Disclaimer: I own only the obvious, the rest belongs to JK Rowling.
Authors Note: Just something that popped up and wouldn't leave me along. Thanks to my wonderful beta's Lexi-formerly Katy999 and Tabitha.
"Minerva, please tell me you're kidding." A paler-than-normal Severus Snape exclaimed. It was a few days until the new school year started and they were on their way for the traditional staff meeting.
"I'm afraid it's true, Severus," the Gryffindor Head of House replied. "Albus has gone missing, and I haven't been able to find him. Even Fawkes failed."
"When did this happen?"
"Albus was last spotted visiting that brother of his, Aberforth. He left a couple of days ago, and should have been here by now."
"Perhaps he's playing some sort of trick on us. You know how weird his sense of humour is." Severus suggested. He did not want to even think about the old Headmaster missing this close to the start of the term.
"I know that his sense of humour is… one of a kind, but you and I both know that he wouldn't pull a stunt like this on us." Minerva sighed. "What are we going to do?"
"Not tell the public for one thing, and neither the other teachers." The tall man thought for a while. "We can tell those few in the inner circle of the Order, and have them look for Albus while we try to keep things in order around here."
"But how are we going to explain the absence of the Headmaster to the others?"
"They won't know." Severus replied. "We need someone who can act as Dumbledore until we find him."
"Well, his brother is completely out of the question. That man is even worse than Albus; and besides, he is too involved in his experiments to even notice his brother missing. We could have asked Mr. Malfoy to take the position, but he's currently running the Unspeakables as you know. To make a long story short: where are we going to find a person who has had a close friendship with Albus for some years and knows his habits and quirks, is good at acting and doesn't have anything on his plate at this point? Not to mention the fact that the Polyjuice Potion cannot be used as you actually need the person you're trying to impose as, there all the time."
The two of them had reached the doors leading to the staff room. Severus had his hand on the doorknob and was ready to turn it, when Fawkes came flying down the corridor holding something in his claws.
"What is it?" the Potion Master growled to the phoenix. The bird dripped the parchment into his hands then settled on his shoulder. Snape glared at the brilliant bird, then unrolled the parchment.
Minerva jumped when the usually emotionless man exclaimed: "HA! Here's the perfect person for the job!" He handed her the parchment. It was a poster for a play:
'The Phantom of the Opera' the Musical
Arranged and adapted by Andrew Lloyd Webber
With stars like:
Lisa Vroman as Christine Daaé
John Cudia as Raul, Viscount de Chagny
And Harry Potter as the Phantom of the Opera
Coming soon to Broadway'
"Severus, old friend, what would I do without you?"
"Just say it, Minerva, Slytherins are better than Gryffindors."
"Keep dreaming." But she was smiling. "Now, how do you suppose we get the world's most Slytherin-ish Gryffindor to help us with this?"
"Leave that to me." Severus replied and they entered the staff room. While the meeting was held, his thoughts went back in time a few years to the Great War between the Light side and the Dark side, and how they had finally won after five years thanks to the previously undiscovered Slytherin side of Harry Potter.
In the summer after the boy's fourth year and the TriWizard Tournament, Potter had gotten so depressed that Albus feared for his life and sent someone to take him back to the safety of Hogwarts. They had given him extra lessons in Defense, Charms, Potions, Transfiguration, Dueling, anything that could help Potter through the war, but the Gryffindor had seemingly lost his spirits completely. For lack of anything better to do, the Boy Who Lived had started to spend more and more time in the library. It must have done something good, for the Gryffindor had slowly gone back to being his noisy little self though more quiet.
Then the news had hit them. Voldemort had gotten a powerful new recruit who was swiftly moving up through the ranks of the Death Eaters. Severus and Draco had been their main informants on what was going on inside the Dark Lord's Fortress, but neither of them had had the time to blink before the unknown person had become Voldemort's right hand man. Lucius Malfoy had, to put it bluntly, been completely pissed at this, and made the greatest mistake of his life. He had underestimated his opponent. A month later Malfoy Sr. found himself quivering at his Lord's feet, trying to explain to everyone that he was not a spy for Dumbledore. But the evidence – which, Severus had noted afterwards, had been pointing at the Potion Master - had suddenly altered without anyone noticing until it was too late. Lucius Malfoy died like a coward, trying to plead his way out of the whole thing until the end.
