Disclaimer: See Chapter One
Chapter Twelve: Confrontation and Resolution
Severus, Remus and Harry Flooed back to headquarters and Severus came up behind a sneaky Mundungus Fletcher as he surreptitiously slunk down the hall to Maia Snape's room.
"Going somewhere, Dung?" Severus drawled, tacking on the nickname with great venom.
"Who? Me? No, I was just g-going to take a leak, t-too much tea today," stammered Fletcher.
"Really? You have already passed the washroom," sneered Severus, placing his arms over his chest in his most intimidating fashion and looking down his nose at the shifty wizard.
"Heh, heh, silly me," Fletcher tittered nervously as he turned and made a beeline for the washroom.
Narrowing his eyes, Severus watched the frightened Fletcher pass by and go into the washroom before he continued on his way to see his mother.
"Mother?" asked Severus as he apprehensively knocked on her door.
"Come in, Severus," Maia said evenly.
Severus entered, feeling much like a contrite child. Swallowing hard he said, "Mother…"
Maia looked up from petting the cat on her lap. "You have something to say, my dear?" she asked.
"Yes." Severus stared hard at the floor. "This will come as a shock to you, Mother, but…" He swallowed hard and found it hard to continue. How can he tell his mother that he had been a Dark wizard, in leagues with the darkest wizard alive?
"Are you by any chance trying to tell me about your Death Eater past, my dear?" Maia asked lightly, although her eyes pierced Severus to his very soul.
"You knew?" Severus sank down to sit on the side of her bed. "How long have you known?"
"When Harry mentioned it back at Wildwood I started to have my suspicions. Some things that you told me never quite made sense," she said, still stroking Spencer's furry head. "I talked to Albus and he tried to hide the truth from me as well. We argued, but eventually he confirmed my suspicions."
"Albus told you!" Severus thundered.
"Don't you raise your voice like that while talking to me, young man!" Maia scolded, before stopping to take a deep breath. "Don't be too hard on your mentor, son. I added a drop or two of Veritaserum to his morning tea and it just slipped out. He also told me that you were a spy for the Light."
Maia waved her hand in the air dismissively. "Oh, he was rather cranky over the whole truth serum thing, but if people won't be honest what's a mother to do?" she rationalized.
Severus stared, the moment feeling surreal. Mother dosed the most powerful wizard alive with Veritaserum…and lived to tell the tale, he marveled silently.
Maia beamed at her son, reaching out to touch his hand lightly. "He's asked me to join the Order as well! Isn't that exciting? I've never been a part of a secret spy organization before, you know," she added with a Dumbledore-like twinkle in her eye.
"You're… not… angry with me?" asked Severus incredulously, his mind still reeling.
"Oh you're not getting off that easily, young man. You deceived me for how many years?" Spencer jumped from her lap as he sensed her darkening mood.
Maia wheeled closer to her son and looked him in the eye. "Do you know what hurts me the most, do you? Well, I'll tell you. It's that you never came to me…before joining the Death Eaters…before changing sides. You never told me anything. I love you and thought that you respected me enough to trust me." Tears filled Maia's eyes and she looked away.
Severus had prepared himself for the yelling, or maybe even a mild curse or two. What he hadn't prepared himself for was his mother crying in front of him. She hadn't even cried at Father's funeral. "Mother, please," he began. "I wanted to protect you the only way I knew how. I couldn't tell you what was happening because it was too dangerous." He reached out and touched his mother's shoulder. "You were the only thing in my life that was pure, untainted. I wanted it to stay that way."
Maia pulled her son into a loving embrace. "Severus, I love you. I would even love you if you were still a Death Eater, although we would have to have some really long and serious discussions."
She hugged her son tighter. "Please don't keep things from me anymore. You're the only child I have and I want to be a part of your life, your real life, not some made up Utopia that only exists in your own mind."
Severus nodded, not trusting himself to be able to speak coherently. His mother would love him as a Death Eater? That's unconditional love. Severus' mind strayed to the orphaned teenager downstairs. "Mother, I have something to ask you."
