Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and settings belong to J.K. Rowling.
A/N: Again, sorry for the wait! They may not be frequent, but updates will continue! =)
Narcissa Malfoy shrunk the shopping bag containing the new dress she had just bought, put it in her purse and stepped out of her favorite dress shop in Diagon Alley. Now that she had gotten something new to wear for the dinner party she and Lucius were attending that evening, she could buy some things to send to Draco and Kaiden as a care package. Well, she would send Draco a large care package and tell him to share with his cousin. She didn't know if Bella would approve of her sending Kaiden something directly, as she wasn't even allowed to see him. She wanted so much to see her sister and nephew... she would do anything to prove to Bella that she had never wanted to hurt her or Kaiden. Andromeda had visited her and given her an earful, having figured out that she had had something to do with Kaiden's faked death. But at least Andi is speaking to me, Narcissa thought with a sigh. It didn't look like Bella ever would again. And really, could she blame her?
Narcissa rounded the corner and then stopped, tilting her head. Had she heard her name?
Narcissa looked around curiously but didn't see anyone. Only her sisters and occasionally Lucius ever called her Cissy... She stepped towards the alley where the voice had come from. "Hello?" She called into the darkened alley. She began to pull her wand out of her sleeve when the voice rang out again.
Dinner in the Great Hall was a boisterous event once Dumbledore had made the announcement that the chamber had been found and the monster destroyed. He didn't go into details, just mentioning it was a former Hogwarts student who was behind everything but that he had been taken care of. He also added that the emergency rules were no longer needed and that all sports and clubs could resume, which was met with loud applause. The best moment was when Justin Finch-Fletcher and Nearly Headless Nick walked through, well, Nearly Headless Nick floating through the doors, both smiling. The room erupted into cheers.
Justin paused by the Slytherin table, looking contrite. "Kaiden, I'm so sorry I accused you," He said sincerely.
"It's okay," Kaiden said, feeling relieved that everything was over. "I'm just really happy you're all back." The knapsack that he had been keeping with him moved and with a laugh he stroked the top of it. "He should be here soon." He told it as Justin continued on to his own table.
"Who are you talking to?" Draco asked in confusion.
With a grin, Kaiden let out Mrs. Norris and picked her up. Suddenly she gave a loud meow and jumped from his arms, running towards the entrance doors where Filch had just walked in.
"Mrs. Norris!" Filch held out his arms and when she jumped into them, hugged her tight.
"Aww," Pansy said, looking teary-eyed as she watched their reunion.
Mr. Filch walked over to Kaiden, Mrs. Norris purring contentedly in his arms. "The Headmaster told me you have been taking care of Mrs. Norris for me. Thank you," The normally scowling man had a smile on his face.
"It was no problem at all," Kaiden said with a grin. "I hope Mrs. Norris can visit Snidget sometimes, I know he will miss her."
"Oh, she will," Filch said as he scratched Mrs. Norris's ears. He glanced at the other students who were staring at him and his usual scowl formed over his face. He had a reputation to uphold, after all. "What are you all looking at huh? You better make sure not to spill anything!" He gave a crooked grin when he saw Theo. "I heard I had a new helper. Make sure you stay here after dinner, this room could use a thorough cleaning."
"What? But I just cleaned this room this morning!" Theo protested. He was sick and tired of these bloody detentions!
Mr. Filch sniffed and looked around at the spotless floors. "Doesn't look that way to me." He gave Theo a mean grin and walked away.
"You know, Filch may be growing on me," Draco said with amusement.
"So after dinner should we start on our essays?" Pansy asked. As punishment for leaving without an escort and putting themselves at risk, they had all been assigned an essay by McGonagall on what they did wrong, why it was wrong and what they could have done differently.
"Sure," Blaise agreed. "Maybe we can visit Neville later too."
Neville was still in the infirmary and had been visited by his grandmother, who had been shocked to hear that he had been possessed by a young Voldemort.
"I can't," Kaiden said glumly. "I'm due for a sound lecture from my parents right after dinner." He sighed as he stabbed his baked potato with his fork. "Honestly, how many times am I going to get into trouble this year?"
