"of course' Cache said and watched Severus's robes billow as he walked away. what was Severus going to do? As he pondered that question he looked at the transfigured quill still in his hand and got an idea of his own …
Neville smiled as he spotted Cache holding a twig of mistletoe outside the Great Hall "hey Cache, why do you have mistletoe with you?"
"just answering a question" Cache said with a smile as he turned the mistletoe twig back into a quill and put it away, but said nothing more as Dumbledore flounced in seeming happy about something.
"I see" Neville said cheerily as he internally glared at the headmaster. He could see the same glee coming from the headmaster and it unnerved him "where's Professor Snape? It seems strange that he's not here" Neville commented casually though that concerned him too.
Cache smiled putting his friend's nerves at ease "he had an errand to run. I'm filling in for- … I mean we are filling in for him" Cache corrected with a chuckle as the kneazles mewed for his attention.
"it's the weekend. What could you possibly need to do?" Hermione huffed as she came up to them. She flinched a little as the kneazles growled lightly to keep her from getting too close.
"well there's the brewing potions to stock up the infirmary, which Severus said is normally done over the weekend …there's the tutoring hours in the afternoon for students who'd like to ask questions and of course doing inventory to make sure we have everything for this week's classes which includes replacing any damaged equipment. Then finishing grading those essays and prepare a schedule for the week's lectures" Cache answered surprising everyone within ear shot. Like himself they had no idea what went into the teaching routine and it was more than they expected. Saturday was the only day Severus was completely free and even that ends up being filled with meetings like the one with Mr. Weasley.
"wow … never thought about it" Neville pondered impressed at the amount there was to do. If you didn't love teaching, which Severus didn't, it would suck to have to do all that and put up with brats all day.
Hermione seemed a little stunned, but then huffed "maybe you shouldn't laze around chatting then" she said a little less harsh compared to the usual tone and stalked away.
"that almost seemed … less nasty" Neville said as with frown still not happy that the witch hasn't gained any sense yet.
Cache frowned doubtfully "perhaps … see you later Nev" Cache said knowing Neville will be at the tutoring hours later. As he passed Draco and Blaise he leaned towards Draco "if you have anymore questions don't be afraid to ask" he whispered in Draco's ear noticing the Malfoy's breath hitch as a light blush formed on his cheeks. Cache smiled and continued to his seat at the staff table.
"maybe you should" Blaise smirked and nudged Draco teasingly earning a glare, which he ignored as Ginny sat down near them "you knew" he said both amused and accusingly.
"knew what?" Ginny asked the picture of innocence.
"you know what" Blaise said with a smirk "the muggle mistletoe curse .. no one would forget such a brilliant way of breaking a curse"
Ginny simply blinked innocently "I don't know what you mean … did Cache say what it was?" she asked and mentally smirked as Draco blushed. However Blaise didn't seem convinced of her innocence.
Once everyone has seated Dumbledore, despite being curious as to where Severus and Minerva were, stood up to give the announcements "due to the weather flying lessons will be canceled today-"
Before anyone could start groaning at losing such a fun class there was a shudder throughout the castle. Lockhart shrieked in terror at the tremors and every student looked like they were on the brink of panic. Cache, Lyra, Libra and the other staff members, save for Lockhart who was hiding under the staff table, remained calm and tried to reassure the students that nothing was wrong as Hagrid calmly left to see what that was. When the groundskeeper returned a moment later saying he didn't see any issues everyone calmed down, but what, or who, caused that? Cache was the only one who had a guess. After all Severus did something similar when he was pissed off …
"well that was exciting" Dumbledore said jokingly and finished the announcements. It seemed peaceful until the owls came flying in with the Daily Prophet. Dumbledore nearly had a heart attack right there. On the front page was the news involving the contents of the muggle newspaper. Every last detail of Harry Potter's life was splashed across the page from the abuse to the runaway message and it put him exactly where he didn't want to be. In people's suspicions "excuse me everyone. It seems I've been gravely misinformed on Harry Potter's welfare. I will go attend to that and see how I can be of assistance" he quickly announced to the stunned onlookers who were staring at him not sure what to think anymore.
The headmaster calmly left the Great Hall, but the second he was out of sight he all but ran to his office and slammed the door shut. There was only a matter of time before something gave way and the second the goblins started searching for the money and gifts donated to help Harry everything will fall apart. If Minerva was there he'd tell her to leave now and fight off everyone who follows until she died. The money would've gotten 'lost' though they would have had their 'thief' so it wouldn't matter, but she wasn't there so he couldn't order her to run. He forced himself to calm down and think before he made another mistake again like what he did when he claimed Harry was sick …
After thinking carefully for a moment he decided to take his money to the ministry and have the minister himself store it until the 'thief', which he still had set up as Minerva, was found. Sadly he will be investigated anyway. He was after Harry's magical guardian and hasn't been taking care of the brat despite taking money. Every goblin will be after him and he had none under his thumb.
