Confrontations and Confessions part 1/2

By Raven Dancer

disclaimer: Everyone belongs to Rowling, probably even the old drunken wizard at the Leaky Cauldron. I'm just taking them out for a bit of angst, hurt and comfort.

Three days. Three incredibly long days waiting for Snape to reappear.

Three days of denials from the Ministry.

Yes, they had aurors report seeing him. No, he had not been brought into the offices. Yes, he could have been hurt. Of course each agent had been briefed on Snape's role and would never have harmed him. Permanently, anyway. Yes, they'd check with each of the agents present again.

Couldn't ask the other death eaters captured from the mission. They were in Azkaban, already cross-examined and cleansed. No point after the Dementor's kiss to ask them about anything.
So another line of inquiry. He'd traveled to the Leaky Cauldron and checked the unofficial line. There were inconsistencies; most of them planted by the Ministry itself to protect their aurors. Of course, Snape benefited from them, too. 4 Death Eaters caught (actually 6, not counting Snape). All four sent to the Dementors. (again, 6.) Then a little niggle of a whisper that the Ministry had added an auror to the squad. A little favor for an old friend. He bought a few more beers, a couple judicious shots of whisky. A name, just a name. Any idea who?

Well, the bloodshot eyes looked edgy, not too sure, but he'd heard the blighter had the weirdest eyes.

(Ah, Mad Eye.
Mad Eye Moody.)

A small handful of galleons to Tom assured a room and food for a couple days for the old wizard who sat and listened and drank to forget.

He tried not to feel bitter. Alastor Moody had been an old friend. A friend he'd protected when his excesses nearly cost him his job. Promises extracted to treat his prisoners fairly and returned to the Ministry immediately.

And as far as it concerned Snape, he was suppose to keep his hands off. Snape was above suspicion from the highest sources, although very, very few knew much at all. Most of the junior Aurors knew he was always allowed to escape, not to actually capture him unless there was no other way to prevent his immediate death.

The older Aurors knew they didn't have to let Snape escape. He could get away fairly effectively himself. Although he sometimes took a potential prisoner with him. Sometimes a few wounds or hexes he didn't really want. Snape was cunning, but on their side. That was enough for them. Knowing too much could actually be worse.

The Senior Aurors were slightly split. Most would express admiration if allowed, but usually cursed him viciously to keep up appearances. A less than a handful hated him as a traitor of the highest order. A evil necessity.

Alastor Moody fell into that last group. Even with all of the assurances that could be given, from veratiserum to pensieves, nothing would assuage Moody's belief Snape was best off dead. Although he had promised he would not harm him if their paths crossed, that he would, indeed, leave him able to continue his services for the Ministry. That he would return him immediately to Dumbledore himself if found, injured, hurt or worse.

One would think immediately was a rather succinct word. One that meant right away or this instant. One would. Moody would not.

There was a scraping across the floor as the voice called out
What do you want? the voice grated harsh with anger.

I believe you have something of mine, a voice returned evenly.

The door opened quickly revealing Mad Eye Moody in all his glory. His magical and normal eye fixed on the visitor trying to gauge his emotions. How does one read a stone wall?

Well, well, Albus Dumbledore! What a delightful surprise.
Dumbledore pushed the door wider and walked into the living room filled with gadgets spinning and humming.

I doubt both greatly, Alastor.
He turned abruptly and stood nose to nose with the nervous man. Moody had over-stepped every boundary this time. Moody was very aware he'd done so.

I would like Snape. Now.

I'll just fetch him for you, Moody said cheerfully.

Let's go fetch him' together, Alastor. See how you respect
my friendship. ACCIO WAND, and much to Moody's displeasure his wand flew into Dumbledore's open hand.

He's downstairs relaxin' Moody's tone turned sullen.

Imagine. Guest rooms down in the basement, the sarcasm was not wasted as the man twitched.

Dumbledore did not believe for one second Snape was safe or unharmed. He had to steady his resolve once more and push his anger down. Descending the stairs his nose was assaulted by wet, foul smells. He was glad he hadn't eaten recently.

Lovely ambiance, Alastor, his voice low and dangerous. Grunting, Moody flipped on the overly bright overhead light. Seeing his Potions Master Dumbledore once more moved his wand.

Bindus Totalis he spat out and watched the Auror fall helpless at his feet. A second sweep and the body was sent with a dull into the wall. Dumbledore approached Snape.