Harry and Remus joined the battered Order members in the kitchen to partake in the breakfast the house-elf provided. Harry and Remus filled their plates and Remus poured himself a steaming cup of tea.
Dumbledore watched Harry push his food around on his plate. The teen refused to meet his eyes. Concerned, Dumbledore asked, "Harry, are you ill? Should I call the Healer?"
Harry drew in a deep breath, holding it in for a few moments and hoping it would calm his anger. It did not. " I can't speak to you right now," he ground out between clenched teeth. He felt such anger rising in him, like he would explode if he didn't vent it. Dumbledore had invaded his mind, like he was a criminal!
The rest of the Order tried to ignore the uncomfortable exchange, pretending to concentrate on their food.
"Harry," Albus began affably, as he put down his fork and stroked his beard thoughtfully, "you know that everything I have done has been in your best interest." His expression conveyed his fatherly concern.
An episode of enforced and uneasy silence ensued as everyone unconsciously awaited Harry's reply. They could not know that as disquieting as the silence was, what was to come was exceedingly more so.
"So, was using Legilimency on me in my best interest then?" Harry bellowed, his tightly fisted hands slamming down on the tabletop, sloshing tea and juice up and down the table.
Remus' head snapped up just as his own teacup landed in his lap. Wincing he grabbed his napkin and began dabbing at the hot liquid, as he stammered in shock, "What are you saying, Harry?"
The group looked from the teen, who was visibly shaking with fury and whose chest was heaving with anger, to the headmaster, who sighed deeply, looking saddened and tired. "I did what I thought was correct at the time, Harry," Dumbledore answered steadily meeting Harry's eyes.
"Are you actually saying that you did that, that you used Legilimency on a student?" barked Minerva as she shook a spatula in Dumbledore's face. "He's just a child!" The usually prim and proper transfiguration professor's chest heaved with indignation.
Dumbledore was firmly convinced that what he did was acceptable under the circumstances. "Yes, Minerva, he's a child, but we needed that information—"
"—The information that led us directly into a trap!" growled the generally unflappable Lupin, throwing his wet napkin on the table in disgust.
"I will not have my motives questioned!" bellowed Dumbledore as he stood up from the table.
"It's not your motives," said Kingsley calmly. "It's the fact that you would treat a child that way." The bald Auror did not react with anger, but his phlegmatic censure affected Dumbledore more than the incensed reproof of the others.
Dumbledore sat back down, pulling at his beard nervously as he tried to defend his position. "Harry would not tell me where the children were. The only way I could gain access to the information was to use Legilimency!" he retorted vehemently.
Lupin was not placated. "Did you try to reason with him?" he spat, his eyes glittering dangerously.
Dumbledore bristled. "Of course! The child would not listen to reason!"
"You're talking about me like I'm not here!" Harry roared, as he stood and glared at the headmaster. The china in the room began to rattle on the tables and in the cupboards as uncontrolled magic began to swirl around the teen. Harry pointed his finger at Dumbledore and the juice glass in front of the headmaster began to spin. "If you ever do anything like that to me again—"Harry roared, as he stood and glared at the headmaster. The china in the room began to rattle on the tables and in the cupboards as uncontrolled magic began to swirl around the teen. Harry pointed his finger at Dumbledore and the juice glass in front of the headmaster began to spin. "If you do anything like that to me again—"
"Harry—" began Lupin as he and the others felt the magic coursing through the room. The werewolf instinctively moved the steaming teapot towards the middle of the table.
"No, Remus! Let me have my say." The teen turned his attention back to Dumbledore. "If you ever go into my mind like that again, you'll regret it!" Harry clenched his hands into fists as the china teapot shattered as well as the drinking glasses all along the table. The glass in front of the headmaster exploded spectacularly delivering a gush of chilled pumpkin juice directly into Dumbledore's astonished face.
Remus stood. "Harry," he implored, placing a calming hand on the teen's arm. "Let's sit down now, okay?"
Harry closed his eyes for a moment, feeling drained, and then turned to Remus as the teen took a deep breath. "Did I do that?" he asked.