The only thing he could think of was to disappear for a while and find a way to turn this in his favor. Gringotts won't be easy to trick, but after learning some information released into the papers he might find a clue. Of course no one will knew he will leave completely for he will be making the minister say that he was helping to clear up the issue and find Harry.
He quickly opened a cabinet and saw the bottomless bag of money. Why was it so hard to get what he wanted? He has done so much for this world that it only made sense that his name was immortalized. Merlin himself had a castle that still exists today and if someone like the filthy Salazar Slytherin can have a castle why not him too? He deserved that much and he was going to get it as soon as he cleared up this mess. With a determined look on his face he grabbed the bag and flooed to the ministry, but he did consider one issue. Harry Potter was simply lucky, but Cache … that brat saw him with the minister. If the boy put two and two together he may say something. He couldn't risk that. If he had a chance he had to remove that loose end before it caused problems …
The handing over of his money to the minister went perfectly, but he missed something. He didn't see the magical eye of Mad Eye Moody and a certain werewolf spotting him just before he flooed out of there. Both his scent and the name of the place he flooed to were caught by the duo …
Severus made his way down the halls towards Minerva's living quarters, but he wasn't fast enough "Minerva I need to speak with you" he said to the transfiguration professor who was already heading towards the Great Hall for breakfast. He had hoped to catch her before she left her quarters so they'd be near a floo, but perhaps he could get her back in if he made this urgent enough.
"is this about my needing to leave? I'm sorry for the short notice, but I must leave on Tuesday" Minerva said as she tried to pass Severus.
The potion master simply stepped in front of her blocking her path "I'm afraid this is about Lockhart"
Minerva rolled her eyes "that fool … I heard about him losing to your apprentice. You know I'm starting to think he doesn't actually know what he's doing"
"you're only thinking this now?" Severus sneered a little shocked that she didn't catch on sooner. Hell, he believed the fool was hired because Dumbledore wanted credit for outing a fraud. Anything to get more attention on him. In that way Dumbledore was a lot like Lockhart.
"I know he was a terrible student, but Albus wouldn't hire an idiot so why would I think that Lockhart isn't as skilled as he says" Minerva said annoyed with the DADA professor who she believed tricked Albus some how.
The potions professor scoffed "he's worse than a fraud. Cache and I noticed a strange trend and we found that he's been giving the girls in the school love potions"
"WHAT?" Minerva exclaimed in a rage.
"lets discuss this in your quarters for a moment. I don't want the students to panic" Severus said and the furious witch quickly complied.
The second they stepped in the transfiguration professor's living quarters she rounded on Severus "is everything ready to reverse the love potions?"
"yes I left Cache in charge" Severus said as he calmly pulled out his potion while sneaking his wand into his other hand without Minerva seeing. This was about to get very dangerous …
"Cache? Your apprentice is skilled Severus but why aren't you helping too? Lockhart potioned our students! Your Slytherins! He should be detained and sent to Azkaban!" Minerva ranted.
"the one smart thing he did was not potion my Slytherins otherwise I would've noticed much sooner" Severus said at least giving Lockhart credit for knowing to not cross a potion master's students. If any of his snakes started acting oddly he'd know right away. the other houses aren't as observant or as resistant to the allure of fame so it be harder to pinpoint if a potion was involved. Lockhart was a Hogwarts student in the past so he knew how the houses played off each other and no doubt used that to his advantage "but you're correct. He is a fool who needs to be taken down. Cache and Poppy will handle that though. We have a pressing matter to tend to at Gringotts"
Minerva looked absolutely baffled "Gringotts? Wha-"
"there's no time. Here, you'll understand once you take this" Severus said as he held out the very potion he and Poppy took. The very potion that helped them see the truth …
The witch looked at the potion and of curse felt a deep sense of dislike for it "what is it?" she asked no doubt suspicious due to the loyalty potions inside her.
"I suspect Lockhart tried potioning the staff. This will help stop that" Severus lied smoothly hoping her trust for Dumbledore would win out so he didn't have to hurt her.
"oh … well if you're sure" Minerva said still not wanting to take it, but her suspicions of how Lockhart got his job despite Albus's brilliance won over her suspicions of the potion itself. She took the potion not noticing the wand behind Severus's back and drank it. A moment of nothing passed before she noticed her mind clearing and sure enough her anger rising.
"Minvera calm down!" Severus snapped and cast a binding spell on her when she tried to go out the door no doubt to under a certain headmaster, but the spell did little to calm her. In fact Severus regretted doing it because her magic went wild and continued rising until the castle began shaking "Minerva stop! You're scaring the students!" Severus yelled knowing that tremor was big enough to be felt by everyone in the castle.
That comment was enough to snap Minerva to her senses and she tried to regain control of her magic. Once she did Severus canceled the spell on her "I'm sorry … that … that monster-…" she growled through her clenched teeth her temper still high though her magic has settled for the moment.
