Slither

"You know that eventually things will come out do you not?" Severus asks, looking at Professor Dumbledore, and questioning almost everything that has come and gone before. "Fudge will not allow Sirius to remain at large for too long. And if he does finally come to his senses, then he will push the blame onto you. You do after all control the Wizengamot."

Dumbledore merely nods. "I know that Severus. And whilst Cornelius might wish to ruin my reputation, he cannot make any sort of move without admitting to some sort of culpability himself."

Severus is not sure he quite understands where the Professor is going with this, but he accepts it all the same. Instead, he asks. "Did you always know Black was innocent?"

He is surprised when Dumbledore shakes his head. "I did not. I believed he had been turned, and that the illusions of power that Voldemort presented him were too great."

"So he was offered then?" Severus asks. "I had heard rumours, but I never knew for certain."

Professor Dumbledore seems to be analysing him over his half-moon spectacles in the same way he would always do so when Severus was a boy, feeling that he had been caught doing some sort of wrong. He shifts around slightly, using his skills to hide his thoughts, he does not want the man to know what he truly thinks about Sirius Black. Eventually, the silence is broken. "Yes, he was offered something, but he did not take it. I believe, his hatred of his brother drove him to deny."

Severus raises an eyebrow at that. "Just because his brother was a Death Eater, he refused? That does not sound like Sirius Black."

Professor Dumbledore raises a hand in apology. "You are right of course. Forgive me, I misspoke. He was offered something, by someone, whose name escapes me. He rejected their offer and threw the person out as quickly as he could. However, when the Potters died, there was suspicion on him. He was found with much incriminating evidence, surrounding him. And naturally, anyone who commits a crime says they did not commit it. it was a lack of judgement on my part, and I have paid the price."

Severus sees the Headmaster shifting his fingers back and forth, and he notices a small ring on the Professor's right hand. "Where did you get that ring Professor?"

Dumbledore looks at him then at the ring, he says nothing for a moment, then replies. "I was given it many years ago, by a friend of mine."

Severus wants to ask more, he knows so little of the Headmaster beyond what he has read and been told, and that too is nothing more than things everyone knows. It is a hard thing to play this role, that he does, when the man he works for, tells him little about the who, the what and the why. Deciding that there is another thing he needs to speak about, he opens his mouth and says. "The Weasleys have successfully claimed the Prewett inheritance. They will now gain enough money and land to rival the Malfoys."

He sees the Professor nods. "Indeed, they do."

Cautiously he asks. "Is that wise? The Malfoys are very old and powerful, and their connections run deep within the Ministry. They might not like the Weasleys but they have never done intentional harm to them. Now that the Prewett inheritance has gone to the Weasleys, you can count on Lucius to make all the moves he can."

Professor Dumbledore says nothing for a time, the silence thickening, eventually he replies. "It is the right time. The Weasleys have served long and well, they deserve the inheritance, and it will help with what is to come."

"You mean the Triwizard Tournament?" Severus asks confused. "How will them having wealth help?"

"It will ensure that friendships are maintained and not broken. That will be important." The Professor explains, though not to Severus's satisfaction.

He finds himself asking. "Do you think then that something will go wrong?"

The Professor stares at him over his half-moon spectacles, and Severus feels like a little boy once more. He suspects he has asked a silly question, but if he is honest, this is something he needs to know. He drags his feet a little, coughs, then looks up. The professor speaks his voice soft. "Hogwarts has had a history since the day Tom Riddle stepped into this castle, of things going wrong. It is only right that we take precautions."

Severus is still not sure he understands, but he decides to remain silent on that matter. Instead, he focuses on another issue. "I have used many, various spells to track Pettigrew, and I think I have found him."

Dumbledore sits forward then, his shoulders hunched in an intent manner. "Go on."

"Having searched through various known locations of his old haunts, as well as seeing places where he and the other Death Eaters met before and slightly after Voldemort's fall, it seems he is somewhere within the country. I would say perhaps in the southwest, he is hiding out in a mansion, belonging to a cousin of Bellatrix Lestrange." Severus supplies.

"Are you certain of this?" Professor Dumbledore asks.

"I am. As far as I can tell, this is the most accurate location for him. What do you wish to do?" Severus asks.

"Keep it quiet for now. When the time is right, I will tell you what to do. But ensure you keep a watch over the location. If anyone suspicious enters, let me know at once." Professor Dumbledore says.

Severus nods, as he goes to walk away, the Professor speaks once more. "And Severus, one last thing." Severus turns and looks quizzically. "When you meet with Lucius, make sure to openly voice your displeasure with the ruling." Severus nods and then leaves.

As he arrives back in his own room, he finds a small letter on the table. He opens it and reads. His heart plummets. You are hereby summoned to attend upon Their Majesties Pleasure. Tell not the old man. Alexander R.