Voldemort's right hand man had always been helping their Lord with the planning of the newest attack or raid. In fact, the Dark Lord had been enchanted by the younger man, and hardly went anywhere without him by his side. Voldemort always asked for the other man's opinion on something before taking a decision. Many things could have ended worse than they had because the man convinced the Dark Lord it was better to wait. The red snakelike eyes glazed over when the man whispered in the Dark Lord's ear. The voice behind the Death Eater mask was silky, warm and made you want to trust it, something that had made both Severus and Draco wary and suspicious.
Speaking of suspicious, it made the Order of the Phoenix extraordinarily proud of their two spies when the said spies always managed to get hold of Voldemort's most crucial plans. But the two Slytherins weren't that convinced that they 'always were at the right place at the right time' as Dumbledore had put it. Someone was leaking information to them, and by the look of it, someone high up in Voldemort's inner circle. But the person was too good at hiding his trail, and the two spies never figured out who it was until the end of the war.
Five years after the TriWizard Tournament, it had come to a showdown between the Light and the Dark. Severus and Draco had show their true colours and had ignored the Dark Lord's call in favour to stay with Dumbledore. The two sides had met somewhere in the Scottish countryside, glaring at each other. The Potion Master had seen the Dark Lord standing in front with his right hand man, calmly awaiting what would come. Some insults had been exchanged and then hell broke loose.
To everyone's surprise Potter hadn't showed up for the battle. Many lost their courage and hope, while others called him a coward and traitor. Then there had been a humongous explosion followed by an earthquake, and everyone – Death Eater as well as Phoenix Agent – had looked up to the hill where Voldemort had been standing. They gaped. Over the Dark Lord stood his most trusted helper, wand pointed at the snakelike man's heart. They watched as the man removed his Death Eater mask and was then immediately surrounded by a white light. When the light was gone, Harry Potter was standing over the terrified Dark Lord, his green eyes glowing almost golden with power.
With only two words – "Annullare animus!" – spoken by Potter, Voldemort had disappeared in a flash of light. The spell roughly translated to 'destroy soul', so there was no way that the Dark Lord could come back this time. In the time after the war the curse had been labeled as the fourth Unforgivable, and Potter had gotten an Order of Merlin First Class medal for his deed. Since their Master was gone, the Death Eaters had given up and let the Aurors round them all up and bring them to a new prison.
However, it had been the explanations afterwards in Albus' office that were the most interesting. Potter had apparently tricked them all royally. Of course, as the young man had said, at first he really was depressed and paid no attention to his extra lessons. But one day as he had been roaming the library, the ghosts of his mother, father and Cedric popped up and gave him the tongue lashing of the century. When even the three of them couldn't get through to him, Cedric had left and then popped up again with the ghosts of Godric Gryffindor, Rowena Ravenclaw, Helga Hufflepuff, Salazar Slytherin and Merlin himself.
Slytherin had literally shaken some sense into him, and then the nine of them sat down and devised a way of getting rid of the Dark Lord. It was Ravenclaw's idea to make a new spell, and Merlin's idea of how it could work. The following months had been spent training Harry in the Ancient Magic, including Shape-Shifting, Voice Charming, Wandless magic, Animagi and numerous others. After two years the Boy Who Lived had joined the Dark Lord as a new recruit, and started to ruin the whole organisation from the inside. The rest of the story they knew already.
After that meeting, Potter traveled the world, seeing and doing things that he had always wanted to, and writing to his friends to keep them from going bananas with worry. He had showed up for a couple of days at the combined weddings of Ron and Hermione and Draco and Ginny, but left again as soon as politely possible. When Severus had asked him why he didn't just settle down, Harry replied that he was finally free and was going to use this chance of living life without the threat of Voldemort looming over him. And now, as it turned out, the Man Who Defeated Voldemort had gone into the acting business.
"Severus? Are you listening at all?" Minerva's voice brought him out of his thoughts. The rest of the room was empty save for them.
"I apologise, Minerva, what did you say?"
"The meeting is over, not that you paid attention to it, and I just asked you if you would accompany me to The Three Broomsticks." The Deputy Headmistress closed the door to the staff room after them.
"I'm afraid I have to decline," Severus replied. "The sooner I get hold of Potter and explain the situation to him, the better."