"Yes," answered Dumbledore as he first mopped his face with his napkin and then cleaned his spectacles before beginning to pick out shards of glass from his beard. Those in his own ranks had never challenged him before and he wished to end this unpleasantness as quickly as possible. "I am sorry that I reacted too swiftly before, Harry. I do apologize."
"Oh," Harry said softly. I wasn't expecting that, he thought. He found that as tired as he was and as spent as he felt right now, he still could not bring himself to accept the apology; he needed time. Awkwardly, Harry slumped down into his seat, unable to meet anyone's eyes as he felt his cheeks burn with embarrassment.
Minerva flicked her wand at the broken glassware and teapot, repairing them all except the one nearest to Dumbledore, petulantly leaving that one for him to repair himself.
Harry's shoulders slumped. "I'm sorry about all the mess," he said sheepishly.
"Not to worry, Harry," said Remus, sitting down and squeezing Harry's shoulders reassuringly. "All wizards have problems with uncontrolled magic from time to time."
Severus and Maia entered the kitchen, both feeling the palpable tension and residue of uncontrolled magic flowing around them.
"Is everything alright? We heard breaking glass," said Maia as she wheeled closer to where Dumbledore sat still picking small shards of glass from his beard.
"Yes, Maia," Dumbledore gruffly answered. "Everything's fine." He eyed the healer with apprehension, mixed with a grudging respect. This cunning woman was more like him than he had thought. The headmaster brought his thoughts back to the shards of broken glass that had once held his morning juice and picked out the last shard from his beard and repaired the glass. When he flicked his wand to refill his glass the juice came jetting out the back into his lap through a small hole. "Even the blasted glassware has an opinion," he grumbled under his breath he shook his beard until he heard a small clink as a final piece of glass hit the table. He recast the spell and filled his glass, his cheeks slightly flushed from embarrassment.
Severus slipped into the room and took a vacant seat beside Harry. He could feel the waves of magic still rolling off the teen. "Mr. Potter? Are you alright?"
Harry stared at the table, ashamed of his outburst. "I'm fine," he said faintly.
Finishing the juice, Dumbledore began to massage his temples wearily. "I believe I should probably go home."
"Why don't you let me get you something for your headache first, Albus," offered Maia in a conciliatory gesture.
The headmaster stared at the healer for a moment before responding. "That would be nice, Maia." Dumbledore rose and the two exited the room, followed by the rest of the Order, leaving Severus, Remus and Harry alone in the kitchen.
"I think I should go get a shower. I feel kind of dirty," Harry said softly as he rose and left the room quietly.
Severus followed the teen's departure with sharp eyes before he turned to Lupin. "What just happened here?" he asked, surprised to find that he was feeling indignant on the child's behalf, particularly since he didn't even know what the circumstances had been.
Voldemort sat on his throne-like chair, absentmindedly stroking Nagini's head as he awaited the one that he had summoned. As if on cue, the door opened and Bellatrix Lestrange entered quickly prostrating herself before her master.
"Master, what do you want of me?"
"I need someone to live here and take care of things for me." His red eyes slanted toward the witch at his feet.
"What about Peter?" she asked, her eyes reflecting her surprise.
"He is dead," Voldemort said simply. "You will take his place."
"Me? I-I have a husband," she squeaked.
Red eyes flashed maliciously as Voldemort spat, "I did not ask you into my bed, witch! Do you think Wormtail slept with me?"
The color drained from Bellatrix's face. "I'm sorry, Master. I just meant that my husband needs me."
The Dark wizard sneered. "He may move in as well, then, if he so chooses. Whether or not he does is his choice. You, on the other hand, have no choice. Did you think that I had forgotten that you and Wormtail both lost me the Potter boy?"
Bellatrix's eyes grew large and fearful. "I am at your service, my Lord."
Harry found himself standing outside Sirius' room. He felt himself being drawn in, needing to feel close to someone, anyone, even if he was gone. Harry sat on the bed in Sirius' room, looking around at all the things that reminded him of his godfather. He picked up the shirt and hung it up reverently. He then picked up the note that he had sent Snuffles and folded it gently before placing it in his pocket.