He was bound kneeling, leaning against the moldy wall, stripped to his shorts. Damp. Shivering. Cautiously Dumbledore approached
he asked gently

a harsh voice, exhausted, on the verge of hysteria. Desperate eyes searching through matted hair. He was filthy, looked as though he'd been in that place, that position, for the entire three days.

Yes, Severus, soothing voice, he pointed the spell at Snape .
and watched the bulk of the filth disappear as he knelt by his friend.

I have the distinct feeling Mr. Moody does not like me, Albus,
Snape managed, his mouth so dry it had trouble making all the sounds required.

I believe you're right, Dumbledore agreed, touching him lightly, seeing the flinch that the bound man tried desperately to control.

I'm sorry, Albus, Snape whispered, shutting his eyes in shame.
Hands gently ran across his face, down his head, lingered on his shoulder, as Dumbledore eyed the non-magical binders that bit into the flesh. The blood was fairly dry, but new oozed out in two places.

You've done nothing wrong, Severus, and he unfastened the first set of binders on his arms. He immediately began to rub the severely abused muscles as Snape sharply drew in his breath and struggled not to whimper.

Do you want to sleep? Dumbledore asked kindly, continuing to rub and massage down each arm, carefully uncurling clenched, icy fingers. He breathed warmth onto the tips waking up the circulation.

Snape hissed in pain and relief, breakfast and dinner has consisted of veratiserum and some sort of stay-awake potion. He moaned and twitched violently as Dumbledore began to release his legs.

Haven't slept for a couple days, he groaned between clenched teeth.

Leaning completely helpless against the filthy wall, Snape watched through slitted eyes as his thighs and calves were kneaded. Carefully his feet were flexed and his knees straightened. They were raw, bloody and swollen.

oh shitshitshit, he managed.

Why the veratiserum? Dumbledore asked.

He wanted to know everything I knew, he creakily laughed.
I know so very little. Did you know that?

Is the serum still working? Dumbledore glanced at the trembling man.

he replied flatly.

How much? When? he pursued.

Six drops this morning. Five before. Five before that. Four
the first day. Twice. He twitched and chewed his lip.
You know, the thing about veratiserum? Too much and the
person will kill himself if he doesn't have an answer. That's
why they have to be bound. He was speaking more easily and Dumbledore grimaced at the blood flowing from the torn lip.

he spoke the name with such warmth, such love, that the man stopped chewing immediately and looked into the clear blue eyes. He was wrapped in the soft folds of Dumbledore's cloak, into his arms, rocked without shame. Words spilled out of the hysterical man faster than Dumbledore thought possible fired by the serum's imperative to divulge:

He brought me here after the raid; I was stupified early on. He
bound me and made me kneel the entire time. If I fell over
he'd upright me. I've fouled myself because he wouldn't let me
up even for the loo. He threw buckets full of cold water on me several times. He kept asking me about Voldemort, if there were any more raids planned. He wanted to know who my friends were in Voldemort's circle. About my lovers. He asked about friends outside ofthe Death Eaters. Who I loved, who I wanted. He asked and asked and asked. He got very angry with me and kept accusing me of fighting the serum. So he added the no-sleep draught. I can't sleep, Albus. I can't. I'm so bloody tired and I can't sleep.

Dumbledore pulled him up closer, hushing him, continuing to rock and beginning to sing to him, forcing him to focus only on him and nothing else. Finally the rigid body went limp into the warmth, into the affection. Tears flowed slowly down cheeks and soaked into the Headmaster's robe.

Relax, Severus. It will wear off, it must since he's given it to
you a couple of times. I'll take you home, Severus, home. You can
have a nice hot soak in the tub and something comforting to eat.
Then you can just lie in my bed piled high with blankets and quilts
until you fall asleep. You will sleep, just be calm. Listen to me.
The tiniest movement as Snape listened to the older man's heartbeat.

I'm thirsty, came the whisper.

I know, child, Dumbledore whispered back. But I don't trust
anything here. He felt Snape's fingers flex, rubbing his robes.
I'll levitate you.

There were no clothes except a sodden mass of black cloth that had been robes. Dumbledore carefully fastened the clasps of his cloak he'd put on Snape. The Potions Master snuggled into the soft lining. He was levitated and as they moved up the cellar steps the older wizard stopped and turned.

Alastor, thank you so much for caring for Severus. Don't
bother getting up, I'll find the door. Dumbledore left the Auror bound in the damp corner. He shut the door and charmed it against danger. Continued with his precious bundle out the front door. Locked that and placed another charm on it, too.

We'll just have to remember to send an owl to the Ministry
when we get back to Hogwarts, Severus.