The story's main theme is manipulation. Don't like, don't read!!!!
I finally got my muse back. So here's chapter 36. I was never completley happy with the title of the story so I decided to change it to something more fitting.
Hope I don't confuse anyone with it.
Harry Potter and Co. belong to Rowling.
Manipulation formerly titled "Sacrifices"
Chapter 36. "Damned Bravery"
A week after Lord Potter's awakening...
Lord Potter's return was not only an inconvenience to Prince Alessander but to Dumbledore as well. As head of the Potter Family, the marriage of one Harry Potter Snape now lay under his authority so if anyone was going to protest his Grandson's union it was going to be him. As it was the old Lord had a good impression of his son in law and although he had his well placed reservations when it came to Prince Alessander he had a feeling that Lord Snape could hold his own against the Vampire. That he had never really liked Dumbledore when he had been alive had played a part in his decision, this however was something he kept to himself.
It took a little bit of work but once it was over Harry and his husband were able to live their lives free of any interference from the Ministry or Dumbledore. If only the Dark Lord and the opportunistic vampires were as easy, things would have been perfect, Lord Potter thought embracing his Grandson briefly while he shook hands with a relieved Snape.
Two weeks after Lord Potter's awakening...
Harry sat in disbelief, "You heard her again. This is the second time!"
The somber looking potions master was trying to rub his headache away but it was proving an impossible task. "Well I heard someone who sounded like Professor McGonagall the first time. This time...I can't be sure it was her...it was a woman's voice though." Hard as he had tried to concentrate he hadn't been able to hear anything else after that, it was most a most irksome situation.
"Well you're not the type to hear voices so maybe it was the Professor." Harry observed diplomatically. If his Grandfather had come back from the dead who was he to say that Severus hadn't actually heard professor McGonagall a second time.
Severus nodded feeling a bit more at ease after Harry's words.
"Maybe Myrtle can help us figure out if it was her?"
The dark haired Wizard shook his head, "I've already asked. She says she doesn't see her but she does feel something in the air." He explained pulling his cloak around him and sitting back. The pregnancy had started affecting his body temperature and he was finding it hard to keep himself warm no matter how many warming charms he placed on his clothes.
"She's a ghost. How can she not see her?" The youth asked spreading jelly on his toast. Snape who was still having slight problems with his stomach turned his head trying not to think about the food. It proved difficult when the scent floated up to his nose and Harry bit into the bread noisily.
"Something about the entity being almost on the other side." Snape murmured cradling a warm cup of tea in both hands without drinking it.
"Oh." Harry nodded in understanding and continued eating slowly. He hoped the Professor would not end up a specter pinned to this world like Myrtle.
"I've been thinking about our imminent return." They had stayed away for two weeks and as much as he enjoyed the hospitality and the time away from his father, he knew that Harry and he were only stalling the inevitable.
Harry put his toast down and looked at his husband. The older Wizard was worried but he couldn't help but feel that as far as Vampires went Prince Alessander wasn't as bad as his husband thought him to be. The man would surely not harm his own son. On the other hand his Grandfather was a graceful host and had offered his home for as long as they may need it. Unfortunately, it wasn't just them they had to think about; Draco, Ron, and Bill were also part of their group, not to mention Cecilia who couldn't seem to stay away from his Gradnfather's elves. Then there was the rest of the Weasley's whom he had invited to live in the guest house. No, they could definitely not continue to impose. Besides his place was with his husband and Severus had to go back soon or risk forfeiting his title and everything that went with it. "When do you think would be a good time?"
"I was thinking that this weekend might be good." Severus saw the trust in his young husband's face and couldn't help but feel touched. It had been a difficult decision but he knew they couldn't continue to hide behind Lord Potter. The Wizard had already done so much for them; just the fact that he had publicly approved their marriage had put the matter with the Ministry and Dumbledore to rest once and for all.
"We'll be coming back, right?" the youth asked trying not betray what he knew to be an unfounded fear.
"Naturally," Severus half smiled rubbing his stomach. Pleased with the answer Harry touched Snape's hand and squeezed it gratefully.
"He's your family Harry. I'm glad his back."
"Even if he gives your father hell?" the green eyed youth asked teasingly.
"Especially because he gives my father hell!" the Potions Master quipped flippantly.
Harry laughed easily and Snape couldn't help but join in. They shared the pleasant moment until the older Wizard felt his stomach lurch in protest.
Harry noticed Severus grimace in discomfort, "Are you alright?"
Snape placed his hand over his husband's own, "A little nauseous that's all. Junior doesn't seem to want me to forget that he's there."
"Are you sure?" the worried frown creasing the youth's face seemed quite out of place and Severus couldn't help but feel guilty at Harry's heartache. Thank Merlin he had decided to carry their child. "I think I'll lie down until my stomach settles," the Older Wizard announced rising from his chair.
"I'll go with you." Harry rose after his husband but Snape pushed him into his chair, "Nonsense stay and eat. I'll be sleeping anyway."