Pansy's eyes widened while Blaise began snickering. With a sinking feeling, Kaiden and Draco turned in their seats to see Bella standing right behind him. "Hm, perhaps that will be one of the things we will discuss during your... sound lecture," Bella said wryly. "Just wanted to let you know that your father and I are heading to our quarters and expect you there within twenty minutes."
"Okay," Kaiden said weakly.
"Kaiden, I think we need to sit where we can see the Head table properly," Draco said with a shake of his head. "Then we would have seen her coming."
"Oh, shut up," Kaiden grumbled, though he figured that was probably a good idea.
Once in their quarters, Kaiden sat down on the sofa and looked up at his parents. "I didn't go down to the chamber on purpose. I really did fall in by accident." He said right away.
"We believe you," Bella said softly.
"Oh," Kaiden said in surprise. "Um, okay. I didn't intend to eavesdrop, really I didn't. But once I heard what you were talking about... I couldn't help it, I just wanted to know what was happening. I know you didn't want me involved with anything to do with the chamber but I since I was considered the number one suspect by nearly everyone, I already was involved." Kaiden said, talking fast. "I wanted to clear my name and I wanted to help."
Severus sighed and nodded. "We both understand that Kaiden. We know how upsetting this has been for you. But eavesdropping was wrong, even if it indirectly involved you. What we were talking about was private and you should have either gone back into your room or made your presence known. I expect you to do that in the future." He eyed his son sternly.
"I know, I will," Kaiden said, hanging his head. "I'm sorry."
"When you and your friends figured out about the Basilisk and where its location was, why did you not come to us? Or the Headmaster?" Bella asked with a touch of exasperation. "We've gone over this before Kaiden. You are not to rush headlong into trouble like that."
"I wasn't thinking," Kaiden admitted. "When it clicked into place, where the chamber might be all I could think about was talking to Moaning Myrtle and finding out what she knew. I just...I didn't think," He fiddled with hem of his jumper. "I disappointed you again and I'm sorry." He looked up at his parents with wide, pleading eyes. He just wanted them to believe that he didn't mean to deliberately disobey them.
Severus almost groaned when he saw the endearing expression on Kaiden's face. He needed to stay stern with the boy and instead all he wanted to do was hold his son and reassure him that he had done nothing wrong. Except he had, even if he hadn't meant to.
Bella was clearly having the same problem as Severus. She looked away for a moment. "Correct, you didn't think. You have to learn to think before acting Kaiden. Did you even think about the possible consequences before racing off to Moaning Myrtle?"
"No," Kaiden admitted. He had just reacted, completely forgetting that he wasn't supposed to be in the castle alone.
"I suggest you start doing so," Severus said seriously. "Whether it is acting without thinking first or speaking without thinking first, either one can have severe consequences and not only for you but for those around you. Your friends reacted rashly by chasing after you. What if the Basilisk had been roaming around looking for its next meal? You are not invincible Kaiden. You won't always have sheer dumb luck on your side." Severus knelt down in front of his son so they were eye level. "You can not be reckless with your safety. We won't have it, do you understand? You are too important to us."
Kaiden tried to blink back the tears he felt coming but wasn't have much luck. He threw his arms around his dad's neck. "I'm sorry!"
Severus sighed and hugged him back. It was hard to stay mad when Kaiden was sincere in his apology, and he could tell that he was. "I know you are sorry." He said softly. Bella knelt beside them, rubbing Kaiden's back soothingly.
"What are we going to do with you snakeling?" Bella asked, winking at Severus.
"Make him eat nothing but broccoli for every meal?" Severus suggested.
Bella nodded thoughtfully. "That's a good start."
Kaiden stared at them in horror. He absolutely hated broccoli!
"We could charm his broomstick not to fly more than a few feet off the ground," Severus continued.
"What?!" Kaiden squawked.
"Or we could chop up his broom and -"
"Okay!" Kaiden laughed, standing up. "Merlin, you two have some cruel ideas!"
"And don't you forget it," Bella tweaked his nose.