"Alright, but be careful or else you might get tricked upside down. You know, I heard a thing last year. Apparently one student had asked something down the lines of "Is Slytherin evil?" and then the older student replied with: "Is Potter the biggest con in history?" and that ended that debate."
"I assume that Slytherin was evil then?" Severus asked, a tint of amusement evident in his voice.
"You're right too, the poor first year nearly ran screaming into the night whenever he saw a Slytherin coming towards him; and before you ask, no it was not a Gryffindor, and yes it was a Hufflepuff."
"One can always hope."
"What? It's a free country."
"I give up, you're impossible."
"Correction, I am a proud Slytherin." Severus smirked as Minerva shook her head. Beside Albus and Draco, she was the only one that he let through the barriers that he had built up over the years. "Well, time to go and pick up Potter."
"I always am."
Severus apparated into the back of the Broadway theatre. From there he watched as a man kept ordering the actors about.
"No, no," the man exclaimed. "There must be more feeling in it, John. Your character is in love with Christine, for heaven's sake! He doesn't hate her. Alright, let's take a break from this and go to the scene where the Phantom leads Christine through his underground labyrinth."
The three actors that had been on stage left and a woman with curly hair that reached her shoulder blades came out. The people involved with the props brought out a tiny boat that reminded Severus of the gondolas in Venice, and put it left on the stage. Some brought out several chandeliers and that was about it.
Then a man appeared and entered the boat. He was wearing a tuxedo with a long cape, a hat and a white mask that hid half of his face. However, there was no mistaking the unnaturally green eyes that glinted in the dim light. The woman sat down in the boat, and Potter began to push off with a long stick.
Potter's dark voice washed over him like black silk. It made Severus shiver.
The woman continued where Potter stopped.
Then both sang inperfectly harmony with each other.
Then the invisible chorus sang a couple of lines before Potter again took over.
The woman looked at the Gryffindor as she sang her lines.
"Sing, my Angel of Music!" Potter exclaimed and the woman did so. "Sing!"
"Alright, cut! I think we've got that scene perfect. Everybody take a break!" the director yelled. The dark music stopped, Potter got out of the boat and helped the woman out before disappearing backstage.
Severus shook himself and quickly followed after the green-eyed man. Potter disappeared into a dressing room and took off the hat and mask. Suddenly several ghosts materialised and began to applaud him for a song exceptionably sung.
"Even I got scared!" one of the ghosts admitted and the Potion master recognised the man as Salazar Slytherin.
"You're always scared." Another one countered. It only made sense that it was the ghost of Godric Gryffindor.
"Why you little-"
"Boys! Will you stop it!" a short woman walked in between the two glaring ghosts. Then she spotted the Head of Slytherin House standing in the doorway. "Oh my, Severus! How nice to see you again."
"You too, Helga." Severus replied. Godric grinned and went to fetch Potter who had gone into the bathroom while they had been arguing.
Potter appeared a few seconds later, wearing only pants and drying his hair. He was lean and only a couple of inches shorter than Severus himself was. The man looked up and smiled. "Well, come in, Severus. I assume that this isn't a social call?"
"You're right, Potter. If I wanted company, I would've picked someone with more brains, but enough about that. We're in a bit of a fix back at Hogwarts."
"Oh?" Potter picked out a shirt and put it on.
"Yes, it seems like our dearest Headmaster has done a disappearing act."
Severus nodded. "Even Fawkes couldn't find him; and this close to term too…" he let the sentence end in mid air. It was all a game that Slytherins always played. The point was to see who could keep their anger/curiosity/annoyance in check the longest. The one who first exploded was weak and could easily be manipulated.
"That really is bad." Potter said in a nonchalant voice.
"Yes, indeed. After talking it over, Minerva and I decided that it would be best not to tell the public anything lest we would want to create mass hysteria."
"So then we ended up with the problem of how to cover Albus' disappearance to the public and the rest of the staff. Any ideas, Potter?"
"Not at the moment, but I'm sure that you will enlighten me."
"We get someone to play Albus while the Order of the Phoenix is searching after him. Now, after considering several candidates we got to the conclusion that – as much as I hate to admit it – you would be best suited for the job." Severus continued as though the other man hadn't spoken at all. Potter raised an eyebrow. "You have had a close friendship with the Headmaster and know most of his quirks, and you're also the only Shape-Shifter that we know about." The Potion Master replied to the unasked question.