Mrs. Snape had stopped Harry as he left the washroom after his shower and had invited the teen to stay with the Snapes at Wildwood, once the wards were upgraded and the repairs were completed. Harry did not want Snape to feel put out by having a student there so he said he would think about it, not wanting to hurt Healer Snape's feelings.
Harry sunk down onto the bed and peered out through the filthy window, a wave of sadness washing over him. Remus had urged Harry to stay here with him, but that would mean staying in this house full of memories. He cared for Remus but the werewolf also reminded him of Sirius. Everything here reminded him of Sirius.
Healer Snape's cat wandered in and wound around his legs. Harry reached down and scratched the cat's head. The cat reminded him of Hedwig and that she was gone too and Harry felt a weight on his chest dragging him down as he slumped sideways against the bedpost.
"Mr. Potter?" asked Severus from the doorway.
"Yes, sir," replied Harry, not having the energy or the desire to sit up straighter.
"I had thought that you might like a break from this place. Wildwood is not yet ready for occupancy, but that does not mean that you have to stay here."
"Sir, what do you mean?" asked Harry sitting up as Spencer jumped up on his lap and began to knead his legs with her claws and purr in deep contentment. "Ow, don't do that!" he chided the pet.
"Do you need a numbing potion?" Severus asked, a teasing lilt in his voice.
"I'm fine," said Harry, chuckling as he placed the cat back on the floor. "So, what were you saying?"
"My family has relatives in many other countries. You could join us on holiday, if you'd like."
"Holiday?" Harry felt his heart leap up into his throat at the opportunity to get away from here. He'd never been on a real holiday before. "Where to?"
"I would recommend the wizarding community on Easter Island. They are far-removed from the mainstream culture. I daresay they may never have even heard of Voldemort or Harry Potter." He watched the teen mull over his decision. "There's a wonderful shop there that sells magical animals. It's where I bought Claudius. I thought I might like to purchase another owl. They're very useful to have."
"I don't know if I'm ready to replace Hedwig, sir. I think it's too soon."
"You don't have to buy another owl, Harry," Snape said.
He called me Harry, the teen thought, his head snapping up to se if Snape was taunting him. Did he even realize he called me Harry? Snape doesn't seem to think anything of it., the teen thought, his head snapping up to se if Snape was taunting him.
Harry felt the urge to get everything out in the open. He wanted to know if Sirius really had killed that poor owl. As much as he did not want to believe it, images from Snape's pensieve told him that Sirius was not always a kind person, at least in his youth.
"Did Sirius kill your owl?" Harry blurted out. As he saw the stony expression on Snape's face he wished he could pull the words back into his mouth. Things had been going so well! Harry moaned to himself inwardly. He had even called me Harry and this is what I go and do?
Snape closed his eyes and squeezed the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. When Harry was certain that he would get no answer, Snape replied.
"Yes and no." Severus then related the story of what happened to Claudius, working hard to leave out his emotions, the way he had tried to teach Mr. Potter.
"Claudius would be alive if they hadn't been trying to prank you," remarked Harry, once Snape had finished the tale. "I'm sorry."
Severus shook his head firmly. "No, Mr. Potter. You are not your father. You need not apologize for his actions. All those involved in the incident are dead. It's time for me to let it go."
Harry's heart twisted at the sight of his professor looking so vulnerable. "I think I'd like to take that trip. Somehow it doesn't seem surprising that Easter Island is a wizarding community."
Severus came into the room and sat in a wooden chair by the bed. "The history of Easter Island is very interesting actually…"
As his professor told him the story of the island, Harry felt the heaviness on his heart lift and he found himself looking forward to the future, whatever it may hold.
Author's Notes: Yes, I'm contemplating a sequel, which won't be started until the next book has come out. Hopefully the new book's revelations won't affect my ideas. Thanks for reading and reviewing! You guys are great! Review Responses are in my profile page, whenever it is updated! I appreciate every review!