Severus breathed sharply trying to keep his own temper in check "I know … we need to get out of here-"
"I am not leaving everyone with that manipulative bastard! You don't know what he was going to do to me! Albus was going to make me take all the blame for the money donated! All that money to help Harry-…" Minerva froze in horror and paled "oh dear Merlin … Harry … I nearly got him killed … I …" Minerva started shaking as she realized how much pain she caused.
"that wasn't you … and it wasn't me either … everything Harry went through was Dumbledore's. He's tortured and stole everything he pleases for decades and we can stop it. The money you mentioned is handled by Gringotts. We need to leave and tell them everything. They will investigate and find potions in the other professors and that the donation money is gone we Dumbledore will be charged" Severus said sadistically.
"he has connections in the ministry. He spoke about them right in front of me! No one will charge him just cover it up!" Minerva snapped seriously considering removing Dumbledore from this world with her own hands. As far as she was concerned Azkaban would be worth it as long as that bastard was gone.
"the goblins have a system of their own. They don't cover things up or show mercy … and they've bed looking for that one person to shatter everything Dumbledore has been hiding behind. Give it to them and he is done" Severus stated firmly.
"what about Harry? Is't he-" Minerva faltered at the look on Severus's face as he spotted something outside the window "Severus?"
"the owls are here! We need to go now!" Severus cursed to himself for letting the time slip away and he basically grabbed Minerva's arm and dragged her to the floo where green flames took them to Gringotts.
"Lord Prince so good of you to return. How can I assist you?" the goblin at the counter asked.
"lord? Prince?" Minerva gasped in shock and confusion.
Severus however didn't provide an answer for her and instead focused on the goblin "I have a witness willing press charges in the line theft cases"
The goblin grinned sadistically as he looked at Minerva "we've been waiting for someone like you" he snarled. This is what they needed. Both Harry and Severus didn't know exactly what was going on or were too young to be taken out of Dumbledore's grip legally. Having a third person actually knowing Dumbledore's involvement will solidify their entire case …
"do you think he escaped?" Cache asked quietly as he set up the potions in the infirmary to prepare for the girls who will be coming to unknowingly remove a love portion. He saw the look on Dumbledore's face. There was no doubt in his mind that the bastard bolted, but how far could he get? It worried him to think abut what back up plans Dumbledore had …
"I don't know" Poppy said and glanced at Cache who was rubbing his eyes again "I want you to go home and rest after this understand. Severus overstock infirmary before school started so you don't need to worry about that. You have at least 5 hours until the tutoring hours start so go rest … in fact you just leave now. You eyes need a break without the coloring" she whispered clearly worried about her apprentice's eyes, which were even redder than they were before breakfast.
Cache frowned "don't you need help passing all these out?"
"I'll ask the house elves to help and once the first girls are freed I'll get the ministry involved so they'll pick up the slack. Don't worry and go rest" Poppy reassured.
"ok" Cache conceded. He knew his eyes couldn't take much more and needed a break so he left with his kneazles.
Once he flooed into his sunny apartment he removed the blue coloring with the counter. The kneazles mewed and pawed at the balcony door. Harry let them out to lounge in the sun as he brewed. The potion that came to mind while thinking of the mistletoe. If it worked then he can fix his colorblindness again without breaking his contract. Right after treating the bubbling potion with light filtered through the diamonds he heard a knock.
"are you ok Harry? Frank spotted Lyra and Libra when he returned from checking the gossip in town. Why are you here now?" Trocar asked worriedly through the door.
Harry chuckled as he poured his experimental potion into a vial before going to the balcony to usher the kneazles inside "come on. Get inside so the shutters can shut before Trocar hyperventilates" he said while shielding his green eyes from the sun. Harry chuckled as the sleepy kneazles slowly dragged themselves out of their toasty sunny spots and went inside …
"we can't arrest him" Remus growled wanting any excuse to hit Dumbledore who transfigured himself, but neglected to change his scent with a special cloak until after Moody and Remus flooed into the same bar as him just in time to spot his new look.
"not yet … soon he will be … for now follow him and get a tracker on his body" Moody said taking the same turn as Dumbledore, which was surprisingly down Knockturn Alley. The alley was empty save for a werewolf who seemed interested with the two kneazles hanging out on the fourth floor balcony "what's he doing?" Moody pondered as he and Remus stayed out of sight. When the werewolf darted into the place known as Eventide the kneazles were ushered in by a young man a moment later. Dumbledore started chanting something right after the shutters closed …
The air moved the old wizard's clothes enough for Remus to hit his ankle with a tracker "got him-dear Merlin!" a second later all the shutters exploded, but it wasn't that that terrified him the most. The smell of blood hit his nose "Harry!" he gasped before breaking into a run.
A place filled with vampires was now exposed to the sun and injured vampires are very dangerous on its own, but his cub was inside … and bleeding …