"Spend time with your Grandfather." Snape ordered a little too roughly. The older Wizard apologized before touching his lips to his husband's softly, "Sorry...I want you to spend time with your Grandfather is all."
Harry opened his mouth to protest his husband's tone but closed it when he heard the apology. The pregnancy was taking a lot out of Severus. "That's ok. Just rest, ok?"
Snape nodded and walked off clutching the dark robes around him.
Having written letters to the Minister, ex and future employees, and to some of his disowned relations Lord Potter made his way to breakfast. He was rounding the corner when he saw the Potions Master leaving the dining room. Snape's cloak billowed like Vampire wings after him...shaking the intense sense of déjà vu that came over him Lord Potter walked into the room and found his Grandson sitting worriedly.
Harry looked up and stood up respectfully, "Good morning Sir."
Lord Potter nodded and took the chair at the head of the table. Arranging his coat around him he looked to his Grandson's half eaten breakfast, "I see you're half way done. Hope it's to your satisfaction?" The Wizard asked sipping a bit of grape juice.
"It is. Thank you." Harry nodded serving himself some tea, "Sir, we'll be leaving this weekend."
Lord Potter nodded over the rim of his glass, "You, Severus and your friends are more than welcome to stay as long as you want."
"I, that is we both appreciate your invitation but we think it's time to go."
"I see." The older Wizard smiled and then sobered up before continuing, "The Prince won't be happy about you being disinherited Harry."
"When will you announce your decision?" amazingly Harry could only feel relieved that he would no longer have to worry about the Prince trying to manipulate things with the Potter fortune. Even though he had every confidence that Severus could have kept the Vampire at bay he was glad that his husband would not have to fight his own father on this anymore.
"I won't have to. The Prince is no fool. I'm sure he already suspects what I intend to do. My return has upset his plans. He no longer has the Potter property at his disposal. The only things he has are his son, you, and my future grand child. So be careful Harry."
"Do you think he would dare hurt us?"
"He's an ambitious man so-"
"His own son?" Harry asked incredulously.
"No, at least I hope not but it's clear that he won't be pleased. Still, Lord Snape is not a fool... but he does love his father." Lord Potter mused shrugging his shoulders disatisfied with his own answers.
"Do you think Severus would give in to him?"
"No and that's why I supported your marriage. I get the feeling that your husband can be just as deadly as the Prince. Lord Snape has to fight for what is his. To remain here would be a loss of face that would be fatal to your husband and yourself. One day your own son will take his place as head of the Snape family. So you don't hide, you don't run and don't give in to anyone, ever. If you need help, you shall have it. You are powerful Harry, so use that power and learn from those around you...and fight. I will be at your side when the time comes."
"learn from the Prince too."
"Especially from that devil. There's much he can teach you...just never forget who you are and where you belong."
"I think I understand. Thank you Sir." Harry murmured taking his Grandfather's advice to heart.
"Now. To other matters. I intend to keep Mr.Bill Weasley in my employment. I need someone to take care of my dragons. Someone who knows what he's doing. There's also a Hagrid, worked for Hogwarts I believe."
"Yes Sir they're both excellent in their jobs. Bill was teaching Draco and Ron but I think we can ask my Godfather Lupin to take his place."
"Good! Good!" the older Wizard nodded spreading jelly over his toast just as Harry had done moments earlier. "You had offered the Weasleys a house to live in," the Wizard pointed out thoughtfully.
Harry couldn't help the nervous feeling he got, "Yes Sir."
"I've been thinking about it..." the man leaned back noticing his Grandson's nervousness.
"You wish to make changes?" The Gryffindor asked quietly. The thought that his Grandfather might withdraw the summer house had crossed his mind and he was ready to ask Severus to offer the Weasleys a place to leave on Snape grounds.
"I'm afraid I will have to ask them to leave." The Wizard announced a matter of factly. "It wouldn't look good...I have every intention of getting my seat back in the Wizengamot." The Wizard explained but was interrupted.
"If you're talking about Mr. Weasly. Nothing was proven! It was all a lie!" Harry protested.
Lord Potter eyed the youth blankly, "I don't like scenes so settle down Harry." His grandson may look like him but it was clear who his father was. Too much like James!
"But Sir." Harry wanted his Grandfather to understand. He couldn't let him believe all the lies that had been spread about Mr. Weasley!
Lord Potter was a smart man and had grown smarter over the years but he was still not as patient as he would like, "Will you kindly allow me to finish?" his voice rose several decibels over the youth's making the boy realize how close they were to an actual argument. "Yes. Sorry Sir."
"I have asked Mr. Weasley to come for a job interview." Putting the half eaten toast down the Lord reached for his tea.
Harry opened his mouth only to close it again in shock. After several seconds he was able to ask, "You're going to hire him?"
"I'll need a personal secretary once I go back and take my seat in the Wizengamot. I haven't decided on it yet but I've heard good things so I intend to give it some thought. I have to meet him first though."
Harry couldn't help the smile that came over him, "Thank you Sir, and sorry for jumping to conclusions."
"Curb your temper or it'll get the best of you." the Wizard warned.