"Ah, logical. Alas, I'm sorry I must disappoint you, Severus. I have my hands full already, and Albus is a grown wizard. He can take care of himself." Potter was about to exit the room when the ghosts of the Four Founders of Hogwarts cornered him.
"Now you listen here, young man." Rowena said, her hands at her hips. "You are going to help them with this lest you want us to haunt you day and night for the rest of your life." The thing was that the Founder of Ravenclaw always followed through with her threats.
"But what about the play?"
"It can go jump off a cliff." Helga replied.
"Besides, wouldn't it be one huge achievement if you managed to juggle both Hogwarts and this play at the same time?" Salazar asked.
"Come on, it'll be one hell of an adventure!"
"What? This new way of speaking is pretty cool. I think I was meant to live in this time and not more than a thousand years ago." The other three ghosts rolled their eyes.
"Oh, alright. Severus, I'll help you with this as well as I can." Potter sighed. "But only to keep those four off my back," he mumbled so that only the Potion Master could hear him.
"Come to Hogwarts before the term starts, Potter." Severus ordered and apparated out of the theatre, leaving the Gryffindor to deal with four arguing ghosts.
Severus sighed as he watched the inner circle of the Order walk through the doors, chatting happily with each other. The circle was composed of several Weasleys, Draco, Minerva, himself and an old school mate of his, Mundungus Fletcher.
"Will you please sit down and shut up!" he commanded them once Minerva had closed the door to the room. They quickly did as he said and found their customary seats. "Now then, let's start the meeting."
"Wait a bit, Severus," Hermione Weasley spoke up. "Where's Albus?"
"That's why we have called for this meeting, Mrs. Weasley," the Gryffindor Head of House told her. "I'm afraid that the Headmaster has disappeared."
"You've got to be kidding!"
"Did Fred and George beta some of their inventions on you two?"
"How did that happen!"
The Potion Master rubbed the bridge of his nose. "If you'd shut up for once and let us talk, you would soon know the whole story." He said in the deadly quiet voice he used in the classroom. It hadn't failed him in the past, and didn't fail him this time either. They shut up. Blessed silence. "Since you're the one who discovered that he was gone in the first place, Minerva, I'll let you take care of the explanations."
"Thank you, Severus." The Deputy Headmistress then proceeded to tell the group everything she knew about Dumbledore's disappearance. "Now, as you know, the press would have a field day with this story if it got out and therefore we have asked a mutual friend of us all to help us out."
The bushy-haired Hermione and Draco were the first to figure it out. Both stared at the two Professors with wide eyes, and when the two Head of Houses nodded, both began to laugh.
"Gods above! Hogwarts'll never be the same again – Dumbledore or no Dumbledore!" Draco howled between laughs.
"All I can think of saying is: good luck. God knows you'll need it."
"What are you talking about!" Ron Weasley exploded.
"The one who's going to take Albus' place until we find him." Hermione replied. "Not to worry dear, you know this person very well."
"… Rrrriiiiiighhtt. Now, who's going to take the Headmaster's place?"
"Who is the only person that could take the place of Dumbledore?" Draco asked.
Ron's eyes went wide. "No! You can't mean…!" both his wife and the blonde nodded with grins plastered on their faces. "Harry's going to play Dumbledore!" another nod and Ron fell off the chair with laugher.
"War hero Mr. Harry 'Boy-Who-Lived-Honorary-Slytherin' Potter coming to take the role as Albus?" Mundungus sounded awed, scared and amused at the same time. "God help you all."
"Thanks Gus, we need that." Severus replied to his old friend. "Now, while I and Minerva try to keep Potter out of trouble during the school term, we want the rest of you to search for our missing Headmaster."
"Where do we start?" Fred, or George, Weasley asked.
"He was last seen visiting his brother a week ago, so naturally you should start there."
"Right, get started everyone." Minerva clapped her hands signaling that the meeting was over and they started to file out.
At last it was only the Potion Master and the Transfiguration Professor left.
"I cannot help but feel that this is going to be a very exiting year, Severus," the woman said.
"That is an understatement," Severus replied. "Remind me to retire once everything is over."
I'm not sure if I should make this SLASH or just leave it as it is.
Please tell me if I should continue this.