister and ensure the work is done? What do you think? R&R please