Harry nodded before he reached over and hugged his Grandfather gratefully.
To say that old Potter was not shocked would've been a lie. He was not a man who showed affection in public or in private for that matter. So when he felt his Grandson's arms around him he was touched by the youth's outpouring of affection. What stunned the old Wizard was that Harry was grateful not for himself but for his friends. He had never met anyone as unselfish as the boy and he doubted he ever would. Careful and with an awkwardness he rarely felt he hugged Harry back.
After several more minutes of chatting Harry rose to go to check on Severus.
"I think I'll go and see if Severus wants to work on my occlumancy today."
Lord Potter nodded in agreement, "Have a good morning then, Oh one more thing!" Lord Potter called at Harry's retreating back.
"Yes sir?" the young Wizard asked turning around.
"Come this weekend please make sure you take your Basilisk with you or she'll eat me out of my elves." The older Potter requested with half a smile.
Harry couldn't help but laugh, "Yes Sir. Sorry about that."
Minutes later Draco, Ron, and Bill walked in and after bowing to their host the trio took their seats quietly. Lord Potter nodded to them and proceeded to make small talk.
Later that afternoon...
Lord Gribaldi tightened his lips while he listened to the Minister of Magic go on about Lord Potter. It seemed the older Wizard had not just invited him but several other heads to his home. Being the Wizard's age Lord Gribaldi was curious as to the man's motives. Lord Potter had been well respected in his time and it seemed that he was working to make it so again. The Wizengamot was already debating on whether to ask him to retake his seat with them. Such an occurrence would certainly be a blow to Albus Dumbledore and his cause. Turning to the Minister he couldn't help but think that if it weren't for the fact that Fudge held the office of Minister, Lord Potter would've never have invited him.
"Well this has certainly been a most eventful two weeks I can't help but think that Prince Alessander is probably still in the throes of temper tantrum. All of his plans have certainly been upset." Lucius smiled sipping his wine.
"Plans Minister?" Lord Gribaldi couldn't help but frown in curiosity. He knew the Minister had changed some but he never thought the Wizard capable of strategizing least of all about someone like Prince Alessander!
"Lord Gribabali I may not be a great strategist but it doesn't take much sense to see where the Prince was headed."
"I would've never thought that the Prince's plans had entered your mind."
"Really!" Lucius smiled amused.
"I meant no disrespect Minister."
"Of course you didn't!" the Minister smiled sardonically. "Well I think it's a kind of blessing to have the old wolf back even if he does hate Vampires."
Lord Gribaldi tried not to frown. How had Fudge found out Lord Potter's nickname? "You hold vampires in esteem?"
"Not all vampires. Just those that can help the Wizarding World." Or better yet me! Prince Alessander could help the Malfoy regain their legacy while Lord Potter could become the great ally the Mlafoys had once had.
"Ah I see."
"Do you Lord Gribaldi?" Lucius asked setting his drink down. It was late and he had to go home. Mrs. Fudge was having a get together of sorts and he had to be there or risk the old crow's suspicions. The things he did for his son and the Malfoy name!
"What do you mean Minister?"
"Lord Gustavus it means that I will use whatever means I have at my disposal to make sure Wizarding England does not lose the War against the Dark Lord." Lucius finished and smiled at the older Wizard sardonically. Lord Gribaldi could only stare while the Minister smirked. He couldn't help but think that he was not speaking to Minsiter Fudge but to someone else. The question was who. Not wanting to give the Minister any cause to suspect his doubts Lord Gribaldi nodded and said all the right things before the pair parted.
Lupin was just leaving Diagon Alley when his nose told him he was being followed and by one of his own. Moving his hand to his wand he looked behind him and was stunned to see three Dominant werewolves closing in on him fast. Not wanting to risk injury to anyone he slipped into a dark alley and quickly apparated away. Seconds later he was in front of Grimmauld Place. Walking quickly inside he searched for Narcissa and found her sleeping safely in their bedroom.
Making his way out again he went to the study and had an elf bring him some tea to calm his nerves. The pack was after him. Moony growled angrily and for once Lupin allowed the werewolf to surface; he needed to protect Narcissa and their pup and he couldn't do it alone. Moony howled in glee. His mate was carrying! His mate was carrying!
later that night...
Prince Alessander and Sirius sat deep in thought until they were interrupted by Severus' owl Lumos.
Greetings Prince Alessander,
Will be arriving Saturday morning to begin my husband's training.
Lord Severus Snape
"What is it?" Sirius asked as he straightened in his seat.
"The prodigal son and son in law return," the Prince smiled triumphantly waving the parchment in the air.
"Really? I would've thought Snape would remain with Lord Potter." Sirius excalimed in disbelief. Could Severus be any more insane?
"A coward's way was never the Snape's way." The Prince murmured throwing the parchment into the fire. "Come I'm hungry." The Vampire beckoned Sirius over his shoulder.
Sirius followed silently wanting nothing more than to kick Snape for his damned bravery.
Thanks for your patience. I hope to be posting a bit more regularly from now on.