"On a serious note," Severus said. "In addition to the essay Professor McGonagall assigned, I want you to do another one for us. I want a detailed, well thought out essay on why thinking before acting is so important. No less than five feet."
Kaiden's face fell. He would be spending a lot of time writing, that was for sure. "Yes sir." He said glumly.
"An essay is hardly the end of the world Kaiden," Severus said with amusement. "Well, two essays," He amended.
"It is when you are eleven," Bella said knowingly.
Kaiden couldn't be too glum, it could have been worse. At least he wasn't grounded or given detention. "Can I sleep here tonight?"
"Of course," Bella said, looking at him with concern. "Do you need some Dreamless Sleep?"
"No," Kaiden said as he lifted Snidget into his arms and headed to his room to change into his pajamas.
"When you're ready for bed I'll have some hot cocoa for you," Bella called after him.
Severus rolled his eyes. "Are we stern parents or what?"
"He's had an alarming evening," Bella said defensively as she went into the kitchen, Severus's laugh following her.
"It's been quite a day," Severus said after the three of them had enjoyed some cocoa and Kaiden was tucked into bed. "Ready to go to bed?"
"Yes," Bella said. "A good nights sleep sounds perfect. Waking up to waffles and pumpkin syrup would be even more perfect." She looked at Severus hopefully.
"I can see to that," Severus said.
"Sure, I'll call on Thistle to – oof!" Severus clutched his stomach where Bella had playfully punched him.
"And here I thought you were going to make me breakfast yourself," Bella huffed.
Suddenly their floo flared to life and Dumbledore stepped out, followed by Lucius who looked extremely frazzled and nervous.
"What has happened?" Severus asked as he took in Lucius's disheveled appearance.
"Narcissa is gone!" Lucius said in a strangled voice.
"What?" Bella asked.
"Lucius flooed into my office," Dumbledore said, his voice calm yet his eyes were serious. "Narcissa failed to return home after shopping and her purse and wand were found on the ground in a dark alley. A couple of witnesses say they heard the sound of someone apparating but did not see who it was."
Lucius looked gutted. "The last person who saw her was once of the shopkeeper''s and she said Narcissa was in good spirits. She bought a dress for a upcoming dinner party and had mentioned that she wanted to get some things to put together a care package for Draco and Kaiden."
"Her wand was found?" Severus asked in alarm. That didn't bode well at all. He glanced at Bella and saw that she had gone pale. He knew that despite what Narcissa had done, despite Bella saying she never wanted to talk to her sister again, that his wife still loved her sister.
Lucius ran a hand through his already disheveled hair. "We have to find her. I've already been searching...no one knows where she is. She wouldn't just leave her purse, never mind her wand..." His eyes were filled with grief and fear. "How am I supposed to tell Draco that his mother is missing?" He asked brokenly.
Bella walked to Lucius and gently guided him to the sofa. "We'll figure this out." She said said. "Let me make you some tea." She walked quickly to the kitchen.
"Do you have any ideas on what could have happened to her?" Severus asked Dumbledore quietly.
Dumbledore looked grave. "My first thought was her being kidnapped for money. Everyone knows how wealthy the Malfoys are. That would be the ideal reason."
"You're thinking a death eater?"
"Voldemort knows she did not obey him, that she didn't kill Kaiden. If he has found someone to help him..." Dumbledore trailed off.
Severus sucked in a breath. "You think he had her kidnapped? If he did that, it wouldn't be money that he wanted."
"It would be for revenge." Dumbledore said grimly. "Or for something even worse."
Narcissa opened her eyes and immediately knew she was somewhere she shouldn't be. She was on a cold, dirty ground for one thing. She slowly sat up, automatically going for her wand. "No!" She gasped when she realized it was missing. Slowly she remembered being in the alley, hearing someone say her name, pulling out her wand...she must have dropped or whoever brought her here took it.
She looked around, she was in a empty, dark room. There was a window but it was boarded up. She stood up shakily and tried to Disapparate but nothing happened, which meant wherever she was had wards in place to prevent her from doing so.
The door opened and standing there, giving her a nasty grin, was Peter Pettigrew!