Note: I could use a beta, if anyone would be so kind as to offer their services.
Illucia:Glad you're enjoying. Er... well, this story isn't beta'd.
Dead Feather:What I was trying to do with the names was to use 'Snape' when Snape was being a cold bastard, and Severus, when he was being his true self. Does that make sense? When his role in life forces him to be a jackass, in other words, he thinks of himself as Snape, so as to create a separation in his own mind. Well, that's what I was getting at anyway, it might not have worked so well.
Lucidity:So glad you're enjoying. Writing Snape is so much fun!
Aredhel Tasartir:Yep, it is odd, isn't it? Read on.
Lirael Goldenhand:Actually, I can't take credit for the Snape being Harry's dad plotline. It's a response to a challenge posted by Severitus. Glad you're enjoying, though.
Wynjara:You would think he'd have learned by now, wouldn't you?
Mrs. Tom Riddle:Mm. Chicky of doom. I like how you put that.
Lady Mandara Snake:You know, you're the only one who picked up on that.
Cicy:Thanks for the offer, but I won't be using much more German I don't think. I only speak a bit of German myself, as I studied in Austria. The only German I really remember goes along the lines of "Can ich ein grosses beer haben, bitte?" (and I'm sure that not grammatically correct either). I only included a bit of German because, well, most people find it a tad scary, especially when spoken by a girl in a makeshift torture chamber :) (While that's the making of fantasies for others, go figure, eh?)
Melwasul:As far as I can tell, a Mary Sue is some annoying, twitty, perfect girl, who's absolutely stunning and has all sorts of super powers.
Thanks to everyone else who reviewed. If I missed any questions, either on this past chapter or previously, I apologize. Ask again, and I'll answer. Promise.
Chapter 36: Ruminations and Reumions
Harry followed his father up the spiral staircase to Dumbledore's office, and watched as his father did a double take as he took in the scene in Dumbledore's office. Curious, Harry peered around his father's form, to take a look for himself. Inside sat Dumbledore, in purple robes with silver spots, and a black-haired girl whose face he couldn't see from his current position. They were chatting in some language Harry couldn't quite place, while sipping tea and snacking on an assortment of delicious looking pastries, strawberries, and whipped cream. Well, that certainly wasn't odd for the headmaster, but...
"Albus?" said Severus in a bemused tone. That wasn't a tone heard from the potions master very often.
At Severus's words, the conversation between the girl and Dumbledore broke off. Dumbledore looked up with a smile on his face, eyes twinkling merrily. The girl, too, turned around to face the newcomers.
Harry then got his second shock of the day. "Neta?" asked Harry.
"Harry!" said the girl energetically. "So good to see you again! I didn't expect we'd ever meet again."
Severus and Dumbledore both turned to Harry at this point.
"You are acquainted with this intriguing you lady, Harry?" asked Dumbledore, ever the diplomat.
"Er... yeah, sort of. We met that night I left Hogwarts... er, the first time," said Harry, bowing his head at his father's sharp, reprimanding gaze.
Albus nodded in acknowledgement of Harry's explanation. "Well, that only leaves you, Severus. I don't believe the two of you have been properly introduced."
"No, I don't believe we have been," Severus deadpanned.
Neta blushed as she took in Severus's haggard form.
"Neta, this is Severus Snape, our resident potions master. Severus, this is Neta Yazinoff," said Dumbledore.
Severus locked eyes with Albus as he heard the girl's family name. "Yazinoff? You are a witch, then?" said Severus.
This caught Harry's attention. She couldn't be a witch, could she be? Why hadn't she said something when he had disappeared?
"I am no such thing! Why you feel the need to insult me to my face I surely don't know, you rude, arrogant man, I ought to...!"
Severus raised an eyebrow at the headmaster, who put a hand on the shoulder of the girl. She didn't look quite ready to end her rant on her own.
"Severus did not mean to insult you, I assure you," said Dumbledore.
"He called me a witch!" Neta glanced at the blood trickling from Severus's temple, then caught his eye. "Right. Sorry about that," said the girl sheepishly.
"You did that to him?!" asked a wide-eyed and confused Harry.
Neta looked at Harry again. "Um. Yeah. Well. I think I did. Did I?" This question was directed at the headmaster. "You were saying that it wasn't really me, though I don't think I understood what you were getting at. Whatever I'm on, though, these drugs are killer. Who slipped me some, anyway?" Neta looked around at the others, waiting for someone to fess up. She raised an eyebrow at Harry. He shook his head.
"As I was explaining to Ms. Yazinoff before the two of you arrived, I believe she was not in full control of her actions until a short while ago. Neta what is the last thing you remember before being here?"
"Um." Neta rubbed at her head. "It's all rather fuzzy, really. "Oh!" her eyes widened in realization. "That evil looking man, Harry, who was looking for you the other night at the club. He came up behind me, at a really odd town near here. I think he knocked me unconscious."
"Lucius," hissed Harry.
"Lucius put her under Imperius?" asked Severus.
"So it would seem," said Dumbledore. Neta blinked uncomprehendingly.
"Neta," continued the headmaster, his attention turned to the girl in black. "Why did you do the things you have done over the past days?"
"Well," Neta glanced down at her boots. "Because the voice in my head told me to," she said, rubbing at her forehead as if she could make sure the voice was gone by doing so.
"You're going to have me committed, aren't you?" she asked Dumbledore, looking resigned to the prospect.
"Nonsense, my girl, I'm going to do no such thing. You may stay here for a few days while we arrange safe passage for you to wherever you wish to go," said Dumbledore.
Neta perked up at this. "Excellent! If you don't need me, may I take a look at that wonderful room full of owls in the meantime?"
"Of course, of course. Make yourself at home while you are here," said Dumbledore kindly. "Harry, why don't you escort our guest."
This prospect seemed to unnerve Severus, though he didn't object.
Pleased that he'd get to speak to Neta again, and find out what had happened, Harry nodded and walked out the door with her.
* * * * *
"Yazinoff," said Severus once Harry and the girl were gone. "I assume that name holds the same implications for you as for I?" enquired Severus.
"It does," said Dumbledore. "I assume she's a distant relation."
"There is much you don't know," said Severus. He rose to his feet and walked over to the window. He spoke with his back to the headmaster.
"Yazinoff had a daughter. She was a squib. He... disposed of her before anyone could find out. The name Neta Yazinoff currently adorns the headstone of a graveyard outside of town. Apparently, the grave is empty. It seems Yazinoff couldn't bring himself to hold to tradition and kill his daughter," said Severus in an even, emotionless voice, though with the last words of his monologue, the disgust was apparent in Severus's voice, though it was directed at himself. Wasn't he currently shunning his own child, because the association would be damaging?
Dammit,thought Severus, I must do something.
Yes, you certainly must,agreed Severus's conscience.
Ah, so that's what that other voice was. Good to know.
Albus nodded his head gravely. "So that would be why she is traveling alone. I had wondered when she said that to her, home was everywhere," said the headmaster sadly.
"Everywhere and nowhere are often strangely identical in meaning," replied Severus, the guilt he was feeling over his treatment of Harry further gnawing at his conscience.
Yeah yeah yeah, I know it's short, quit you're whining. Everyone's been clamoring for an explanation about the girls identity, so I thought I'd give you a bit of information. Next chapter will be from Draco's point of view (no, I haven't forgotten about him! though everyone else seems to have done, haven't they? poor neglected Draco, I wonder what he'll do!)